In times of stress or crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, quality management becomes more important than ever for all businesses, small and large.
Effective quality management is doubly important when businesses are cash-strapped and customers are wary. Many businesses simply can’t afford quality mistakes.
Quality failures in 2020
This year, we witnessed how missteps in both US and Chinese quality management led to unnecessary delays, loss of trust and national embarrassment.
In the United States, a “glaring scientific breakdown” at a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lab delayed the provision of tests kits.
It was “a terrible black mark on the CDC and the impact was devastating to the country”, a former CDC officer told The Washington Post.
Similarly, the export of masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) from China was delayed following quality complaints from countries worldwide.
China’s market regulators were forced to inspect nearly 16 million businesses. They seized more than 89 million masks and 418,000 pieces of protective equipment.
Need for careful reputation management in 2020
At a time of crisis, audiences are especially critical of companies’ behaviour.
Tolerance is low for businesses that make mistakes.
Also, with more people at home than ever before, customers are online and ready to spread critical messages at high speed.
Operating close to margins due to the pandemic
Businesses of all sizes are under financial pressure and need to focus on protecting cash flow.
It’s always better to fix quality mistakes early rather than later.
For example, this can mean the difference between:
- a simple reconfiguration of a process and the need for a full product recall
- early reworking and having a product rejected by a customer
- early correction of a fault and having a product cause direct harm
- an internal adjustment and a massive PR scandal.
Need for agility and quick turnarounds
Because of the pandemic, many businesses have been forced to change their ways of operating, quickly moving online and putting new strategies in place.
Others have completely repurposed their operations, for example, by starting to manufacture urgently needed items of PPE.
Post-pandemic survival will depend on fast, efficient responses.
With no extended time for learning by trial and error, quality management becomes more important than usual.
How can isoTracker help?
isoTracker helps business maintain quality standards by offering modular, subscription-based quality management software that’s secure, cloud-based and affordable.
It includes a document-control module, as well as complaints management, audit management and training modules, with built-in CAPA capabilities.
Digital quality management is a straightforward way for small to medium manufacturing businesses to start realizing value from Industry 4.0 – and with isoTracker’s QMS, it’s easy and cost-effective to implement.