Establishing an Appropriate, Best Practice Quality Assurance Platform

Location: Cavan, Adelaide SA

Duration: 4 months

Proposed start date: 3 September 2018

Keywords: Organisational Culture, Quality Assurance, Qualitative Interviews, Observations, Gap Analysis, Organisational Behaviour, Organisational Engineering

Please note: Due to funding requirements, students must have Australian Citizenship or Permanent Residency to apply. Any applicants not meeting this requirement will be ineligible for this project.

Project Background

The manufacturing functions of HARDI Australia comprise heavy steel fabrication, surface treatment and product assembly. Steel fabrication consists of cutting, bending and welding of varying dimensions of mild steel components into heavy frames. Assembly entails integration of mechanical, plastic, hydraulic, pneumatic and electronic components onto frames and drive trains then into finished products.

From an employee’s perspective, the interaction between these processes and disciplines calls for the following:

  • An understanding of what workplace Quality entails
  • Understanding of the determinants and drivers of Quality
  • A commitment to Quality
  • Adherence to procedures
  • An understanding of the minimum standard required
  • A commitment to delivering a quality output
  • How to report Quality incidents
  • A commitment to Continuous Improvement

At present, there is no formal, integrated Quality Assurance (QA) platform to support this initiative. The absence of a QA platform manifests in cultural, procedural and methodological deficiencies, each contributing on occasions to suboptimal product quality and customer brand experience.

It is believed that an external party undertaking detailed PhD level study into structures, mechanisms and cultural enablers of QA has the potential to deliver both an objective assessment of the status quo and, a framework upon which HARDI could build its future QA platform.

Research to be Conducted

HARDI has a strategic objective to consistently enhance the brand experience of its customers and recognises the critical impact of product quality in this process. HARDI is seeking to undertake a “root & branch” analysis of its organisational attitude (culture) toward quality and current practices to determine how a combination of these is impacting on the quality of its product outputs. The research will include:

  • Examination of existing QA processes and practices
  • Qualitative interviews with key staff members to capture their perspectives and understanding of QA
  • Incorporation of findings and observations into an “on point” report to HAU Executives
  • Research into, preparation and presentation of an implementation plan to deliver an Appropriate, Best Practice Quality Assurance Platform to HAU

Skills Required

We are looking for a PhD student with the following skills:


  • A practical understanding of the interrelationship between organisational culture, operational QA practices & how these combine to determine the quality of outputs
  • Experience conducting interviews with individuals occupying various organisational roles and from diverse backgrounds
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills


  • An understanding of quality assurance processes within an engineering/agribusiness setting

Expected Outcomes

Expected outcomes include:
I. Review existing HARDI organisational culture & practices and report
II. Overlay existing culture/practices, contrast with an appropriate Best Practice model and
prepare a gap analysis
III. Present observations to Executive Team
IV. Present an implementation plan to transform from status quo to a true Best Practice

Additional Details

The intern will receive $3,000 per month of the internship, usually in the form of stipend payments.

It is expected that the intern will primarily undertake this research project during regular business hours, spending at least 80% of their time on-site with the industry partner.  The intern will be expected to maintain contact with their academic mentor throughout the internship either through face-to-face or phone meetings as appropriate.

The intern and their academic mentor will have the opportunity to negotiate the project’s scope, milestones and timeline during the project planning stage.

Applications Close

 5 September 2018


INT – 0480


03 8344 1785