Quality conscience: Doing the right thing
7th November 2022 | World Quality Week | Quality conscience: Doing the right thing | Integrated management systems.
World Quality Week theme 'Quality conscience: Doing the right thing'
World Quality Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of the quality management profession globally. This year, from 7-11 November, the focus is on quality conscience, and offers an opportunity to reflect on coprporate culture.
These days, businesses and organisations are expected to expand their thoughts on corporate responsibility and to do the right thing. That means not only for the owners and customers, but also for their workers, the environment, and society in general.
The concept of Quality has evolved considerably over the years. One of the oldest terms is that of 'quality control'. We have all seen products that have a little 'QC Passed' sticker or something similar. The very words suggest a person with a white coat and clipboard checking items as they leave a production line. In this sense, quality control could be said to focus entirely on the product - or to be 'product-related'.
Quality control can be valuable - but it does have its blind spots. Lets consider a vehicle. At the point it leaves the production line, the vehicle may meet all design requirements, pass all tests and apparently be a perfect specimen in all respects. However - despite the inspections and tests - there could still be problems that might leave the customer unsatisfied. The vehicle may be damaged during storage or delivery, it may not include an accessory they ordered, delivery may be late etc.
Clearly, a broader consideration was needed - aimed at establishing the requirements for a product or service, and then controlling all the processes that take place in bringing it to the customer. This was often referred to as 'quality assurance' - which could be said to focus on the customer's needs and expectations - or to be 'customer-related'.
So far we have looked at two very important 'quality' issues - ensuring that the product or service is correct, and that the customer's needs and expectations are satisfied.
Others with an interest in the business (such as owners, employees etc.) will also have objectives for efficiency, profitability, continuity of employment etc. These and various other issues need to be addressed if the business is to successfully meet the requirements of those interested parties. This yet broader concept is often referred to as 'quality management' - which could be said to focus on the overall business objectives - or to be 'organization-related'.
This expands the concept of quality management further still to consider the broader impact of the methods employed to deliver products and services on society in general. In line with the above examples, quality conscience could be said to be 'society-related'.
Doing the right thing can include consideration of sustainability, privacy, fair trade and many other issues. It therefore, offers a great illustration of how quality can frorm part of a much broader integrated management system.
Visit CQI World Quality Week web page.
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