Led by ASQ and ASQExcellence (ASQE) each November, World Quality Month is a celebration of the vital role quality professionals have in achieving excellence through quality and the positive impact quality has made in organizations and communities around the world. The theme of this year’s World Quality Month is “creating customer value.”
“As one of Didlake’s core values, quality is at the forefront of everything we do,” said Didlake CEO Donna Hollis. “Our customer-focused quality control and assurance programs enable us to keep empowering individuals to work and be more independent.”
How Didlake Creates Service Quality
Throughout its 55 years, Didlake has continued to develop and strengthen policies, procedures and training that support its commitment to service quality. Today, Didlake’s Quality Development team has 25 members spread from Northern Maryland to Virginia Beach; many are dedicated to a specific contract site while others support multiple contracts or the organization as a whole.
Regardless of location and breadth, Didlake’s Quality Development team members are tasked with leading the organization’s customer-centric quality assurance and control plans, which are crucial to providing customers with services that meet and exceed expectations. In a nutshell, quality assurance entails the processes put in place to ensure services are performed to meet standards and regulations, while quality control mechanisms confirm tasks are performed correctly.
“Across the organization, every department actively pursues quality control standards,” said Brandy Emmons-Powell, Director of Quality Development. “We take a holistic approach rather than following just one program. We look at the multitude of options for quality management and consider what fits us best. What is a fad and what is tried and true? What would we pull from those programs to make our system better?”
For example, although Didlake is not ISO® Registered, it has incorporated some ISO standards into its best practices, such as its audit checklist, corrective and preventive processes, and documentation. ISO 9000 is a quality management program that is developed and published by the International Organization for Standardization.
Quality in Employment & Day Support Services
For its Day Support and Employment Services programs, Didlake adopted standards from CARF, an international, independent accreditor of health and human services providing rehabilitative services. In August, Didlake earned its eighth consecutive three-year accreditation for Community and Employment Services in the areas of job development, community integration and employment planning services. As an employment services vendor for the Department for Aging and Rehabilitation Services, Didlake is required to maintain CARF accreditation. Didlake elects to also apply CARF standards to its Day Support program.
CIMS-GB Certification for the Cleaning Industry
Through ISSA, the Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association, Didlake has Cleaning Industry Management Standards (CIMS) – Green Building (CIMS-GB) certification with honors for all of its custodial contracts. CIMS defines the key organizational components that contribute to a successful, quality cleaning organization. Every two years, Didlake completes a recertification process validated by a third party. As a CIMS-GB certified custodial services provider, Didlake assists clients with achieving the maximum number of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) points. Didlake’s management team includes an ISSA Certified Expert (I.C.E.) who ensures that employees understand the intent and application of the standards and processes required to achieve green building excellence.
Also for custodial contracts, Didlake uses CleanTelligent® Software to build custom checklists, broken down to very specific tasks, for the services performed. An inspector reviews the work performed and, for each task, notes if it met a standard or if there is any deficiency. If anything needs to be fixed, the system generates a work order.
“That becomes data-driven information. What percentage of the work passed on the first go? How many work orders did we need to address? That made a big difference from a quality standpoint because then we could target what we want to train people on. If we have certain tasks being written up with work orders, that makes us take a closer look,” Emmons-Powell said. “It also allowed us to see what we are doing right. We need to be able to tell employees what they are doing right as well as address what needs to be fixed.”
“All of these processes allow us to fine tune our services so that individuals with disabilities supported by Didlake get a greater experience. Many of the people we work with are looking to transition into work or improve their independence. The better our quality management system, the better we can make their experience. The work skills they build are more relevant and that enables them to grow,” Emmons-Powell said. “On the flip side, the better we perform, the happier our customers are, and that leads to more work, more jobs. That is what makes quality management and quality control impactful.”