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Failing to meet customer expectations?

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SAI Global , an Australian leader in quality management training and certification urges businesses to meet high customer expectations by focussing not just on what they do but how they achieve their outcomes.

Given the climate of increasingly demanding customer expectations, businesses face the challenge of providing outstanding quality without hurting profit and growth.

Delivering an impressive customer result is often linked to the quality of a company’s internal operations. While most businesses understand this synergy, many fall short of having a strong quality management system (QMS) in place.

David Gray, quality management trainer at SAI Global finds it surprising that most organisations continue to operate without implementing an effective quality management system, especially when failing to do so can be detrimental to both reputation and profit. Consequences may include ongoing operational delays, budget overruns, and a waste of precious resources, placing both the business’s reputation and profit at serious risk.

David also explains that some employees responsible for quality management morph into the role without any official training or education. While this may have been a natural step within the business structure, it may be detrimental to overall business performance.

An efficient quality management system managed by a qualified staff member improves performance and internal efficiency, identifies inconsistencies and problems, and recognises ways to resolve, leading to increased staff morale and productivity, and greater confidence from consumers in the business.

SAI Global is calling for quality managers to evaluate their skillsets in accordance with recognised standards such as ISO 9001, the international benchmark for any employee looking to implement a Quality Management System. Its online Auditing Quality Management System training course provides a portable qualification that offers the necessary knowledge and skills in accordance with the standard. Remotely accessible, the 8 – 10 hour course is cost effective, flexible and attractive to time-poor businesses.

Based on the official ISO 9001 standard, SAI Global has provided its six fool-proof steps to instil quality processes in a business.

1. Document your business model

Ensure there is a person responsible for quality management. This person will ensure the company has a policy in place that defines its ‘quality promise’, underpinned with stated objectives and targets for employees. Be sure to include instructional documents as well as a defined ‘roadmap’ to guide employees through to fulfilling that promise. This information has to be accurate, accessible to those that need it, and detailed to a sufficient level.

2. Build relationships

Have a clear understanding of your point of difference in the marketplace; in other words, know your competitors. Know your customers, too, and what they value most about your products and services. Communicate this information to your employees, ensuring they understand what is needed to ensure happy and satisfied customers.

3. Enable and empower your people

Engage employees by delegating responsibility and authority to deliver the promise of quality made by the organisation to its customers. Remember, if you spell out these aspects of operation, employees understand what is expected of them. Without these fundamental guidelines, employees will not understand the rules and will develop their own, which may not align with the expectations of the organisation or the customer. You must also ensure that employees have the knowledge and skills to perform their work with confidence.

4. Deliver on your promises

Make sure all operational aspects of the organisation are working cohesively to deliver the promise of quality, ensuring not to forget those aspects that are outsourced to external third-party providers. Do they understand what your promise of quality is, and their role in keeping this promise?

5. Evaluate and seek improvement

Objectives and targets are of little value, unless they are used as the baseline to gauge success. Monitor and measure performance results to determine whether the promise of quality was achieved. And if not, determine why. Using these results, seek to understand what needs to change in your business roadmap and operations.

6. Apply the wisdom

Now that you have assessed the possible roadblocks to quality, you must remove them through controlled changes in your operations. If you have a sufficient quality plan in place you will be able to assess which process is most appropriate to the issue and apply the solution in a timely manner to achieve results.

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