3.1 Using the quality system in strategic management

Auditeringsgruppens bedömning

The quality policy forms a common basis for quality work

LUT’s quality system is public and easily accessible on the university’s website and intranet. The principal structure of the quality system is based on W.E. Deming’s improvement cycle (Plan-Do-Check-Act), which lays a good foundation for systematic work and provides opportunities for organisational learning.

The quality system is aimed at internal stakeholders and has been updated regularly in recent years. Available in both Finnish and English, the quality system as a whole is structured in a commendable way. Nevertheless, the audit team recommends that existing practices for ensuring a close connection between research and education should be more visible in the quality system.

The university’s quality policy is public and relatively concise. The policy relates to the university’s strategy and starting points that are judged to be central in the quality work. The policy fulfils its main purpose as a common basis for quality work. 

The quality system provides good support for the achievement of LUT’s goals

The university’s strategy (LUT Strategy 2030) is formally owned by the University Board and has pronounced focus areas—energy, air, business and water—which constitute a clear profile for the university’s activities regarding education and research. During the audit visit, it became clear that the university’s management works purposefully to communicate the ongoing strategy work on various levels.

Associated action plans, financial plans and quantitative targets are available on the university intranet, which promotes transparency and participation of all members. The university’s three strategic action plans increase concreteness by specifying actions, division of responsibilities and indicators for several different strategic areas. As for strategic ambitions, the university has communicated these both internally and externally, which was also confirmed during the audit visit. It also turned out that many staff members heard during the audit visit, not only those active in education and research, express a sense of belonging to the university’s profile and can identify with the university’s strategic ambitions.

Regarding the amount of quantitative information (e.g. indicators) that the quality system generates, the audit visit showed that data is used extensively in operations management (for example, in the three schools) and that the quality system is valuable in that context. The audit team believes that the university could further strengthen its strategic management by using information from the quality system in order to regularly discuss foresight and long-term issues in various management forums.

Based on available documentation, information from the university intranet and audit interviews, the audit team concludes that the quality system generates useful information, which is systematically analysed and used in management and other levels and thereby supports the university’s profile, the achievement of its goals related to the institution’s core duties, and the implementation of the university’s strategy.