The QualityFunction or Department, in most of the organizations, is not directly linked to a profit centre. Hence, for every Quality Professional, establishing a relationship between what they do for the organization and the value it adds to the organization’s bottom line is absolutely essential. After working as a Quality Professional,at varied levels, for many MNCs and small & medium enterprises, across various industries, domains and geographic locations, I have learned and deployed some strategies / best practices which I am sharing with you here. I don’t claim this to be a comprehensive or an all-inclusive list, but the practical implementation of these practices would help the management realize how important we are to the organization. It has worked for me!!!
1. Educate others on how Quality helps the company make money: Organizations are in business to make money and provide the worth of their investment to the stakeholders. In order to be in business and maintain a competitive edge, organizations today need to focus on customer satisfaction, expense reduction and money making. How can we enable the convergence of all the three? This is where the secret lies. For your organization, connect the dot between what you do and the reasons the company is in business. Ensure that everyone in your organization knows and appreciates the efforts that you are making in driving customer satisfaction while reducing costs.
2. Enable others to take Data based decisions: Use metrics to showcase the operational and strategic performance of your organization. Look at the budget, find out what the cost drivers are and attack them first. If possible, leverage industry benchmarking to gauge the performance against the best in class. You will see many individuals in the organization struggling with data and finding a logical conclusion with the available numbers. This is our core-competence which must be highlighted at every level. Become an internal consultant to the business. Train other employees to bring about this change of looking at data and using data to make effective decisions.
3. It’s all about Business: Know your business thoroughly. Who are the suppliers, customers? What is the market segmentation? Which locations does business caters to? & most importantly, what services it provides to the end customer? Have a end-to-end understanding of the processes, look at it from a Quality lens and then provide suggestions for improvement and transformation. Remember, it is business that does the action, Quality acts as a catalyst to that action. Practically speaking, there would be constraints under which you will have to work. Don’t expect a seamless or smooth flow of material, data or information. While many constraints can be removed or eliminated, there are others that we need to live with.
4. Challenge the Status Quo: Everyone in the business would have some agenda. Many of these agenda are to maintain the status quo. That is why we hear statements like: “That’s how it is done here. We have been doing it for many years.” “It cannot be changed.” and others. It may be because the employees do not want to come out of the comfort zone, they are hiding something or they don’t want to be exposed. For ex: some leaders may avoid publishing of certain metrics because it would showcase how excess capacity they have. Learn about these agendas and find ways to debunk them.
5. Quality is Everybody’s Job, not just the Quality Function’s: Quality cannot be achieved by one or a group of people. It is a common misconception that only people with Quality in their job title are responsible for it. In order to achieve Quality any organization would require a concentrated effort by all department and employees. As quality professionals, we need to ensure that we bring about this culture change. Otherwise, soon it will become nobody’s job.
As you put into practice these strategies/best practices, the level of Quality in your organization will start pointing towards north, where it truly belongs. Also, there would be a paradigm shift in your attitude as a Quality Professional.
How do you prove your worth as a Quality Professional? Share with us your view/ opinion in the comments
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