Risk management and quality management are two important aspects of any successful organization or project. They complement each other, and when combined, they help reduce company losses and streamline business operations. A new app called TRM Advantage has been introduced to enhance risk management efficiency.
What is Risk Management?
Risk management involves identifying potential risks, forecasting the likelihood of their occurrence, evaluating the potential consequences, and taking appropriate steps to mitigate them. Appropriate actions range from “do nothing” for acceptable risks to planning and implementing measures, or mitigating, serious risks. Steps to reduce likelihood aim to make the risk less likely to occur, while those that reduce consequence minimize problems if the risk does occur. Consequences are evaluated from four different perspectives: Safety, Health and Environment (SHE), Cost, Quality, and Corporate Risk. A minimized risk from these perspectives is unlikely to present a significant issue to the company or project.
What is Quality Management?
Quality Management focuses on Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC). QA looks at the processes used to generate an output and is responsible for auditing them to ensure they work and are being followed. QC is focused on the inspection and testing of the output to confirm that it meets customer requirements. In quality terms, a customer is anyone that received a process output.
How do they work together?
Although risk management is different from quality management, they cannot be implemented without each other. Risk management evaluates the risk posed by a process and its output to determine if a written procedure is needed and how detailed it should be. If there is minimal risk, then there is no need to involve QA/QC. If there is a significant risk, a procedure is likely warranted, and QA/QC will be involved in monitoring the process execution and subsequent output. Similarly, if the quality team identifies an issue, the next question should be ‘Is it a big issue or a minor one’? Determining whether an issue is big or minor is done using the risk matrix.
Another area where quality relies on risk management is in the evaluation of process risk. Processes are analyzed to pinpoint areas that pose the largest risk to the output, and ensure steps are taken to address them. Risk is also relevant in manufacturing processes where key steps in the process may be critical to product quality, worker and customer health and safety, the environment, production cost, and corporate liability. When high-risk steps are identified, procedures can be tuned up , workers can be trained, and the process can be audited.
The risk and quality teams should work together. When a process risk is identified, the risk team develops mitigation plans. These are passed to the various departments involved for action. If developing or modifying a procedure is a step in the mitigation plan, the quality team is involved. Once a procedure is issued for implementation, the quality team ensures workers are properly trained and the procedure is followed. The risk is then set to ‘monitor’ and the risk team keeps track of how well things are going. The risk is only closed when a QA check has been performed. Scheduling for quality audits should be guided by the level of risk posed. The quality management team should use the risk levels presented by the different processes to help set their audit schedule.
Effective risk and quality management are essential for any organization or project. Although they are different, they work together to identify critical processes and ensure that they are developed, relevant, implemented, and followed. Using an app such as TRM Advantage can significantly improve risk management efficiency and aid quality.
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