Friday, December 7, 2012

Influential Voices - Arguing for Quality worth

Paul Borawski, the CEO of ASQ poses an interesting question in his A View from the Q about how best to inform your employer of the worth of Quality Team members to the organization, with a view to raising your salary [see ].   This is not a common topic on MMLQR, in fact this is my first time that I have ventured into the domain of personal value, worth and compensation.  But it is an adult question about an adult topic, so having thought about it, I think it is I do have an opinion.

Let me start by plagiarizing an advertisement that I used to see regularly in an airplane magazine.  It was one of those ads that sticks in your head, even when you don’t remember what product or service they were selling. 

“You don’t get what you deserve, your get what you negotiate.”

I raise this in the sense that I don’t see “worth” as a referential Quality term.  It is too amorphous, too vague, too relative to be a measurable metric.  On the other side negotiated values qualify as measurable, definable, independent values.

 That being said, this is a very difficult time to being in negotiation mode in healthcare in Canada.  Most provinces are finding that healthcare is either just at, or over the 50 percent level of provincial budgets.  Ministries are not particularly open to negotiation.  If you plan to venture forward bring your A game.

With that in mind, two weeks ago I was talking to ministry representatives about the hidden horror called “Costs of Poor Quality”.  Every medical laboratory administrator know to the penny what they pay for proficiency testing and accreditation and quality control, but none have a clue about their failure costs except in the occasional major disaster with hundreds of patient recalls.  In medical laboratories, the combined silent leakage related to error can range between 10 and 16 percent of annual budget.  Many laboratories are still at the point where small incremental changes in Prevention and Appraisal Costs will have substantial impact on Failure Costs expenditures.  So when I proposed that given the authority to implement some basic procedures I could effect a 3 percent savings through reduced Failure Costs, it was not an unreasonable expectation.  The project would take a relatively short time to implement and a few years to document. 

Considering a mega million dollar budgets that the province pays for medical laboratories, I would like to think I have given them something to think about.  Time will tell.

Back to the main point, identify the organization’s weakest point which can be fixed through Quality initiatives and bring that to the table as a starting point for negotiation.  It should be a powerful tool.   

Or maybe not.

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