RBC's quality program can best be described as a Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) system in which supervisors and staff work together to bring about constructive change. In our CPI approach to quality management, supervisors create an environment in which they, and the staff, focus technical product and service performance to meet the quality level acceptable to the client. This environment enables the supervisors and staff to think in terms of what is best for the client, and avoids the production of deliverables which meet client tolerances, but miss client needs. It instills the concept that product or service quality is only as good as perceived by the client, and that company quality expectations go beyond the requirements limits set in the contract.
This management approach has fostered ideas from staff and junior level personnel, which have become a part of the total RBC approach to quality and quality improvement. Over our thirty years of support service contracting, this quality improvement philosophy has evolved to become the corporate culture for work performance. As a result, our technical performance and client satisfaction levels are continually improving. Though the CPI has greatly reduced demands for formal quality controls, quality assurance remains a key element in our overall quality management methodology.
Quality assurance procedures are an essential part of the RBC management approach and, as such, are specifically described as part of our policies and procedures for managing and controlling program tasks. These procedures include continuous monitoring of a task as it is being executed and an in-depth review of all deliverables. Program Managers oversee the application of quality assurance procedures for all work under their purview. Subcontractors, if used, are specifically responsible for ensuring the quality of products and services for the subcontractor portion of the task order, but RBC always reviews and has final authority on deliverable products. Monthly reviews held by the Program Manager require subcontractors to provide progress against all technical, cost, and schedule milestones.
Effective quality control begins with the selection of competent personnel to perform assigned tasks, and the specification of performance parameters. Early in the execution of a task order, the Program Manager briefs all assigned team members on the QA requirements and review cycle prior to work initiation. This ensures that QA requirements flow down to all RBC personnel and any subcontractors and each individual assigned to the task. During the performance of each task, quality control procedures are applied to the evaluation of services being performed and the deliverables being produced. QA reviews emphasize technical accuracy; clarity of presentation; accuracy of reproduction; correct marking of classified materials; conformance to Contract Data Requirement List (CDRL) and Data Item Description (DID) guidelines; and correct language usage. If the QA performance falls short of standards, these reviews will identify the problem sufficiently early to permit timely revision. At each level of review, the person responsible for the QA review may call on other senior members of the technical staff for assistance to impose quality, accuracy, and timeliness of the technical material in the product.
As a professional services company, RBC is totally committed to customer responsiveness and cooperation. The key to responsiveness and cooperation is a complete understanding of customer requirements and an open line of communication. RBC ensures responsiveness and cooperation through our corporate culture to work toward meeting customer needs even if they exceed our contractual requirements. To accomplish this RBC assigns only knowledgeable personnel to tasking who can communicate freely with clients; has a quality assurance program for early identification and resolution of problems; maintains office spaces within close proximity to our customers; encourages and solicits customer feed-back; applies short line of communications with RBC upper management; places tasking authority and responsibility at the lowest possible working level; encourages continuing employee training and education; requires timely response to customer inquiries; and has both formal and informal meetings with the customer on a regular basis.
The key to problem resolution is early problem identification through adequate management visibility of all ongoing task efforts. Our Program Managers conduct informal weekly reviews as well as comprehensive monthly status reviews. These reviews cover current task status in terms of technical accomplishments, schedule, deliverables, staffing, cost, and other resource requirements and provide progress against all technical, cost, and schedule milestones. A three-month sliding window is used to review the next quarter’s anticipated workload for each task and to identify the resources that will be required in that timeframe. The final element included in the reviews is an assessment of potential problems. Program Managers will individually review the status of each task which the RBC team is supporting to assess potential problems that could impact the team’s support efforts. This assessment will be discussed with the appropriate technical lead to further define the problem, and with the COR as appropriate.Since our Program Managers conduct all reviews, they are aware of the resource requirements of all tasks and can reallocate resources to respond to problems, change of scope, and other perturbations to task order plans in a quick and effective manner. To ensure that potential problems are identified as early as possible and that the greatest staffing flexibility can be effected to resolve the problem, the Program Managers maintain regular contact with the COR and cognizant Government engineering and management personnel. Any problems that are identified during task performance will be dealt with immediately, and when required, corrective action with recommendations will be presented to the COR.