How to Improve Quality No Matter What You ProduceDelivering quality products and services should be top-of-mind for every business leader, regardless of industry.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a professional services provider or manufacture automative products, you should aim to improve quality. It drives sales, and will reduce costs and reenergize employees, too.

In a post, Drew Greenblatt, president of Marlin Steel, offers five tips to help you improve quality, both in your products and your business.

Five Tips to Improve Quality No Matter What You Produce

Measure and Measure Some More

Greenblatt recommends that two important KPIs to begin measuring immediately are quality escapes and quality captures.

Quality captures are process and product errors that are identified and captured internally before the client sees the finished product or service.

“Captured quality errors aren’t as bad because the client never knew — maybe they suffered a delayed delivery, but that’s it. Your client is not injured by the stumble.”

Quality escapes are more dire, because they were discovered by the client. They risk the long-term relationship with the client, and escaped internal quality checks.

“Measuring these mistakes transparently will bring your team’s attention to these issues, and they will understand they are important.”

Focus on Process, Not People

When quality errors happen, focus on the process. Often, the root cause of a decrease in quality isn’t a person, but an organization’s internal process.

Greenblatt cautions against playing the blame game, saying that it will ultimately affect morale, and decrease productivity.

Address process issues by adding new checks or revising timelines so employees don’t feel rushed to produce on tight schedules.

Meet Weekly

Regular meetings about quality are necessary, but initial meetings can be lengthy. It’s important to have conversations with everyone involved whenever a quality issue emerges, in order to identify the root cause.

As processes are strengthened and systems become more robust, these meetings will become periodic check-ins.

Create a Quality Chart

A quality chart is a good way to prioritize quality issues by size, scope, and importance.

When addressing any quality issues, Greenblatt recommends devoting the most time and energy to those areas that experience issues most frequently.

Quality improvement is an iterative process, so organizations should always be looking for ways to deliver the maximum value to the client or customer, while streamlining internal processes for efficiency.

“Work the biggest quality issues until they become smaller issues.”

Make it Public

Make the results of your quality evaluations and checks public.

Post them around your place of business, communicate why they’re there, and give context to the numbers. Your employees should see this emphasis on quality as a company-wide endeavor, and posting the latest numbers to your team publicly is a great way to demonstrate the organization’s commitment both to quality and its people.