Every business strives to offer the best products and services to fulfill its customers’ needs and to achieve a competitive advantage in the market. For a company to meet these requirements, it has to attempt to achieve quality not just in its products and services but also in its processes and operations. A product’s or service’s standards can be assessed in terms of durability, reliability, and performance. Quality is an essential element that differentiates an enterprise from its rivals. Quality management ensures effective changes in procedures and systems, which ultimately lead to superior services and commodities. This approach aims to deliver high-quality services and products that meet the customers’ needs and legal regulations, thus increasing profitability and engagement. Organizations are often successful when they focus on quality instead of quantity.
Businesses do not just thrive on new customers but also on existing customers who stay loyal to the brand. Loyal customers also increase an organization’s profitability by providing referrals and positive reviews that attract many other consumers. Therefore, it is paramount for a company’s executives and leaders to identify quality management approaches aimed to ensure that they achieve and surpass their goals.
This presentation examines quality management tools that help enterprises achieve success. It does so by focusing on four major questions that reveal how the above-mentioned strategies help attain organizational success. The presentation will focus on the items listed below:
- The fundamental principles of quality management, with a focus on Crosby’s quality Management theory.
- An evaluation of how the ISO 9001:2015 standard enables organizations to meet their customers’ needs more efficiently. It examines how Ricon PTE Ltd has benefitted from ISO 9001: 2015.
- An Analysis of how process improvement approaches can create a culture of continuous improvement within operations. It examines how Xerox has benefitted from TQM as a quality improvement tool.
Key Principles of Quality Management
Quality Management Systems are business or organizational processes implemented to help a company deliver services and products that continuously meet the customers’ needs. An effective quality management system transforms organizational goals and purposes into resources and policies that help all stakeholders adopt Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) (Kiran, 2016). Quality Management is based on a set of principles that are listed below:
- Customer focus
- Engagement of people
- Process approach
- Continuous improvement
- Evidence-based decision making
- Relationship management
- Customer Focus
Any organization that fails to focus its operations and activities on customers is doomed to fail. Although a focus on customers is crucial, it gets lost in the quality system priorities and the different systems involved (Neyestani, 2017). Customer focus should include existing, potential, and future customers. Apart from consistently meeting or surpassing customer expectations, organizations should also consider and measure the level of customer satisfaction. Management should also track failures to meet customers’ expectations to identify and fill any gaps that may result in failure or underperformance.
Support must begin at the top management level for companies to achieve their goals and make appropriate decisions. Many organizations often fail because of poor leadership. Influential leaders should set objects for the company and support employees to help them buy into the vision (Neyestani, 2017). Managers are tasked with the duty of being an example to workers, stakeholders, and communities. Effective company heads know how to balance the employees’ needs and those of customers to achieve a joint team that ensures the smooth flow of services to the end-users (Neyestani, 2017). Managers unite their teams with the organization’s purpose, together with appreciation and praise. When the leadership teams understand an organization’s goals, they create a vision and communicate it clearly to employees to get their buy-in and align their activities with it for the enterprise’s success.
Engagement of People
An engaged team of employees is any company’s dream; this concept underscores the management’s obligation to value workers’ abilities and put them to good use. Engagement also fosters continuous improvement, discussion, and an environment that enhances and encourages learning (Neyestani, 2017). An organization with an engaged workforce often holds the staff accountable for their activities, ensuring they are motivated and empowered to achieve their maximum potential. Rather than being perceived as a place to go to each morning, the job requires all members of the organization to be engaged and active in their duties.
An effective process approach outlines the steps needed to achieve success. It means that activities are assessed as the connection between them gets identified (Neyestani, 2017). It also entails tracking opportunities for improvement and mapping out weaknesses that need to be corrected.
A practical and robust system requires transformation and change. Without improvement, organizations will yield to competition and risk maintaining the status quo, which does not inspire employees (Neyestani, 2017). Organizational capabilities and performances should be developed and implemented continuously. Management should ensure that improvement initiatives align with organizational goals, with staff members empowered to make contributions to the process. Improvements should be measured and celebrated. It is essential to acknowledge work well done.
Evidence-Based Decision Making
Gut feelings and irrational thinking are not always the best way for a company to achieve success. Instead, reliance on accurate and relevant data during decision-making procedures is critical for achieving success. Companies should ensure that all information is correct, reliable, and accessible (Neyestani, 2017). This data should be analyzed carefully before basing any decision on it. Data analysis should be aligned with practical activities to make a sufficient balance.
People are the most critical assets in any organization. As such, the relationships between distributors, employees, management, and other stakeholders are crucial. Leaders should identify the information and plans that help them create effective interconnections that foster positive interactions among employees, suppliers, and consumers (Neyestani, 2017). Managers should aim to promote appropriate relationships with all the people involved with the organization, including suppliers, workers, and other stakeholders, to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts. Recognizing team members and stakeholders for their successes goes a long way in creating proper workplace relations (Neyestani, 2017). Significant and sustained relationships result in higher workers engagements, improved performance, increased employee retention, and a more motivated and driven workforce.
A Critique of Phillip Crosby’s Theory
Phillip Crosby’s theory of quality management focuses on Doing It Right the First Time. This theory is the answer to any quality issues that a company may be facing. Crosby emphasized that quality is neither immeasurable nor intangible (Androniceanu, 2017). Instead, it is a strategic tool that can be measured, quantified, and implemented to improve bottom-line processes. Acceptable defects or quality levels are traditional quality control tools and they serve as evidence of potential failure as opposed to guarantees of success (Androniceanu, 2017). Crosby places great emphasis on prevention as opposed to cure and inspection.
Crosby’s theory’s goal is to ensure that companies meet their goals on the first attempt, on time, and every single time (Androniceanu, 2017). He believed that management is responsible for poor levels of quality because they set the tone for success and quality from the senior-most levels (Androniceanu, 2017). Crosby’s quality approach is unambiguous. He believes that high, low, good, and poor quality are all meaningless theories because the true meaning of quality lies in the conformance to goals and requirements (Androniceanu, 2017). Non-conforming processes are procedures that leadership fails to control or specify—non-conformance results from not doing things right the first time and not eliminating any defects during operations.
Crosby advocates for zero defects; however, this does not mean that companies or people will never make mistakes. Instead, organizations should not start processes with sub-standard targets or allowances with errors or mistakes as an expectation (Androniceanu, 2017). On the contrary, duties and operations should be considered and a series of processes and activities defined by clear regulations and standards to produce specific outcomes (Androniceanu, 2017). Crosby’s theory is faulty because it focuses on zero defects. Crosby does not believe that managers should factor in errors or mistakes the first time. However, factoring in errors is an essential part of achieving effectiveness because then managers can search for ways of dealing with or resolving them and budgeting for them. Errors are inevitable, and discrediting their likelihood is a recipe for disaster.
ISO 9001:2015 is an international measure aimed at achieving Quality Management Systems. The standard outlines a model for improving overall quality and a framework of clarity for any company producing products or services that continuously meet the needs and expectations of its customers and other stakeholders most effectively and efficiently (Bravi, Murmura, and Santos, 2019). ISO 9001:2015 does not dictate how organizational objectives should be made or ways of achieving them. This means that the standard does not tell any business how to conduct its operations. It is an extremely flexible standard that allows companies to define their objectives on how to adhere to the standard (Bravi, Murmura, and Santos, 2019). It delineates the principles that can be utilized to enhance efficiency by streamlining and aligning processes throughout the organization to reduce costs, create unique opportunities, comply with regulatory standards, and help firms expand into markets where clients require ISO 9001 certification (Bravi, Murmura, and Santos, 2019).
ISO 9001: 2015 helps organizations meet their customers’ needs in various ways. First major clients often require companies and suppliers to be ISO certified. Therefore, certification can help bring new businesses and help customers identify and access what they demand. Secondly, in a global economy, certified organizations are more dependable and trustworthy with an increased supply chain (Miguel et al., 2019). An increased supply chain ensures that a company has access to various products and services from which customers can choose. ISO certification helps improve customer relationships, improve processes, improve internal communication, and enhance supplier relationships (Miguel et al., 2019). Such improvements foster great relationships with customers and ensure that they trust the company’s processes and intentions. ISO 9001:2015 also focuses on finding gaps and root causes of various problems so that a company can account for them and correct them continuously.
When management identifies problems, they aim to resolve them to better address customers’ needs. For example, ISO can help a company realize that it has low sales because its promotional messages do not sit well with customers or appear to be fraudulent (Miguel et al., 2019, p. 33). In such cases, the company will design its promotional messages better to reach its customers and meet their needs. As such, customers can be assured of quality products that are sensitive to their needs and safety.
Similar to lean processes, ISO 9001: 2015 also focuses on eliminating wasteful business processes and reducing operational costs (Bravi, Murmura, and Santos, 2019). This means that organizations should identify practices and processes that eliminate wasteful practices. As such, businesses can save a lot of money and resources and instead focus on producing quality products. When businesses incur little losses and reduced operational costs, they can produce goods and services at lower costs, which is highly beneficial to customers (Bravi, Murmura, and Santos, 2019). Most customers want cheap products, but quality, ad ISO helps organizations to meet this need.
ISO 9001:2015 also offers a roadmap for building continuous improvement and defining companies’ strategic plans. This roadmap acts as a guide to employees, suppliers, leaders, and stakeholders to help them focus on quality and organizational goals (Bravi, Murmura, and Santos, 2019). As such, it allows for the creation of clear and effective communication approaches, where all functions of the company align. A cohesive workforce works hard to produce products and services that meet customer needs, create satisfied customers, and foster loyalty and trust.
How ISO 9001: 2015 has benefitted Ricon PTE Limited
Ricon PTE Limited is an authorized trader and distributor of New Holland, Kobelco, Mitsui Seiki, and NPK products in Singapore, including used spare parts and industrial equipment. The company has benefitted significantly from achieving ISO certification. First, the company has observed improved efficiency since it acquired the certification (Ricon Private Limited, no date). Since implementing ISO 9001: 2015, there has been a significant shift in focus as employees and management focus on the entire business to determine how their activities interact with processes (Ricon Private Limited, no date). Stakeholders are learning how to actively identify gaps that could give rise to problems with the final products and services (Ricon Private Limited, no date). This process means that they can identify inefficiencies and address them immediately, thus ensuring that operations flow smoothly.
Secondly, the company has also acquired qualified suppliers. The company deals with services that require the vetting of suppliers need valid ISO 9001 certification (Ricon Private Limited, no date This certification has enabled the company to vet suppliers effectively and acquire well-qualified and skilled workers to do business with it (Ricon Private Limited, no date). The certification has also made the company become perceived as a reputable source in terms of delivering products and services that exceed customer expectations.
Lastly, ISO certification has led to the implementation of continuous improvement initiatives within Ricon PTE Ltd. The certification has helped the company to stay laser-focused on improving processes. This happens because the standard requires risk-based thinking from all organizational members to evaluate risks and potential improvement opportunities (Ricon Private Limited, no date). This practice has empowered employees who may have better insights into the day-to-day processes and offer solutions to achieve more consistent results and better performance.
Process Improvement Approaches
Maintaining high-performance levels and improving quality processes are crucial factors in any organization’s success. For over three decades, there have been different interests and applications of different approaches aimed to enhance better company procedures. The primary process improvement strategy used by several organizations to improve their processes is the total quality management technique (Afzal et al., 2016). The total quality management process involves a variety of methodologies for process improvement. These include Lean Six Sigma, Lean, Six Sigma, Re-engineering, Agile Management, Just-In-Time, Poka-yoka, Process Excellence, Kaizen, and Hoshin Planning (Afzal et al., 2016). In terms of process improvement, the strategy that works best for an organization largely depends on its existing needs (Afzal et al., 2016). However, for a company to keep growing, it is essential to continually enhance its business processes efficiency. Continuous improvement approaches can help a company to create a culture of constant improvement in several ways. These are discussed below.
Increased Efficiency and Productivity
Continual process improvements can help reduce deficiencies and eventually increase team members’ effectiveness (Vasconcellos et al., 2017). Companies will monitor success measures and evolve processes using process management methods without minimizing how teams operate (Vasconcellos et al., 2017). Reports and metrics give an insight into patterns for shortfalls to be eliminated, challenges expected, and workflow methods adapted to boost efficiency.
Faster Marketing Time
Improving the operations of software apps and other services will allow businesses to manufacture more efficiently with tools such as Gantt chart and Kanban boards (Vasconcellos et al., 2017). Scrum teams, Kanban teams, and team members can attain a continuing flow of benefits through earlier detection of challenges and quicker resolutions for them.
Process improvement will result in higher quality products and accelerated growth (Vitharanage et al., 2019). For example, businesses can be best sustained by deploying correct testing methods that only when efficiency, protection, incorporation, and other questions are settled will goods advance to development.
The creation and timely distribution of superior quality goods will result in more satisfied customers (Vitharanage et al., 2019). Satisfied consumers are also loyal customers who contribute to increased company sales.
Improved Staff Morale
Employees are strongly discouraged by inefficient procedures (Vasconcellos et al., 2017). Who would like to be part of a failure mechanism that contributes to frustration? When you start to feel all your efforts are overwhelmed by the failures of a system, poor business processes can cause even the most hard-working workers to decrease their morale.
Process improvement approaches can differentiate companies from their competitors. Differentiation aims to ensure that competitors do not process, design, or manufacture products in a company’s plants (Vasconcellos et al., 2017). It also keeps them from distributing or selling products exactly as a company does, and that is where a company can develop its uniqueness that yields a competitive advantage.
Xerox Use of TQM
Xerox Corporation Limited is a U.S.-based company that sells and distributes print and digital document products and services in over 160 countries. The company provides management technology documents such as photocopiers, multi-function peripherals, printers, and other related services (Yu, Park, and Hong, 2020). In 2015, Xerox introduced TQM as a strategy to enhance process improvement and, according to Yu, Park, and Hong (2020), the company has reaped significant benefits from the approach. First, TQM’s introduction was a tactical change that sought to ensure that the company’s copiers follow a unique and new market segment that identifies and fulfills customer tastes and preferences (Yu, Park, and Hong, 2020). The company chose to focus on quality instead of fixating on prices and cheaper products than its competitors. The focus on quality created a continuous improvement culture, with all departments continuously seeking to produce products that surpass their competitors in quality (Yu, Park, and Hong, 2020).
As such, Xerox is now known as a brand that produces quality products. Customers who seek quality opt for Xerox products; this has made the company a global giant in quality production. Additionally, TQM enabled Xerox to secure a top-tier position within the industry’s ranking with regard to quality (Yu, Park, and Hong, 2020). Through TQM, Xerox has leaped ahead of the innovation curve and can now defend its brand image. TQM has enhanced the culture of continuous improvement by enabling team members to design long-lasting and well-functioning products (Yu, Park, and Hong, 2020). Xerox uses TQM to manage company results. This has created a culture of continuous improvement because all departments and units in the firm focus on results and processes of achieving them. TQM has helped the company improve its business and how it relates to employees, suppliers, and customers (Yu et al., 2020). This culture of continuous improvement has helped Xerox to regain its glorious past, where it has a significant market share in its industry.
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Androniceanu, A. (2017) ‘The three-dimensional approach of Total Quality Management, an essential strategic option for business excellence’, Amfiteatru Economic, 19(44), pp. 61–78.
Bravi, L., Murmura, F., and Santos, G. (2019) ‘The ISO 9001: 2015 quality management system standard: companies’ drivers, benefits, and barriers to its implementation’, Quality Innovation Prosperity, 23(2), pp. 64–82.
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Miguel Ciravegna Fonseca, L. et al. (2019) ‘ISO 9001: 2015 adoption: a multi-country empirical research’, Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management, 12(1), pp. 27–50.