Managing your quality can mean different things to different people. A people carrier can be a quality car for the family. In contrast the affluent young driver may prefer a sports car. You can express this as “conformance to requirements”.
As a good company you will aim to meet the needs of your customers. As a result you can achieve a competitive advantage. You will also wish to meet your own needs (a wage, a profit, a healthy working environment, etc.).
This can, therefore, mean that quality is something you are already doing. After all, if your company remains in business with a reasonable profit and keeps your customers happy, you must be doing it right.
Do it right every time
The next question to ask is “Are you doing the right thing right first time, on time and every time?”
You may not be as profitable as you could be unless you do things right. It can also mean that your customers may not be as happy as they might be.
Striving for a “right first time approach” does not have to be hard. The value of a good system is that you can get it right first time. You should be able to do this in an efficient and effective manner. It is easy to decide not to have a system, just carry on the way you are. Putting a system in place will require resource and effort.
A quality system
A good system will also require:
- Awareness: a shift in the culture, which involves everyone and they all understand;
- Leadership: management that is actively and visibly involved.
Any system must meet your needs. It can be bespoke to fit in with your company. It can also follow a standard approach. A quality management system is a set of tools to improve the company.
The most often used system is the ISO9001:2000 standard. It is recognised world wide and clients often demand certification to the standard.
The standard specifies the minimum system requirements where you need to:
- consistently provide a product or service that meets customer needs, and will
- address satisfaction through the effective application of a system for constant improvement and the prevention of errors.
To obtain an ISO 9001:2000 certification you must document your quality management system, implement it and then demonstrate it to an external audit.
The system must reflect your company, not restrict it. Therefore you need just enough to enable you to run your company well. It will also allow you to quickly spot where things need to get better – no more!
If you are serious about the quality of your products, then why not show it? You can also at the same time find better profits. Improved efficiency, less waste and constant improvement are the real plus points from putting in a good system.