Capella Associates Winning with Quality
Over the past four years, the Chartered Quality Institute’s (CQI) International Quality Awards (IQA) have brought quality professionals and auditors together from around the world to celebrate and highlight the achievements of those who are making significant contributions to the profession.
The CQI’s International Quality Awards shines the spotlight on businesses and individuals who are going above and beyond the call of duty. So, we’re extremely proud to tell you that Capella Associates were one of those businesses recognised by the CQI for their achievements. As a result, the business was awarded the CQI’s 2020 International Quality Award for Quality Organisation of the Year.
Capella’s Managing Director Kate Smith was recently featured in an article in the Spring 2021 Edition of the Quality World magazine, about her award journey and ambitions for the future.
Here’s what Kate had to say:
Quality World: How did you react when Capella Associates was announced as the winner?
Kate Smith: We were absolutely delighted. Capella Associates became finalists in 2019 and considered whether we should apply in 2020, but we knew we had really good evidence and outcomes that we could share with the judges and wider quality profession.
QW: What teamwork and projects were undertaken to secure this accolade?
KS: Our award submission was based on our response to Covid-19. There were many strands to this, but the main one involved converting all our training programmes to remote delivery within a couple of weeks, while meeting ongoing and new requirements of multiple interested parties, including the Skills Funding Agency, Ofsted and the Information Commissioner’s Office.
QW: How will this award help to expand the organisation’s service offerings?
KS: Capella Associates specialises in quality, continuous improvement training and consultancy. We believe passionately in what we do and there’s no better way of demonstrating this than applying the principles, methods and tools ourselves, and having an award that shows how well we do it. Third-party recognition also shows that we’re willing to open ourselves up for scrutiny and learn from others.
QW: Why should other SMEs put themselves forward for the IQA?
KS: The awards process provides a great opportunity to reflect on what’s been achieved in your business, and engages it in a structured, teamworking activity focused on benchmarking, learning and excellence. The feedback from the judges helps both individuals and organisations to understand their strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for improvement. Being involved in the awards event itself is inspirational and whether you become a finalist or winner, you’ll receive great recognition.
QW: How has Capella Associates continued to tackle the challenges posed by Brexit and Covid-19?
KS: The short-term impact of Brexit is expected to be minimal. However, as a service provider, we’re directly affected by the state of our customers’ businesses. We have switched our training, coaching and consultancy work to remote delivery. For additional support, Capella Associates has introduced a new learning management system, updated information security policy/practices and improved safeguarding policy, resources and practices. The team has worked both hard and fast, using the rigour of Design for Six Sigma and the speed of rapid plan, do, check, act (PDCA) cycles. We also have a documented quality management system based on ISO 9001:2015, which sets out everything we do to meet the standard.
Our audit schedule includes two end-to-end programme audits per annum to ensure we’re doing everything that’s included in our QMS and we’ve carefully selected the first programme audit for 2021 to be one that includes all the new practices. One of those new practices includes scheduling one-to-one calls for a specialist in our team to work directly with learners who need additional support, so that they’re able to stay on track and perform at their best during and after the pandemic. It’s critical that we identify and standardise the best practices we’ve developed, so that everyone is applying them and that we have a stable base to improve further.
Article from Quality World magazine (Spring 2021), republished with permission from the CQI (quality.org)
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