The first in a series of blog posts that will highlight key results of a first-ever survey of senior execs and quality leaders on the role of quality in organizations today and in the future.
There is a growing change in the way organization view the role of quality, according a new survey that ETQ and Salloway & Associates recently completed. Whether driven by growing global competition, a dynamic regulatory and compliance environment, or market and internal forces, companies today view quality as a strategic business initiative and less of a perfunctory obligation.
We surveyed 300 C-level executives, quality and IT leaders to gather their input on the role of quality in their organizations today and how that role may evolve in the future. Survey participants came from the life sciences, food and beverage and manufacturing industries and offered their views on how their organizations are committing to quality now and in the near future. (Note: This survey was conducted in early 2020, before the Coronavirus pandemic. Undoubtedly, current events may alter some answers now, but we believe the underlying ideas are still directionally valid. In the early stages of the pandemic, ETQ undertook a smaller, more focused work survey of quality professionals to specifically gauge the impact of COVID-19 on their work processes. We will post about those results soon.)
On average, our 300 survey respondents see a 23% return on quality investments. So, it is no surprise that 66% say they are committing more seriously to quality as a strategic business initiative — not just an operational compliance issue.
How Well Do Organizations Manage Quality?
One key indicator that organizations are committing to quality as a strategic priority is the growing tendency to prioritize quality goals even if it might delay product delivery. We found that 68% of CXOs, Supply Chain/Quality Managers and IT Managers supporting quality say they have a high or very high probability of prioritizing quality goals despite potential product delays.
Even as the consensus shows in our sample that quality is emerging as a strategic priority, there remains a disconnect between the CXO and Quality/Supply Chain Management and IT Management levels in their perception of their organization’s quality performance today.
Our survey results show that 57% of CXOs say they are doing “great” at managing quality today compared to 40% who say they are doing “good.” When we look at the Quality/Supply Chain Management level, the results are flipped with 41% saying their organizations are doing “great” and 57% saying “good.” Then there are the 63% of IT managers who feel their organizations are doing “good” compared to 33% who say “great.” This discrepancy could be attributed to the fact that CXOs are mostly focused on the big picture and not dealing with the day-to-day challenges of enforcing a quality program.
These discrepancies carry over into the segmented view of how quality is being prioritized. While most CXOs (43%) say they are very highly likely to prioritize quality even if it delays products, most Quality/Supply Chain Managers (38%) rate themselves a bit lower.
What does all of this mean for the state of quality management? Even though more organizations are committing to quality and investment more heavily in both programs and people, there is still room for improvement in the next three to five years.
Taking Steps to Improve Organizational Quality
The state of quality management isn’t just about strategic commitment over the next few years. Our research also intended to provide insight into how organizations are acting on the growing commitment to quality as a strategic business initiative.
What we found is that organizations are taking a variety of steps to improve quality. However, none of them are being taken on a wide scale. For now, a few of the approaches to quality improvement include:
- Creating a culture of quality (51%)
- Investing in company-wide quality training (49%)
- Improving supplier quality (49%)
- Investing in QMS solutions (48%)
- Hiring quality personnel (47%)
- Investing in quality analytics (45%)
Specifically, the companies that are managing quality at an above-average level are most focused on investing in company-wide quality training and improving supplier quality. But over the next three-to-five years, this commitment must continue if organizations want to reap the full benefits of quality as a strategic driver across departments.
One way to improve overall organizational quality is to invest in the right tools that will maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of quality programs and processes. Our survey results showed that the two most prominent quality management tools are currently Quality Management System (QMS) software and Risk Management solutions.
However, we are not seeing wide-scale adoption just yet. At the enterprise level, 62% of organizations currently use QMS software and 50% have a Risk Management and Analysis tool. Adoption among mid-market organizations is lower, where 53% have QMS software and 39% have a Risk Management and Analysis tool. In fact, nearly as many (36%) mid-market organizations still use paper files for quality management.
As quality spending on people, processes and technology increases, it is important to make the right investments for your organization that will enable you to banish manual outdated, and inefficient quality management processes. At ETQ, we deliver solutions that match our customers quality processes and workflows which allows them to draw value from their automated QMS more quickly.
Our full research report can give you deeper insight into how all organizations in the Life Sciences, Food & Beverage and Manufacturing industries are approaching substantial or moderate investments in quality over the next three to five years. If you want to learn more, download the eBook for additional findings about the current state of quality management.
ETQ helps organizations realize the business opportunities that quality creates. Our industry-leading Reliance QMS solution features built-in best practices and best-in-class flexibility, with the software enabled to optimize the critical processes that drive excellence through quality.
To learn more about how ETQ can help you become a quality leader, contact us today. Alternatively, reach out for a demo, and find out how to move through your quality journey.