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Why Quality Matters More Than Ever In Business

Why Quality Matters More Than Ever In Business

Quality in a product or service is not what the supplier puts in; it is what the customer gets out and is willing to pay for. What makes a 'quality' product is not based on how hard it is to make or whether or not it costs a lot of money, as manufacturers typically believe - this is incompetence. Customers pay only for what is of use to them and gives them value. Nothing else constitutes quality. 
Peter F. Drucker

For your business to succeed, quality should be maintained at every level. Every product, service, process, task, action or decision in an organisation can be judged in terms of quality – how good is it, is it good enough, how can we make it better?

Quality management plays a crucial role in a company's growth and performance. It is also a key resource in the competition for customer relationships, striving to deliver a superior experience. Companies can implement a set of procedures to ensure their products meet the highest quality standards and perform optimally. The end goal is to enhance customer satisfaction and drive business growth.

Quality is more than just about your finished products, it’s about all the processes, systems and people that are behind that product. Managing quality means constantly pursuing excellence - making sure that what your organisation does is fit for purpose, and not only stays that way, but keeps improving and getting ahead of competitors.

“Quality is not what happens when what you do matches your intentions. It is what happens when what you do matches your customers' expectations”. Guaspari

What quality means for your organisation is ultimately a question for your stakeholders. Delivering quality in your organisation means knowing who your stakeholders are, understanding what their needs are and meeting those needs (or even better, exceeding expectations), both now and in the future. And by stakeholders we mean anyone who has an interest in the success of what your organisation does – your customers, your suppliers, your staff and the community in which you operate.

The Chartered Quality Institute (CQI) believes that delivering quality in your organisation comes down to three things:

  1. Strong governance to define your organisation's aims and translate them into action
  2. Robust systems of assurance to make sure things stay on track
  3. A culture of improvement to keep getting better

Why should your business care about quality?

Businesses must do everything they can to keep up with their competitors. Delivering superior products and services is paramount. Quality management systems provide the information and guidelines for doing things correctly. Furthermore, they help your business achieve optimum cost efficiency and utilisation of available resources.

In the long run, these practices strengthen your company’s brand, raising you to the level of your competitors. Since they improve your products and business operations, they lead to a stronger market position. 

Good quality management can enhance your organisation’s brand and reputation, protect it against risks, increase its efficiency, boost its profits and reduce waste, and position it to keep on growing. All while making staff and customers happier.

1. Higher profitability

Studies show a strong positive association between quality and profitability. In fact, high quality produces a higher return on investment (ROI) for any given market share. Fewer defects or field failures result in lower manufacturing and service costs; as long as these gains exceed any increase in expenditures by the firm on defect prevention, profitability will improve. Improvements in performance, features, or other dimensions of quality lead to increased sales and larger market shares.

2. More consistent products and increased efficiency

Quality management helps companies improve their products' reliability, durability and performance. These factors help differentiate a business from its competitors. Better products equal happier customers and higher revenue.

“Quality means doing it right when no one is looking”. Henry Ford

Customers who buy products from your company will be expecting the same standard of quality each time they buy. Without a proper quality management system, your customers could find themselves buying the same product, but with various standards of quality. Checking all of the items before distributing them to the consumer or putting them up for sale will give you peace of mind that the same high standard is being maintained throughout the company.

3. Greater customer satisfaction

In today's competitive market, consumers are more demanding than ever. They can choose from thousands of brands and have access to millions of stores due to the advances in technology. If your products and services fail to meet customer expectations, your brand and revenue will suffer.

“Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten”. Gucci family slogan

Customers want to know that their hard-earned money is being spent on something that is worth the price and not something that is of poor quality, much less defective. A sound quality management implementation ensures that your company’s products exceed customer expectations.

Quality management can help you turn prospects into loyal customers. It does so by continuously improving your products, incorporating changes and eliminating defects. If you want your business to stand out, it's critical to meet or exceed their expectations and comply with the highest quality standards.

In turn, customer satisfaction leads to customer loyalty. If a customer is satisfied with a product of a company they will go back to the company for other products. However, if they are handed a defective product, they are most likely to not go back to that specific brand!

4. Risk reduction and protecting your brand

Once your products leave the building, there are plenty of risks to consider. Recalls, for instance, can result in significant long-term financial losses and affect the customer experience. They may also hurt your brand and reputation. 

Some recent examples include the following:

  • BP faced a total bill of £35bn from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010, which left 11 people dead, the region's environment devastated and an indelible stain on BP's reputation
  • Volkswagen will be dealing with the fallout from the 2015 emissions cheating scandal for years to come
  • Retailers Tesco, Iceland, Aldi and Lidl's reputations took a battering in 2013 when beef products were found to contain horsemeat

None of these things need have happened if better quality management had been in place.

It is amazing how one defective product can have a big impact on your business. If somebody is unlucky enough to buy a damaged item that hasn’t been checked, they will most likely ask for a refund and return the item. It is also very unlikely that they will return to your business in the future, and will probably mention this to some of their friends too. Even worse, they’ll take to the internet and leave a bad review about your company, warning other people not to shop with you.

As a business owner, you are responsible for bearing the costs of product recalls. In the worst-case scenario, you may have to deal with lawsuits. For this reason, companies cannot ignore or overlook the importance of quality management.

5. Lower Costs

Statistically, the better your quality management system is and the better quality you can produce, the more customers you’ll get and the more revenue you will earn. This comes as a direct result of building a good reputation through having great products on offer. People will recommend your business to their friends, and will also return themselves for the same product or for different items.

Quality improvement can be made in a variety of your business units, such as:

  • Marketing and sales
  • Administrative departments
  • Finance and accounting
  • Research
  • Manufacturing
  • Equipment maintenance

When applied consistently over time, these processes can reduce your costs and increase your profit. For example, a quality product will require less rework down the road, leading to cost savings and fewer warranty claims.

6. Meeting or exceeding industry standards

Adherence to a recognised quality standard may be essential for dealing with certain customers or complying with legislation. Public-sector companies, for example, may insist that their suppliers achieve accreditation with quality standards. If you sell products in regulated markets, such as healthcare, food or electrical goods, you must be able to comply with health and safety standards designed to protect consumers.

Accredited quality control systems play a crucial role in complying with those standards. Accreditation can also help you win new customers or enter new markets by giving prospects independent confirmation of your company’s ability to supply quality products.

7. Reducing waste

Each time you find a product that isn’t suitable to sell in your company, you’ll have to throw it away. If you find many items that aren’t up to the necessary standard, you will start to see your business turning over a lot of waste over the year. Apart from this being bad for the environment, you will also feel like you’re wasting a lot of items and a lot of money too.

If you’re trying to encourage your staff to reduce waste in the workplace, it doesn’t set a good example if there isn’t a quality management system in place, which helps to reduce the amount of waste.

8. Increase staff motivation and morale

Besides product quality, quality management systems, such as ISO 9001, ensures clear communication structures, responsibilities and tasks across all departments. This results in higher employee morale, improved performance and increased efficiency.

“Quality is the result of a carefully constructed cultural environment. It has to be the fabric of the organisation, not part of the fabric”. Philip Crosby

Your staff will be more motivated to keep standards high if they know that each product is going through quality management before being sold. Quality management practices can reduce human error and improve a company's validation activities. Your employees will have a set of guidelines to follow during their day-to-day operations, which helps eliminate guesswork and ensures compliance. Rather than becoming complacent after a while, they will work harder to make sure that all the items are up to the standard that is required in order for the products to go on sale.

Who is responsible for quality management?

Everyone in your organisation should be responsible for quality control. Different people will have responsibility or influence over different things that affect quality, such as specifying requirements, meeting those requirements or determining the quality of something.

It is also important to have people who can provide the knowledge, tools and guidance to help everyone else play their part in achieving quality. These people are quality professionals, which is a career in high demand from many employers. Quality professionals are dedicated to protecting and strengthening their organisations by making sure stakeholders’ needs are met – and ideally, that their expectations are exceeded.

“Quality is not an act, it is a habit”. Aristotle

The Chartered Quality Institute (CQI) is the only chartered body dedicated to quality professionals. Practitioner (PCQI) membership is for those dealing with quality as part of a wider remit or specialising in particular aspects of quality such as inspection, quality assurance or auditing.

Members at this grade will gain recognition and credibility across their organisations for the skilled work they do in improving their quality functions' ability to contribute to the bottom line and the brand. They can use the letters PCQI after their name on correspondence and business cards.

CQI members are recognised internationally for their high professional and ethical standards. Joining the CQI can help you to become a better quality professional, and be recognised as such.

GBS Corporate Training offers a range of quality training courses, which can help you gain Chartered Quality Professional Status. Continuous training and development for employees adds to the drive for quality by improving the capabilities of those within the organisation whilst instilling a culture of self-improvement that often leads to the retention of valuable employees who more readily view themselves as having a personal stake in the company.

As a result, employees are more willing to take on additional responsibilities, communicate more effectively, and act creatively and innovatively. GBS Corporate Training offers a wider range of Quality Improvement courses, applicable to all types of organisations, who wish to achieve the quality and process improvement that is vital for operational success

Managers need to be able to plan using a range of project management techniques. They need to be able to develop Project Charters, Business Cases etc. to establish the project and then use planning techniques to effectively plan and control the project. They need to be able to effectively assess risk, eliminate the risk or establish contingency plans should the risk occur.

To successfully manage quality, planning is more than just knowing what tools and techniques to use. Softer skills such as leading quality teams and understanding team roles and how teams develop are also key to success in any organisation.

GBS Corporate’s training course P203 Managing Management Systems has been designed to equip management and quality professionals with the knowledge and skills needed to implement, review and manage the globally recognised standard ISO 9001:2015.

This 3-day course is highly interactive enabling attendees to immediately apply what they have learnt across different business scenarios.

Completion of two Practitioner level courses, together with demonstrable work experience, can lead to the gold standard Chartered Quality Professional (CQP) status, which is recognised alongside other roles with Chartered status.

Other training programmes in the suite are:

PT202 – Managing Process Performance

PT204 – Managing Change and Continual Improvement

PT205 – Managing Problem Solving

And also a series of Process Improvement courses.

Our next PT203 Managing Management Systems is being delivered in London on 9th to 11th April 2019. We have a selection of alternative dates for our quality courses, however they can also be delivered in-house to group within an organisation and customised to suit your exact company's requirements.

Contact us for more information.