“Quality is Job One” Ford Motor Company
“Quality Runs Deep” Rustoleum
“The Quality Goes in, Before the Name Goes On” Zenith
“Quality at Your Feet” John Brown Shoes
“Quality Foods” John Sexton
TQM, Total Quality Management, Continuous Quality Improvement, Total Quality Improvement
TQA, Total Quality Assurance, Lean Quality Management, Quality Control
If there is an overused word in business, that word is QUALITY.
Don’t get me wrong, actual quality is the key to any businesses success. It can be used to define almost every aspect of an organization and in today’s world wide economy, lack of it spells demise.
My point is that the word is so overused that it no longer holds the impact it once did. Quality is so important that we have overused the word to the point of loosing its importance. Companies actually are committed to quality but in their zeal have exhausted the word and diminished the passion it once evoked. Quality has become a marketing tag line used by most businesses, including Ebsco.
Ebsco has always had a standard and reputation for quality. We make parts that many of our competitors will not attempt. Our customers have continually told us they count on our quality. Our parts are in applications that can’t fail. It has been part of our culture for years, long before the word became marketing copy.
The challenge is maintaining the culture of quality in your organization, as the organization grows and adds new team members. Simply communicating the stereotyped word “QUALITY” holds little meaning for the newly arrived. They have heard the word describing everything from spray paint to cars. How does Ebsco maintain its culture of quality.
The answer is in ownership. Who owns the responsibility for quality in the organization. To maintain the culture new employees must learn the definition of quality in the organization. What is “it” that you call quality. They must learn the standards and what is not accepted. They should become experts with the tools to measure quality and the required steps to monitor quality. Most importantly they need to know that they are not just encouraged but expected to stop everything and shout out when they see anything that doesn’t meet your organizations and their standards. The ownership of quality is not part of their job, it is their job.
As I talk about quality as an overused word it is almost ironic that we recently changed the name of our Quality Control Department at Ebsco to Quality Assurance. If the word has lost its meaning what is the value in changing the name. It’s a symbol of the ownership I’m speaking of. If we expect everyone to take ownership of quality then why a department to control it. Quality Assurance insures that everyone has taken ownership and produced the standards we expect. They don’t control it, Each individual on the team, individually owns the responsibility to maintain Ebsco’s reputation for quality. A big responsibility. The only way to put the meaning back into the word QUALITY. At Ebsco quality is more than a marketing tag line, it is our culture, today and for the years to come.