Improving Quality To Increase Profits

Here in the Philippines, most companies focus on cutting expenses to maintain low prices due to the belief that price is the most potent part of the marketing mix. Progressive companies now realize that what is more important is the value of the product as perceived by the buyer. To attain a higher perceived value for both products and services offered, it is crucial that there be improved quality to justify better profit margins.
At the heart of a well-designed quality effort is Total Quality Management (TQM). TQM is an effort to make the quality program a priority of virtually everyone in the organization. Note that there are many common tools from other types of quality programs like ISO. Below are some of the basic tools and concepts of total quality management:
Total involvement of the organization. Unlike previous quality programs where quality is the responsibility of those in the quality department or quality inspectors only, TQM demands the participation of all personnel, including top management, in attaining quality objectives.
Satisfying the customer. This is the first and most important principle of TQM. This principle is not just limited to the buyers but also to people within the company who are also considered as internal customers. It is the customer who will define the company’s needed quality standards.
Satisfying the supplier. TQM also means creating a win-win situation with the supplier to improve quality. There are also external and internal suppliers. Suppliers are treated as partners in quality improvement.
Just-in-time manufacturing. This is minimizing inventory requirements to the least amount possible. Supplies are ordered “just in time” to reduce storage and inventory carrying costs. Capital needed is minimized among other benefits.
Poka yoke. “Poka yoke” is a Japanese word which means “mistakeproofing”. This involves incorporating something in the process so that it is almost impossible to make a mistake or error. The emphasis here is to use the least expensive and simplest thing possible.
Quality circles. This refers to a group of workers trained in techniques in improving quality. Usually the group is led by their supervisor. This involvement of the workers themselves in quality improvement is an important component in modern quality control.
Suggestion systems. One of the key tools in quality management is the use of suggestion systems to better get the input of people within and outside the organization.
Continuous improvement. This is a non-stop process of improving products, processes and service. One of the most successful implementation of this concept is Kaizen (a Japanese philosophy that sees improvement in productivity as a gradual and methodical process).
Statistical quality control. This is the use of statistical techniques, especially statistical process control, in quality control. Large improvements in quality were achieved and sustained by this scientific technique. Prevent rather than remedy. Designing processes to prevent errors, rather than trying to fix or sort out the mistakes that result from a faulty process, is imperative.
Quality improvement is a broad topic, since virtually everything can be improved and there are so many ways to accomplish this. To survive competition from multinationals, quality improvement is mandatory.
To know more about this topic, BusinessCoach, Inc., a leading business seminar provider, conducts an excellent seminar on this entitled, “Total Quality Management (TQM) Best Practices.” Call (02) 727-5628, (02) 727-8860, (0915) 205-0133 or visit for details.

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*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin. C-6, Sunday, December 8, 2013. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.