World Quality Day: why quality is vital for reputation, profitability and performance

World Quality Day is celebrated annually on the second Thursday in November to help to raise the profile and highlight the positive impact of quality on organisations. The day was designed to increase worldwide awareness of the important contribution that quality makes towards both organisational and national growth, and prosperity.

Here at The Growth Company, we see the value in the function of quality and compliance, and recognise its role in helping to protect and enhance our reputation, improve profitability, drive change and enhance business performance.

This year’s theme for World Quality Day is the importance of trust — and the role that all stakeholders have in building and maintaining it. This theme ties in with recent and upcoming changes within the Growth Company as we move to a more agile way of working across the organisation.

We believe that an agile approach is right for the company going forward. It will enable colleagues to achieve a better work-life balance and create a culture of trust which will increase the attractiveness of GC to new and existing employees. It will also enhance performance and help us to provide a more competitive service to our customers and stakeholders.

What is quality?

Quality is about organisations being able to identify and define who their stakeholders are and put systems, plans, objectives and processes in place to meet or exceed their needs and expectations to the mutual benefit and satisfaction of both parties. Customers are the most important group of stakeholders for most businesses, but investors, employees, suppliers and members of our wider community are stakeholders too.

Quality is an ever-evolving perception by the customer of the value provided by a product or service.  It is not a static perception that never changes, but a fluid process that changes as a product or service matures (innovation) and other alternatives (competition) are made available as a basis of comparison.

Quality is about improving products, services, systems and processes, to make sure that the organisation is fit, effective and meeting its objectives. Managing quality means constantly pursuing excellence: making sure that what your organisation does is fit for purpose, and not only stays that way, but keeps improving, evolving and adapting to change.

Quality is doing the right things, even when nobody is watching. You can't manage what you can't measure. Basically, you can't know whether or not you are successful unless success is defined, monitored and tracked.

Why is quality so important in today’s world?

In today’s connected and competitive marketplace, missteps and dissatisfaction spread quickly. A simple tweet or Google review can paint a negative picture that is hard to recover from. A strong reputation for quality can be an important differentiator in markets that are very competitive. The lifeblood of any organisation is their ability to consistently deliver as promised. This ability to deliver is a function of quality.

Having good processes, good products and engaged customers lead to healthy organisations. This in turn attracts and retains key talent, thereby making the organisation better positioned on the competitive landscape.

As an organisation, it is vital that we build and maintain stakeholder trust. One of the ways we achieve this is by implementing and maintaining a quality management system based on the requirements of ISO 9001:2015, the international standard for quality management, to which we externally certified. The standard plays a part in ensuring that our customer and wider stakeholder needs and expectations are understood and met. We align our values and culture to account for these expectations. Our assurance and audit plan help us understand and monitor performance and identify the risks to trust, reputation and performance, which in turn leads to continual improvement.

What have we done to ensure quality is embedded across the Growth Company?

Key achievements over the last 12 months across The Growth Company include transition to the new ISO 9001:2015 Standard for the group for existing organisations in scope such as GC Employment, GC Education & Skills, Corporate Services and GC Business Finance. On top of this, GC Business Growth Hub, Marketing Manchester, The Manufacturing Institute, Business Support Solutions and MIDAS have also all been externally certified to the new standard for the first time and are new reaping the benefits of the management systems they have implemented - with clear and tangible improvements to performance. This is a fantastic achievement, and as an organisation we should be proud of the work we have done to achieve this.