Maintaining long term success as a business is no easy task. Only a few manage to survive for the long term. 96 percent of businesses, in fact, don’t make it to their tenth year.
With that in mind, it’s a good idea to examine what the four percent of companies that do manage to survive for that long have in common. While there are many things you can look at, there is one unifying factor. Companies that survive for the long term and go on to expand into huge national or international operations all have strict quality standards that they adhere to.
If you can maintain high quality standards in your company in regards to your products and services, you could create a lasting institution in your industry. However, maintaining high quality is not easy. With that in mind, below are three strategies you can use to help create quality in your business.
Create a Blueprint for Quality and Consistency
The cornerstone of quality is actually consistency. If you want to truly thrive as a business, customers must receive the same exact product every time they give your company their patronage. That’s what lack of quality control is after all, inconsistency. A customer may have a good experience with your product one time and a poor experience the next because the second product purchased didn’t live up to their expectations.
However, how do you ensure that the product is always the same? To do that, you need to have a blueprint. This is how international chains like McDonald’s ensure that there is very little differentiation in the Big Mac customers receive even if one is bought in Iowa City and another in Tokyo.
Franchisees must agree to follow the exact specifications for how the Big Mac should be prepared to ensure quality is always the same. The McDonald’s franchise agreement demands that food be prepared using the McDonald’s system only. Similarly, you must develop a blueprint for how to create your product that will ensure that inconsistency will not be an issue that hampers quality for the customer.
Integrate Quality Control Tools
Ensuring high quality standards also means having the tools necessary to make quality control possible. These days, software and digital tools are the means used to help business owners keep a strong tab on quality. You need to integrate a quality management system into your quality control procedures for your business.
Modern quality control applications that work with such a management system can be installed on a smartphone or tablet. This portability is a great advantage. You could use a mobile auditor to complete a quality audit while walking around the factory, restaurant or other facility. The results of the audit can then be uploaded immediately through a Wi-Fi connection and viewed through a management console installed on an office computer. Such digital tools can make the entire process much easier and more efficient than would be the case without them.
Keep and Analyze Records
If you want to ensure that quality standards are being adhered to, you need to create records. The results of audits should be preserved for as long as possible. This should also be the case for records regarding customer complaints and other documentable quality issues. This way, you can look back over past performance to assess what needs to be changed to create quality improvements. If this documentation does not exist or is not examined that often, you may simply overlook the problems and never truly address serious quality issues.
Instituting strong quality control procedures can create great benefits for your company. A company that integrated strong quality control saw an increase in revenue of 15 percent. However, hard work is required to build your quality control procedures, institute them and assess their effectiveness. Make sure your team does what is needed to create strong consistency in the products received by your customers.