How to build great Quality Control (QC) into your organisation
Quality: it's one of those overused words we apply to everything – homes, food, fabrics, cars, relationships; you name it, in some way we try to attach quality to it.
Quality implies excellence, value and worth. It sets the standard, a standard either defined by our environment, or a standard we define ourselves. The quality of our business needs to be defined both internally and externally according to what we expect of ourselves and what the market expects of us. We define those standards, set them as a basis for our operation, and then maintain them. That, in a nutshell, is the process of Quality Control.
Neglect Quality Control at your peril
A business without quality control is like an IKEA wall cabinet without instructions: it can't be built. Quality control is the foundation upon which we construct our entire operation. We design, build and maintain the standards we want to keep, be they for ISO certification or to meet the ever-changing whims of our customers.
What standards will you set as the benchmark for your business? To begin your quality control journey you need to design a road map; basically complete directions all employees must follow to get you where you want to go. Your road map will incorporate all the quality aspects you want to focus on and improve – product standards, service, professionalism, core competencies, integrity, team spirit and so on. If you're seeking ISO accreditation, you'll need a specific road map to prepare you for an ISO audit. Analyse each core aspect of your business in detail, the standard you wish to reach, and the path you need to take to get there.
Anything new that challenges people and takes them out of their comfort zone can create friction, so that's the first thing you have to deal with – staff resistance. Communicate clearly and positively from the start about goals and the reasons for them so employees buy into your quality control strategy. Monitor and manage each element of your strategy regularly. Assess whether you're on track and deal with any obstacles you encounter quickly even if it means re-evaluating the desired result. Above all, remain objective and believe in the ultimate outcome
Once you've achieved your quality control targets, the work is far from over. This is a time when everyone breathes a sigh of relief and standards can relax. Remember, the reason you embarked on a quality control program in the first place was to maximise the competitiveness of your business. Now that you're fighting fit and competing, it's critical to maintain your fitness, assess and reassess.
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