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October 19, 2012

How do we as a business ensure quality?

by Chris Catling

This is a central question that runs throughout the business all the way from the very top senior management, to operators and developers responsible for animating the graphic, collecting the data, building that web module, monitoring the video stream etc… As a company we position ourselves as the ‘Ferrari’ in the market – an affordable Ferrari (!), but certainly with deliverables and the quality one would expect as one opens the door to that adorned Maranello. So how do we make sure our delivery matches our positioning? And how do we make sure we are continually addressing this? With the complexity of what we do and the forever changing technology world, this is a continual challenge.

There are a number of key processes that are ingrained in all deltatre operations which have mainly been developed having worked as UEFA’s technology partner since the early days of the company – these include open and honest reporting. The UEFA projects have a reporting structure second to none via various online tools to allow operations departments, the clients, other stakeholders and deltatre senior management to have a record of all issues, monitor the progress on closing the issues and ensuring preventive actions are put in place so that the team and delivery as a whole will have a far less likely chance of re-occurring. This ethos has continued throughout all of our operations; it is communicated by senior management with a constant reminder in the form of Gipi’s (the group’s CEO) famous Ten Commandments – these are distributed and are often displayed in operational areas. Over the years the Ten Commandments have been added to, Gipi has not been restricted by 2 stone tablets! The additions and refinements reflect the overall goal of continuous improvement and the highest quality delivery.

From the London office we have recently undertaken and been awarded ISO9001 status – this is an internationally recognised standard for Quality Management. It has been a relatively easy task putting the systems in place because of the head start the company has in quality management and delivery.  Implementing a formal Quality Management System (QMS) has meant the addition of new processes including an annual audit of all company processes. The audit addresses every area of the business from checking the process of how employees are appraised; to how often the fire extinguishers are tested; to how each and every project follows a determined and documented methodology. Primarily, the aim of the audit is to check that the documentation in the Company Process Document is accurate, but more importantly, it ensures the key process owners get together on a regular basis to ask the question: ‘Is there anything we can do to improve this business process?’

Another important aspect of the QMS is to maintain a central database of all delivery issues with their root cause. Operations managers then review this issue log on a quarterly basis and understand the number of issues, their severity and whether there are any repeating trends. If the majority of the issues are down to operator errors for example, should we take a look at our training programs? Or is there a particular project or business unit requiring more attention than others in its delivery quality. We also maintain a client feedback log – ensuring all negative feedback is recorded with a corrective action and keeping all positive feedback.  There is substantially more positive than negative feedback and these systems are in place to ensure this continues.

In a recent tender process we were asked directly ‘how do you ensure your operators do not make mistakes?’ The answer is of course that we cannot ensure this; however, we can take a great number of steps across the whole team and company to minimise the chances of them happening and reduce the impact of the mistakes. I am told Maranello’s rarely, but still occasionally, break down and it is the service that is delivered during the break down and how the customer is dealt with during these rare times that is key.

As a business we need to foster the ethos and develop the processes that ensure any issues are rare occurrences and that we handle them as I can only assume the local Ferrari dealership does.



About the author

Chris Catling

Chris is Operations Director of deltatre media, the London office of the deltatre group. Chris is responsible for all delivery and projects run from London. Having been with the company since joining for the IRB Rugby World Cup project in 2007, Chris has run projects in all areas of the company – online, onstage and backstage – before taking on his current role. Passionate about making watching sport better for the armchair fan, of which he excels (when not working!); certainly achieving better results from the armchair than he did from his own rugby playing days.

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