In a productive learning organisation quality is built-in. Creating a high-quality product or service is inherent in the productive organisation because it is the organisation itself that is the focus of the quality standards, not just its products and services.
Nature doesn't have quality standards. Nature is continuously evolving, adapting and learning how to survive and thrive.
For many businesses, they miss out on this vital element in their business operations. They stick to the status quo on products or services, as opposed to continually improving through a focus on quality standards.
Productive quality then refers to the idea of using quality standards to actively boost business productivity.
How Can Improving Quality Standards Boost Business Productivity?
The commonly used definition of quality is perhaps much of the problem in the way we run our businesses today.
We see “quality” as “fitness for purpose”.
It suggests a minimum level of quality is sufficient and that it can be measured and that somebody needs to measure it.
Tesla are a great example of how we should be looking at quality standards. While creating their self-driving car, Musk said they were very close and were “working on the long tail of problems”.
This is not an absolute “fitness for purpose” quality standard that everybody is focused on. They are continuously evolving and improving. It’s what sets their products ahead of the rest.
Once they met their first requirements, they continued to exceed them. The product is ever-evolving to the Tesla Semi, Tesla Truck and so on.
This makes the company an excellent example of a productive organisation where quality is a journey, not a goal or a minimum standard.
Automotive isn’t the only industry that can reap the rewards of productive quality standards by any means. In a manufacturing setting, components need to conform to specification otherwise they won’t fit together and work as intended. In a service organisation, a problem needs a solution, if it doesn't address the problem, it fails.
Operational excellence doesn't come from focusing on quality standards seen in the traditional sense. It comes from continuously looking for ways to improve the ways things get done.
ISO 9001 is a quality management system with over a million organisations being certified across the world. There are seven principles within ISO 9001, each of which is integral to the philosophy of the productive organisation.
Relating these seven principles to the productive organisation, they are:
- A customer focus
Recognising the importance of meeting the ever-evolving needs of the customer.
- Strong leadership
Providing a clear vision and environment within which continuous improvement can take place.
- Engagement of people
Seeking alignment between the business and its staff.
- Process improvement
Recognising that well defined and implemented processes creates consistency and the best use of time.
- Continuous improvement
Realising that business growth is a journey, not a destination
- Evidence-based decision making
Big data, clear information and regular feedback are the keys to effective decision making
- Relationship management
Suppliers, partners, customers, staff, all relationship are key to sustained and profitable growth
Using quality standards in this manner creates a more efficient, productive business that better understands customer needs with more engaged employees. Risks are reduced and customer satisfaction increases. Communications are improved and costs are reduced.
Everybody in the business has a much better understanding of how the business works and how to improve it. Ultimately, it allows for a more productive business that stays ahead of the competition with increased innovation creating new opportunities.
Other Benefits of Improved Quality
There are many other benefits to improved quality standards, all intrinsically linked to business productivity. These include:
- Improved brand authority
- Increased brand awareness
- Increased word of mouth marketing
- Higher demand
- Lower costs from less waste or returns
- Fewer customer complaints
- Potentially higher selling prices
Become a Productive Organisation
Awardaroo can help your business become a more productive organisation. Transforming quality standards from a bare minimum to a process of continual improvement is just one of the steps of our business improvement programme.