|Why Quality Management is everybody’s concern|
Most people would be able to give a fairly full description of what ‘quality’ means in a business setting. In its basic form it is, after all, very straightforwardly a measure of the level of excellence of a product or service. Many organisations will have somebody who is focused on this measure – a person for whom quality management is a daily concern.
The fact is, though, that quality management should be a prime focus for every part of an organisation, not a single department. Having a high quality product means having dedicated and loyal customers. It means differentiating yourself from the competition. It means becoming an employer of choice who is externally perceived as being serious about quality.
It is therefore something every person in a business should drive towards. Proper quality management is ultimately a measure of how far your organisation’s product or service meets and exceeds a customer’s expectations. This extends beyond the product itself - to the customer service, the supply chain, or the efforts to rectify a mistake, for example – so that all business units can play a role.
Quality management and the quest to continually raise quality levels should be an embedded part of every activity your business does. This means looking at processes to ensure that they are as effective and efficient as possible, achieving maximum impact whether it is product development, IT systems, or your customer-facing team. Changes – whether identified by systematic investigation of bottlenecks in a system, or suggested by an employee – should be incorporated into these processes, which should always be open to being refined and never considered complete.
Ultimately, a rigorous and formal quality management system takes time and resources, but contributes potentially enormous gains in the overall performance of a business. It can lower costs, identify staff training needs, meet and exceed customer requirements, and set a business apart from its competition. These are all, of course, highly desirable business goals, and they are best achieved through ingraining quality management processes into the core of the business. As Aristotle said, “Quality is not an act, it is a habit”.
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