Quality management is a principle that ensures quality in a company's products and services. There are various types of quality management programs which include but are not limited to Six Sigma, Theory of Constraints and TQM (Total Quality Management). Although the approach to solving quality issues vary with the different quality management programs, the goal remains the same--to create a high quality, high-performing product or service that meets and exceeds the customers' expectations. Quality management is important to companies for a variety of reasons.
Quality management ensures product quality. Some primary aspects of product quality include: performance, reliability and durability. Through the use of a quality management program, the company can produce a product that performs according to its stated promises. The will endure normal, everyday use. Use quality management programs to improve the quality of a product and to design new products. Six Sigma has a specific component called DFSS (Design for Six Sigma) which is a methodology to build Six Sigma quality into a product or service.
Quality management ensures customer satisfaction. Conduct customer satisfaction surveys to understand the qualities of the product important to the customer. Also conduct surveys with those who are not the company's customers. This will also provide insight into why these businesses use the services of the competitor. Use customer surveys to target those features of a product or service that need improvement. The quality management program provides a methodology to use to create the type of product the customer desires.
Quality products and services give the company a spotless reputation in the industry. This reputation allows the company to gain new customers and sell additional products and services to existing customers. A quality management program also removes inefficient processes within the system. By removing unnecessary processes, employee productivity increases. The employee is spending less time on activities that do not contribute to the product's quality. As a result, the employee is producing more work in less time while the company has not increased the salary. Quality management programs help recapture lost monies due to inefficiencies.
A quality management program helps companies reduce waste. Companies that house inventory are paying for the storage, management and tracking of the inventory. The costs of having the inventory are built into the price of the product. Implementing a quality management program reduces the amount of inventory that costs the company money and occupies valuable space. Quality management means that there is a systematic approach to keeping inventories at acceptable levels without incurring waste. Work closely with suppliers to manage inventory using a Just-in-Time (JIT) philosophy. In short, a JIT inventory system helps the suppliers and manufacturer remain in close communication to become more responsive to the customer.
Quality management systems force company departments to work as a team. Different areas of the company become reliant upon one another to produce a quality product that meets and exceeds the customers' expectations. A quality system incorporates measures that affect sales, finance, operations, customer service and marketing. The balanced scorecard is a one-stop-shop for evaluating how various departments are operating against their performance expectations. Use the balanced scorecard to show how close the company is to the financial, operational, customer service and learning/growth targets.
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