Hans-Jürgen August

Dr. Hans-Jürgen August studied physics at the Vienna University of Technology, where he completed his doctoral thesis on electron microbeam analysis. He continued research work for another two years as contracted assistant and authored about 20 scientific papers and conference contributions before joining Siemens AG Austria as an R&D project manager in the area of telecommunication equipment.

Since 2000, he has joined and led various central function units within Siemens, including quality and innovation management, strategy, key account management, and communication. During the past nine years he has also engaged in and led several change and transformation projects.

Since 2010, he is heading the central function covering quality and innovation management at Siemens Convergence Creators (headquartered in Vienna), being globally responsible for these topics. In this function, he is also in charge of maintaining and continuously improving the company’s global integrated management system as well as the innovation ecosystem, which have been completely revised, harmonized and partly developed from scratch under his leadership. He is also responsible for the company’s global environmental, health and safety system and active as lead auditor.

Hans-Jürgen August is a committed supporter of lifelong learning and is deeply convinced of the benefits of sharing knowledge and experiences, also leveraging the potentials that cooperation between academia and business offers. He regularly presents insights and research results at quality and innovation conferences and in papers and teaches at universities in Austria and Germany.

Hans-Jürgen August is also the co-author of the book “Veränderungskonzepte und Strategische Transformation” (“Change concepts and strategic transformation”), published in 2012.

Abstract

Philosophy and mindset, process and culture –understanding what determines quality results

Proposal for presentation and paper – 59th EOQ Congress Athens 2015

“Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution”, said Aristotle. Even if we regard philosophy (“a set of ideas about how to do something”) to be more abstract, more academic than a mindset (“a particular way of thinking, a person’s set of opinions about something”), both influence how we act, and thus the quality of work.

Particularly if value generation results from delivering specific services and solutions that are not standardized, the quality of work results is strongly influenced by personal mindsets, beliefs and attitudes. While process optimization has its undisputed merits, especially in the area of executing standard activities (as in mass production, logistics etc.), substantial improvement of quality performance in the field of non-standardized services and solutions is only possible if also human-related factors such as adoption of philosophies and personal mindsets are considered.

Understanding these dependencies is crucial to most organizations, including Siemens Convergence Creators – being active in R&D, project-based services and customer-specific technological solutions.

Since quality may be described as “degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfills requirements”, understanding the root causes for not fulfilling these requirements is the key lever for improvement.

Deviations usually result in so-called “non-conformance costs” (NCC) which may be attributed to various causes such as unclear requirements, incorrect effort/cost estimations, inappropriate solution design etc. Each project manager at Siemens Convergence Creators has to assign NCC to a set of ten categories. Knowing that this first step just scratches the surface – stating the problem, but not explaining its origins – it was decided to perform in-depth analyses based on concrete facts and figures to identify how mindsets and behaviors influence quality.

Insights were gained from project-specific root-cause analysis workshops, internal and external audits and inquiries at NCC training workshops involving approx. 200 participants from nine countries (Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, India, Romania, Slovakia, US). Since almost all activities at Siemens Convergence Creators are performed involving teams from different countries, also cross-cultural cooperation and communication were explicitly considered.

The analyses yielded quantitative results showing the influence of specific mindset and behavioral aspects on the quality of work results. Summarizing, it clearly turns out that the mindset of all stakeholders (and the backing philosophy) play a key role for the organization in achieving its goals. The findings also shed light on the effect of the corporate quality philosophy, the anchoring of values, the role of management and communication. Based on a newly developed model the presentation discusses how regulations, culture, and mindset complement each other and how the appropriate balance for a specific organization can be found.

Since non-standardized business activities and thus personal mindsets and the adherence to quality “philosophies” gain increasing importance, many conference participants may face similar challenges in their respective companies and non-profit organizations. Consequently, the quality management community may benefit from the open discussion of the insights gained at Siemens Convergence Creators and the application of the versatile model that forms part of the presentation.

 

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