In 1985, we developed our "strategy of differentiation" by incorporating a formalized Quality Improvement Process. All managers, supervisors and hourly associates have received basic training in Southeastern's Quality Improvement Process.
In 1991, we applied for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and were one of only five service organizations in the country to receive a site visit from the Malcolm Baldrige examiners.
After a solid seven year foundation of Quality Improvement, we felt positioned to integrate Process Improvement/Statistical Process Control (SPC) throughout our company. In 1992, our leadership made a commitment to incorporate formalized process improvement into our organization. Today, all associates are required to participate in training which emphasizes the basic tools for process improvement.
Through SPC, our formalized approach to process improvement allows us to make decisions based on data (the facts) rather than opinions. Our basic SPC tools include:
Flowcharting to give us a picture of the steps of the process. Flowcharting allows us to identify ways we can simplify the process through the elimination of unnecessary steps that do not add value.
Brainstorming to generate ideas on how we can improve the process.
Fishbone Diagrams to organize the ideas from our brainstorming session into the basic components of a process: people, methods, materials, machines, measurement and environment.
Pareto Charts to identify where we can focus time and attention to reduce or eliminate errors in the process.
Scatter Plots to identify relationships between process measures.
Histograms to show us a picture of the variation in the process.
Control Charts to allow us to measure the performance of the process and to show us who needs to participate in improving the process.
We want to see continuous measurable improvement in all of our processes. Our goal is to shift the process average and squeeze out unfavorable variation. We use control charts to indicate whether or not we are achieving this goal. Process improvement is the tool that allows us to achieve this goal.
Our commitment to Quality Improvement has allowed us to grow and prosper in a competitive environment which has become more and more challenging. Our Quality Improvement Process has been the single most effective means of causing every Southeastern Freight Lines associate to stay focused on meeting the diverse needs of our customers...every time. We are absolutely committed to our people, our customers and our future. We have not wavered in our quest for quality since its inception at Southeastern...and will not do so in the future. We intend for quality improvement to continue to be the catalyst which helps us to be the best in our industry.