How to Improve the Quality of Your Company’s Products?
In the current business economy, the success of any company is determined by the quality of products that it produces. To see how this works, think of a company like Apple Inc. The company is the world’s second most valuable public company after Google. Apple products are known for being durable and having a long life.
While Apple only commands a small section of the world’s electronics market, its profits easily dwarf companies whose products are in every household.
Companies that have a well-established reputation for quality have a lot of flexibility when pricing their products than their competitors. The following tips will give you some insight which can help you improve the quality of your company’s products.
Training Your Workers
Training your workers is the most important quality decision you can make. Your workers are the most valuable asset you have in the company. Paying your workers is also likely to be the greatest expense that you incur. Therefore, they have to be able to produce excellent products in their stations.
The best time to train your new workers is right after you hire them. The CEO of Zingerman’s Family of Companies personally undertakes training on all the new employees.
With quality-focused employees, you do not have to worry about having an intensive quality management department as that would be redundant. Trained employees are more effective and productive, and usually make for happier employees as well.
While training employees is essential, it can be done in vain if your training programs are not effective. Many companies may pride themselves in quick training for their employees, or a very compressed and on demand “jump in the deep end” approach that forces the new employees to learn to adapt to their working environment.
However, many studies show that this may not always be the most effective way to train new employees. Each individual differs in capability and understanding, so flexibility is a key trait in an effective training program.
Giving expectations to trainees is appropriate so long as you understand that, just like your tenured employees, each employee will grasp things faster and progress at a different rate.
Designating a group system that allows the trainees to communicate with each other and share knowledge is proven to be effective in allowing the trainees to learn and grow; therefore, maybe trying to institute a sort of “buddy system” that allows employees to feel comfortable sharing resources during this time period would be effective.
As well, training programs will work as well as the people that operate within them; organizing a review system for your new trainees allows them to give you honest feedback about how the program is helping their transition to real-time work. As always, surveys are great at getting honest feedback to improve your processes.
Do not ignore Quality Complaints
Every business needs multiple levels of feedback systems to remain profitable. As the leader of your business, you should make it your duty to review the customer, supplier, and employee feedback. The priority should be to the clients since they are essentially your employers. Without the customers, there will be no need for staff or suppliers.
Any feedback related to poor product quality should be treated with urgency. You cannot afford to have negative word of mouth about the quality of your products. In fact, you should make it your obligation to inform every customer complaining about the quality of what you intend to do in the future release.
This is usually done in the form of a PR professional or social media team. Since so much of customer feedback is done via social media, make it imperative to develop a highly responsive social media component to your business.
Your customer base may prefer to use a certain type of social media; find out what this is and capitalize on maintaining a strong presence there. You’ll see your customer trust improve considerably.
Complete Problem Solution
At times, you may realize that there are too many quality complaints in regards to your products. This happens when customers report new problems constantly in spite of your best efforts to solve them regularly.
Perhaps, you might be treating the symptoms instead of the disease. Remember, you cannot blame the customers for not pointing this out directly since it is your job to be creative. You might consider a complete product overhaul.
A Thorough Process Discipline
If your small or midsize business is in manufacturing or production, you have to ensure that unintentional deviations are non-existent by the time the output gets to the checkweigher. It takes just one poorly-made product to spark an online debate about the future of your company.
A recent survey shows that 26% of consumers have used social media to complain about low product quality. You have to balance between avoiding unnecessary bureaucracy and obvious production mistakes.
Allowing your employees to suggest ways of improving the products freely is a major step in business development. This can only happen in a company where the organizational culture is flexible and non-authoritative.
Employees usually have some of the best ideas since they have a close relationship with the customers and the business leaders. As such, they can come up with some of the most balanced solutions to your product quality issues. Hitachi Global Storage Technologies fosters such a work environment in the digital media storage industry.
Product quality is necessary for developing a trusted brand in any market. The trend is evident in nearly every mainstream private industry. Companies which have high-quality products do not have to rely on sales to stay at the top of their markets.
They can easily increase their profit margins for every product shipped. Brands shape today’s markets as opposed to sales. On the other hand, brands are shaped by the quality of your products.
The focus on quality products has never been more imperative in such an exposed marketplace. Make it a priority to qualify your products; this will communicate to the industry that you ‘mean business’.
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