Quality control for success

Quality control: It’s critical for success

How does one ensure quality for products and services in one’s own organisation?
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There are two kinds of players in any sector: Those who offer high quality at a high price, and those who offer low quality for a low price. A customer chooses depending on his priority.

However, no one can compromise on quality when it comes to critical items like food, beverages and medicines. Otherwise, it could prove fatal for a consumer.

Chanakya not only emphasised on quality checks but also set up government control methods in his day and age to ensure that quality does not suffer: “For perishable goods, a retraction may be allowed with the restriction ‘It shall not be sold elsewhere’. In case of transgression of that, the fine is twenty-four panas or one-tenth of the goods” (3.15.7-8).

In the above verse, we see that—only for perishable commodities—Chanakya sets a policy that it has to be consumed within a particular region. He even defines the punishment if this is not followed.

Now how does one ensure quality for products and services in one’s own organisation? Here are some tips:

Understand the meaning of quality

The meaning of quality changes from person to person and also from market to market. It differs completely from one segment to another. For example, a person who always used to wear torn clothes will consider even a second-hand but decent shirt as something of high quality.

While a person who is privileged to wear clean and good clothes will consider only a branded shirt or designer wear to be of high quality. So, understand this ‘mind-set’ and the requirement of your customer to define what quality means from one person to another. A thriving example of this would be the exporters who send second-hand Indian clothes to poorer nations as against the domestic textile industry.

Set up parameters

It is important to set up quality parameters before sending or marketing the produced goods and services. All well-known brands have quality control departments that monitor processes at each and every level in their factories, rather than just at the finished product stage.

No wonder these departments are called quality ‘assurance’ instead of quality ‘control’. Each person at every stage of production becomes responsible for guaranteeing quality.

Improving continuously

Markets demands are growing, needs of customers are changing. Hence, the definition of quality also changes from time to time. Understand this and improve accordingly.

In a compressed world, it’s better to pitch ahead and make products of global standards. Therefore, it pays to apply concepts like TQM (Totally Quality Management), ISO Certifications, etc, in your processes and systems. Above all, learn from your mistakes, accept customer feedback and adopt the same in the next level of improvement of your quality standards.

Dr Radhakrishnan Pillai is an Indian management thinker, author, and Founder of Atma Darshan and Chanakya Aanvikshiki. Dr Pillai has extensively researched Kautilya’s Arthashastra, the 3rd century BC treatise and incorporated it into modern management.

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