Principles of quality control refer to the various concepts that make up an organization's quality assurance program. Quality assurance programs provide managers and staff with the philosophy, structure and strategies necessary to improve service and product delivery. Many businesses follow established concepts as outlined by quality organizations, such as Six Sigma, Total Quality Management or International Organization for Standardization.
Customers represent the lifeblood of any organization. They choose a company based on the organization's ability to meet their needs for products or services. Businesses must continually strive to understand the desires of customers. Companies employ customer focus strategies to enhance customers' perceptions, grow market share and increase revenues. Firms employ various tools to accomplish these objectives, such as customer satisfaction surveys or focus groups. They analyze data and execute actions that make effective use of limited resources to obtain desired results.
Successful quality assurance programs have strong leadership that inspires trust and confidence. A commitment to quality starts at the top and permeates all levels of an organization -- owners, directors, managers, team leaders and line staff. Company leaders demonstrate unanimity concerning the vision, course of action and quality target. Managers and team leaders understand the need to create a workplace for workers to become involved in the quality process; effective leaders successfully communicate this to staff.
Often, employees possess the creativity to generate ideas that solve problems, improve processes and save companies money. Line staff must buy into quality improvement and not feel threatened by the process. Getting employees involved at the ground level has proven an effective technique for receiving their commitment. Effective companies understand the advantages and make it a top priority to communicate the importance of staff contributions to their quality assurance programs. In addition, the companies provide staff with the training, resources to ensure they have the required skills and abilities to take responsibility for their roles and move toward quality improvement objectives.
The process approach entails managing activities and company resources as a process, which leads to greater efficiency and effectiveness. This method focuses on how a particular standard works; the department or attributes of the process does not matter. It starts with identifying the process processes, defining the internal and external customers it affects and ascertaining the sequence and flow of the process. Staff must possess the skills, resources and information necessary to support the process. Steps are taken to measure, evaluate and make modifications as part of the continual improvement philosophy.
Interconnected processes require a comprehensive and orderly management approach. This method enhances effectiveness and efficiency as the organization moves toward its quality improvement goals. In addition, managers, supervisors and staff concentrate on primary objectives and promote consistency to accomplish desired results. Companies also obtain a better understanding of their capabilities and identify resource limitations.
Continual improvement means having policies and procedures in place to assure an ongoing assessment of company activities and performance. Processes, systems, products and services undergo constant evaluation. Every department and employee become part of the continual process of assessment. Once an an organization establishes its goals and objectives, managers put in place the tools to monitor, measure and track progress.
- International Organization for Standardization: Quality Management Principles
- Chartered Quality Institute: What Is Quality?
- American Society for Quality; How To Implement and Audit The Process Approach; J.P. Russell
- American Correctional Association; Oklahoma’s Quality Assurance Experience; Deborah K. Boyer; Aug. 2008
- Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images