Evolving up the quality rung, being GOOD with quality


Posted on: March 2020

Chaplin's brilliant depiction of modern assembly with instruments and arms seemingly fiying all over the place is thankfully a thing of the past with quality conscious and process and systems driven organisations. The quality movement has ensured the harmony of man, machine and mind in the manufacturing space to produce quality, often with zero defects. Conscious organisations do not only want to be GOOD but better and then the best across all parameters of quality assessment

Governance: Being good with quality begins with excellence in governance, which is really getting the basics right over identifying roles and responsibilities in the workspace. Leaders are undeniably equipped for their positions to drive the organisational vision around quality.

Operational excellence: This follows, driven by strategy and oversight. Accountability in execution and employee buy-in are critical to this process. Even if there are slip-ups, there is a system to quickly detect and set it right while analysing how things went wrong. This is about empowering management to address the aftershock of a quality faultline.

Organisational maturity: This is achieved by steadfast commitment to quality, ensuring that quality parameters are a part of the workspace. In today's day and age, there is a massive possibility of using digital technologies to ensure precision and perfection down the line from decision making to engineering to marketing.

At this stage, quality is much more than delighting the customer or competent employee engagement; it is morethan quality in research that will be granular enough to drive manufacturing and marketing through insights; itwill drive talent management and workspace layout; it willeven guide product design and sales strategy. Indeed, it will be the defining paradigm that elevates an organisation to a position where it can disrupt the competitive space in which it operates to achieve dominance over competition and ensure absolute delight for customers.

Being BETTER: The quality route

As the pursuit of quality becomes an accepted agenda for all professional organisations, it becomes increasingly clear to them that the pursuit induces several collateral benefits at vital links within the company's value chain. Organisations evolving up the quality ladder perceive that escalating the quality pursuit brings down the cost for driving quality. Eventually, quality more than pays for itself. McKinsey has an interesting phrase for the process "Higher quality output, lower cost of quality" but quality is much more and it is important to appreciate this pursuit in its totality to get a sense of its real value. At one level it is the sheer motivational impact that brings perfect product quality, which gets driven by operational efficiency, enhanced customer satisfaction and increasing employee commitment which in turn gets spurred by excitement of better productivity nurtured by the innovative spirit that quality engenders. Because quality is an all-encompassing phenomenon, it means injecting the quality mantra across the board, even if some specific areas are taken up for focused application.

In the final analysis, the application has to be balanced across functions, it has to be embedded into the organisational psyche, it must be transparent, extract true value, it must excite the employees and quietly revolutionise the operations. Only this makes things BETTER- Balanced, Embedded, Transparent, True value capture, Exciting and Revolutionising.

Being the BEST: only quality empowers

There are some fundamental truths about quality. While quality may well be about keeping things simple and doing things right the first time, organisations are known to struggle with this construct. This is essentially because the world in which quality is being injected is far from simple, beginning with the organisational mindset that is the most complex. Essentially, everyone demands the best returns from the operations without making the right contributions to the process.

The ownership wants better margins; the employee wants better emoluments; the customer wants the best value for money, the government wants more revenues and the environment demands a completely green organisation. Not all the technology nor data can make this uncomplicated; only a commitment to quality across the board can.

To be the BEST, organisations must therefore:

Enhance the operational culture: This is essential for quality commitment through systems and processes with external support, if necessary. Modern day enterprises have zero margin for error and indeed the truemeasure of the quality quotient is the stakeholder’s wnership of the quality function. The organisational lingua franca must be quality and peer and stakeholder assessment must also be in terms of quality.

Build on the quality motivation: Every stakeholder has to be onboarded on to the quality value and processes if the organisation has to meaningfully engage with quality. The roadmap will vary from organisation to organisation and include pofessional mentoring as quality is to be driven down the entire value chain, including vendors and suppliers.

Sustain every aspect of the value chain: This can be achieved through cross functional co-operation and quality mentorship from company leadership and specialists. It is how the leadership communicates its quality vision that will determine ow it invigorates functions down the line, extending into the company's external worldand ensuring that the pursuit of quality is a aturally sustainable roposition. It is not just a matter of routine qualitycompliance, it is making quality' core to all technical, safety, environmental and even statutory compliances.

Transform the business: This can be achieved by using insights secured from state-of-the-art use of data to enhance quality-inspired productivity across the value chain. Indeed, it is for the quality department to facilitate the digital drive, using significant data generated knowledge refined by analytics to impact operational efficiency, from manufacturing to marketing and extending them across the workspace.

Quality management programmes for internal and external audiences must be constantly upgraded using digital tools for true organisational transformation that helps companies dominate the competitive environment. This is when the joy of being the BEST becomes the main motivator of 3600 organisational excellence.