Surely implementing a process of quality assurance within your organisation is an obvious and logical thing to do! Far from being considered extra paperwork or even red tape, this is one step you can take which practically guarantees business growth.
One assumes that the entire purpose of your organisation is to sell a product or service, or both? In order to do that, you need customers. One can also safely assume that you’d like the business to be successful – and that requires satisfied customers.
So, in order to consistently produce the standard of production and service your customers demand, you need a globally recognised quality assurance system, and the very best would have to be Quality Management System ISO 9001.
Key Factors in Business Success
Business success is made up of several key factors, including quality goods and services; sound environmental management, and excellent workplace safety, and all of these are covered by International Standards.
The standards are designed to make these management systems an integral part of your operation, rather than an add-on that only happens when someone has the time.
You could even describe Quality Management System ISO 9001 as a mindset, that needs to be carried through your entire operation.
Of course, quality assurance management systems don’t happen overnight. There is a process, a set of steps that need to be taken to achieve the desired outcome. And the first step has to be recognising that change is needed.
When somebody has put their heart and soul into launching a business, it can be very hard to admit that there are serious problems that need rectifying. But left unattended, these problems can and will cause the business to fail.
Quality assurance should be a given; a business’s goal is to satisfy the customer, and a quality assurance management system will help achieve that goal.
Setting and Achieving Goals
Part of that first step is identifying those goals; understanding how everyone within the organisation plays a role in achieving the goals, and recognising which parts of the organisation are already contributing to those goals.
The next step is to take the bits that are working, and add to them, creating a management system that directly relates to quality assurance within your organisation. Whilst all businesses share common goals and challenges, this needs to be tailor-made for your requirements.
Now ask yourself what needs to be done, changed or put in place to allow that management system to successfully operate. Obviously the most important one is the product or service itself. And that needs to be great.
Perfecting the System
Supporting the product are things like an efficient and cost-effective production system, strong management, excellent staff morale, a sound financial system, customer support, and so on. If these aren’t put in place now, how will you be able to manage them, and know whether or not they are working?
It’s also important to recognise at this point that there are many human elements involved in your organisation, and all stakeholders need to be on board and happy. These include you, as the business owner, your management team, your other employees, your customers, your suppliers, your contractors, your outlets, your investors.
With your goals established, and your team in place – preferably backed up by professional quality assurance consultants, such as Standard Consulting in Brisbane, here comes the hard part. You need to really listen to feedback, in order to improve. At this point, all criticism, all complaints, should be seen as constructive.
Listen to Feedback
You need to proactively seek this feedback: organise surveys or focus groups; phone clients and ask for their opinions; contact former customers to understand why they left, and review all complaints.
Only when you have identified and understood the problem can you come up with a solution.
Part of that solution will be training, so that everybody within your organisation understands how Quality Management System ISO 9001 works. You may have to expand your workforce, or move staff around within the organisation to find their strengths.
Improving your Bottom Line
You may need to change your production methods, if the fault lies there. Or it could be the quality of the materials that is the problem, which means a change of supplier. Is the problem in the packaging or distribution? Is there one simple change that could make the product better suited to its purpose?
All of these need to be incorporated in your quality management system, and then continually monitored and tweaked to get them perfect. A usual aid to achieving this is appointing, or training existing members of staff as internal auditors. Unlike the third party or external auditors who will assess you for ISO certification, internal auditors report to you and your management, enabling you to be certification-ready.
The advantages of going down this road are many, and all will affect your bottom line. You will not only stop losing customers to the competition, but will gain new customers, too, through word-of-mouth promotion. You will also reduce your production costs and wastage, and possibly find more cost effective ways of working.