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As part of World Quality Week, we spent time with David Phillips, Technical Manager for Building Systems UK. We asked him about the importance of quality during the manufacturing process and what he considered the key factors in driving continuous quality improvements within our business.
Have you seen an increase in quality over time?
Absolutely. Since I started at Building Systems UK fifteen years ago, the quality of the product we manufacture has increased exponentially.
What is that down to, and how can we continue the process?
Advances in materials and technology have played a part, of course, but Building Systems UK’s commitment to detailed improvement within the manufacturing process is key. We also use all customer feedback as a tool to drive that improvement further. Meeting or exceeding specification is our goal in building and retaining customer trust.
What does quality look like and how is that managed?
Quality is proven through customer satisfaction in both our products and services. Every touchpoint a stakeholder has with Building Systems UK is proactively managed to ensure that satisfaction.
What are the key areas when managing quality and ensuring continuous improvement?
There are several key factors involved: Gathering and acting on customer feedback, regular and swift implementation of further improvement actions, the continuous training and education of staff members at all levels, and most importantly a culture of open co-operation throughout the business when it comes to improving our standards.
What does a high level of quality management mean for our customers?
It means they can rely on us. They know the products they receive from Building Systems UK will enable them to work optimally.
Research from the UK construction consortium GIRI shows that avoidable errors in construction currently costs 21% of project value - what does Building Systems UK do to help improve that figure? We strive to meet or exceed the specification of the product supplied, deliver on time and in full. Errors at any stage can have knock-on effects like throwing a project off schedule, so we will continue to play our part in minimising this.
How does product quality help with sustainability?
Right first time leads to less waste and is critical for economic, reputational, and sustainable reasons.
What would your advice be to any new technical quality professionals within the construction industry?
Understand that processes must be highly efficient, but also listen closely to customer requirements. We strive to do whatever is needed to meet their required specifications, no matter how demanding they may be!
What is a good example of quality change you have seen?
There are loads of examples, to be honest. Our profiled sheeting line is better than it has ever been, which is partially down to business investment in new technologies, but also training. Most examples I can think of are not down to a single factor, but to our committed process of continuous improvement.
How do you empower your team members to influence quality improvements?
Co-operation and teamwork are key. We promote a culture where mistakes can be shared openly. Every mistake is an opportunity for collective learning and gives us the chance to eradicate it by adjusting processes going forward. To mitigate against mistakes in situ we also workshop regularly, to discover higher risks areas and correct immediately.