Our CTO, Morgan Palmer, recently became a regular Forbes blogger through his membership on the Forbes Technology Council. In his inaugural post, he discussed the elusiveness of true quality, and how it can be even hard to define – never mind put into practice. He also discussed best practices to make quality your corporate hallmark.
In order to properly define quality and put structure around it, all kinds of industry standards and guidelines for quality have been formed – from ISO to Six Sigma or GMP and others, and companies are tasked with putting in place the processes, systems and tools to effectively meet them.
Yet meeting industry standards and achieving true quality enterprise-wide can be challenging. It often requires a shift in traditional ways of doing things and can cause disruption. As Morgan shared in the Forbes post, however, there a few best practices that can make the focus on quality a more seamless one for your organization. Consider the following.
- Invest in analytics. An analytics-driven quality management system (QMS) allows companies to collect data from various streams to gain a complete view of what’s happening across the organization and, as a result, drive improved quality outcomes.
- Enable collaboration. A key stumbling block to quality is a lack of communication and collaboration across functions. Since a variety of fragmented systems, databases and processes can be in use by different departments, centralize access to the data and encourage collaboration enterprise-wide.
- Enforce document management. Lots of time is spent reviewing documents, making revisions, creating file records and storing documents, across many different departments. It’s not only time-consuming, but also a place where errors can occur. Companies need to identify, control and track all documented processes and procedures and store them in a centralized and secure location to create a single source of
- Build a Corrective Action Plan. Problems can occur that impact quality goals. They should, however, serve as lessons learned. Once an issue has occurred, companies should develop a Corrective Action Plan (CAPA), which can help to get to the root of the problem, and outline very specific action items that will be taken to resolve it.
A commitment to quality doesn’t come easy but requires hard work, a relentless focus on continuous improvement and disruption to traditional processes, but it can become the hallmark of a company and a good differentiator to have in an increasingly complex marketplace. Adopting an effective quality management system that automates the best practices and processes of quality can be a starting point on the road to a stellar business reputation – the end-result of a quality-driven company.