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Quality Management

Doing what you do with excellence

Money

Marketing

Management

Leadership Lead Generation Lead Conversion Client Fulfillment

Quality Management
We can do, and weve got to do, better than this.

Doing what you do with excellence

Mastery Impact! Module E: Quality Management Business Development Process: 2E-03

SNAPSHOT

Theodore (Dr. Seuss) Geisel, childrens author

Monitor Customer Experience Identify Quality Attributes

Orchestrate Quality Systems

Developing Your Quality Management System


Make a Personal Commitment to Excellence Determine Your Overall Quality Strategy Identify Quality Attributes and Leverage Points Define Quality Key Indicators and Standards Develop Quality Control Systems Develop Quality Review Systems Train Your Staff

Identify Quality Leverage Points

THE QUALITY MANAGEMENT CYCLE

Quantify & Evaluate Quality Results

Overview
Quality is the degree to which you deliver your promise absolutely and without compromisein the day-to-day operation of your business. To produce quality consistently, youve got to have a turn-key, non-people-dependent system. Quality relates to the excellence with which you produce your product and conduct your business. But the exact nature of quality is defined by your customers. If they dont think its excellent, its not. This process will help you create the specific definitions of quality in your business, both at the strategic level and at the tactical level. You will identify the systems you need to integrate quality standards and continuously improve your way of doing business.

Identify Quality Key Indicators & Standards

Innovate Quality Control & Quality Review Systems

Innovate Client Fulfillment Systems

Key Points
n

From the customer's view, quality is the sum of characteristics that customers use to evaluate a product or service. From the view of the business, quality is the result of all of the work performed to produce those desirable characteristics. Quality occurs by implementing the innovation, quantification, and orchestration cycle. Quality requires a constant flow of clear, open, and objective information. Quality-control and quality-review systems augment your regular business activities to ensure customers experience quality in your products and services.

A Business Development Publication of

E-Myth Worldwide
We Know Small Business
Ashland, Oregon USA

TM

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Doing what you do with excellence

We can do, and weve got to do, better than this.

Theodore (Dr. Seuss) Geisel, childrens author

Quality Isnt Nice

Your company produces a quality product or service. Of course it does. Or does it? Everybody wants quality. Everybody talks about quality. Quality programs. Quality management. Quality service. Quality employees. High quality. Superior quality.

We all know what quality is. Or do we?

This process provides you with a straightforward way of understanding how quality applies to the fabric of your enterprise. It shows you how to weave quality into this fabric using systems youve already got in place, plus a couple of new ones. If you already use some other quality technique or program that gives you the results you want, it should easily fit into the framework provided here.

Well, quality isnt nice. It isnt a fad and it isnt a clich. Quality is about being in business and staying in business. Its about profits, customers, and competitiveness. Its about growth and impact, and the ultimate integration of people and systems.

In the last half century, theres been a proliferation of books, programs, and methodologies that address the subject of quality, with more on the way. And yet, if you talk to most consumers, little quality actually exists. It seems that quality has gone the way of niceso over-used it has lost its meaning. Or worse, its the word that gets applied to something when you have nothing else positive to say about it. Hes a nice person. Weve got a quality product. Big deal.

Quality Is Integrity

Quality, very simply, is the degree to which youre able to deliver your promiseabsolutely and without compromisein the dayto-day operation of your business.

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Quality is integrity. Quality is a consolidated focus on what your company is there to do better than anyone else. For the purpose of this process, quality is the result of all of the work performed to produce the characteristics most desired by your customers. Quality is your commitment to do that, better than anyone else. If Mastery Impact! is about any one thing, its about quality. There can be no Mastery without quality. Mastery is quality. And quality is Mastery. Quality is something individuals must commit to before an organization can. Quality is personal before it can ever be institutional.

As legendary American football coach Vince Lombardi once said, The quality of a persons life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.

Quality Begins and Ends with Your Customers

The task of defining quality in your business began when you first took marketing seriously as a discipline that permeates everything your business does. Thats when you recognized the need to understand, to the nth How Your Customers Drive Quality degree, who your customers are and what makes them tick. Your path to defining and achieving quality is first tapping into customers unconscious needs with a promise to satisfy those needs, then delivering exactly as promised, and, finally, exceeding customer Customers expectations. At the end of that path is quality customer satisfaction and loyalty. expectations
Customer expectations are met; is satisfied with your quality (but is open to competitors offers). are exceeded; satisfaction and loyalty are assured.

Quality is whatever your customers say it is. It involves the total package of your customers experience with your business.

Quality begins and ends with your customers.

Potential customer has an unfulfilled need.

Potential customer is attracted by your promise, has an expectation of quality, buys your product.

Although the specific nature of quality for your business is defined by your customers, and the ultimate test of whether youve achieved quality is in the response of your customers, the actual job of producing quality belongs to you and your employees.

But You and Your People Must Make It Happen

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A side benefit of a vigorous quality orientation is how it enhances the whole human side of your business. Employees develop their technical, managerial, and interpersonal skills, and use these improved skills to build your business systems. The opportunity to grow professionally, combined with the pride and satisfaction that comes from producing a quality product, are two important keys to employee retention. So, everybody wins your business, your employees, and your customers.

Does this sound people-dependent rather than systemsdependent? It isnt, but it does reflect the fact that people need to fully take on your systems in order for them to work. A system by itself wont give you any results at all. If you remember this simple E-Myth expressionSystems run the business, and people run the systemsyou wont go wrong.

It takes committed, involved people to produce a quality product. When your company cares about quality and has the ability to achieve it, you will attract and produce committed, involved people.

Quality is a joint effort. One area of your business working perfectly isnt enough, because the end result of your product or service is more than just the sum of its parts. Its the total package. And a quality product results from a perfectly integrated business operation. The left hand has to know what the right hand is doing. Clear communication and cooperation are required.

Youve Already Built the Foundation

But youve been building the foundation, one brick at a time, that will support your quality program. Take a look at the work youve already done that bears directly on the way you develop quality management in your client fulfillment operations (and throughout your organization): Your Strategic Objective and Key Strategic Indicators In these, youve described the basic nature of your business, who your primary customers are, and the key measures that will mark the achievement of what you want your business to become. They
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Pick up any of the most respected literature on the subject of quality, and youll find that bringing quality management into your business is described as a long, intensive, difficult process requiring hard work, unyielding commitment, ever-vigilant effort And so it might be, if you were starting from square one.

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state, explicitly or implicitly, your companys overall quality goals. Check them for specific references to results focused on fulfillment of client needs. Market Definition and Positioning Youve spent some time creating a profile of your ideal customer and developing a strategy to position your product or service in the mind of that customer. Your positioning strategy is an integral part of shaping your customers perceptions and expectations of quality. But market research is not a one-time activity. You should continue to gather as much information as you can about your customers. And when it comes to quality, its important to ask specific questions about quality to guide the way your business delivers the product or service to your customers. Product Strategy & Design and Your Client Fulfillment Processes Your product strategy and design process and your processes for fulfilling client needs are where quality and your customers have their most direct links. Conceiving, developing, and producing a product or service that does something that no other product does in a way that satisfies your customers needs consistently and predictably is what quality is all about. Customers will pay only for what they perceive gives them value. The System Evaluation process and the System Innovation process are your foundational systems for identifying the quality leverage points in your business, determining your baseline or current performance in those areas, and creating new ways to improve. These processes are the tools by which you and your people can take your ideas about quality and transform those ideas into actual, systemically produced results. You will learn more about these tools in Track 3, Module I: Systems Strategy. Quality depends on communication with your employees. Your one-on-one employee development meeting is a communication system that provides a solid platform for quality improvement. Employee Development Meetings System Evaluation and System Innovation

Employee Development Meetings are regularly scheduled (preferably every week) one-on-one meetings between a reporting employee and his/her manager. The purpose of these meetings is to foster communication and accountability for both

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parties. This is the place to talk about accomplishments in the prior week, the work planned for the coming week, and the strategies for overcoming any identified obstacles. If you have not yet been exposed to this valuable management tool, youll learn more about it in Track 3, Module H: Your Company Culture.

As far as quality goes, Employee Development Meetings are where your managers translate quality strategy into quality tactics. What are the standards that employees will meet? What are the best ways to meet them? How will results be measured? These questions begin the discussion that makes quality come alive in a business. And surrounding the discussion of tactics and methodologies is the even bigger discussion of each employees personal commitment to excellence. The employee-development meeting is an ideal forum for managers and employees to explore these issues together.

The Quality-Management Cycle

Because its a continuous cycle, quality-management has no beginning or end. But well start with monitoring the experience of your customers. Youve got to have some understanding and knowledge of how your customers react to your product and the kind of impact it has on them. The more comprehensive and objective your understanding, the better. Then you use this knowledge to identify the quality attributes your clients are looking for. Knowing what attributes are most important to your clients allows you to identify the quality leverage points in your operation, the exact spots where the work of your client fulfillment people and systems affects those attributes. For example, if you make chocolate-chip cookies, you may have found that the color of the cookie is a key quality attribute for your clients. They wont tolerate a cookie thats too light or too dark; it has to be perfectly, beautifully, golden brown. So the leverage points would be those activities that determine the final color of the cookie; perhaps the benchmark when ingredients get mixed and the benchmark when the cookies get baked. Closely associated with identifying the quality attributes and their corresponding leverage points is identifying the key

The quality-management cycle is your quality-management system. As with all of business development, its a continuous cyclenot a one-time eventthat keeps alive the focus on quality in your client fulfillment operation.

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indicators of quality and the specific standards youre shooting for within those indicators. Color would be an intangible indicator (not directly or numerically measurable), but you could describe the indicator as objectively as possible, such as number of cookies matching a tawny-brown color (with a color sample showing exactly what tawny-brown is) and then set a standard, such as at least 92 percent of cookies produced will match the tawny-brown color.

Identify Quality Attributes

Identify Quality Leverage Points

THE QUALITY MANAGEMENT CYCLE

The sixth step is to innovate quality control systems. Actually, quality-control systems are client fulfillment systems; however, well discuss them separately because they represent a new type of system within client fulfillment and theyre specifically targeted to quality management. As you try out innovations to your client fulfillment process, including quality control systems, you quantify and evaluate the quality results they produce. One method of evaluating quality is a quality review, which will be discussed in the next section. When youre satisfied with the results, at least for Monitor now, then implement and orchestrate Customer Experience your systems so that you can rely Orchestrate Quality on them to produce these results Systems consistently and predictably, day in and day out. The quantification and tracking of quality indicators is where you get the objectivity thats needed to Innovate Quality make the best possible decisions. Control & Quality Review Systems Numbers should be flowing daily from quality control, from client fulfillment production, delivery, and customer service, and from customers themselves.
Quantify & Evaluate Quality Results

The next step in the quality-management process is to look at your existing systems. Evaluate their performance in comparison to the standards youve set, and innovate your client fulfillment systems to better achieve the quality standards. This innovation will most likely occur at the leverage points youve identified. For example, you might adjust the amount of time cookie batter is mixed to get a better color and install a clearly audible timer so staff can check the baking cookies before they get too dark. Notice how these system changes occur at the two quality leverage points (mixing and baking).

Identify Quality Key Indicators & Standards

Innovate Client Fulfillment Systems

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Reporting of quality indicators should happen frequently; the nature of each indicator will tell you how often it should be measured and reported, and who should review this information.

Most companies have a noticeable void when it comes to tracking, quantification, and reporting of quality information. The result is that decisions are made based solely on whim or instinct. And when innovations are implemented in this kind of a vacuum, without information about whats really true, youre working in the dark.

From these numbers, you produce regular quality-management reports. The frequency of reporting is determined by the importance of what youre measuring, its volatility, and whatever criteria might make sense in your particular situation. With these reports, managers have objective information to evaluate (how well are we doing compared to how well we want to be doing?). From there, they can make knowledgeable, even enlightened, decisions on whether the process needs to be changed, exactly where its breaking down, if more training is needed, and so on.

Two Ways To Check Quality: Quality Control and Quality Review

Play the role of customer for a minute. When you buy most products, dont you assume someone has checked them to be sure theyre safe, not defective? Think about buying a car, a computer, a bottle of aspirin, or even a magazine. Dont you trust that theyve been inspected or tested to make sure there are no electrical malfunctions, wrong dosages, or spelling mistakes? What did you think the last time you saw a spelling mistake in a magazine or when your new car started leaking oil the week after you bought it? Thats what quality-control and qualityreview systems are all about. Theyre about making sure the customer gets what they expect to getno mistakes, no excusesexactly as promised. The main difference between quality control and quality review can be summarized in one word: immediacy. Quality control is an immediate check and correction of whats occurring right now. Quality review, on the other hand, is a process that may take days, weeks, or even months to do. Its purpose is also correction, but not immediately. Quality review collects information and feeds it into the management decision-making process.

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Both quality control and quality review are functions that must take place in your company. In smaller companies, existing staff can devote a portion of their time to them. In larger companies, dedicated staff or even distinct departments might be accountable for them. More and more, youll find quality measurement and checking available through automated systems.

Quality control is an operational function; it focuses on how well or poorly a system is producing its intended result. Quality review is a managerial function; it focuses on the system that produces the result.

More On Quality Control

Continuing the chocolate-chip cookie example, you could perform quality control by designating staff on a rotating basis to inspect all cookies after theyve come out of the oven and cooled for 15 minutes. Action plans with very clear standards need to be defined for quality control, including a reporting mechanism thats as simple and immediate as possible. For example: Inspect each cookie on the cooling rack and compare its color to the desired standard (tawny brown). Cookies whose color falls within 2 shades of tawny brown (color samples provided) are also acceptable. Any cookies not meeting these color standards will be separately bagged for donation to nonprofit agencies.

Quality control is a set of operational activities that check or inspect your product or service as its being produced or before its delivered to the client to be sure it meets the minimum quality standards. Quality control is operational in the sense that it happens on the line, and its tactical, not managerial, in nature. It identifies and either eliminates or corrects defective work on the spot. If you produce chocolate-chip cookies, you might want to inspect them to be sure theyre not burnt, they have at least six chips in every cookie, and they meet your color standard. If you produce mechanical, medical, or scientific equipment, your quality control must be much more precise and sophisticated to ensure that each piece meets the required specifications. What you check for will be determined by the essential attributes that define quality for your clients (as well as by legal or other regulatory requirements).

On your computerized Quality Control Report, enter the total number of cookies inspected, the number of cookies within
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Ideally, quality control is done by staff specifically dedicated to that function. If your operation is too small to justify dedicated quality-control staff, use your existing staff and managers in a checks and balances way (as you would with cash-handling procedures), and be sure to have clear quality standards so people know exactly what to look for and exactly what they must do when the quality of the product is not meeting the standard, or even when theres some doubt.

When possible, quality control should not be performed by the same people who are producing your product because their oversight would not be impartial. Its natural to evaluate your own work in the most positive light or to balk at having to send it back to re-do. Managers and employees should see regular quality-control reports. That way they know what percentage of work is not meeting minimum standards, what kind of problems are occurring, and whether to take corrective action to improve the process.

two shades of the standard, and the number of unacceptable cookies. The manager will generate a composite Quality Control Report daily between 5 and 5:30 p.m. Results that vary negatively from the following standards will be addressed no later than 10 a.m. the following day: 87 percent or more standard color; 10 percent or less within 2 shades of standard; 3 percent or less unacceptable.

But what about quality control for services, such as getting your teeth cleaned, purchasing auto insurance, or putting your children in daycare? How do you, as a consumer of these services, know theyre being done right? Nobodys watching your dental hygienist to be sure your teeth are being cleaned correctly. Heres where quality review procedures come in. While quality control has an immediate, tactical focus, quality review is more strategic.

More On Quality Review

The procedure for setting up a quality review is much like setting up an employees performance review. You identify the standards of performance you want and then find out if people are actually performing up to those standards. How do you find out? Direct observation of the system and staff in action is usually the best way to get the information needed to do the evaluation. Other methods include review of departmental records, inspection of the product or service, interviewing staff,
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A QUALITY REVIEW DEPARTMENT As youll see in Mastery Process 3G-02, Your Organizational Strategy, there is a box on the organization chart for: Manager, Quality Assurance, with a reporting position of Internal Auditor. If you decide to create an internal capability by actually staffing this function (rather than outsourcing it or making it a part-time accountability of your regular staff), these employees generally are available to review the performance of any and all departments in your company, not just client fulfillment. Ideally, this function reports directly to the President and has no peer relationships or subordinate relationships (no one else reporting to it). This is to ensure complete impartiality and, therefore, to ensure that you and other senior management receive the most reliable and accurate information possible.

As with quality control, objectivity and unbiased judgment are the keys to best results. Thats why your choice of personnel to conduct quality reviews is so important. Whenever possible, a department should not be accountable for evaluating its own quality performance. At the very least, a manager should review the performance of his or her staff. Better yet, have another manager in the company do it, using the orchestrated process you provide. Better still, hire outside expertise or, if your company size warrants it, have a quality-assurance (sometimes called internal audit) staff or department. Create your qualityreview system, then decide who should perform the review to give you the most objective evaluation possible. Whether you use your own employees or you hire an outside service, the purpose is to objectively evaluate your actual performance against your desired standards, and then to report this information clearly, in meaningful ways to management. Sometimes, these people also provide recommendations for improvements. But the key focus is on providing accurate, objective information, leaving management to take whatever action they decide. So, unlike quality control staff, the people engaged in quality review, whether you call it quality assurance, auditing, or some other name, have no direct enforcement or correction authority. They simply report what they see and let management decide what action, if any, should be taken.

interviewing others with whom staff come into contact, and testing. An example of a quality review form is shown later in this booklet.

Licensing or certification of service providers, continuing education requirements, ongoing training, periodic manager evaluations, and customer comments and evaluations are some other ways to apply quality review in your company.

People who perform quality reviews, whether employees or outside staff, should have some particular qualities. Because many people feel threatened or at least ill at ease when they know their performance is being evaluated, your quality auditors must be polite, patient, unobtrusive, and above reproach in every way. They must always use an orchestrated process to perform their review.

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Creating Your New Quality Program


Developing Your Quality Management System
Make a Personal Commitment to Excellence Determine Your Overall Quality Strategy Identify Quality Attributes and Leverage Points Define Quality Key Indicators and Standards Develop Quality Control Systems Develop Quality Review Systems Train Your Staff

Make a personal commitment to excellence. Or call it your personal commitment to quality. Whatever you call it, this is a time for soul-searching. Because if this commitment doesnt really mean something to you, if its just rhetoric or show, it wont work. So the first step is for you to write a pledge, your personal pledge, to the ideal of excellence. Create it using the Quality Strategy worksheet provided in the back of this booklet. Write it so you can share it with your company and be the exemplar of excellence every day. Determine your overall quality strategy. With your sense of personal commitment established, youre ready to determine what your company will commit to. Use your Strategic Objective, along with your personal pledge, as the foundations. Add to those what youve learned about your customers from your market research, and create a quality strategy that gets at the essence of what quality means to them. Now write a statement of your companys overall quality strategy. It might be one sentence long or several paragraphs. Flowery eloquence is not required; use direct and to-the-point language.

The quality-management cycle is your ongoing process for maintaining and continually improving quality. But your first step is to develop the components needed for that process. Here are your benchmarks:

1 2 3

Identify the quality attributes most important to your clients and the corresponding quality leverage points in your client fulfillment systems. Lets again clarify the distinction and the relationship between a quality attribute and a quality leverage point. The attribute is whats important to your client. The leverage point is the place in your system that determines how that attribute will show up. Here are some examples:
ATTRIBUTE
Color (of cookie) Attractiveness (of subject) On time delivery Ease of use Highest possible sales price

TYPE

OF

BUSINESS

LEVERAGE POINTS
Mixing; Baking Lighting; Composition and Styling; Re-touching Scheduling; Vehicle Software Installation Appraisal; Contract Negotiation

Cookie Maker Portrait Photographer Courier Maintenance Computer Retailer Training Real Estate Sales

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Here is a summary of product, delivery, and customer-service attributes to give you a starting place for identifying the specific quality attributes your customers are interested in. For more information, see Mastery Process 2E-02, Product Strategy and Design. Product Attributes
n

FunctionalityWhat your product or service must do, how it performs, what features it must have. The ease of use of a computer is a functional attribute.

Sensory ImpactHow the product or service looks, feels, sounds, tastes, and smells. The color of a cookie is a sensory attribute. Unconscious AssociationsThe associations or emotional responses the product or service is likely to trigger or stimulate. The background color in a portrait, which stimulates a particular mood or feeling, is an attribute of unconscious association.

Conscious-mind ConclusionsThe rational, logical appeal of the product or service. Selling your home for the highest possible price has rational, logical appeal.

Price/ValueThe appropriateness of the price of your product or service and the value of it as perceived by your customers. For example, 13 donuts for the price of a dozen or free blades with your new razor give the product more perceived value. Access/ConvenienceThe ease of availability and convenient use of the product or service. This category encompasses the same attributes as delivery convenience.

Delivery Attributes
n

ConvenienceClients can get the product or service exactly where they want it, without obstacles. You can buy that brand of clothing at your local store; you dont have to go to the nearest big city.

TimelinessClients can get the product or service exactly when they want it. The flowers you ordered are delivered on your mothers birthday, not the day after.

AccuracyThe product or service is delivered exactly as the customer wants and expects, without errors. You order from a catalog and you get the exact number, color, and size you order.

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Customer Service Attributes


n

ResponsivenessThere is room in the system for some flexibility to meet the customers particular need. Your dentist will see you after regular business hours to repair your chipped tooth. AttitudeEnthusiastic intention and awareness of all opportunities to serve your customers; respectful treatment; cheerfulness; friendliness. AssistanceDealing with problems and providing help. Information and AdviceHelping customers understand your products and services; helping them make the purchase decision; laying out the options.

Personal ImpactThe product or service is delivered in a way that shows you care about and value the customer. Your server returns to your table a couple of minutes after bringing your meal and asks if everything is to your liking and if theres anything else you need.

n n

TrainingProviding classes, instruction, or coaching on how to operate and use your products. MaintenanceHelping to keep your products in good working order.

Look at your diagram and clearly mark the places that have a significant impact on the quality attribute. These are your quality leverage points. If youve marked several places, go back and give each a priority designation.

Using the worksheet Identification of Quality Attributes, Leverage Points, and Standards, choose your top-priority attribute. Draw a simple box-and-arrow diagram, showing all the steps that lead up to the attribute youre looking at. Sometimes its easiest to do this by tracing backwards from the end result you want (the quality attribute), back through the steps that produce it.

Now make a list of all the key quality attributes that are important to your customers. Prioritize the list so you have about six of the most important attributes to start working with right now.

Credit/FinancialFree services to help your customers pay for your products or services.

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Make sure youve covered all your bases by considering these two additional factors:
n

Imagine what could possibly go wrong and find the point(s) in the process where that might happen. These places are likely additional leverage points.

Define the specific quality standards in terms of key indicators. Now that you know exactly what quality attributes are important and where your quality leverage points are, you need to figure out how youre going to measure them and what measurement youre aiming for. So, if your customers judge your chocolate-chip cookies by how many chips each cookie has, you would list number of chocolate chips per cookie as one of your key indicators, and you might select 12 as the standard for this indicator. (Youd want to test this standard to make sure its the right one, of course.) As in benchmark 3, you may already have defined many of your key indicators and performance standards in your earlier systems-development work. But take a fresh look, because your previous focus may not have been on those standards that represent quality to your customer. Benchmarks 3 and 4 dont necessarily have to occur in order. Sometimes youll determine the key indicator first (you may already know it), and then find the corresponding quality attribute and the leverage points in your system. For example, you may know that the number of chips per cookie is an important quality indicator, without having first identified one step in your cookiemaking system as a leverage point for it, or without realizing that the reason its important is because its a sensory attribute affecting the way the cookie looks and tastes. However, its important to find the leverage point, so that you know what step in your process demands attention so that you can achieve the result you want. And its important to identify the quality attribute, so you are clear about the impact on the customer.

Think of the magnifier effect in relationship to this attribute. Where are the places early on in the process that, if not done well, will result in much bigger problems later on?

In summary, you need to know the key indicator, the attribute, and all the leverage points, not just one or two. The key indicator tells you how youre doing, the leverage point tells you what to adjust if you want to do better, and the attribute tells you why youre even bothering in the first place.
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But someone will notice. Your customers will notice. And even if they dont notice every mistake, your companys commitment to quality excellence means you take every appropriate measure to be sure its perfectevery time.

Small businesses sometimes overlook proper quality-control systems because of the way theyre staffed. Organizations that are growing quickly, are understaffed, or have people wearing multiple hats are generally not inclined to see quality control as a separate and necessary function. After all, Why should I hire someone to check the workarent the people doing the work supposed to check what theyre doing? Of course they are. But the people doing the work are not in the best position to be objective. Most people tend to see their own work as flawless. If they do see a mistake, theyre more inclined to pass it on through so they dont have to take the time and effort to re-do it. Its good enough; nobody will notice.

Remember that the purpose of a quality-control system is to ensure that your clients receive products and services that meet their quality expectations by enforcing your quality-performance standards. Therefore, your quality-control staff must have enforcement and correction authority. This means theyre empowered to send the product back for re-work or to require service providers to change the way theyre delivering service. Quality control usually occurs within the same business unit as the work being reviewed. Its focus is short-term and tacticalthe timely identification and correction of substandard product.

Develop and implement your quality control systems. Now that you understand what quality control is all about, where the quality leverage points in your system are, and exactly what standard of excellence youre looking for, you need to create the quality-control system(s) for making sure that those quality standards are met consistently, and that any substandard work is caught before it gets to the client. As you do this, also look for ways to improve the client fulfillment system itself to produce better results.

Develop and implement your quality-review systems. Next, decide how youll do your quality review. At a minimum, choose two key client fulfillment systems, create a quality review form for each (use the example in this booklet as a guide and the blank worksheet for your drafts), and then develop an Annual Quality Review process.

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Train your staff in your quality-management process and any new quality-related systems and create an implementation plan. As usual, the bridge between creating any new system and implementing it is training the people involved and having a clear plan for implementation. So decide on the steps youll need to train your people and prepare for the initial implementation of your new systems. The quality-systemsdevelopment plan is a big part of your implementation plan. The extra time you take to do this now will pay big dividends down the road.

Finally, synthesize this new thinking by creating a QualitySystems Development Plan, using the worksheet provided. Make a list of each quality-control system and each qualityreview system you need, the person accountable for developing the system, the priority of the system, and the projected due date for implementation. Meet with your team to go over and refine your plan, and then let everyone get to work on it.

Its also a good idea to establish a regular quality checkup, at least annually. Make it a special event that everyone in your company can look forward to as a way of being recognized for their achievements and pointing out areas for improvement. Use the worksheet in the back of this booklet to create a format for your Annual Quality Checkup review.

The Quality Review Form Example included in this booklet applies to a business that does repair and maintenance of home appliances. As you read the checklist of questions that contain the specific areas to be reviewed, notice how easily this format can be adapted to apply to any system, department, or function in your business. Its easy when youve defined what the important quality standards are. Ultimately, you, your operational staff, and/or your quality-management staff should design similar audit forms for every key function in your business.

Defending the Status Quo and Other Barriers to Quality Management

Unfortunately, some factors can undermine your quality efforts. These barriers to quality management are largely people issues.

If quality is such a desirable thingand it iswho in your company wouldnt do everything possible to make sure that your products, services, and everything about the way you do business are the best they can possibly be, and getting better all the time?

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We are, after all, only human. So lets take a look at these quality bandits and what you can do to eliminate them.

Lack of informationThis bandit comes in a variety of forms. It may be lack of access to information, it may be inaccurate information, or it may be misinformation. Regardless, the condition of being uninformed, underinformed, or misinformed is a big problem when excellence is your goal. Accurate, unbiased information about customer needs and preferences, about customer behavior, about employee performance, and about production and delivery is essential for the qualitymanagement system to operate effectively.

Defending the status quoThis bandit is rooted in fear of change. Most people naturally resist change, to one degree or another. When presented with a mandate to change their current procedures to improve quality, they will rationally explain how the status quo is perfectly adequate and how tampering with whats in place is risky and could make things worse. This bandit is deeply rooted in peoples need to protect themselves and feel safe. But defending the status quo and blocking improvements actually fosters a false sense of security and increases the business risks to your company and, therefore, to your employees.

The subjectivity of perceptionOne way information loses its accuracy is through the subjectivity of each persons individual perceptions. In other words, some people see the glass half empty while others see the glass half full. Although celebrating and enjoying each others differences and unique perceptions is part of lifebusiness can certainly benefit by listening to how different people perceive the same set of circumstancesnot being aware of subjectivity when it exists, and not being able to control or manage it, will damage your quality program. Imagine two people examining your product: One decides it meets your quality standards and the other decides it doesnt. Its not much of a leap, then, to imagine the amount of variability your clients will experience. People do sometimes tell lies. You need to understand what causes employees to lie and to reduce the factors that lead to it. An employee who is under pressure might be tempted to lie to avoid the managers disapproval. Its rare that employees are 100 percent honest with their managers all the time. And managers who threaten, accuse, or otherwise create an atmosphere where employees actually benefit from being less than completely honest

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operate at a disadvantage because theyre receiving information thats only partially correct.

Eliminating Quality Bandits

You should also create what you might call perfect information flow. Information, like money, flows through your organization. Sometimes it moves freely, like a river, and sometimes it sits in one place, like a lake. The storehouses, or lakes, of information in your company are things like computer files, physical files, storage cabinets, archived documents, and trickiest of allthe inside of peoples heads. The flows of information are all the ways that information gets passed around and communicated in your companyfor instance, meetings, reports, and conversations. To achieve perfect information flow in your business:
n n

What can you do to minimize quality bandits? One thing you can do is build quantification and objective measurement and evaluation into your ongoing business processes. A balance of objective and subjective information creates a robust environment for quality improvement. Most businesses operate with an overabundance of the subjective.

Communicate expectations clearly and directly.

Look for systemic solutions to problems rather than blaming people. Encourage people to say so when theyre unsure or dont know. Work with others as partners. Encourage people to take reasonable risks.

n n n

Create formal and informal avenues for sharing information; encourage cross-departmental and interdepartmental communication. Make it easy to access stored information. Be aware of your blind spots. Dont jump to conclusions based on limited information; ask more questions and seek out other sides of the story. Use mistakes as learning opportunities.

n n n

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QualityThe Ultimate System

Quality is ultimately a dance between effective systems and dedicated people.

Quality is the ultimate system. Its the systemic way of producing better and better products and services that adds value to society, eliminates waste, and involves and motivates employees, leaving them with an enduring sense of pride and accomplishment. It also serves your clients by giving them better, more meaningful choices for the products and services they bring into their lives. A systemic business serves not only its own needs, but the needs of peopleclient, employee, and owner alike. At its most excellent, your business is a quality machine. Your peoples commitment to qualityand the systems that define and produce itcan be the highest expression of what your business is all about.

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Worksheets

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PERSONAL COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE

Quality Strategy Worksheet

Write a statement or pledge that describes your beliefs about excellence and quality.

Signature: _______________

STATEMENT OF QUALITY

Write a statement or pledge that describes how your company will deliver quality.

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Make copies of this worksheet; youll need one for each quality attribute youre going to work on. Start with the attribute that has the greatest impact on the customer. For each attribute: 1. Identify the system benchmarks that contribute to the production of the attribute; draw a box-and-arrow diagram. 2. Identify and mark the leverage points. 3. Use the bottom section of the worksheet to define key indicators, to detail how you will report them, and to quantify your performance over time. ATTRIBUTE NAME: __________________________

Identification of Quality Attributes, Leverage Points, and Standards

Diagram the benchmarks leading to the attribute and identify leverage points:

KEY INDICATOR

REPORTING

CURRENT PERFORMANCE

DESIRED STANDARD

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SYSTEM NAME: Home Appliance Repair & Maintenance DATE OF REVIEW: REVIEWED SUBJECT(S):

Complete one form each time you observe the system in action, and then complete one additional form with all the information compiled. NAME OF REVIEWER:

Quality Review Form Example

NAME OF STAFF

n Entire Department

n Selected Staff Only TITLE

AREA EVALUATED
Do repair and maintenance personnel Communication: Communicate clearly and understandably? Patience: Exhibit patience and composure at all times? Courtesy: Treat customers in a polite and professional manner? Knowledge: Answer all questions knowledgeably? Appearance: Appear clean, neat, and appropriately attired at all times? Punctuality: Arrive at all appointments on time as scheduled? Equipment: Come to the job site equipped with all necessary equipment in proper working order? Procedure: Complete all work in accordance with the orchestrated system? Performance Result: Test to ensure appliance functions properly before leaving the job site? Clean-up: Leave the premises in a clean, orderly condition?

EVALUATION (CIRCLE 1 NUMBER PER LINE)


N/A Below Standard Meets Standard Above Standard

0 0 0 0 0 0 0

1 1 1 1 1 1 1

2 2 2 2 2 2 2

3 3 3 3 3 3 3

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AREA EVALUATED
Do repair and maintenance personnel Accuracy: Prepare all service documents properly? Coordination: Interact with other staff in a satisfactory manner? Support Materials: Provide the customer with all necessary support materials? Customer Satisfaction A: Is the customer satisfied with the interpersonal interaction between him/herself and the repair and maintenance personnel? Customer Satisfaction B: Is the customer satisfied with the results of the service performed?

EVALUATION (CIRCLE 1 NUMBER PER LINE)


N/A

Below Standard

0 0

Meets Standard

1 1

Above Standard

2 2

3 3

Total Possible Score

Percentage of Variance: (actual possible)

Total Actual Score %

GENERAL COMMENTS: REVIEWER RECOMMENDATIONS: n Re-train personnel: (Describe) n Modify the system: (Describe) n Maintain current review schedule n Review more frequently

n Issue commendations to the following personnel: (Describe) n Other

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Use this template to develop quality-review forms for key client fulfillment systems. SYSTEM NAME: DATE OF REVIEW: REVIEWED SUBJECT(S): NAME OF REVIEWER: n Entire Department n Selected Staff Only TITLE

Quality Review Form

NAME OF STAFF

AREA EVALUATED

EVALUATION (CIRCLE 1 NUMBER PER LINE)


N/A

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Below Standard

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

Meets Standard

2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2

Above Standard

3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

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Quality Review Form (contd) AREA EVALUATED

EVALUATION (CIRCLE 1 NUMBER PER LINE)


N/A

0 0 0 0 0

Below Standard

1 1 1 1 1

Meets Standard

2 2 2 2 2

Above Standard

3 3 3 3 3

Total Possible Score

Percentage of Variance: (actual possible)

Total Actual Score %

GENERAL COMMENTS: REVIEWER RECOMMENDATIONS: n Re-train personnel: (Describe) n Modify the system: (Describe) n Maintain current review schedule n Review more frequently

n Issue commendations to the following personnel: (Describe) n Other

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Create the structure for doing your companys annual quality checkup by completing the first two columns of the form below. Then, each year, compare your current results with last years results in the same category. In the comments section, make notes about the results, including the reasons behind your improvement or lack of improvement, and any actions you might want to take.
DESIRED RESULT KEY INDICATOR(S) & DESIRED STANDARD LAST MEASUREMENT CURRENT MEASUREMENT COMMENTS

Annual Quality Checkup

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List the quality systems youll need to create to achieve your quality goals. Next to each system, write the name of the person accountable for the system (it might be one person, or it might be one person accountable for creating the system and another accountable for its ongoing implementation; if so, indicate that here), its level of priority, and the date by which you want to implement the system. Once completed, this form can serve as your overall quality systems development plan. SYSTEM NAME ACCOUNTABLE PERSON PRIORITY

Quality Systems Development Plan

IMPLEMENTATION DATE

QUALITY CONTROL SYSTEMS


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QUALITY REVIEW SYSTEMS

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Draft your plan for training staff in your quality-management system and for implementing the individual parts of that system here.

Training and Implementation Plan

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