In a recent training that was conducted for the organization I am working for, the speaker included a discussion about the seven quality principles of the new quality management system (QMS) standard. A quality management system, for the information of many, is the set of processes, procedures, policies, etc. needed in planning, implementation and maintenance of a business to meet customer requirements.
I am a fan of the number 7 that is why these quality principles got my attention. Anybody involved in any business of any type can use them to achieve success. In fact, even if you are a sole proprietor, they can help you in improving your business, performance-wise, by using them as guide or even as a framework for your business.
Here are the seven quality principles, and how a business owner can use them:
1. CUSTOMER FOCUS
With this principle, understanding you customers’ needs is the primary center of attention. You may both consider the current and future needs of a customer. A client for a content writer, for example, may require a particular writing style for his business as his present need. A content writer may consider methods to learn other writing styles if the client will think of another style for his business in the future.
It is also important to meet your customers’ requirements. Their satisfaction is the key to continuous patronage. Why will they consider other external providers when you can deliver what they need effectively and efficiently?
There is another part of this principle you must not forget. You need to exceed what your customer expects you to do. How I am going to do that? You might ask. This is actually the most difficult part. Most business owners focus only in the two aspects – understanding customer’s needs and meeting customer’s requirements – and that’s it.
Exceeding customer expectations is either disregarded or overlooked and there are many reasons why. Most business owners believe that most of their customers are happy because they have given already what they need according to the order specifications and the expected delivery time.
Business owners should not forget that it is essential to get customer feedback, too, and they should know how to address them so. Learning about their good and bad experience, their complaints, criticisms, suggestions, ideas, etc. must inspire a business owner to do more for his customers. Letting them feel that they are talking to a real person who can help them should always be the motto. It is in knowing that comes loving, someone reminded.
It is easier to use this principle in an organization composed of leaders. Leaders have to show unity of purpose and direction of the business. They must also create a business environment where the members will work to meet the same goals and objectives. They have to keep up this environment, too, and what better way is there but to check if everything is aligned to the overall goal of the organization.
But what if you are a sole proprietor? How are you going to use this principle? You can do this by being an example to other leaders in your industry. For example, being consistent in providing quality content to clients and assisting a community in addressing issues about writing and related matters.
Being the sole owner of a business, you can create a culture of trust and integrity among your fellow businessmen. You are a leader not in your own organization but among your peers and acquaintances that offer the same service.
I will continue discussing the other quality principles in another article lest I bore you. There are five more.
- ENGAGEMENT OF PEOPLE
- PROCESS APPROACH
- EVIDENCE-BASED DECISION MAKING
- RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT