In today’s world, expecting consistent and high quality products and services is taken for granted, but it wasn’t always so. Although the beginnings of quality management date back to the middle ages, it wasn’t until the early 20th century that it was developed and codified into a strict discipline. Like so many developments, quality control was thrust into relevance during a time of conflict, playing an important part in both World Wars by ensuring dependable munitions and procedures.
Ironically, emphasis on quality control management was the key to reinvigorating the Japanese economy in the 1970’s and 1980’s, which had been struggling since the end of World War II. Japanese companies produced such high quality products that American businesses started investing heavily in quality management to “catch up” to the Japanese.
The importance of a robust quality management system is now recognized not just as a way to check off a trendy requirement, but as a way to ensure growth as an organization. Here are some of the main areas that a robust quality management system can improve in your business.
Inconsistent operations are the enemy of an effective Quality Management System (QMS). Without standardized operations, your organization cannot consistently ensure the quality of products or improve efficiency. Business researchers have found that inconsistent business processes can have five times more negative impact on the customer than the delivery of an inferior product. In highly regulated industries, inconsistent processes which result in unreliable product quality can have particularly severe consequences.
Continuous improvement is among the core principles of ISO 9001 and other quality management systems. ISO writes that “continual improvement should be a permanent objective of the organization.” When adopting a QMS leads to cultural change, embracing the principle of improvement can have lasting benefits to the organization such as stronger performance, strategic leadership, and staff engagement. Continuous improvement should be a primary objective for every member of the workforce to adopt the principles of gradual improvement and breakthrough improvement.
Evidence-Based Decision Making
An effective QMS should create standardization where standardized processes add value, and promote flexibility when needed to achieve quality objectives or continuous improvement. Evidence-based decision making can benefit the organization by removing subjectivity from leadership. The real-time use of data can facilitate continuous improvement toward strategic goals.
Research has established that many organizations achieve a direct financial return on QMS implementation. An ISO literature review of 42 studies identified several reasons QMS support profitability. Internal, external, and signaling benefits all collectively contribute to stronger financial performance. For instance, increased efficiency and lower productivity costs are a direct result of a strong QMS. In many cases, increases in sales and access to new markets are directly correlated with an increase in a culture of quality.
Advantages of Having a Robust QMS
- Reduction of excess scrap and waste material created by inefficient manufacturing processes
- Reduction of rework on defective or damaged products before they ship to market
- Reduction of external costs that can include those associated with lawsuits, recalls, warranties, complaints, returns, repairs, and field support
Disadvantages of Not Having a Robust QMS
- Decreased employee engagement
- Higher employee turnover and attrition
- Resources spent on addressing Quality failures instead of focusing on Quality improvement through innovation
- Overtime costs
- Machine downtime
- Long-term customer dissatisfaction
- Brand damage
- Poor inventory turnover
- Decreased customer lifetime value
YOU CAN’T INSPECT QUALITY INTO A PRODUCT!
At Valens Project Consulting, we have helped dozens of companies establish robust Quality Management Systems and the results speak for themselves, so reach out and schedule your free operational audit and ensure that your investment in a culture of quality will increase your bottom line.
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