Earlier this month I attended a session at the Costain Supply Chain Academy, entitled ‘Quality – Raising the Bar’.
It was carried out by Len Robinson, Costain quality director – nuclear and oil & gas: he is in the photograph above.
Quality management is something that is carried out by everyone. We do it either through our day-to-day working, or through simple things such as quality-checking food before it is consumed.
Costain implements a ‘right first time’ approach with emphasis on:
- Understand what is required.
- Tell us if you can’t do what we want.
- Use trained and experienced staff.
- Provide clear work instructions.
- Encourage the right behaviours.
- Use established and helpful tools.
- Don’t take short cuts.
- Take responsibility for the work that you do.
- Do a start of shift brief.
- Non-conformance is not so much about ‘it has been raised?’ but more importantly, how quickly it is closed out. This shows the efficiency of the contractor.
Five why questions
Len explained that when something goes wrong a good method to use is the ‘five why’ method. Take your issue and ask why it was a problem. Keep asking why to all the answers you get, to drill down to get to the root causes. Then you can work out what actions to take to get it right first time, next time.
Overall I found the points that were being raised are things VGC Rail Projects are already carrying out on a day to day basis.
This is the third Costain Supply Chain Academy session I have attended. The others were a CITB Environmental Awareness course and a BIM appreciation course. They had people from across the industry, including groundworks, labour supply, concrete pouring. We worked in groups and discussed examples from our different work areas and backgrounds, which was interesting, because we all had similar issues.
These courses highlight how Costain as a client works with all its subcontractors to move forward together, all using the same approach to benefit our projects.