Is Quality Management a Fix All for Every Improvement Issue?

Is Quality Management a Fix All for Every Improvement Issue?
November 12, 2014 seouser

Why a Targeted, Integrated Quality Management Plan is Always Best

Quality is important – we all know that. But when focus is narrowed down too much, other improvement areas are overlooked. This is especially true when quality is broken down into a sub-system along with safety, environmental and other defined areas. Of course each is important – an integrated approach that encompasses a wider focus range however can often be far more effective. Here are some reasons why this is the case:

  • Limiting your strategy focus can have a negative effect on overall improvement. When goals are narrowed down too much, there is a greater risk of reduced performance that arises when focus is put on one area over another. By taking a step back and seeing the bigger picture however, it becomes easier to plan ahead and deal with each issue in a more holistic manner.
  • A limited focus can result in potential problems being overlooked. If you compare a business to navigating a ship, it goes without saying that if the crew is all focusing on keeping the engine running efficiently with no-one there to keep a look out on the bridge, collisions and other issues would be very hard to avoid. Likewise, when teams are focusing entirely on quality without considering other areas of improvement such as staff training, product recalls and customer care, then problems may slip past a lot more easily.
  • Even the best quality product or service can fail if it does not meet the changing needs of your customers. It won’t matter how little your overheads are if there’s no demand for your product either. It’s all very well to have a fancy quality plan in play, but if your product or service is not ripe for your market, your plan will not have much impact. Small businesses especially need to remain dynamic, scalable and flexible in order to keep up with the changing needs of their target market, making an integrated plan that reflects this flexibility is essential.
  • Even the best quality strategy in the history of quality strategies cannot replace customer relationship management. Customer complaints management is certainly an aspect of any good quality plan, but in the long run, expecting your plan to magically solve customer issues is not ideal. Without valuable relationships and connections, customers in the current competitive market can easily go elsewhere if they are not happy. Being able to innovate, connect and provide value to customers is therefore no replacement for a complex quality strategy that is not focused on achieving these goals.
  • Forgetting about corporate social responsibility can put you behind your competitors. It may seem like an optional extra, but the value that corporate social responsibility plays for companies of all sizes should not be underestimated. Today’s business is reaching out in more ways than ever. Focusing all your efforts on company improvement without looking at how you can give back and improve external interactions will quickly show potential consumers that you are out of touch.

Make no mistake – improvement is vital for the growth of any business. But while you are busy looking at ways to get your performance goals underway, don’t forget that that truly effective quality management takes a holistic view in order to provide real improvement that is cemented across every facet of the business.