Quality in a company

Clarity, Growth, Freedom

by Oisin Grogan

In any business, it is important to clearly delineate what the company is producing. What service or product is it making available to people and/or companies? What level of quality is that service or product? Or what quality does it need to be?

Once you have this named very exactly and have defined the level or standard required, you then have something to compare the actual physical product or service to.

From this you will be able to see what areas or parts of the organisation that are not doing their part to deliver the product. Remember part of the quality has something to do with speed as well. You can provide someone with a good product but if it took 6 weeks to get it to them when they were expecting it in one–it detracts from the quality of your overall product and service. For example: Fast food which is slow–has little or no value!

One key area where this falls down in most companies is the person or department responsible for technical services, or production logistics, or scheduling. Their job is to get all the people and materials into a space at the same time so that meaningful production can occur with minimum wasted time to the company or client. This includes scheduling, ordering supplies etc. It can be quite complicated and especially when it has been backlogged and left unorganised. This is where you have scheduling boards and make sure people are going to be at certain places at certain times. This is traditionally weak and a big killer of quality (and income).

You need to have a clear picture of how your company needs to be organised to get out your product and then make it happen in the physical universe, in spite of any push back or ‘it cannot be done’ that may occur.
What is the standard?

When you have the standard defined, you need to make sure that the people delivering it, for example a cleaning company – the cleaners, for a car factory – the factory workers, for a bank – the tellers and so on, all know WHAT the product is and what QUALITY or STANDARD they are expected to achieve. In fact all staff need to know it cold as all of their actions add up to the final product or service being produced and in the hands of the customer.

They then need to start achieving this standard in the job.

Policy and training should be written to this effect.

The policy as to quality would be different at Ferrari as opposed to Ford.

Some Tips to improve or maintain Quality:
Have your files in order in your service departments.

Make sure that verbal communication is generally avoided. If there is a chat with the client make sure it is written down and put in a folder. Or entered into a computer where all can find it. This point is very important that the particle gets into the organisation and on to a line and not floating around in people heads. That is a sure route to mess-ups as people forget to pass the data on as it is in their head.

You have to put in trays and lines in the office and lines in your electronics, computers and so on—to make sure there is a clean flow.

Another policy I would apply here is put it in writing.

If a client has an issue say thank you, please email or fax it to me. Generally people email these days but just get them to put it in writing. Develop the habit not to do anything with it unless it is in writing.

You can get your clients to sign to this when you start which is a very good idea. If it isn’t written then it isn’t true.

If you get your files in order and there are good records, then it is very easy to deliver and to see where things went wrong if they do. Also if someone has a complaint it is very easy to show them what you have done, when, to fix it.

As you can see quality of administration has much to do with QUALITY.

Make the first part of admin to name the product and the quality of it.