Strategic Quality Management: Ensuring Success Through Quality
Quality is a fundamental pillar for organizations worldwide. Without it, the sustainability of any business is at risk. However, the definition of quality can vary significantly. Some view it as a simple scale from bad to excellent, while others consider it in relation to the price paid or as a matter of compliance.
The Impact of Top Management’s Decisions
Where an organization positions itself on the quality scale is determined by the decisions made by top management. They have the power to position the organization as a discount brand, a luxury brand, or anywhere in between. This strategic positioning has a profound influence on the organization’s operations and decision-making process. It affects everything from strategic choices like hiring, marketing, and distribution, to operational aspects such as packaging and quality control.
The Role of Top Management in Guiding Quality
To maintain alignment with strategic decisions, it is essential for top management to guide the organization effectively. Their involvement in quality goes beyond day-to-day checks and ongoing performance indicators; it encompasses strategic decisions that ensure quality is upheld. Key questions arise in this context, such as how quality is measured and what baseline levels are deemed acceptable.
These strategic questions need to be addressed at a high level to ensure the organization as a whole functions accordingly. Once these parameters are clear, the organization can execute the quality strategy with precision.
Strategic Quality Management: A Crucial Perspective
The Significance of Strategic Quality Management
Strategic Quality Management refers to a process with an aim to improve the quality of products or services to increase competitive advantage. Unfortunately, many Quality Management Systems fail to incorporate this perspective effectively. They often rely on practical checklists or vague standards, overlooking the strategic aspect. However, to truly integrate quality into the boardroom, a strategic approach is necessary.
The Role of the Quality Management System (QMS)
The Quality Management System (QMS) serves as a crucial tool for measuring and maintaining quality in line with Strategic Quality Management. It provides a practical framework within the organization for implementation and measurement. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can be defined and tracked to provide tangible evidence of the strategy’s effectiveness. The QMS encompasses all the necessary tools for monitoring and maintaining the desired quality level, with the ability to make adjustments when deviations occur. Consequently, the involvement of top management remains vital.
Implementing Strategic Quality Management: Overcoming Challenges
Bringing Quality into the Boardroom
Implementing quality management at a strategic level within the boardroom can be challenging. Board members often prioritize financial matters and may view quality as a cost center. However, there are effective methods to overcome these challenges and bring quality to the forefront.
Embracing the “Cost of Quality” Approach
One highly effective approach is to start with the concept of “Cost of Quality.” Many board members struggle to articulate the cost of quality when questioned. To address this, organizations should begin measuring the cost of quality by assigning a monetary value to non-conformities or deviations. This includes not only the material costs but also the expenses associated with new products and the disposal of deviations. By tracking the cost of quality over a quarter or two, organizations can reveal the extent of financial losses incurred.
Encouraging Reporting and Resolving Non-Conformities
Accurate data is essential for measuring and addressing quality issues. To ensure this, organizations must establish proper tools for reporting non-conformities. When these issues are resolved, profit margins are directly impacted, as the cost of quality represents lost potential revenue.
Conclusion: Striving for Quality Excellence
Implementing strategic quality management within an organization may pose challenges, but it is undoubtedly feasible. Identifying key topics that resonate with the board, such as the cost of quality, can encourage top management to get more involved and make strategic decisions that positively influence quality.
Using a QMS such as Qooling can also help you keep track of your quality management, from defining and mapping your processes to recording and tracking data.