Behavioral Quality Improvement™

Behavioral Quality Improvement™ is about how to:

  • Improve quality using the same basic behavioral approach that improves safety

  • Improve the effectiveness of Six Sigma, Lean, Operational Excellence, and World Class Manufacturing

  • Initiate recognition and feedback for quality involvement and improvement

  • Accelerate quality improvement, reduce rework and rejects, and make customers happy

Behavior Matters in Quality Too

Open any book about total quality management, continuous improvement, Lean, Six Sigma, World Class Manufacturing, or the Toyota Production System. Look for a chapter about “how to manage human behavior” – a chapter that describes exactly what supervisors and managers should say and do to help associates deliver high-quality results. You won’t find one!

In a recently published book, Quality, Behavior, and the Bottom Line: The Human Side of Quality Improvement, the authors provide a detailed description for systematically addressing human behavior and quality improvement. Systematically addressing human behavior in job performance is referred to as the behavioral approach.

The Behavioral Quality Improvement™ process is the systematic application of the behavioral approach to quality problems and quality improvement.  Its major components consist of the following:

  1. Identify the specific, observable, frontline employee behaviors that are affiliated with the causes for poor-quality performance. Most causes of a poor-quality product will have a people factor. You must identify the critical behaviors that frontline employees need to perform to resolve the quality problem being targeted.
  2. Communicate the complete list of those quality improvement behaviors identified in step 1 to individuals and workgroups throughout the plant or site. Individuals will then know the critical job functions they need to do to improve quality.
  3. Create a checklist of critical-to-quality behaviors and use it to remind workers that these are priority behaviors. Supervisors and frontline employees will review the checklist regularly.
  4. Monitor frontline employee behavior with the checklist. Peers and managers can do the observations of checklist behaviors, and frontline employees can also be trained in self-monitoring.
  5. Finally, collect and present data as feedback to the frontline employees and management. Frontline employees set improvement goals and management provides positive recognition for improvement and goal achievement.

The Cost of Poor Quality can be 25% or more of sales. Improving quality has a direct impact on the bottom line.

But many quality efforts fail to produce desired results. As many as 60% of quality efforts fail to sustain their initial gains and achieve the desired results.

We know why.

Most quality efforts do not focus on Critical-to-Quality Behavior. Most quality efforts focus on the process, not on the specific behaviors that people need to perform in the process. They may be able to identify technical changes that would have positive effects, but they fail to focus on the employee behaviors needed to achieve and sustain gains. Behavior is the missing ingredient in quality.

Apply Your BBS Skills to Quality

If your organization already has the skills and experience of applying the behavioral approach to safety, Quality Safety Edge can help you capitalize on that learning and apply the behavioral approach to quality.

Implementing Behavioral Quality Improvement

Quality Safety Edge will work with you to build behavioral practices into your organization’s quality efforts.

1. Identifying Critical-to- Quality Behaviors

Quality Safety Edge provides onsite support throughout the planning and implementation of Behavioral Quality Improvement. We work with you to identify the Critical-to Quality Behaviors that drive high-quality results and design systems for observing and coaching employees to perform those behaviors successfully.

2. Observations and Feedback

Many quality initiatives provide initial training for employees and then … nothing! Quality Safety Edge works with you to train observers to observe Critical-to-Quality Behaviors and provide employees with immediate and positive feedback on their performance. Employees become engaged and educated about how they directly influence quality outcomes.

3. Measuring and Monitoring

Observations provide a wealth of data about the performance of Critical-to-Quality Behaviors. Quality Safety Edge works with you to analyze behavioral data and compare it to quality outcomes. Your organization develops a scientific understanding of how employee performance drives high-quality results.

Why Is Behavioral Quality Improvement Needed?

Behavioral Quality Improvement™ is not just another complex, time-consuming initiative. Behavioral Quality Improvement™ simply uses a few scientific tools that focus on the “people side” of quality. These tools help organizations implement quality improvement processes more effectively, and accelerate the effectiveness of processes such as Lean, Six Sigma, and World Class Manufacturing. There is nothing inherently wrong with those approaches. Those quality processes can be quite successful when they are supplemented and supported with Behavioral Quality Improvement. When applications from the behavioral sciences are integrated into organizational performance initiatives, they have achieved remarkable results.