Why this is important
Quality can give your business a competitive edge and can help you to keep and gain more customers. Quality can affect:
- the performance of your business overall;
- your marketing and sales activities;
- how you develop and produce or provide your products or services;
- how you keep business records; and
- how you deal with customers.
Who might do this
You might do this if you:
- have recently reviewed your business or social enterprise; or
- have identified poor quality in activities or outputs to which you need to react.
What it involves
Improving the quality of products or services involves:
- making sure you give your customers the level of quality they expect;
- making sure your quality is equal to, or higher than, that offered by your competitors; and
- continually monitoring and improving quality.
Other units that link closely with this
|WB1||Check what customers need from your business|
|WB5||Sell your products or services|
|WB11||Decide how you will treat your business customers|
|WB12||Deliver a good service to customers|
|BD4||Carry out a review of your business|
|BD6||Make changes to improve your business|
|BS2||Monitor the quality and use of supplies and equipment in your business|
What you need to do
- Find out what quality your customers expect and if they would like your business to have a quality award.
- Check what you currently do to measure and improve quality in the operational, technical and management parts of your business and compare it to what your competitors do.
- Set or review targets for quality for all parts of your business that take account of your customers’ expectations.
- Plan how to deal with faults and complaints and use the information you get to improve products or services.
- Decide whether to use a quality recognition scheme to improve your business’s performance.
- Take advice from experts when you need it.
- Check that quality improvements are happening as you wanted.
- Regularly check progress by sampling products, services and processes and asking for the views of all those involved.
- Assess the skills and attitudes of any staff to improving quality.
- Check whether resources are helping to improve quality.
- Identify any problems in making improvements, and take prompt action to deal with them.
- Identify new opportunities and threats and change quality plans as necessary.
- Use the results of monitoring to review the effectiveness of your business.
What you need to know and understand
- How quality helps your business aims and targets and how to bring it into your business.
- What information from your business is useful when looking at quality. (For example, views of staff and customers, information about the products or services you deliver).
- How to explain what quality and quality management are to those people involved. (For example, staff, customers, backers and professional advisers).
- How to measure quality. (For example, the number of faults in products or complaints about services.)
- How you can find out what your customers expect in relation to quality and how they view poor quality.
- How you can find out about what your competitors do about quality.
- Where to look in your business for quality improvements, staff skills and attitudes in day-to-day activities. (For example production, service delivery, sales, marketing, customer relations, supplies, maintenance and administration.)
- How you should state the detail of quality you expect in products, services and processes.
- The schemes for recognising quality that are relevant to your business, the benefits of each and where to find out about them.
- How to judge that your products or services meet the level of quality that you have set.
- How to sample products, services and processes to carry out quality checks.
- What potential problems you could face when you try to improve quality in your business. (For example, change in market conditions, resource difficulties, staff or competitor activity.)