Hire a quality control manager, prioritize the work load, and then what? This is a
common question asked by food companies’ managers; the answer encompasses
many varied responses. These usually include, singly or in combination, walking
away and letting the quality control manager do his or her job with little or no direction or communication, micromanaging the quality control manager, continually
reprioritizing the work, eliminating some of the systems needed, establishing an
Introduction 7
ineffective and inappropriate reporting function, failing to provide the proper balance of authority and responsibility, or failing to provide the necessary monetary or
material resources.
Unfortunately, these responses are usually counterproductive to the successful
development of the quality control system by stymieing the progression of implementation; reducing, eliminating or undermining the authority of the quality control
manager; or limiting the amount of quality time spent on system development. When
management walks away and lets the quality control manager do the job with little or
no direction or communication, the quality control systems are completed piecemeal
due to the lack of understanding of the process intricacies or product parameters.
Because production line and product differ vastly from company to company, the
learning curve for the quality control manager is steep as he or she grapples with
the fundamental question of how to set up a comprehensive system that encompasses
all of the little nuances without having seen all of the products run.
Quality control managers that are hired and then micromanaged end up with
quality systems that are incomplete. They spend their time attempting to complete
the demands of the moment that management has placed upon them and never have
an opportunity to flesh out the systems. Management’s quality demands tend to
be focused on current projects, new products, or immediate quality-related issues,
many of which can be handled in the short term by existing personnel. This type of
approach to building a quality control program fails to address the inherent risks
from the process and each product.
When management continually reprioritizes the quality control manager’s work
load it leads to systems that are incomplete. The manager’s time is spent building a
piece of a system, getting interrupted, refocusing, building a piece of another system, getting interrupted, refocusing, and so on until there is a paralysis. Systems fail
to get completed, implemented, or verified; because they are incomplete they lend
themselves to failing to prevent major quality problems, leading to financial and/or
legal repercussions.
Sometimes the response of management is to limit the types and scope of systems needed for a complete quality control program. This is potentially dangerous
because each system interacts with and supports the other systems in the program.
A simplistic example of this is what would occur if management did not implement
good manufacturing policies, but did implement a thorough microbiological testing
program. Employees would bring in bacteria from outside the facility and possibly
contaminate the products. The microbiological testing program would determine that
there was a contaminant, but without the supporting good manufacturing program to
prevent the bacteria from entering in the first place, the problem would continue.
Company management that provides an ineffective or inappropriate reporting
system sets the company up for the significant potential of employee unrest and
product liability. Ineffective or inappropriate reporting systems are characterized by
the quality control manager reporting to production or operation management. This
reporting system leads to a definite conflict of interest because production’s mission
is to get as much product produced in as little time as possible, but the quality function’s duty is to implement a comprehensive quality control program that ensures
that a perfect product is manufactured every time. The competing roles of each


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