It doesn’t matter which department you’re in. Quality is no longer just for operations! Its even more important for each member of Marketing, Finance, HR, and IT to become Quality Practitioners!
Throughout our journey, my consultancy Qimpro and I have simply done one thing to remain relevant. That is to assiduously follow the customer wherever they go. And trust me, they go places!
At the beginning of 2016, we’re at a highly critical juncture for our future business. I can only see a 1000 days into the future. All roads lead to one key person: the digital customer.
Keeping this in mind:
- I will focus on the digital customer; offering Quality Management services that are better, faster, cheaper and different!
- I will write stories that are catalyzed by my experiences in Quality Management consulting
- I will avoid travel, to reduce my carbon footprints
In my view, Quality is an integral part of every discipline. Every discipline has a customer – internal or external. The customer defines Quality.
Individuals seeking careers in Quality must first be generalists, and then follow this up with education on the Juran Trilogy: Quality Planning, Quality Control, Quality Improvement. But with a difference.
So what’s the difference?
The customer is now likely to be a digital customer. In addition, digital media will be the probable platform for communication and delivery. These hard skills are non-negotiable.
Learning hard skills will be easy, through digital campuses. However, soft skills to interact with digital customers, in multiple time zones, will be the challenge.
As we all know, Quality is in the minds of customers. Therefore, Quality Management will need to address digital customer expectations, as well as understand digital customer perceptions.
While customer perceptions for your offering may turn out to be stable, customer expectations will most likely be the trouble makers. The latter has always been a moving target, which is continuously pampered by competitors. In a digital world, it will be even greater.
- Quality professionals must proactively court digital customers. This will require proficient Knowledge Management. In turn, this knowledge must feed into the Product Development processes in order to deliver better, faster, cheaper and different results!
- Quality professionals should be adept at global soft skills. Geographical boundaries have dissolved. Will Quality professionals be a threat to Marketing?
My prescription for someone starting out in Quality is simple:
- Make understanding customer needs your obsession
- Learn to communicate customer needs to the Product Development team
- Learn to map processes and rid the subject processes of waste and wasteful work
- Treat the workers with dignity.
Success is assured. Always remember, customer pays your salary.
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The MADE IN INDIA tiger is a creative representation of the idea behind becoming a manufacturing behemoth in the global markets. Any resemblance to any other logo, is purely unintentional.