What is quality?
Quality means that products are made to acceptable standards or better imposed by customers. Quality standards are set by a group of customers and local quality authorities. For example, the quality of the washing-up liquid is set by customers, who demand that one squirt is sufficient to clean a family’s dirty plates. Poor quality washing-up liquid requires more squirts to do the same job. Quality standards are enforced by independent organizations such as the British Standards Institution, and firms can improve their quality by adjusting the way they work to meet these standards.
How to achieve quality?
Producing faulty goods incurs repair costs and damages the firm reputation, and companies desperately work to maintain the desired quality to survive. There are three main approaches to ensure quality namely, the quality control, quality assurance and total quality. In quality control, inspectors check products to examine if they meet the quality standards, and this method works as defect detection. Quality control aims at identifying any variance from standards and fixing it. Whilst, quality assurance is usually built into the production process with a focus on defect prevention. According to this approach, management arranges quality metrics, checklist and instructions for workforces to follow. In recent years, businesses have been using the Total Quality approach to reach quality, and in this way, everyone takes responsibility for delivering the desired quality. Besides, quality managers create a business culture, operating systems and train employees to enforce products quality.
How to ensure quality?
Businesses take preparatory actions to ensure that quality standards are met. Such actions include:
Quality operating system: It is a collection of policies, procedures, forms and work instructions to manage quality. It aims at standardizing activities, identifying paths and ensuring desired quality.
Training: It is developing staff to understand their roles and responsibilities.
Innovation: It is introducing new useful ideas and methods to create values. A business can innovate to offer better deals to customers and outperform competitors. For example, firms can use online services to better serve their customers.
Customer feedback: It is collecting customer feedback regularly. This information helps businesses to assess the quality and improve their services.
Monitoring customer satisfaction: It is putting in place a system of measuring the satisfaction of customers. This system can help a business understand its customers better and improve its services.
Technology: It is investing in breakthrough technology to increase customer experience. Using technology when serving customers is helpful for a business to improve quality.
Evaluation and continual improvement: Testing the quality of inputs, processes and outputs can lead to the continual improvement of the quality system and outcomes.
This article is extracted from my new book- Mastering Enterprise Skills for Potential Entrepreneurs, which can be found on www.amazon.co.uk. If you want to receive more information about the book and our activities, you can register in our newsletter by using this link.
Munther Al Dawood
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