In this month’s ASQ post by Paul Borawski he asks the Influential Voices to discuss the impact of Global Quality Programs.
Do you live in a country with a national quality program? Is it serving to create role models for others to emulate? Is the national program growing in visibility and perceived value and creating capacity for national excellence?
If you search Google for “Quality Award Programs” you may be surprised by the number of programs. I certainly didn’t realize how many programs focus on quality. I suppose this speaks well for the emphasis on quality products and services.
I think we can all agree that a Quality Award for the sake of an award is not beneficial.
However, many organizations around the world are turning to quality award programs for more than just the recognition such programs offered. Companies realize that the awards also offer models and tools for implementing a quality strategy, benchmarking best practices, performing self-assessments and, ultimately, achieving improvements.
Many organizations are effectively using quality award programs to advance their journey to attain quality leadership. Here are some guidelines for effectively using quality award programs:
- Do it to drive excellence, not to win the award.
Many organizations have gotten off track by making the award the ultimate goal. This can result in gaming the system to look better than you actually are. In the meantime, the organizations lose sight of their true purpose of providing value adding products and services to customers.
- Use a long term focus.
Once and done is almost always a wasted effort. It is not enough to reach award winning levels of quality leadership. The real goal is to sustain quality leadership performance. Most quality award winning organizations will self-assess and apply multiple times over several years. They recognize that achieving and sustaining quality leadership is a journey.
- Use the feedback.
It is always amazing when an organization goes all the way through the process of compiling and submitting an application and then ignores the feedback they receive from the evaluation process. This is the gold nugget. This can be some of the best advice an organization will ever receive from a team of industry leading experts. Smart organizations use this feedback as a major component of strategic and business planning to identify areas of focus.
- Focus on process.
The results will follow. Most quality award criteria seek information related to business processes and business results. The key to success is to understand how processes drive results and focus on improving the processes so better results can be attained.
- Develop internal expertise.
The awards cycle will provide valuable feedback to the organization, but it can take a long time to get the information. Organizations which develop internal expertise can strengthen their own assessment processes. This enables the organization to get regular and timely information for improving processes and performance
Quality awards are not indicators of previous or future performance. They are a one-time snap shot. If your organization is seeking quality improvement, then a Quality Award can play a significant part in helping you along the journey. Quality awards provide an excellent source for monitoring progress and identifying opportunities for improvement.