Quality Management: the best response to uncertainty
Inflation, war, raising interest rates and climate emergency. With so much uncertainty, managing a business is a tremendous challenge. This is why Quality Management could be the answer.
Quality Management is a decades-old concept that has helped companies in all sectors cut costs, increase sales and face adverse contexts. Now, the combination of war, rampant inflation and climate emergency is putting efficiency at the top of the priority list once again. Can Quality Management be the answer?
What is Quality Management?
Put simply, Quality Management refers to a set of processes that aims to ensure production meets specific standards (or boundaries). Such rules can apply to any product or service, be it the diameter of apples, the taste of a meal or the speed of a processor. Once quality standards are put in place, companies can match customer expectations and build on the existing products to improve.
Through Quality Management, managers can control the most critical processes, standardize and continuously evaluate them. This scope is not limited to production, but covers all areas of the company: from human resources to data processing or finances and after-sales.
This is far from a new concept: it was Quality Management that saved Toyota from bankruptcy after World War II and made the Japanese manufacturer one of the world’s largest players in the automotive sector. At that time, there was enormous uncertainty, triple-digit inflation and a fall in real household disposable income.
Today, making quality a priority is also helping companies face the adverse macroeconomic context, with large organizations leading the way. Take Nestlé, the world’s biggest food company by revenue. Nestlé’s Quality Management System covers every aspect of the business, from raw material to finished products, from customer service to management. The system includes procedures for controlling and testing materials, products and processes, and implementation is guaranteed by an independent body. Nestlé regularly updates quality practices to ensure that they remain relevant and effective.
But the need for robust quality management systems goes far beyond the food or automotive sectors. Nike – whose strategy includes subcontracting its entire production – follows a process that spans a vast supply chain of over 100 factories around the world. It all starts with the development stage, where products are created to meet specific quality criteria. Nike then tests products and models that fail to meet standards are redesigned, long before the industrialization stage begins. When production does start, Nike closely monitors each step and inspects the final product before they shipped it to customers.
The footwear giant has gone even further and revamped its sourcing strategy to prioritize suppliers who show leadership in corporate responsibility and sustainability. In 2005, they became the first company in the industry to publish a complete list of factories in its value chain.
At Somengil, we also take quality management seriously. The development process for the MultiWasher includes a three-dimensional modeling phase where all components are designed. The goal is to perform virtual simulations of the interaction between the components, and how washing jets affect the objects to be washed. This process allows us to perform various optimizations before starting physical production, reducing waste as much as possible.
Quality Management is therefore a mandatory requirement for all competitive companies that want to thrive in the market. But there are other reasons to build your own, customized, Quality Management System.
What is the importance of a Quality Management system?
Companies that adopt a Quality Management system benefit from several advantages in the short, medium and long term.
Investing in Quality Management is a way to reduce costs, as processes are more optimized, eliminating duplicate work, waste, customer complaints and damage to brand reputation. Thus, it is possible to produce more, with fewer costs and in the shortest possible time. As a result, expenses are better controlled, and cash flow is more consistent.
This concern is especially important with rising prices from rampant inflation or fragile supply chains. Quality management in times of inflation helps companies keep costs low and stay competitive.
In short, companies that invest in a Quality Management system are more competitive. Processes become more agile, products more robust, human resources more engaged and the number of failures decreases sharply – all this puts the company ahead of the competition.
Since Quality Management involves processes standardization from the acquisition of raw material to after-sales, the result is also more consistent. Customers receive a steady stream of equivalent products or services over time, making it easier to acquire and retain customers and make them brand ambassadors.
Improved Brand Awareness
Quality Management has a great impact on business performance and on the perceived image in the market. For instance, ISO 9001 Certification is the international quality standard that proves a company’s ability to provide products and services based on best management practices. This is an excellent business card to attract investors, opening new opportunities in the market. The company thus becomes more well-regarded and desired.
5 general good practices to implement a Quality Management System
There is no shortage of Quality tools at hand for every company. For example, the 5S methodology has been widely adopted by an increasing number of companies in their efforts to become more productive and create a safer work space, with less waste and higher quality. For assembly lines and supply chains, the Kaizen Way has proven effective in eliminating waste from operations, transforming the company from within. But whatever the chosen framework, a Quality Management system should always encompass these 5 best practices:
1. Engage staff
For any Quality Management system to work, it is essential that everyone is fully committed to the process. Without this, ensuring the quality of a product is virtually impossible. When everyone understands the impact of their work on the result, it is easier to increase each person’s engagement and commitment. Thus, promoting dialogue is crucial.
2. Invest in training
Continuous improvement also involves continuous training. It is a way to increase the ability of employees to respond to increasingly demanding professional contexts, where innovation, competitiveness and the need for evolution are a constant. Thus, training leads to operational excellence, increasing the quality of a company.
3. Choose reliable equipment
Besides investing in human resources, the focus on robust equipment is also indispensable to ensure quality in a company’s processes. Better machines allow for a more robust structuring of daily tasks, integrating and automating tasks, and reducing human error.
MultiWasher is an industrial washing machine that can sanitize any utensil to a high degree. It uses only the strictly necessary amounts of energy, water, detergent and disinfectant to avoid waste and ensure washing perfection.
4. Focus on maintenance
For the equipment to achieve high performance, it is important to ensure its correct maintenance. In addition, a forced interruption of equipment due to lack of maintenance has consequences: customer complaints, failed deliveries, unfulfilled sales, increased costs with reparations and increased likelihood of an accident at work are just some of them. Thus, a constant and proactive focus on maintenance is essential as a good practice of a Quality Management system.
5. Review processes
Customers requirements are always changing – and internal processes should follow suit. Therefore, it is important to review the processes permanently to ensure that work continues to be done within quality standards. With each new review, it is important to validate changes with employees.
Somengil, improving quality of industrial washing
For companies with global ambition, investing in a Quality Management system is no longer an option, but an obligation. However, you need the right tools and equipment. In the specific case of industrial washing, you can count on the MultiWasher, the most technologically advanced sanitization solution for every type of utensils.