Successful organizations understand the importance of managing organizational quality.
But before quality can be managed it needs to be defined. What is quality?
Employees should understand how the organization defines quality and the importance of maintaining high-quality services and products.
They also need to know how what they do impacts products and services.
For instance, employees need to understand that products absent from defects and services that exceed customer expectations are the cornerstone for a quality organization.
This is done by creating internal systems to control product and service quality.
Quality Management System Defined (ASQ):
“The organizational structure, processes, procedures, and resources needed to implement, maintain, and continually improve quality management.”
4 Steps to Developing a Quality Management System
1. Create a Written Document That Defines Quality
Quality is determined by how it is defined and measured.
Create a document that articulates the organization’s commitment to quality products and services.
These policies provide specific detail as to what falls under the scope of organizational quality, what it looks like, and how it is measured.
For instance, quality for a call center may be defined as an organizational expectation for superior customer service on the phone and measured by wait times, hold times, and abandoned call rates.
This document should outline what quality looks like for every process, product, and service.
2. Develop Procedures
Employees work best when they have specific step-by-step procedures to follow.
The more complex the system the more specific policies and procedures need to be. Develop procedures for the users of the system.
Write procedures and answer the questions: who, what, where, and when.
Employees are trained to use these detailed procedures and are monitored for consistency in practice.
3. Develop Instructions
Create work instructions for how the work should be done.
All jobs should have detailed job descriptions that articulate job expectations.
Use process maps to identify steps in the process and job aids to provide a visual for proper completion of a job task.
For instance, if the call center has a storage area, use printed signage to show where supplies are kept or laminated instructions for answering the telephone.
Take the time to provide these visual reminders to help employees maintain consistency in practice.
4. Collect Data
Create processes for collecting data to monitor if work is being done according to policies and procedures (evidence).
Once you determine what data you want to collect, create a process to collect, store, and report it.
Assign responsibility to one person to track, analyze, and report results.
For instance, a call center phone system should be able to provide a wealth of data that shows wait times, hold times, abandoned call rates as well as recordings of employees interacting with customers.
Use this data to create improvement plans and training programs.
Organizations that are able to manage the quality of their products and services have an advantage over the competition.
This high-quality standard reduces or eliminates product defects and service blunders.
Take the time to evaluate your quality efforts and create a process to manage and control product and service quality. Your customers will be glad you did!