Governance, Risk and Compliance Blog

Analysing the Context of the Organisation - Friday Feature

Posted by Emily Hill on Fri, Oct 21, 2016

A new clause has been introduced to ISO 9001:2015 relating to the Context of the Organisation. But what does this actually mean? And how can you properly analyse the Context of the Organisation? 

For this week's Friday Feature, we asked Richard Green, Founder and MD of Kingsford Consultancy Services to share more insights into the new requirements for Context of the Organisation. 

Wistia video thumbnail - Context of the Organisation


Video Transcription: 

What is the best way to analyse Context of the Organisation? 

"Context of the Organisation is one of the new clauses in the Standard.

What the standard writers wanted to do was ensure there is an appreciation of how events outside the organisation impact the quality management system - as well as what is going on internally. 

There are two essential elements in respect to Context of the Organisation: 

1) Issues: Understanding the issues that an organisation faces, both internally and externally e.g. threats, weaknesses, opportunities and strengths. 


Image: Porters 5 Forces


To be honest, if your organisation is still trading, you have probably have already got a pretty good idea about what the issues are anyway, so you will not need to start from scratch.


Image:SWOT Matrix Example


2) Stakeholders: Relevant interests of relevant interested parties

In terms of the relevant interests of relevant interested parties - again, organisations will understand who their stakeholders are. If they are still in business, they will have satisfied the requirements of their stakeholders to a large degree anyway. 

Stakeholder matrix.png

Image Stakeholder Management Matrix Example

The thing about Context of the Organisation is to not get too hung up on it.

 A lot of the requirements for Context of the Organisation involves documenting what you know already. You are the person who is responsible for saying this is the Context of the Organisation. The auditor can challenge it, but they can only challenge it if they have evidence that your measure of context is incorrect, e.g. you have not identified a stakeholder and this has led to a problem, or you have missed an issue that has caused a problem."


Find an in-depth step-by-step guide to Context of the Organisation by downloading the ISO 9001:2015 Toolkit. 

ISO 9001:2015 Toolkit

Tags: ISO 9001:2015

Smart Factory Expo 2nd & 3rd November 2016 NEC [Free Event]

Posted by Emily Hill on Fri, Oct 14, 2016

The 'Fourth Industrial Revolution' (Industry 4.0), a term coined in 2011, is the umbrella term given to describe a fusion of different technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), cyber-physical systems and cloud thinking, which are changing the way factories across the world are functioning. 




The challenge for manufacturers is how to make Industry 4.0 work for them. A solid understanding of the information, communications, embedded systems, devices and sensors available is key. 

If you are a manufacturer, attending the The Manufacturer Smart Factory Expo is a must.  As well as having the chance to catch up with some of the Qualsys team, you will also learn: 

  • Industry equipment and systems available for manufacturers with less deep pockets.
  • Maximising return on investment to thrive in the next wave of change. 
  • Practical advice from Industry leaders to manage the challenges faced.




Want to attend? Key Information: 

Sign up for free here


2nd November 2016:

9am - 5pm

3rd November 2016:

9am - 4pm


The NEC Birimngham

Pendigo Way,


B40 1NT

+44 (0)121 780 4141

Meet with Qualsys 

Qualsys will also be exhibiting at Stand 39. We would love to hear if you are attending on the day. Please either email or tweet us, it would be great to see you there! 


ISO 9001:2015 Toolkit



Has Anything Changed Since the Horsemeat Scandal? - Managing Suppliers - Friday Feature

Posted by Emily Hill on Fri, Oct 14, 2016

Since the horsemeat scandal in 2013, where traces of horsemeat were found in products sold in a number of UK supermarkets, there has been a rise in the number of products recalled by 26%. 

Gavin Reese, a partner with RPC, a London Law Firm, said "The horsemeat scandal set off reverberations across the food industry, and now a couple of years of tighter measures and an increased scrutiny have clearly made a big difference.

But are all organisations taking the necessary steps to check supplier quality? 

For this week's Friday Feature, we asked Richard Green, Managing Director of Kingsford Consulting Services Ltd if he believes organisations are putting in place the necessary controls to manage supplier quality. In the video, Richard Green also offers advice for organisations to manage suppliers. 



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Wistia video thumbnail - Attitude towards supply chain management


Video Transcription:

Following various scandals in recent years regarding traceability issues, have you noticed a change in attitudes or greater vigilance in managing supply chains?

"I would love to say yes, but I believe there has only been marginal improvements in supply chains.

I think the issue is that many organisations still expect their suppliers to effectively check everything. Companies think that if they have a contract, they do not need to check what is coming into the business. But even if you have a contract to work with another organisation, it still means that you need to be checking what comes in. 

There have been some significant changes around managing external providers in the new version of the standard so that is going to make audits more interesting.

There are a lot more checks and balances in respect to what you need to be doing as an organisation going forward to verify that the suppliers and their suppliers are doing what they are supposed to be doing."


Supplier management

There is always a lot of effort put into onboarding suppliers, do you think there should be as much effort put into ongoing supplier management? 

"Absoloutely, especially if you are dealing with many suppliers.

Some multi-national organisations deal with thousands of suppliers and certainly for organisations procuring products from certain areas of the world that are perhaps not adhering to the Standards that you would really wish them to be adhering to. Certain parts of the world are still quite notorious in terms of quality and supply. 

And it is really difficult when you are dealing with so many organisations to get all of the checks you need completed.

I recommend that organisations: 

  • rationalise down the number of suppliers you have, but do not just go with one as you will need some sort of contingency plan,
  • foster a partnership arrangement with your chosen suppliers - they are not just supplying you with products and you have a real relationship with them
  • involve the supplier in setting the quality gates in their own business so then they know where their products are likely to fail."


What do you think? Do you believe organisations are more vigiliant with suppliers? Leave a comment below! 


For more webinars, news and information about ISO standards and optimising processes, please download the ISO 9001 Toolkit.

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Tags: Supply Chain Management

Tools & Techniques to Map Your Supply Chain & Ensure Authenticity of Raw Materials

Posted by Emily Hill on Thu, Oct 13, 2016

Increasingly complex and global supply chains means food fraud is a very real threat for any organisation in the food supply chain. From incorrectly labeled olive oil to wood pulp in parmesan, there is a whole raft of different examples of food fraud which have hit the headlines over recent years.

Adulterated food reduces product quality, risks consumer health and costs the industry billions. In fact, food fraud is estimated to cost the UK food and drink industry up to £11 billion per year. 

So what can be done to prevent damaging oversights? As a quality professional, you are probably involved in setting the requirements for supplier on-boarding, which ensures supplier quality, health, safety and environmental processes meet your requirements. But even though you have a contract with this supplier, you can not guarantee the materials your suppliers are supplying you with are what they say they are. 

For Nestle, a company which sells over 1 billion products every day, sources products from 165,000 suppliers and almost three-quarters of a million farmers, the challenges are amplified. 

At the Food Safety Trends Conference, we had the opportunity to hear from Nestlé's Head of Food Safety and Integrity Research Programme, John O'Brien. During his presentation, O'Brien shared some of the tools and techniques the conglomerate has or is in the process of implementing to map the supply chain and ensure the authenticity of raw materials.

Below, we have summarised some of the key points from his presentation. 


Consumer Trust and Confidence

O'Brien kicked off the presentation discussing the four key forces influencing consumer trust and confidence: 

  • Increasing consumer concerns
  • Decreased error tolerance and increased cost of mistakes 
  • Increased product monitoring 
  • Complex supply chains, regulations and science.

O'Brien then shared Nestlé's approach to managing food safety: 

"There is a change in focus from scientific to consumer, reactive to proactive management using early warning systems, quality control to quality management of the entire supply chain and the challenge has shifted from detecting defects to a challenge to interpret, understand, foresee and prevent defects." 


Proactive Management

O'Brien explained how data enables the application of 'Systems Thinking' to prevent food contamination and fraud. O'Brien illustrated how big data can help identify the species of fish and meat products. 

Fish- DNA barcoding



O'Brien discussed how the research and development unit are able to map the authenticity of all materials used in end products. For example, although fish is used as a powder they are able to use DNA barcoding, a method which involves extracting a DNA sample of the fish, using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification and then DNA sequencing to identify the species of the fish sample. 

DNA barcoding, which derives from the iBOL project, was initiated in 2003 to create a genetic database of all living organisms.



O'Brien then shared the advantages and disadvantages of detecting meat species. 

  Advantages  Disadvantages 
ELISA or Rapid Flow Through (Protein-based method) Well-known, fast and cheap. Limited to a few species, no multiplex and sensitive to processed samples.
Proteomics (Protein-based method) Fast and suitable for processed samples. At early development and no routine application. 
RFLP (DNA-based method) Well-known. Limited to few species, differentiation of close-related species and reliable.
Species-specific PCR or Real-Time PCR (DNA-based method) Well-known, specific and multiplex. Limited to few species.
PCR+ Microarray (DNA-based method)

Specific, multiplex and up to 32 species.

DNA Sequencing (DNA-based method) Unambiguous.  Detection of mixture >5% (m/m), will not work on processed samples and no sequencing capability. 
DNA Sequencing Next Generation  Unambiguous, detection of mixture and works on processed samples.  New technology, no sequencing capability, must have highly experienced operators. 


In the Future: 

Nestlé is heavily investing in research and development to improve:

  • Direct detection of food fraud,
  • Data-based targeting of methods to detect fraud,
  • Detection of analytical signals requiring follow-up investigations,
  • Deterrence. 


For more information and a booklet of other food safety case studies, please download the HACCP Toolkit



10 Case Studies - Food Safety Insights [Booklet]

Posted by Emily Hill on Thu, Oct 13, 2016

There is so much choice about what to eat, where to eat and how to eat it, if your customers read or hear or see something about your product they do not like, they will not buy from you. If you put their health at risk, if you do not act ethically or if you mislead them, they will not buy from you.

But it is not just your brand you need to worry about. When one company is a victim of food crime, commits fraud or mislabels their products, it sets off reverberations across the entire industry. Consumer confidence is lost and buying habits change.

Food safety and quality is an industry-wide challenge which can only be tackled with collaboration and knowledge sharing.The food industry must work together to protect consumer confidence and trust. 

In September 2016, Qualsys Ltd was part of the Food Safety Trends Conference at London Museum of Docklands where food manufacturers, processors and retailers shared their experiences and expertise. 

Thanks to the input from 120+ delegates from across the food industry, we have put together this booklet of 10 case studies answering some of the questions and topics covered during the conference. 

The booklet will provide you with essential insights, opportunities, and help you to mitigate risk in your own food safety management system. 

Download the Booklet 




What is included?

1: Accountability - Sue Ashford Associate Director of QSEH at Coca Cola shares her non-conventional approach to improving employee accountability. 

2: Engaging Team with Quality - John Carter VP Quality and Sustainability of Dairy at Danone shares 3 key pillars for Cultural change. 

3: Controlling Processes when Company is Rapidly Expanding - Salvatorre Ranchetti, Group Quality Director at Ferrero discusses how the company manages a global quality management system. 

4: Leadership Engagement - Chris Moore at Compass Group shared strategies for engaging leadership with quality.

5: Inconsistent Allergen Tests - Manufacturers advise how to tackle risks of food allergens.    

6: Food Fraud - John O'Brien, Deputy Head of Nestle Research Centre shares techniques for protecting the brand from supply chain vulnerabilities. 

7: Barriers to entry - Roy Kirby, Global Director of Food Safety at Mondelez advises how the industry can raise barriers for entry to protect industry reputation. 

8: Keeping up with Legislative changes - Stephen Pugh, an EU food labelling consultant provides a list of trustworthy resources for keeping up with legislative changes. 

9: Food Crime - Andy Morling, Head of Food Crime at the FSA's National Food Crime Unit explains food crime and escalating suspicious activity. 

10: Food Waste - Dr Nikos Mavroudis, Head of Food Engineering and Separation Actives at Northumbria University discusses how separational laws can help remove toxins to reduce food waste and get more nutritional options.


Download Food Safety Insights Booklet here





Tags: Food Safety Management

Changing QESH Culture Through Drama

Posted by Emily Hill on Thu, Oct 13, 2016

A culture of quality is the holy grail for any organisation.

It is when employees understand their roles, communicate issues and are empowered to continually improve processes. They understand what they are accountable for and take ownership. 

But this is not easy to achieve. Even in organisations where roles and training are clearly established, quality can be perceived as the responsibility of the quality team, rather than for everybody. 

This is exactly the challenge Sue Ashford, Associate Director of QESH was faced with at Coca Cola Enterprises. At the Food Safety Trends Conference, Ashford explained the challenges, process and initiatives introduced in transforming the culture. 

We've summarised some of the key points in the article below. 


"QESH should have noticed this and put it right" 

In corporate audits, Ashford described how it was clear there was a general lack of understanding about the role of quality. Accountability of quality, safety and environment was seen to be the responsibility of the quality department, rather that everybody's responsibility. This led to a review of the employee training process.


Employee Training Process: 

Ashford described how she firstly reviewed the organisation's learning framework.


The organisation already had an established learning management system. For example:


  • employees review progress since last 1:1 with manager,
  • then review any pre-course materials and complete any tasks set,
  • jointly agree objectives.

During the course: 

  • employees attend,
  • review against personal objectives,
  • set action plan.


  • employee shares action plan,
  • agrees with line manager actions, 
  • apply learning to the workplace. 

By applying a robust evaluation process, Ashford recognised an opportunity to maximise learning and performance through blending learning interventions, named "practice apply learning". 


Live Drama in Bootcamps 

Ashford explained how ‘Live Drama Bootcamps’ are now an essential part of their employee training programme.

This non-conventional approach involved using a drama group to portray typical situations in a manufacturing operation where participants had the opportunity to change the outcome of scenarios. They injected humour to motivate QESH personnel and the operations staff to make essential changes.

The bootcamps were then followed up with a training package using videos and interactive questioning to help employees change understanding of their own perception of where accountability for quality, safety and environment lies. 


Ashford explained feedback has been that drama is very powerful in driving the required change, but remember that a culture change does not happen overnight. 


Systems to support culture change

Changing a culture requires having the correct systems in place to plan, monitor and manage your employees.

EQMS Training Records Manager can be used to send pre-course materials, schedule training activity and provide post-course evaluation. 

For more information about EQMS Training Records Manager, request a demonstration here. 


See EQMS in action - free software trial


How to Audit Growth

Posted by Emily Hill on Mon, Oct 10, 2016

What is the best problem to have as an organisation?

Most people would probably say growth. And although we would agree, it is not always as rosy as you would imagine. 

If a business grows too rapidly without the proper processes and policies in place, there can be growing pains, which left unresolved will cause chaos in the long run.

To prevent chaos, management systems must be robust, integrated and support sustainable processes. They must not just be a tool available to the organisation, they must be integral to the culture, supporting it's values and goals. 

This article introduces you to auditing organisational growth, a model which you can download from our Buying Toolkit, to help you audit and analyse your management systems. It will give you all the keys you need to start building your management system strategy. 



Why Audit Growth? 

Strategy  +  Process = Growth Success

This audit will help let managers know whether the business should expand or if it needs to adopt a more conservative approach.

It will help you to get a clearer understanding of: 

  • where your business is currently and where it is going,
  • what different tools you need,
  • strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and vulnerabilities. 

It is designed to be a fairly short exercise which will give you an opportunity to take a step back and reflect on the business as a whole, by asking questions like:

  • If we get 20% more orders over the next few months, do we have systems in place to support our teams? 
  • How can we check new employees have the training required? 
  • If we opened a new office / factory in the next quarter, how could we ensure consistency? 

The audit gives you an opportunity to ask questions and uncover potential issues. 


Context first

Before starting your audit, you can unlock a lot of information by talking with your key stakeholders. We would recommend having conversations about context of the organisation with your: 

  • Leadership 
  • Customers 
  • Product team
  • Marketing team 
  • Services team 
  • Technical team

Ask questions about where the business is going, what makes your business unique, where there are gaps, what different tools are used and opportunities to grow.

It doesn't need to take months, you can just call, skype or email. However, Brian Balfour of Coelevate reminds us that when doing qualitative research keep in mind that as humans, we tend to do a few things: 

  1. overestimate probability of success,
  2. inflate the impact of a success,
  3. when successful, we assume we know what made it successful.

Read more

After you have gathered qualitative information, you are ready to start your Growth Audit! 

Download the Growth Audit from the EQMS Buyer's Toolkit

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ISO 9001:2015 Explained: The Process Approach

Posted by Emily Hill on Thu, Sep 29, 2016

While the process approach is by no means a new requirement, anecdotal evidence suggests that it is poorly understood.

The process approach was first introduced in ISO 9001:2000. And while the concept of a process-based quality management has not changed, the requirements in the latest version of the standard, ISO 9001:2015, have become more specific and less ambiguous. 

So, what actually is a process approach? And why is a process approach important? And, most importantly, how can you get your employees to follow a process approach?  Richard_Green-2.png

In this article, Richard Green, founder and Managing Director of Kingsford Consulting Services, answers all of your questions about a process-based quality management system. 

What is a process approach? 

‘Consistent and predictable results are achieved more effectively and efficiently when activities are understood and managed as interrelated processes that function as a coherent system’ - Introduction of ISO 9001:2015.plan_do_check_act.jpg

The process approach is a management strategy which incorporates the plan-do-check-act cycle and risk-based thinking. It means that processes are managed and controlled. It also means that we not only understand what the core processes are, but we also consider how they fit together. 


Key Changes from ISO 9001:2008 - ISO 9001:2015


The requirement for a process-based quality management system is nothing new. The requirement to "establish, implement, maintain and continually improve" is familiar from both ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 9001:2008. The key changes are:

  • For organisations already adopting ISO 9001:2008, a key factor in transitioning to ISO 9001:2015 is the extent to which the process approach has been adopted. 
  • Clause 4.4 of ISO 9001:2015 sets out specific requirements for the adoption of a process approach e.g. organisations must monitor, measure and use related performance indicators to determine effective operation and controls. 
  • Top management must promote, engage and support employees to follow a process approach.  


Why a process approach is so important



Organisations are typically structured into departments which are managed by a department head. The head is responsible for what comes out of the department. 

Most departmental heads never interact with the external customer, only internal ones. As such, they are divorced from how the customer really feels. 

If key performance indicators are set by departments this compounds the problems. Heads try to maximise the performance of their departments to the possible detriment of other departments further down the line. 

The process approach introduces horizontal management, controlling processes which flow across departmental boundaries. Someone is accountable from start to finish. They see the whole picture from process initiation to process completion. They understand what the stakeholders in the process want and have delegated authority to act to realise this. An employees first loyality is to their assigned projects, products or services - rather than their own departments. 

Using a process approach in a quality management system facilitates: 

  • understanding and consistency in meeting requirements,
  • viewing processes in terms of value-add,
  • achieving effective process performance, 
  • improving process performance based on analysis and evaluation of the data and information. 


Implementing a Process Approach (Step By Step) 

ISO 9001:2015 Toolkit


ISO 9001:2015 employs the process approach, which incorporates the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle and risk-based thinking. This means the organisation needs to:

  1. determine required process inputs and expected outputs,
  2. assign responsibilities and authorities for processes,
  3. identify risks and opportunities for processes, and plan to address these. 


1) Define your quality management system processes 

ISO 9001 does not provide you with a list of core quality management system processes you need to include. Your organisation must determine these for themselves. So, what should you include? 

Richard Green says: "Focus on your core processes - the ones which keep you awake at night." You do not need to include things like raising an expenses claim or booking a meeting room.

Some example processes:


  • how are we constantly providing products and services which meet customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements?
  • how are we enhancing customer satisfaction? 

These are the processes which need to be controlled. Your organisation must then map out the inter-relationships between your core processes. 


2) Assign responsibilities and authorities for processes

Your organisation then needs to work out who is responsible for what process. Rather than focusing on functions, focus on the process across the department. Pay particular attention to the interdependencies and the interactions. It can also help to:

  • Involve employees in building the process-based quality management system. 
  • Train individuals so they understand their roles and accountabilities in respect of the core processes to ensure they see their processes end-to-end.
  • Restructure the audit programme around processes not functions
  • Train auditors to follow processes across departments, paying particular attention to interdependencies and interactions. 
  • Provide documented information to support the operation of processes and ensure you have confidence that the processes are being carried out as planned. 
  • Give procedures and work instructions another name.


See how you can use EQMS to optimise your management systems!  

Request 30 minute EQMS Demonstration


3) Identify risks and opportunities, and plan to address these

Risk-based thinking is an extension of preventive action. It requires organisations to determine risks and opportunities to processes, products and services, as well as the quality management system. And the organisation must take proportionate steps to address these actions. This means monitoring and measuring the performance of processesFor more information about risk-based thinking, please see this article. 


A process-based quality management system requires careful planning, structure and continuous optimisation. Key to this is ensuring your stakeholders are engaged. Employees must always be looking for opportunities to meet customer requirements and enhance customer satisfaction. Download the Stakeholder Engagement template for more information about driving enagement with the quality management system. 

  Stakeholder Engagement toolkit

Tags: ISO 9001:2015

8 Essential Food Safety Resources

Posted by Emily Hill on Wed, Sep 21, 2016

Staying on top of the latest news and alerts in food safety is not always a walk in the park. In fact, sometimes it can feel more like a sprint in a swamp. That being said, there are plenty of tools out there to help you stay on top of the latest trends and issues in the industry.

During the Food Safety Trends Conference held at Museum of London Docklands, food safety experts from across the globe gathered to network and share their expertise. Below is a list of 8 of their recommended food safety resources. 

1) European Commission 


The European Union has one of the highest food safety standards in the world. A key tool to ensure the cross-border follow of information to swiftly react when risks to public health are detected in food.

The European Commission's Rich Site Summary (RSS) feed, known in industry as the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) was created in 1979 to share information between members. You can access the RASFF portal to: 

  • react rapidly when risks to public health are detected in the food chain,
  • avert serious risks before any harm to consumers is caused, 
  • understand trends and issues in food across a global supply chain. 

Access RASFF resources here


2) US Pharmacopeial Convention


US Pharmacopeial Convention, also known as USP, offers a number of different e-Newsletters to help you to stay on top of industry news, trends and information. Subscribe to their quarterly FCC food newsletter to: 

  • learn about new standards,
  • read the latest news from USP,
  • understand the latest trends in the USA. 

Subscribe to the e-Newsletter here 


3) Global Food Safety Initiative


The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) is an industry-driven initiative providing guidance on food safety management systems necessary for safety along the supply chain.

Members include manufacturers, retailers, food service companies, governments, academia and service providers. Add GFSI on twitter to:

  • get advice and network with experts,
  • information on getting certified, 
  • news, events and more. 
Follow GFSI here



GFSI also provides you with a free manufacturing toolkit. The spreadsheet helps you identify weaknesses in your food safety management system.

Download it here. 


4) NSF International


NSF International develop public health standards and certification programs to help protect the world’s food, water, consumer products and environment. NSF International produce a monthly 'Food Safety Bites Newsletter' to help you to: 

  • stay informed about food safety trends,
  • alert your team to any potential upcoming threats, 
  • identify opportunities for growth. 

Get the latest Food Safety Bites Newsletter


6) FoodIntegrity


FoodIntegrity is a 5 year project made up of organisations across Europe to consolidate and harmonise information to combat food fraud. FoodIntegrity will give you: 

  • an opportunity to network with others in the food industry,
  • learn from others at events,
  • latest news in the food industry.

See homepage here 


7) Campden Bri


For scientific, technical and regulatory food safety information and support, Campden Bri will provide you with plenty of news articles, case studies, videos and podcasts. 

  • join a network of 2000+ companies,
  • 100's of resources, including whitepapers, webinars and blog articles, 
  • share case studies with your stakeholders. 

To access a load of free resources from Campden Bri, email with the subject line: SEND INDEX. 


8) New Food Magazine


You may already subscribe to the New Food Magazine, but are you following them online? The website gives you a range of multimedia content, including:

  • webinars covering hot topics in food safety, 
  • opportunity to join events
  • watch videos on food safety. 

Browse resources here 

What food safety resources do you find useful? Please leave a comment below this blog article. 

To keep up to date with the latest quality news, advice from experts and more resources, subscribe to the GRC Newsletter. 


A Cult(ure) of Quality: 3 Lessons from Leading Brands

Posted by Emily Hill on Wed, Sep 21, 2016

You are part of a cult, right?

Before you answer, consider this - a cult is a group of people who are wholeheartedly devoted to a cause. They are not afraid to champion their beliefs through their actions. And they will share their devotion with others. So, what quality department would not want a cult following? 

Yet getting everyone to put quality-first is not always easy and few quality teams ever completely master itSo how can you make your stakeholders devoted to quality? What does the road to success look like? And where can you get advice? 

During the Food Safety Trends Conference, we sought advice from quality professionals at some of the world's largest food manufacturers. Below are 3 tips for a getting cult-like following from quality professionals at some of the world's leading food manufacturers.

#1 Put the brand first

Demonstrating the cost of poor quality is essential when getting your team behind you. But what is even more important than revenue over the next few months? Keeping a reputable brand for decades to come. 

Chris Moore from Compass Group UK & Ireland suggests communicating potential reputational damage when discussing the importance of quality. He says:

"Don't always focus on cost when engaging top management with quality. Highlight potential reputational and brand damage."

Every sector has countless examples of when poor quality and compliance management has hit the headlines. Take the horsemeat found in Findus lasagna in 2013 as an example. After more than 50 years as a UK favourite, the European arm of the Findus Group was sold to Nomad Holdings last autumn. Following this, a separate company, Young's Seafood International Holdings, was spun out in the UK, but decided to drop the Findus brand in early 2016 following the damage to the brand caused by the horsemeat scandal. 

Even Findus Crispy Pancakes, who won 'Favourite retro food' in 2009, has been dropped.


But not all quality issues are scandals. Some could be a customer complaint. Take this review of Haribo Sugar Free Gummy Bears on Amazon as an example: 


The review went viral. Over 50,000 people have found the review helpful. It made headline news on The Guardian and Buzzfeed. And it has probably been read hundreds of thousands, if not millions of times. Who would buy Haribo Sugar Free Gummy Bears after reading these reviews? 

Discussing the importance of the brand and the potential damage to the brand due to poor quality will help you ensure quality is top of mind for all of your stakeholders, all of the time. 


#2 Market your quality team

The words you use, the stories you tell and your routines say a lot about you. The same is true in business. If the quality team are only around when things are going wrong, they will soon be associated with being negative, and they will probably be met with hostility or fear. 

John Carter from Danone suggests promoting quality to the rest of the organisation: 

"Think carefully about the language you use: if your quality team are saying "this is a nightmare" or "we are having a crisis", the rest of the organisation will be quick to associate quality as something negative." 

Carter suggests building a positive culture of quality starts with the messages conveyed by your quality team. 

These articles have ideas for promoting quality in your organisation: 


#3 One single source of truth 

Accountability. It helps people know who needs to do what, when and why. Without it, employees will be confused, there will be a lack of coordination among functions, failure to share ideas, slow decision-making - bringing all of your employees and suppliers an extra layer of complexity, stress, conflict, and ultimately, this leads to a poor customer experience. 

Paul Isherwood from SHS Group Drinks Division says a centralised system is key for a culture of quality: 

"If you do not have one single source of truth, you are not doing your job. If you must negotiate capex, this should be on your non-negotiables list." 

A centralised system will ensure all employees in your organisation know who needs to do what and when. Systems such as EQMS are key for improving accountability, exposing the truth, and essentially, a culture of quality. EQMS assigns roles and has an advanced, configurable workflow so individuals and teams know what they need to do and when. And as EQMS has a built-in audit trail, authorised personnel can see who has said what and when. 

Request pricing information for EQMS or watch EQMS webinars


Getting a cult-like following for quality is not for the faint-hearted and it will not happen overnight. But by focusing on brand value as well as cost of poor quality, taking time to promote the quality team internally and consolidating all quality initiatives into 'one single source of truth', you will be one step closer on your journey. 

For more information about using EQMS as your 'single source of truth' watch the webinars here. 

Quality Management Webinars