Wrong Assumptions About Quality

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First, for most people quality means goodness, luxury, shininess or even weight. The word is equated to the worth of things. For instance; we say something is of good quality, or we refer to the expression “quality of life”, yet as we all know quality of life depends on who is applying it to themselves. Each person has his own definition of quality of life as applied to himself.

Second, quality is thought not to be measurable. Such assumption leads many managers to discuss quality as something unattainable. They mistakenly think of it as equal to goodness, so they waste time having emotional debates; which prevents them taking logical actions to reach quality and better the image of their company.

The third erroneous assumption is that some business owners think their industry is different, that quality does not apply to them; or they say that they cannot make a product good. Those kinds of excuses give birth to ” gold plating”, for example adding a luxury component to a non selling product, instead of seeking to make things right the first time.

The fourth erroneous assumption is the idea that the problems of a company are caused by workers alone; specially those in manufacturing, call centers, and sales. In general the favorite meeting topic of management is: ” what workers are doing wrong, or what they are not doing”. They decide that employees are doing a lousy job, that the quality on the assembly line is poor. They overlook the defects of accounting, engineering, computer programs, supervisors… when looking for solutions. Though workers can be responsible for errors, they can contribute only a little to the prevention of problems, because all planning and creation is done elsewhere. It is that elsewhere that mostly needs attention.

The fifth erroneous assumption is that quality is the sole responsibility of one department in a company; consequently when something bad happens, that department is the only one blamed. The quality management office, if there is one; should call problems by the names of those who cause them: accounting problems , manufacturing problems, front desk problem… Quality requires that we hold each department responsible for the functioning of their fields of intervention.

Quality has nothing to do with emotions, it is measurable and attainable.

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