Organizational success through improvements in Quality
June 10, 2005
Organizational success through improvements in Quality

Long has been the premise that through quality products and services, companies could become profitable and successful, but let’s examine this statement in some detail, and let’s start with the concept of quality, what is quality?

If we consider the hundreds of definitions that have been ascribed to quality and put them in a bottle, what would pour out is that it’s based on the customer’s perception of what a product or service should be like. Yes the customer is the final judge of quality. {{more}}To take it further we could even argue that a company produces or provides commodities that are in demand by the customer, and it further tailors these commodities to suit a specific target group. It is this group who ultimately determines what quality is acceptable.

Sounds pretty simple, so why don’t we just always offer quality products and services to all 10% of the time? Well, that’s the premise under which the implementation of quality systems is borne. One of the more popular ones is Total Quality Management (TQM), which is geared at increasing organizational profitability and success through a core appreciation of customer satisfaction, and continuous improvement of processes and by extension the overall operation. The Coca Cola Quality System and ISO International Standards.

To implement such a system isn’t that easy, companies not only need to have the necessary resources (human, financial), but also a specific organizational culture has to be in existence prior to implementation. A culture that allows for change, growth, ease of response to the socio-economic pressures of the business environment makes for favorable conditions of quality system implementation.

Why are these preconditions important? In essence because the organization has to operate on a horizontal base, rather than the previous vertical platform that has become reminiscent of companies of the earlier part of the century. It must empower staff to make decisions, allow for greater participation at all levels of the organization, and commitment must spring from every crevice of the organizational platform.

After a system has been implemented, quality in every action, in every process, right the first time, would become watch phrases of the organization, so much so that every employee believes and participates in the system-it becomes part of the shared vision of the company.

Naturally if you have reached the stage where you are consistently meeting the quality requirements, then you are half there. The other part is to build a cycle of continuous improvement into the operation; so that you continually strive to do better, only then can you really say “I have a quality system – I am consistently meeting the expectations of the customer.” Some world-class companies have started striving to implement six stigma, and zero tolerance systems that effectively churn out less than 1/100000 defective products.

We have to set targets, and raise the quality standards of products and services even higher, so that we can gain a competitive edge over those companies that offer similar products and services.

How does the maintenance of quality products and services mesh with success and profitability of the company? That’s the easy part….” Satisfied customers become repeated customers, which results in profits and success for the organization.”