How Do I Know If I Have Issues With Quality?

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When is the best time to look at improving your quality?

This is kind of like asking when is the best time to check the batteries in your smoke detector (Hint: BEFORE there’s a fire). Likewise, the best time to check if you have quality issues is before a disaster happens. Once disaster strikes, you’re usually too busy putting out fires and trying to get your head above water to do any work on future disaster prevention.

If you successfully avert the crisis, you’re quickly back to business as usual–HOPING that no quality issues come up to put your job and company’s future at risk again. As we know though, hope is not a plan. Hope is a wish. Hope is crossing fingers that no fires break out instead of paying $100 to get batteries, a smoke detector, and a fire extinguisher. Regardless of whether you just averted a crisis (lost a customer, failed an audit, etc.) or haven’t had one happen in a while, now is the perfect time to start asking questions about improving your quality.

The cost of poor quality is getting higher every day.

Those who don’t take the time to look into improving their quality suffer predictable fates. No one, regardless of size or prestige, is immune to this. As an example, just this past week, the U.S. Air Force found poor quality on six of seven Joint Stars aircraft built by contractor Northrop Grumman. Forget about the maintenance costs involved in getting the existing planes back up to required performance levels. The big story here is that now the Air Force is looking for replacement aircraft, which means that Northrop Grumman will have to compete side by side with competitors like Boeing and Lockheed Martin to keep the business they already won–all while trying to convince the Air Force that the quality issues they just had won’t happen again.

What’s a reputation of quality worth to you?

Will Rogers once said, “It takes a lifetime to build a good reputation, but you can lose it in a minute”. The cowboy/actor was right. On paper, the cost of doing anything to improve your quality may be higher than the cost of doing nothing, especially if you haven’t had any problems recently. However, the risk is huge and the cost becomes very high once you do have a problem. Unfortunately, at that point it’s too late. You’ve either frustrated or lost your customer and will continue to do so if you don’t change. You need to act now, before it’s too late.

Regardless of whether you just averted a crisis, haven’t had one happen in a while, or have never had one happen, NOW is the perfect time to start looking into ways to improve your quality. Because nothing is more expensive than a lost reputation.


Learn more about SPC software and how it can help you improve and maintain your quality.