Tag Archive: quality control

Gain a Strategic Focus on Quality IF Customers are Important

April 17th, 2015
strategic focus on quality

Understand what your customers consider to be good quality before investing in unnecessary costs.

Even the founder of lean principles, Toyota, can falter on quality; thus, anyone can lose their edge – yet it is cornerstone to business success. People and companies have more choices than ever before. If you wish to remain in the race, quality must be more than an assumption; it must become a strategic focus.

1. View quality from your customer’s perspective – What matters is what your customer expects when agreeing to purchase the product or service. Be vigilant in understanding your customers’ expectations.  Remember to value what they would be willing to pay for.

2. Over delivery of quality is a problem – Sounds strange but there’s no doubt that over delivering on quality can be a significant problem. Consider the cost that goes into over delivering – eventually your price will have to account for the over delivery of quality in order to make a profit.

3. Don’t inspect; instead, build quality into the process – Although inspection will avoid customer issues, it will result in significant cost. It isn’t the best plan as inspectors are needed and issues are found after-the-fact!  Why not reverse this losing proposition and build quality into the process upfront?

4. Track key metrics – What is measured becomes the priority. Is parts per million meaningful? How about customer feedback? Start small and begin tracking what is important.

5. Quality is increasing in importance to today’s marketplace – Since cash remains king even in the recovery, people and businesses are more particular about how they spend their money and have increased expectations. Quality must be consistently high to just “be in the game” – high quality is no longer a differentiator; it is a requirement.

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Quality Tips for Manufacturers

September 11th, 2014
ensure quality

Manufacturers can no longer count on customer loyalty but they can expect customers’ continued demands for quality products and service.

Quality has seemingly fallen out of favor in terms of the number of articles and attention in industry circles; however, it remains a bedrock principle for customer service and profitability (and has arisen frequently in the negative aspect re: product quality from China manufacturers, etc.), so I thought I’d resurrect the topic and provide a few Quality Tips:

1. Focus on the customer – quality should exclusively relate to what the customer sees as quality (and what is valued by the customer in the expectation of pricing). It doesn’t matter what Manufacturing or anyone else thinks; the customer’s perception matters.

2. Focus on prevention vs. detection – There tends to be immense pressure when a quality issue arises, so it is easy to run down the path towards too much detection vs. prevention (as I learned by beginning to run down this path before my Director of Quality stopped me). Instead, take a step back and look at the big picture of how to build prevention into the process instead of making quality a separate element of the process.

3. Metrics – track your key metrics such as customer complaints and parts per million. Reviewing these trends can be enlightening and it will provide important data for decision-making.

4. Cost of quality – put some effort into understanding your cost of quality. It doesn’t have to be complex; however, understanding the cost of quality in combination with what customers’ value can provide critical information for eliminating waste and meeting/exceeding customer expectations.

5. Statistical process control – there is value in building appropriate levels of statistical process control into your quality systems. Do not go overboard; however, it is wise to do what will provide you with valuable decision-making data.

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