Today the allocation of resources has never been greater. In a world where business is becoming increasingly connected globally and substantially more competitive, customer service and the drive for Total Quality Management has never been greater. This TQM concept which was developed around the 1950’s and has become increasingly popular and necessary to sustain core competencies (Padhi, 2010). Total Quality Management may be defined as “managing the entire organization so that it excels on all dimensions of products and services that are important to the customer” (Aquilano, Chase & Jacobs, 2009).
This author focuses on eight disciplinary measures which include: Ethics, Integrity, Trust, Training, Teamwork, Leadership, Recognition, and Communication. Certainly for the scope of small business, communication must be at the forefront. Communication is widely regarded among many competing firms as one of the top skills necessary to run a business. Charles Fine, the author of “Clockspeed Chronicles” explains how many major companies have failed to adopt important enterprise resource planning systems in a world which is rapidly changing and the negative consequences are dire (Fine, 2000). The flow of information and communication are two important connecting factors which allow business to thrive.
Certainly it is true that speed, communication, accuracy have some of the greatest impacts towards customer service; but this is not enough alone to ensure measures of success. There are three absolute rules to follow as a guideline and four steps that can be taken to reach success.
Rule One: There must be a continuous process. In order to achieve the value added activities required to provide a superior product or service, the product must be continuous. Goals, metrics and decisions must be constantly reevaluated because of the ever changing dynamic of customer needs.
Rule Two: Results must be measurable. This may seem as common sense to some but is absent to others. If a product, idea or action is intangible it must be made tangible. Try assigning numeric values to these categories.
Rule Three: Processes must be replicable. It doesn’t help a manager to hire an all-star cast and then someone leaves the organization. It doesn’t help to make one customer happy and the other frustrated. Mixed reviews, disorganized actions can deconstruct a company brick by brick. Clearly every organization needs a hard copy set of rules which can be adopted and implemented without room for error.
Here all the following steps which bring this conversation to fruition. There is no set order in which they must be followed.
Step 1: Utilize available information and tools to analyze the company outlook. These tools can be anything from flow charts, productivity software, or consulting which may help increase output. They also include information systems such as Enterprise Resource Planning, Yard Management Systems, Electronic Data Interchange, or really anything that increases efficiency such as moving to email from post mail.
Step 2: Design policies and solid framework for guidance. This is very simple. Employee handbooks, a company mission statement, even inspirational artifacts laying around the office can work well.
Step 3: Set obtainable benchmarks and goals. Nothing is more frustrating to an employee than an impossible command that cannot be fulfilled or a customer who is left feeling cheated.
Step 4: This is the most important step. Communicate clearly and effectively through management or leadership. Communication is the link that pulls all of these pieces together. Without clear communication, value cannot be translated toward quality.
This is all simple advice that can make all the difference for shareholder equity and company value.
Fine, C. (2000).The clockspeed chronicles: Q&A. Supply Chain management Review, 60-64
Jacobs, R., Chase, R., & Aquilano, N. (2009). Operations & supply management. (pp. 308-322). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Padhi, N. (2010). The eight elements of tqm. Retrieved from http://www.isixsigma.com/methodology/total-quality-management-tqm/eight-elements-tqm/
U.S Small Business Administration, Advocacy Small Business Statistics and Research. (2007). Faqs: Frequently asked questions. Retrieved from website: http://web.sba.gov/faqs/faqIndexAll.cfm?
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