Setting the tone on quality: take ownership and never compromise

by Alan Gray, Head of Quality

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Never compromise

We have witnessed a substantial improvement in safety culture across the industry over the past two decades. We learned to own it, police ourselves, ‘walk the talk’, and never keep working if it is deemed unsafe. In short - never compromise. And this is the approach we embraced when it comes to quality. It needs to come as second nature, a habit. Like riding a bike, if you stop pedalling – you fall off.

Taking ownership of quality

The cultural shift would not have been possible had it not been for people willing to take ownership of quality. I would highlight two important changes:

  • Ownership coming from the top – if you have leaders, people at the helm embracing and owning quality, that sets the tone for the rest. It sets clear expectations of what is acceptable and what is not.
  • Ownership across functions – if we take Construction as an example, it is a lot more effective if the Head of Construction gets in front of their people and explains the importance of quality and leads by example.

People working in Quality have a responsibility to guide and make sure leaders are supported and informed, but it adds tremendous significance when quality is recognised and owned by the right people in the right places across the organisation.

In quality, taking ownership at every level is key 

Finding value in the approach

How do we convince people that there is genuine value in this approach? Well if you do not believe in words, surely numbers will change your mind. And measuring the cost of poor quality will reveal some staggering numbers. The cost of repeating work, man hours, equipment, supplementary work, etc. That is before we even start addressing the potential reputational damage in front of our clients.

If you successfully encourage the shift in attitude towards quality, and embrace ownership, you will see a drastic reduction in unnecessary cost and repeated effort.

Where is quality on the digital maturity scale?

And finally, once quality becomes second nature in the way we work, we look at how we can further improve our function. Digital transformation is a buzz word across the industry, but is intrinsically important that whatever you do has positive impact on our work and offers value to our clients.

I like to think that we were early adopters, and once robotic process automation (RPA) became available we already had a ‘shopping list’ ready.

This resulted in our own bot, which freed up a significant amount of time and eliminated non-value-added activities, as well as reduced the likelihood of making mistakes. Our bot deals with vendors and agencies, collates the information and replies, and makes it easier for us to make informed decisions. It has been a genuine enabler.

We are now looking to further leverage the benefits of digital technologies, but that only works in our benefit if we get the culture and ownership right. At Petrofac, we see people with the right attitude towards quality, a lot of enthusiasm, and passion to own and drive quality forward.

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