Benchmarking an Eskom divisional quality management system
Nzo, Ayanda Bapetuxolo
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The North West Operating Unit’s (NWOU) Network Engineering and Design (NED) department had a number of projects which required rework. The research aimed to determine reasons that led to this rework. The research also investigated the factors that affected quality in the department and proposed solutions on how to overcome these factors. This was done by firstly verifying that the problem identified was worth studying where a cost and time impact analysis was done on the identified projects. Interviews were also conducted to determine if the problem was specific to one group/region or was it generic. This study showed that; the cost of the rework in the identified projects was more than 14 million Rand whereas the delays ranged from 1 week to 8 months. It was also found that the problem was generic to all regions and groups. Thus it was worth studying. A supposition was then made that the problem stems from an inadequate quality management system and this was confirmed by the root cause analysis study conducted on the 14 identified projects. A literature survey was then conducted to determine if the available Eskom quality management systems were adequately designed to eliminate rework. From the literature survey information it was evident that the company’s quality management systems were in place. However, just like the ISO standards, these were generic and required that a department specific procedure be evaluated. The available department specific process was validated by measuring its ability to address the factors identified in the root cause analysis. In this instance the company’s procedures were found to be inadequately designed to prevent rework. A questionnaire was then designed to measure the level of adherence to the available Eskom quality management system. The results from the questionnaire indicated that there was a relatively high level of adherence to the inadequate, generic quality management system, proving that even though your level of adherence was high; if the QM systems were not adequately designed quality cannot be achieved. Additional areas of improvement were identified by conducting interviews with senior and junior engineers. This information was analysed using the thematic data analysis and categorised. The category of “Managements/Leaderships Commitment to Quality” was the major contributor to the rework. This was an indication that the QM systems were also not adequately implemented. The results from the interview were used to suggest changes that can be applied to the NED departmental quality management systems. These suggestions were validated by an ECSA registered senior engineer within the NED department and found to be adequate to minimise the rework even though more detail was needed for the implementation method.
- Engineering