"Empowerment to implement" comes from the top and flows down to the operations level in most organizations. This is especially true for quality programs because most company executives are not convinced that the quality program adds value to the bottom line, just red ink. In many cases, quality seems to be an act of faith rather than the result of hard work, and just as faith is often compromised, so is quality. To be successful in any business the top executive in the organization has to know the value of quality related to the goods and services the organization is committed to producing and delivering. If the executive manager is truly committed to the value of quality, quality processes will be reliable and repeatable, thus ensuring the organization's capability to compete predictably and successfully in the market place while maintaining it's quality standards. The starting point for both the organization and the quality program is the mission statement. This places a high value on quality as an attribute and a process critical to the accomplishment of both short and long term organizational goals. The policy must include a statement that the necessary resources will be provided under all conditions regardless of the size and shape of the window of opportunity dictated by the organization's capability to meet market niches and sales objectives, whether those objectives are for delivery of specified goods or for services. Each manager responsible for executing that policy must be rewarded for quality successes as well as be held accountable for quality failures. Quality must not be set aside as it so often is to accommodate tighter than normal production and delivery schedules or cost constraints. A recent example of this quality failure is the failure of Toyota Motor Company to maintain its long term quality standards in its quest for 15% of total vehicle production worldwide. Quality policy is implemented at the organization level by a plan that identifies how the quality program will function, and what human and capital resources must be applied to all divisions, departments, units and teams in the organization to carry out the quality policy. A quality plan must be implemented that includes expectations for change management provisions to ensure that the quality program can keep up with changes in the organization. Where the rubber meets the road in operations and maintenance, procedures must be documented to ensure that the importance of following quality standards is articulated at every step of planning, organization, directing, and control of the production, delivery, and sustainment of goods and services. Detailed procedures also ensure that monitoring of processes can take performed by the quality organization to determine when changes are necessary to prevent the occurrence of unwanted or undesirable variation in the repetition of processes. Please visit my blog on Quality Assurance and Quality Control for more information about QA/QC resources and references.