Good as Gold!
Make quality a priority in every facet of your business.
Most of us know the book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. In the first chapter of this classic, Hill tells the story of R.U. Darby who gives up on his dream of becoming rich by prospecting for gold, a mere three feet before strikinga major gold vein. In most businesses, we give up in the “last three feet” before making major strides in building in quality as a competitive advantage and a profit center. Let’s examine 5 simple ways to go the final three feet in making quality a priority.
1. First, give your products or services a checkup.
Are you giving customers the best you can at the price point you set? Is there anything you can do to increase the quality without incurring a higher cost — for example, get a new vendor for parts or product or spend more time and effort on one aspect of a job versus another? A good example here is rework, is it better to deal with the rework as it occurs or is time better spent finding what is causing the rework? Is the best service you can provide the customer turning the job over to another company or associate more qualified than you to meet a unique demand? Have you even thought about a check up?
2. Set quality standards of for your work.
In order to improve the quality in your business, you have to start by defining what you consider to be quality work. You also need to carefully consider comments and feedback from your customers. How valuable is your product or service in the eyes of your customer? What outcomes do your customers expect from each job or sale, service provided, or product’s performance? Put your standards in writing and post them where every employee can see them. If measures of your quality standards can be gathered with reasonable effort, do it! Post the weekly or monthly results and trends in a visible place. If you can foster positive competition with separate measurement by group or individual, by all means try it!
3. Involve everyone.
To make quality a priority throughout your business, you need to involve everyone who works with or for you. The people who build and sell the products and provide the services to your customers usually have valuable ideas on how to improve quality. Employees who are part of the plan are more likely to feel a sense of ownership and pride and to think up and more quickly implement new ideas for improvement. Plan, manage, lead, and staff to achieve better quality results and great customer experiences.
4. Show your commitment to quality.
Showing employees that ownership and management are personally committed to quality sets the tone and provides a setting in which they can achieve their best. Train your work force to perform well and to make improvements. Praise and reward employees when their actions lead to quality results and customer satisfaction.
5. Set quality standards for every operation of your business.
Focus on “getting things done right” the first time to eliminate customer problems as well as waste of product or time. Identify operational practices that impede quality. Your processes should provide proper support for your business, of course, but they should also facilitate quick response to customers’ needs. “Standard procedures” should not stand in the way of customer satisfaction. Analyze your systems and work with staff to make improvements that allow your quality to shine through in everything you do.
Sometimes our greatest achievements and successes are closer than we think. In today’s global landscape, it is our responsibility to continue the quest for quality no matter how hard the challenge. With each step, you will grow stronger, more skilled and more successful. The Darby’s quit because of the struggle and lack of commitment to finding the opportunity. Find your opportunity, struggle to be the best.