“If you don’t know how well you’re doing, you’ll never know when you are done or if you have succeeded,” Richard Allan, Director of Global Quality Assurance at Kimberly Clark, told CQI Surrey and Sussex Branch members. Heather Kane, MCQI, Assistant Quality Manager, Vendor Management, Auditor and Compliance at GlaxoSmithKline, reports on the branch’s latest event

Richard Allan, Director of Global Quality Assurance at Kimberly Clark (KC), an American multinational producer of paper-based consumer products, was the main speaker at the CQI Surrey and Sussex Branch event, held in Reigate, UK, on 3 July. Allan described the successes and challenges of the company’s quality management approach.

He outlined the evolution and development of KC’s quality system and the organisation’s approach to quality, which is to manufacture the best product possible, consistently and in a safe, clean and compliant way.

On the benefits and challenges presented by ISO 9001 Quality Management, he said he had yet to find a regulatory requirement that could not be used or aligned with the elements of ISO 9001, as it is truly an international and global standard. “It makes a great framework for us,” he said. He discussed the reasons for third party certification and the benefits of working in partnership with a certification body.

He described the internal audit programme and the KC approach to measuring quality performance. He commented: “If you don’t know how well you’re doing, you’ll never know when you are done or if you have succeeded”. Audit results should be made visible within the organisation – at KC audit findings are graded according to risk and level of control, he added.

While customer complaints are not a good indicator of the degree of customer satisfaction as a quality metric, he said that, on the plus side, the availability of social media makes the process of complaining very easy, and feedback is encouraged. Quality is achieved when “the customer comes back, not the product”.

Allan also gave an overview of the company’s quality systems documentation, and how they build skills and capability in quality.