Bringing about a step change in the quality management system


The company is part of a group that designs, produces and installs packaging machinery. Its employees have a high average seniority and there are many key figures possessing specialist knowhow which is not widely shared.

For some years the company has faced high costs, arising from:

  • unreliable design (in both content and time) – by far the most serious of their problems
  • customer dissatisfaction with delivery times and quality (customers are largely small, family-owned enterprises, highly demanding as far as costs, flexibility and deadlines are concerned)
  • strong growth in orders, but with ever shorter delivery times and with shrinking margins

As far as the Quality Department is concerned, the situation is highly critical, with high non-conformity costs.


Contract Manager was asked to revamp the Quality Department, making radical changes to its management and updating the quality manual.

  1. Quality Documentation
    • Documentation was reviewed. Previously this had been unstructured, kept in disarray in different parts of the company and largely unfamiliar to personnel. Special attention was given to the most operationally relevant documents (instructions, forms, check-lists, etc.).
  2. Quality Control
    • Quality Control plans were drawn up in line with the revised technical documentation
    • Supplies: a new portal was set up for the exchange of information between suppliers and quality inspectors; planning of visits and a database for recording results were also created
    • Production Quality Control was started up: this had already been planned but not implemented
  3. Non-conformities
    • Recording and report circulation were improved
    • A new management system and alert analysis system were designed and incorporated into the ERP system
  4. Project Management
    • Project management in the company was previously weak. It was strengthened through greater involvement of the teams in project results and with proper final in-depth analysis of the results of each order
    • Greater involvement of the Quality Department in project progress status (meetings and reports included)
  5. Quality Department structure and tasks
    • Mapping of the department’s skills, know-how and workloads, which showed clearly that new resources were needed
    • Proposals for a new structure, placing quality contact people in engineering, production and commissioning
    • Internal operating procedures were revised, greater powers were delegated to middle-management, operating personnel’s roles were made more interchangeable
    • Thorough review of quality control and testing safety rules (with documentation and training)

The client company was made aware of the need to shift from quality activity limited solely to production to a 360° Quality Management system, reporting directly to top management. At the end of Contract Manager’s assignment, a long-term Quality Manager will be appointed, thus ensuring daily on-going implementation of the system.