Me chame no WhatsApp Agora!

Fernando Palha Leite

Coordinator of P&D Florestal da Cenibra


Challenges for effective quality management

A natural way to capitalize on the results of the work of the research areas and the operational area, in a faster and more comprehensive way, is to ensure that there is a high level of adherence between what the research area recommends (via technical recommendations and operational procedures) and the way in which the recommendations are effectively carried out by the operational area.

Since quality management is the main mediator between the technical area (research) and the operational area, its role is fundamental to guarantee this adherence, thus allowing the transformation of knowledge into value for the company. This value is materialized in productivity gains and reduction of production costs, resulting from the satisfactory performance of processes carried out with high quality standards.

Carrying out activities inherent to any production process must meet the specifications defined in the technical recommendations and operating procedures. This is a prerequisite to ensure process performance within competitive and sustainable standards. For this to actually happen, effective quality management of the critical stages of the process in question is essential, ensuring that the resulting products meet the criteria of intrinsic quality, cost, time, safety and morale specified for the monitored activities.

At first, it may seem trivial, since several quality system tools have been widely used in the forestry sector for a long time. However, for the quality system to be really efficient and not just figurative, there are several challenges to be overcome by the professionals responsible for conducting quality management within companies. Among them, we can mention the following:

1. Really define which steps and which indicators (control items and verification items) must be monitored. Resources should be directed only to the critical steps and indicators of the process. It is not possible to monitor everything, and it does not add anything to monitor steps and indicators that are not critical. Adjustments must be made both in the frequency and intensity of monitoring, according to the criticality of the activity. It is important to note that the criticality rating can change over time.

2. Ensure that everyone involved understands that monitoring is only one of the means and not the main purpose of a quality management system. That is, it is more important to know how to analyze and deal with the trends of any deviations identified in the monitoring than just measuring and pointing out any non-conformities.

3. Separate problems from non-compliance with process capability problem specifications. Sometimes, the results may not be showing a problem with the activity's performance, but that the capacity of a given process has been overestimated. In these situations, a certain level of performance is expected, but compatible resources are not made available so that the process is structured in such a way as to be able to deliver the desired level of result.

4. Use the results to contribute to the definition of which actions should be prioritized for investments in process improvement. A good diagnosis of the performance of activities is essential to indicate those that need more support at a given moment.

5. Create means to speed up the diagnosis of the performance of monitored activities, as well as the dissemination of results to all interested parties, covering all regions of the company. The faster we know that some activity needs support, the faster we can direct resources to provide that support.

6. Recognize teams and people committed and dedicated to the pursuit of standards of excellence. There's always a lot to learn from them. The example of these teams can serve as a motivation for others.

7. Share and involve senior management in the management of process quality indicators. This step is essential to strengthen quality as a value to be cultivated within the company's culture.

If we really want to carry out an effective quality management of the wood production process, the seven challenges discussed above must be worked on very well by the responsible managers. A work that is of a permanent nature and with medium and long-term results, but extremely necessary to guarantee the maintenance of the competitiveness of companies in the sector.