Quality Organizational Structure for Manufacturing in the Automotive Industry

I want to prepare the company where I work for for a sustained quality culture focus on prevention and to solve problems to avoid them happen again so I'm wondering if someone of this community can share experience about the best Quality Organizational Structure (at the manufacturing floor) that may fit better for this purpose. We have a Quality Manager with Quality Engineerings (most of the time attending customer complain), in some plants QC is responsiblitity of the operations and in other is responsiblity of the Quality Manager. I see that QA may be missing but not sure how to put clear a role definition to make the proposal to the organization for the re-engineering of the department. In parallel to this, who is the natural owner of Control Plan, I know that this is built by a multidisciplinary team but who is typically the leader for the design and compliance?

1 Replies

Hi Jose,

There typically isn't a one-size fits all “best” org structure. It's always going to depend on the organization's management culture, priorities, budget, and pain points; among other things. As you've touched on a bit in your post, their needs to be consideration between roles and departments. It isn't necessarily wrong for QC to be performed by Ops resources, so long as there is some oversight from a more independent quality role (QE, QA, QM, etc.); i.e. - a Quality System of checks and balances. This is why the word “system” is so critical. However, you initially stated the goal as being a sustained quality culture. The appropriate org structure is only part of achieving and maintaining that. The bigger challenge is getting everyone to fully engage in their quality role. This requires knowledge; not about what the applicable regulations, standards, and internal procedures say to do, but why the requirements are there and how they provide value rather than burden. For Management, the value piece has to be stated in their language: dollars. For the rest of the employees, it has to be stated in terms of what's in it for them, both directly (e.g. - makes my job easier) and indirectly (e.g. - helps the company succeed so that I get to keep my job). When everyone understands the full picture, they will be willing to engage so that the checks and balances become less about “policing” quality and more about confirming assumed conformance and addressing occasional nonconformance (the word “trust” should pop into your head here).

Organizational change is relatively easy. Culture change is hard. Both are required to achieve success.

Steve Gompertz
Partner & COO
QRx Partners