9 julio, 2024

Quality culture: characteristics, definition, development, examples

We define what a quality culture is, its characteristics, how it is developed, and we give examples of companies that have it.

What is a quality culture?

A quality culture It is the set of habits, customs and values ​​shared between an organization and its employees, in which each one focuses on collaboration to face the challenges of the company, overcome them and move forward, in an appropriate environment, which promotes work in team and goal achievement.

With the reduction of geographical barriers and the pressure to compete in the global marketplace, operational excellence has become a necessity for companies to remain competitive globally.

A culture of quality naturally emphasizes continuous process improvement and results in a healthy workplace, satisfied customers, and a growing and profitable company.

However, how can you ensure that all employees are focused on delivering a quality product or service?

Characteristics of a quality culture

– A culture of quality results when all stakeholders, from top management to the front-line worker, seamlessly incorporate improvements into their daily activities.

– It is essential to have adequate systems and structures in place to support quality improvements. Processes should be established with clear customer-focused performance criteria.

– The commitment of leaders is the engine of a quality culture. Therefore, leaders must be clearly visible and strong in their support for quality improvement.

– Staff should be trained to incorporate quality improvements into their daily work. This means supporting change and standing up to tradition.

– Employees must be confident of introducing quality improvements related to their roles.

– Employees must perceive that the organization is truly customer-oriented.

–Dmust be seen from outside that heThe company is customer-focused, in the sense that it not only meets their expectations, but often exceeds them.

– The organization should never be happy with its operational performance, but should constantly strive to be better.

– Employees should routinely use quality improvement tools and methods to solve problems and offer improvements.

How do you develop a culture of quality?

Developing a culture of quality requires sustainable habits that provide a platform for long-term change.

Walk and chat about quality

Change is only possible when leaders participate at all levels, consistently showing quality principles in action. This means that leaders must:

– Make frequent and highly visible appearances on the plant floor.

– Be curious and participate without prejudice in conversations about quality.

– “Roll up your sleeves” to help when necessary.

– Avoid actions that put cost, production or schedule above quality. If quality is said to be the top priority, but management indicates otherwise, you lose credibility.

Making quality everyone’s job

– Immature quality cultures isolate quality, relegating it only to administrative work. Mature companies involve cross-functional teams in quality improvements, recognizing that quality impacts all areas of the business.

– A good example is implementing a layered process audit program. This implies frequently checking high-risk processes, avoiding defects through multiple layers of verification.

– Conducted at all levels and departments, these audits also provide a structured framework to hold everyone accountable for quality.

energize the team

Not everyone will be enthusiastic about the quality or about doing extra activities. However, leaders will find ways to energize staff and get them involved. The strategies are:

Harness the competitive spirit

Instead of expressing how quality stimulates savings, the competitive nature of people should be taken advantage of.

For example, talk about baffling the competition, or about preventing the company from failing to launch a product.

Share expectations and results

Everyone should know their role in quality improvement. They also need to see the results.

Monthly management reports are a key tool to show staff that their work has a measurable impact.

Focus on processes

– A proactive approach aimed at preventing problems, rather than putting out fires, should be required.

– This is made difficult when quality people only perform inspections of already damaged products. A quality culture also analyzes previous processes.

– Checking the areas linked to quality problems, promotes the standardization of the process and reduces variations. Thus, this consistency is a hallmark of the culture of quality.

Track and measure

– Time and resources should be invested in proactive reviews and measurements. Beyond just looking at the costs of a failure, organizations need to develop indicators that provide early warning of problems.

– When leading indicators are seen to be deviating, action can be taken before customers are affected.

support opening

Companies should not walk away from problems. Finding them before they leave the plant is much better than having the customer discover them. This means:

Maintain peace of mind when discovering errors

If control is lost, people will simply hide the problems and not reveal them.

Involve management

When leaders participate in audits, they show a commitment to quality at the highest level. That prompts people to open up with their own observations and suggestions for improvement.

Quick resolution of problems

When someone identifies a problem, it should be followed up with timely corrective action. Otherwise, people will have no interest in sharing it.

encourage innovation

Companies that treat quality as a cost rather than an investment save pennies while losing a lot of money.

Mature quality cultures give your work teams the time and budget to carry out quality improvement projects.

Mature companies reward these successes with recognition and even monetary incentives.

When employees have the initiative to invest their energy in these projects, you can ensure that the culture of quality is working.

Examples of companies with a quality culture

Google

Google is one of the companies focused on quality, in which its employees enjoy great benefits and advantages. They encourage teamwork with work sites designed to share ideas, concerns and even games. Everything translates into quality.

Toyota

Leader in the automotive sector, it established the TPS (Toyota Product System) where work environments promote teamwork and collaboration, respect for employees and problem analysis, to achieve high-quality products.

Facebook

At Facebook, top executives and employees share the workplace. It is a way of boosting trust and equality, making everyone feel that they are valuable.

SquareSpace

It is a web design company. Their hierarchy is flat, with very few differences between employees and superiors. There is freedom for creativity, continuous improvement is encouraged, where everyone focuses on giving their best.

Manzana

Apple is a company focused on people and customers. To do this, they choose excellent people at all levels, fostering a culture of commitment, innovation and professional development, to give the client what they expect, and that exceeds their expectations.

References

Eric Stoop. 7 Habits of a Mature Quality Culture. Taken from beaconquality.com.
Emily Hill. 6 critical building blocks of a quality culture. Taken from quality.eqms.co.uk.

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