Friday, June 30, 2006

Quality Talk

Quality is a word that is dangerously close to becoming a cliche. Or perhaps it has already become one. Most organisations use it in their mission statements or punctuate their ads with the word 'quality' sprinkled quite liberally. In corporate circles, and now increasingly in other sectors as well, the word has acquired the status of a superhero.

It is seen as a mantra to restore customer confidence, enlarge market share, improve productivity and increase profits. And if this is not enough, quality is seen as the magic potion that will rid the organisation of all ills.

High expectations, indeed.

But an intensely competitive environment makes this kind of quality oriented focus highly necessary. After all, if organisations need to stand out in the clutter, they must be seen as ones that embody leadership in all aspects. And to make this happen, quality is the best bet for actualising any such ambitions.

Thus, discussions on quality have to move away from mere conceptualisations and philosophical treatises and enter the realm of concrete strategies. Quality cannot and should not remain mere talk. It has to be followed with an action plan that takes into consideration organisational objectives and aims at fulfilling them. It must also be rooted in reality and not be mere wishful thinking on the part of some copywriter on an overdose of instant coffee.

Current market realities have made this task unavoidablebecause organisations are faced with demanding customers who now have wide alternatives to choose from. Thus, quality can be one determining factor that can help in retaining and enlarging the customer base.

But all this would prove futile if organisations do not have a vision statement, clear cut objectives and a ruthless drive to enforce quality at all levels. The alternative for these organisations would certainly be, death by irrelevance.

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