In 2019, Fastems started a strategic project around updating its Quality Management System (QMS). “Blah”, you might think, but this is so much more than a Quality Management System with process charts. The QMS Renewal was a much needed next step to follow our cultural revolution, which took place some years ago. Comprising of the Fastems culture was a joint effort where every Fastemsian participated and was made heard.
Backbone. Sharing = Caring. Water is Water.
These are the cornerstones of the Fastems culture “The Way We Rock”, which has also guided our way during the QMS Renewal journey. In our minds, the QMS Renewal describes the beat of the Fastems drum, so to speak, which is why we went with the title “The Way We Rock – Our Beat”.
To know which steps to take
When well-executed, a QMS can be a set of best practices documented into an easily updatable depository. The QMS can always be trusted when there are uncertainties around how to proceed in certain situations or used to learn how an unfamiliar task is done.
Anu Collin, the Quality Manager at Fastems, describes the QMS in an insightful way: “Think of an old and strong river that fishermen need to cross. The experienced and seasoned fisherman knows exactly which rocks he needs to step on to cross the river safely, where as a rookie has to have more courage and time to test which rocks are steady and which ones aren’t.” In this way, the QMS allows us to 1) learn from the more experienced and 2) share knowledge to streamline work habits and ways of working, ultimately creating valuable group wisdom.
QMS Renewal as part of strategic decisions to improve
Fastems has several development projects, one of which aims to improve the quality of our working. The QMS Renewal is a long-term scheme aiming to fulfill the development needs of the company and truly bring Fastems closer to its customers. The renewal is not a project that has an ending, but is instead more like a way of working and constantly improving what we are doing and how. Everyone knows that change doesn’t come quickly or easily, which is why Fastems has development projects that take us further step by step.
Another side of the QMS Renewal is aligning work habits and sharing the knowledge to make everyone’s work more enjoyable and productive. New Fastemsians can learn our ways of working from the QMS and immediately catch on to the best practices and develop them even further.
In addition to Fastems’ strong culture, the latest version of the well-known quality standard, the ISO 9001:2015, has worked as our guideline. The renewed QMS is therefore compatible with these quality requirements and our Quality Manual “The Way We Rock – Our Beat” summarizes our way of interpreting these. In turn, we can ensure that Fastems conforms to the requirements and can deliver high-class customer experience consistently.
Similar to the cultural revolution, the QMS Renewal was done together and cross-functionally. Fastems is a flat organization where everyone is involved. There were and still are specific owners and workgroups that take care of the update and renewal work, and several workshops were held when the processes were first created and distilled into what they are today. Thanks to Anu’s expertise and drive, the QMS Renewal is being dismounted at full speed: ”I was sincerely happy when I got the opportunity to join the Fastems organization about two years ago. I was trusted with the responsibility of QMS Renewal work and my ideas of highlighting the process roles were supported by the Leadership team.”
Arter IMS provides the technical home base for the Fastems QMS and every Fastemsian has access to the system. The best practices are described as processes in the tool and each process has different process roles and responsibilities. This means that one can easily see which process roles he or she has, and in which processes he or she is involved in. According to Anu, employees often struggle to see the difference between their organizational roles (commonly known as titles) and process roles. To make it easier to differentiate between the two in our organization, Anu has produced process role cards. “In my experience, regardless of business, the process role is ultimately quite a hard concept to comprehend. The process role and organizational titles are easily intermingled, meaning that responsibilities within the QMS and related processes are still vague for the personnel. At Fastems, we wanted to change that and personalize the process roles for real”, she explains.
The process role cards were made mainly for QMS training and project meetings where process roles are introduced and shared among project members. The process roles are inserted into the QMS and then linked to relevant processes. From the system, one can then review the processes related to each role. So, eventually each Fastemsian can easily find the support they need as well as a big picture of how he or she is involved in making Fastems strategic objectives come true. The creative work was done together with the talented Satu Cozens, Designer at Kummakko-Design.
As an example, please have a look at our Spare Part Engineer. You can immediately catch on to the essence of the process role through the artwork and the role description, or what do you think?
We are doing this both for you and for us. Ultimately it’s all about improving employee and customer experience, which matters most when it comes to the heart of business.
Already during the QMS Renewal quality improvement inspections were carried out, which resulted in us noticing some irregularities in certain processes. Once these were identified, we were able to find the root causes and improve the processes as a whole. The QMS was also updated accordingly and the process is now well documented to avoid making the same mistakes again. Thanks to the QMS Renewal, this is what the beat of the Fastems drum will sound like now and for years to come.