If I was to ask you, “What is Quality Management?” would you answer:
A highly-regimented, bureaucratic quagmire that imposes excessive procedural requirements on an organisation, entailing the documentation of every single aspect of its operation.
An artificial “box-ticking” exercise that is a necessary evil in order to obtain a precious ISO9001 certification to allow an organisation to compete for tenders from Government and Large Companies (and which results in all of the Quality documents sitting on a shelf gathering dust once the certificate is received?).
An expensive distraction from your core business, consuming precious money, time and resources with little tangible benefit.
What if I were to tell you, that it’s none of the above? That instead, Quality Management has been saddled with an unfair reputation and when implemented correctly – not only save time but serve to support and even fuel the growth of your business.
Let’s explode some myths.
Myth One: Quality is a bureaucratic nightmare with excessive documentation requirements. If implemented badly, it can be, but can’t the same be said for any aspect of business?
Whilst there are many horror stories of small businesses filling bookshelves with unnecessary documentation, a good system will tailor these requirements to suit the size and complexity of the organisation.
The fact is, even if every activity the company performs is documented, without the right people it is unlikely that the organisation will run effectively, efficiently or even consistently. However, by concentrating on capturing key business processes, the Quality System can ensure that these are streamlined and understood clearly by everyone in your company.
Hence the Quality System supports the efforts of your employees and provides product consistency to your customers.
Myth Two: Quality is an artificial box-ticking exercise. Whilst it is true that many large companies and government agencies require their suppliers to have an accredited Quality System, the actual certificate is simply a nice piece of paper to hang on your wall. This certification is a by-product of the larger benefits offered by this process.
When implemented properly a Quality System improves the consistency of your company’s outputs (customer benefit) and provides a mechanism for monitoring and continuously improving the way you operate (company benefit).
Myth Three: Quality is an expensive distraction from your core business. If anything, it is the exact opposite. How much of your day is spent on administrative issues that take you away from doing the creative, value-adding activities in your business that you love to do? A good quality system that is tailored to your business should reduce the time you spend on these trivial, yet critical activities.
By optimising processes, integrating best-practices from across the company, and reducing customer complaints and re-work a Quality Management System will also reduce your expenses, thus increasing your profit margins and ultimately delivering you more cash in the bank.
So there you are, hopefully I’ve done my bit to clear the good name of Quality Management!
So what are the hidden costs associated with implementing a Quality Management System? Stay tuned ....