Quality managers are well aware of the fact that QMS programs generate value for the organizations in which they are implemented; but there is an enormous difference between simply having quality programs in place and actually building a culture of quality. The latter takes considerable time and effort, but it yields very real dividends in terms of cost savings, customer loyalty, employee satisfaction, and more.
In many organizations, employees’ default behaviors around quality may be driven by top-down edicts that oblige them to follow certain rules. In other words, people follow the procedures because they have to. While that kind of behavior is better than nothing, – and while verification is a necessary part of the process, – a culture that relies solely upon this top-down mentality usually leads to half-measures and shortcuts that fail to deliver the desired results.
A true culture of quality, in contrast, is developed from a clear awareness that quality procedures play a critical role in achieving high performance standards. Quality driven organizations are characterized by a common understanding that all of the company’s stakeholders stand to benefit when effective QMS systems and procedures are in place and are understood, respected, and followed. Here are some examples:
For those people in the organization who are focused on quantifiable results, including the bottom line; the case for quality management is undeniable. Granted, there are up-front costs associated with creating and managing quality programs, as well as with monitoring and measuring quality and with prevention. But the cost of not doing those things can be significantly higher.
The overall cost of quality (CoQ) summarizes the total costs of good quality (CoGQ) and of poor quality (CoPQ). For every dollar spent on the former (such as on appraisal or prevention), an organization can reduce CoPQ costs by $5 to $7. Resolving customer complaints, initiating and managing product recalls, equipment downtime, scrap, and rework are all measurable costs that can be prevented with the right quality programs and a culture of quality in which everyone in the organization understands the value of QMS.
In many respects, the problem of poor customer satisfaction overlaps with the CoPQ cost drivers mentioned in the previous section. Generally speaking, though, it can be difficult to measure the impact of customer dissatisfaction with any significant degree of accuracy.
Some implications of customer dissatisfaction are easily identified, – such as providing a customer with replacement product, investigating and resolving a customer issue, or reporting defects to regulators. There is a broader issue, however, that can be much harder to pinpoint; namely, that many customers will never voice their complaints to you at all. They simply take their business to one of your competitors, and you may never know why they stopped buying your product.
In the age of online reviews and social media, just a few dissatisfied customers can have a significant negative impact on your brand and company reputation. That translates to lost revenue and decreased market share.
Ultimately, a culture of quality contributes to a meaningful connection between the work your employees do every day, and the sense of purpose and value that they derive from their jobs. As a general rule, people want to be part of something bigger than themselves. They want to achieve excellence in their day-to-day activities. They want to know that their work matters, and that their time is being used effectively. By clearly communicating the “why” of quality programs, – that is, by connecting the dots between quality management and outstanding results, – managers can create an environment in which employee satisfaction has an opportunity to flourish.
As critical as that may be, there is an even more important role for quality programs in the lives of company employees, – safety. Quality management helps to ensure that the health and safety of employees gets the careful attention that it deserves. That happens as a result of things like documenting and following the right procedures, ensuring that the right people in your organization have all of the necessary training, and verifying that machinery and equipment is inspected and maintained according to a routine schedule.
If you’re interested in reducing costs, increasing customer satisfaction, and being a great place to work; give us a call. We’d love to discuss your situation and learn how Intellect QMS can help you achieve your quality objectives.