6 Trends in Quality Management to Consider for Your Business
In today’s business scenario, there is a lot of emphasis on quality management. High quality products and services are not just client requirements, but help organizations to enhance their sales and revenue, and reduce the cost of operations; especially, it helps to reduce defects in finished products/ services, reduce the reworks required due to these defects, and to reduce the rejection or replacement of products by the customer. Today, businesses know the importance of quality management and consciously make efforts to maintain a stringent quality standard for their products and services.
These days many businesses require their suppliers to be ISO 9001 certified, which ensures a certain minimum quality standard for the material and services they receive. For high quality products and services, first it is important to get the processes right. Hence, businesses these days pay a lot of attention to quality management. Quality is no longer just a side department, but it increasingly plays the holistic role at strategic level to improve processes and quality standards, within and across various functions. Companies that do not have internal capabilities, may hire third party experts and auditors for internal company audits and inspections for certifications such as ISO, lean operations, six sigma, etc.
To know the recent developments and trends in the quality management and how it shall help your business, keep reading!
Quality as a Way of Life for Businesses
For your business, quality should not be only the responsibility of the quality department. It should be a way of life for all the people of all the designations working across functions in the company. Proper standard operating procedures (SOP) and checklists should be implemented, wherever required and wherever possible. Quality must be the core component of any process, project or function throughout the company and business.
Integrated Quality Approach
Quality management in silos may not bring required results for your business. Hence, it is important to have an integrated, holistic and a centrally well-coordinated quality approach, encompassing all the functions and processes, as well as inter-function processes. Developing IT infrastructure and utilizing enterprise quality management software (EQMS) shall go a long way to ensure better coordination among various functions; get information and updates across functions; increase transparency; and ensure proper documentation, record updates and knowledge sharing.
Strategic Role of Quality Department
Quality should play an important role at a strategic level. As a business leader, you may consider introducing well-coordinated and centrally monitored quality management initiatives such as lean principles or Six Sigma. However, it should not be done randomly, but in a well planned out manner. Priority processes should be identified and pilot project run to see the efforts required and the results achieved – in terms of improvement of processes, output quality, reduced efforts and costs, impact on revenue, etc. Once, you are satisfied with the results achieved and you gain proper experience in implementation then it should be rolled out throughout the organization, across processes and functions. Quality management experts and consultants as well as ISO consultants and auditors are likely to play an important strategic role to improve overall quality standards of the company.
Stringent Quality Standards Across Value Chain
It is not only important to enhance the quality management in your company, but also to partner with the competent suppliers and vendors, who have highest quality standards for their products and services. This shall provide you with the high quality input material and services, in line with the quality standards of your final products and services for your customers.
Adoption of Quality 4.0
You should start to look at the possibility of adoption of Quality 4.0 for your businesses through the application of digital technologies for quality management. Application of technologies such as Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Cloud Computing, Block Chain, Data Science, etc. shall ensure the real-time data and information, enhance coordination, lead to better decision making, and improve forecasts along with predictive analytics. Investment in the technology or buying/ renting third party tools along with employee training for the use of digital technology, shall be highly important.
Minimum Environmental Impact
Along with quality management, it is important to handle the processes and wastes to ensure minimum carbon footprint and minimum effects on the environment. You should work to ensure that your overall quality framework also includes environmental sustainability. For MSME sector, the Government of India also have initiatives such as ZED (Zero Effect, Zero Defect) Certification, which you may consider for your business, in case you own a business or are a business leader working for MSME sector.