Quality thinking and content helps ensure business survival
The purpose of this blog is to help you discover and implement important things, on your way to building a quality business. Managing quality is crucial for small businesses.
Quality products help to maintain customer satisfaction and loyalty and reduce the risk and cost of replacing faulty goods. Companies can build a reputation for quality by gaining accreditation with a recognized quality standard.
Obviously, there are many aspects to running a quality business and sometimes you will feel overwhelmed. Use this blog to commence an audit of your systems and processes and spark change for the better.
You can’t audit everything at once
You can’t do everything at once, there will always be more things to do than you have the time and resources to do. If you can practice continuous improvement every day, you will be well on your way to creating a quality business. Many small activities add up to a big change.
With so many options available to customers, you may be wondering whether quality still matters. The answer is a resounding ‘yes’. Quality isn’t just about offering a product or service which exceeds the standard. It’s also about the reputation you gain for consistently delivering a better customer experience which is above and beyond their expectations.
Unfortunately, too many businesses focus on one or two aspects they like or are good at, while the rest of the business struggles. Believe someone, somewhere has the answers you are looking for, but be personally responsible for the outcomes you achieve or don’t achieve.
You don’t have to be perfect; you only need a minimum viable product or service. However, your products must solve a significant problem or add value along with a compelling story.
How to become a leader in your community and industry?
As a starting point have an audit conducted of your critical systems and processes. Understanding the differences between a system and a process is important for effective management and auditing programs. Understanding some of the dynamics will help in the development of value-added auditing strategies.
A system or process audit can be defined as ‘A systematic and independent examination to determine whether activities and related results comply with planned objectives or arrangements and whether client arrangements are implemented effectively and are suitable to achieve objectives’.
Steps in conducting an audit of your content, systems and processes
- Know what and when to conduct the audit
- Create an audit schedule
- Pre-planning the scheduled audit
- Conducting the Audit
- Recording the findings
- Reporting the findings
- Seeking approval
- Implementing the necessary changes
- Reset metrics and dashboards
- Monitoring the outcomes
Establish and maintain your reputation for quality
Your reputation could well depend on the quality of your products and services. The growing importance of social media means customers and prospects can easily share both opinions and criticism of your quality on forums, product review sites and social networking sites.
A formidable reputation for quality can be an essential differentiator in markets which are very competitive. Poor quality or product failure resulting in a product recall can lead to negative publicity, damage your reputation and additional costs.
Quality should be controlled from initial planning to inputs to final delivery and beyond.
Meet your customer expectations
Regardless of what industry you’re involved in, your customers aren’t going to choose you solely based on price, but frequently on quality. In fact, studies have shown customers will pay more for a product or service they think is made well or exceeds the standards.
Your customers will always expect you to deliver quality and reliable content with your products and services, and do it consistently.
Quality is critical to repeat business
If you fail to meet customer’s expectation, they will quickly look for alternatives. Quality is critical to satisfying your customers and retaining their loyalty, so they continue to buy from you in the future. Quality products and services enable you to maintain higher prices and contribute to long-term revenue and profitability.
It is a key differentiator in a competitive market because you can establish a history of delivering superior products. While perfection is an impossible standard, it seems like we’re constantly reminded of how coveted perfection still is. Rather than striving to get everything just right, strive to excel in your own way.
Comply with or exceed industry quality standards
Adherence to a recognised quality standard may be essential for dealing with certain customers or complying with legislation. Some customers will insist their suppliers achieve accreditation with quality standards.
If you sell products in regulated markets, such as health care, food or electrical goods, you must be able to comply with the health and safety standards designed to protect consumers. Accredited quality control systems play a crucial role in complying with those standards.
Manage your costs more effectively
Poor quality increases costs. If you do not have an effective quality control system in place, you may incur the cost of analysing non-conforming goods or services to determine the root causes and retesting products after reworking them.
Sometimes you may have to scrap defective products and pay additional production costs to replace them. If faulty products reach customers, you will have to pay for returns and replacements and, in severe cases, you could incur legal costs for failure to comply with a customer or industry standard. Yes, even years after the sale and warranty ran out.
“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence”. Vince Lombardi
“We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and everyone should be really excellent. Because this is our life”. Steve Jobs