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Quality Framework

It also explains what a quality framework is.

In the field of quality management, various writers have attempted to distil the essential characteristics of an effective quality management system. We have seen these develop over the years under a variety of approaches including circle management, management by objectives (MBO), and total quality management (TQM).

All of these processes clearly identified and refined the key elements of quality management and as a consequence, some general principles have emerged such as the:

  • Need to ensure that senior managers are committed to the program
  • Importance of all staff being involved
  • Need to monitor and manage process as a balanced scorecard.

TQM gave us an ideal framework in which to document and control what we are doing and ensure it was done across the enterprise. We recorded our processes and ensured that we followed them. However it tended to be focused on the enterprise's internal processes and not on 'world best practices'. Then input or process benchmarking was developed to allow organizations to compare their input processes, or the quality with which they manage their business.

TQM allowed us to really improve the performance of our specialist areas, especially from an efficiency perspective. It enabled us to drive improvement in the divisions or silos of our businesses. However it was perceived as 'not suited' to the public sector and especially the management of large infrastructure portfolios.

What was wrong with this was that TQM:

  • Was focused on the private sector in which there were many variables not present in the public sector
  • Didn't recognize that the prime role of any infrastructure service delivery is the management of the life cycle of these complex assets portfolios, as it was primarily developed to serve manufacturing industries. It is noted that over 85 cents in every dollar spent in service delivery is spent on life cycle asset management activities related to the infrastructure. Therefore the focus needs to be on the way we manage this life cycle.

The acronym TEAM was developed to recognize:

  • The importance of working as a team in an 'asset-centric' organization
  • The emphasis required for asset management to recognize:

    • That these assets have extremely long lives
    • That we are managing them for present and future generations
    • That they require a long-term vision to ensure they are sustainably managed.

TEAMQF was developed to overcome these weaknesses, by making the organization work better as a team with an 'asset service delivery' focus rather than a silo efficiency mentality. It allows the organization to address the key issue of the 'effectiveness' of our life cycle asset management decisions.

The TEAM aspect also recognizes that over 50% of the benefits that can be achieved through advanced asset management are delivered through the success of the cultural change aspect, or the People Issues and the Organizational Issues (both described in Level 3 of SIMPLE). In other words, the benefits depend on the way in which these new approaches are bedded down into the normal day to day culture of the organization.

The TEAMQF quality framework combines TQM and plans for improving our performance where it is justified. The core components of a quality system are effective processes, which must be clearly and precisely described, and available to all staff.

This feedback loop, leading to the modification of ideas and activities and to active sharing and dissemination of good practice, is central to the proper operation of quality assurance systems.

The TEAMQF quality system encourages a 'double positive' attitude: we are doing well but can do better.

TEAMQF is the Total Enterprise Asset Management Quality Framework tool, which is used to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of asset management practices to achieve the organization's overall goals and objectives.

Click here to see a diagram that shows the relationships between the TEAMQF elements, the Life Cycle Asset Management Processes and Practices, and  the Ten Steps to Advanced Asset Management.

This Gap Analysis Improvement Strategy will determine how the:

  • Required improvements should be identified
  • Necessary programs should be implemented to ensure that the vision for best appropriate practice is realized.

An organization that is proposing to deliver Best Appropriate Practice (BAP) in asset management should base their activities on the principles of sustainable best practice asset management.

Key Deliverables

So what are the key deliverables of a quality framework?

  • An ability to review and assess our performance against a known practice (e.g. world's best practice)
  • An ability for different individuals to come to the same conclusion
  • The repeatability of this process to enable us to monitor our variance (improvement/stability/decline) over time
  • Understand our current quality rating or status and assess this against other similar organizations from around the world
  • Use the gap between our current status and world's best practice and determine a 'best appropriate practice' (BAP) target for the organization, based on the benefits that this will bring
  • By following this BAP process and applying accurate data, the organization can prove to its stakeholders and customers that it is delivering 'best value service delivery'.

Senior managers recognize that attention to quality is essential and central, and are committed to quality in a way that other staff see as collaboration, not an imposition.

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Benefits   The Seven Quality Elements