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Culture of Quality - The Struggles Within


No doubt, the cannabis industry is under enormous pressure in 2019. As the year starts, we are hearing feedback from all angles – from the provinces, from the regulators from the media and from each other. There is not enough supply and there may not be for another few years. These pressures trickle down into the very organizations we want to help succeed – the licensed cultivation/processing sites that are making the product.

These pressures rear their head in many ways: cost cutting, rushing, internal demands matching external representations, rework, cycle time pressures, under staffing, the list goes on.

More than ever this is the time for new producers to ensure they are instilling a culture of quality. Normally when we speak about “culture of quality” we are ‘preaching to the converted’ – i.e.: in a room with other quality professionals who are nodding in unison. However, this message needs to be sent to the organization broadly at all levels - that quality is not only the job of the quality professional but also of management.

How do you instill a Culture of Quality?

· Organizational structure and respect – what is the hierarchy in your organization and who wields the ‘power’? Better yet, who has respect in the organization? If there isn’t a level playing field between quality and operations, this imbalance will eventually create issues.

· Staffing levels – make sure your staffing levels meet the needs of the organization. If people are rushing, working over-time or stressed out, you are probably under-staffed somewhere.

· Scheduling and planning – are you allotting enough time and contingency time? For example, is your production always ‘behind’ creating a need to expedite the normal timelines to test and release product on a regular basis? If the answer is yes, you are likely rushing the most critical compliance step in the process.

· Participate in annual quality meeting – as leaders, it’s important to listen, understand and help remove roadblocks. The best way to do this is to participate in the forum that is scheduled for this reason.

There are many ways that a license holder can succeed or stumble, and quality should not be one of them. Health Canada and the government has made a commitment to legalize cannabis, and the industry should respect the need to do that in a way that protects the consumer and patient – with the goal of producing quality product.

Quality should never be a short-term objective, as it fulfills long term business objectives of sustainability and reducing business risk. Building a culture of quality ensures that you are instilling a long- term quality-based plan for your organization.

CCI can assist your organization with a quality review at any time in the life cycle of Quality Management System Implementation. Contact us today. https://www.cannabiscomplianceinc.com/

Written by: Karina Lahnakoski, VP, Quality and Regulatory, Cannabis Compliance Inc.

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