by Ken Bechard
Quality document processing is not as simple as pushing the print or scan button or fixating on ensuring that each project meets production standards. This narrow focus can have the reverse impact on quality, leading organizations to miss the mark. What elements are key for delivering quality? Here are three strategic steps you can take to put your organization on the right path.
1) Understand the differences between quality control and quality assurance. These terms are frequently used interchangeably. However, they have different meanings and, thus, different means to an end. Quality control makes sure that results align with expectations, while quality assurance makes sure activities are carried out the right way. For clarity’s sake, testing for quality is not assuring quality, it is controlling it.
2) Put employees first. Staffing is the greatest variable in quality. The key to driving workforce engagement is to ensure that each employee understands how their work impacts quality and—ultimately—company performance. When employees understand the strategy and how they can support it, they will have a greater stake in company growth. This also creates a heightened sense of accountability, offering more problem solving solutions, creating a top to bottom effort.
The second essential element to employee involvement is employee empowerment. Most organizations rely solely on training to provide employees with the means to make the “right” decisions. Simply providing employees with routine and ongoing training is not enough to empower employees.
Creating a culture that values and rallies around quality is the key ingredient for employee empowerment. Integrate quality into the day-to-day, making quality everyone’s responsibility. With this approach, quality is viewed as a non-negotiable.
Without gaining employee buy-in and creating the right culture, all of the coursework and on the job training in the world will not work.
3) Leverage industry-best practices to standardize operating procedures. International Organization for Standardization (ISO) addresses various aspects of quality management and provides best known standards, guidance and tools for companies that want to ensure that their output consistently meets client expectations.
With more than 900,000 businesses across 170 countries with certifications, ISO is arguably the most widely known quality standards. More and more businesses across various industries, such as healthcare and financial services, are starting to utilize ISO due to its undeniable benefits. A study conducted by Harvard Business School found that ISO improves both management practices and production processes, which results in higher growth rates for sales, employment, payroll and average annual earnings.
These three steps outline the path to success for quality within an organization. Understanding what quality entails, strategically involving employees in the process and leveraging organizational standards will provide your organization with a framework for successful quality management.
Ken Bechard is the Vice President and General Manager of Off-site Operations at Novitex Enterprise Solutions. He is responsible for the development and implementation of all customer communication engagements. Ken has a track record of designing Six Sigma solutions that improve both operational performance and financial value.