There are plenty of issues, weaknesses, and problems that businesses can get away with. Many companies “coast” for years, despite having significant flaws within the business model or execution. But if there’s one area where a company can’t skimp, it’s with quality.
A lack of quality within the product or services you’re selling will hurt customer satisfaction, drag down sales numbers, and could eventually erode the trust you’ve established with the marketplace.
If you’re wondering where to commit your energy and focus over the next few months, quality would be a worthy place to start.
5 Ways to Improve Quality
Quality is a subjective idea, but one that every business must pay attention to. Without quality products and services, you’ll struggle to grow your business and sustain a profitable bottom line. And though your definition of quality will be unique, here are some simple steps you can take to help your business improve in this area:
1. Identify Issues
The first step towards improving quality is admitting there are issues holding you back. Some of these issues may already be apparent to you, while others will have to be uncovered. Depending on your personality and the extent of the problems, this can be a somewhat painful process. It is, however, necessary.
Gather employees from across the organization and hold an “anything goes” meeting. Tell each person to come with a list of three to five issues they believe are holding the business back, as well as any solutions they may have to these problems. Provide a judgment-free zone and be extra careful not to shoot the messenger.
2. Set Goals
As you identify issues within your organization, you’ll likely see some patterns emerge. These patterns will indicate where your weak spots are and how your time, energy, and resources are best spent.
With issues highlighted, take some time to set goals and objectives for your business. Make them as specific as possible and you’ll get better results. This may mean giving specific, measurable responsibilities to each employee and asking them to do their part in overseeing the action steps you lay out.
3. Develop Processes
It’s easy to focus on people as the problems or solutions to every issue your business experiences, but this isn’t always the case. It’s much more likely that your quality problems are directly tied to processes (or the lack thereof).
Processes are powerful for business of all sizes. Take NuSkin as an example. They use a 6S Quality Process that aims to “maintain quality, efficacy, and safety controls through each and every stage to ensure unsurpassed results that meet only the highest standards and comply with all relevant government requirements.” And though people play an important role in carrying out these processes, it’s the underlying structure of these procedures that keeps the business grounded.
4. Create Dialogue
There needs to be space and freedom for employees to open up and communicate about how quality efforts are going within the organization. Otherwise, issues will continually be swept under the rug without being discussed.
There are both formal and informal ways to encourage dialogue with employees. Structured settings like meetings and brainstorming sessions go a long way, but so do informal drop-ins and conversations. For best results, be sure to practice what you preach. By being transparent and forthcoming with your team, they’ll see that it’s safe to do the same with management.
5. Regularly Revisit
When you know there’s an issue within your company, it’s imperative that you continually come back and revisit the problem over and over again. By staying on top of progress, you can keep your finger on the pulse of your business.
Putting It All Together
Quality is something you can’t ignore for very long. As soon as the quality of your products and services takes a downturn, you’ll begin to feel it in the bottom line. Hopefully, this article has given you an idea of some practical ways you can become more quality-centric as you grow.
There’s no perfect solution, but you’ll discover what works as you make a concerted effort to change the way you think about value, purpose, and integrity.