Friday, April 4, 2014

A Culture of Quality

Omar Ghurab

One of the most important aspects in implementing quality to an organization is to create a quality culture. A quality culture is a culture that guides an organization through the journey of achieving quality.  This journey is not a step by step guide to fix a current situation, it is a continuous process driven by the culture of exceeding goals and expectations.  It is the change that differentiates between meeting minimum requirements and exceeding it to full satisfaction. In this article I will discuss the importance of having a quality culture in an organization.

Providing quality is rather a simple and very logical concept if you take the human portion out of the equation. For this example I will use a vending machine as an example of an organization, how would a vending machine provide a quality service to a customer? To begin defining the quality service we have determine what quality means for the work of a vending machine. Quality is usually defined as meeting or exceeding the customers’ requirements. For our example, quality service for a vending machine means that the customer is expected to get the exact product he selected in a short time. He is also expecting to get the can chilled, and containing the same good flavor he has in mind. He is not expecting a bigger can, a low calorie healthier beverage, or a can of different flavor. Now let’s imagine one of the components of the machine is damaged, will it still provide the same level of quality product? For instance, if the refrigerator part is broken, the customer will get a room temperature can which does not meet the expectations he has in mind. Or let’s say that the flavor he wants is not available, or that the machine does not have the capability to take debit transaction. All of these cases represent how the efforts of the system components lead to provide quality service or product to the customer. All of these components have to work correctly to achieve this goal. No matter how technical the component is, it still plays a role in the process of providing the service or in this case the product in a manner that satisfies the customer’s requirements.

Now let’s go back to organizations.  Organizations are systems containing different departments that work together each performing their roles to provide a quality experience to the customer. In fact, if any of the departments, sections, or even projects does not have a final goal that enhances the experience of the customer and draw more customers in, it is usually terminated because it does not provide a value to the organization.
A quality culture is a corner stone in implementing quality. It ensures all efforts provided by the organization are aiming towards providing quality to the customer.  The quality culture ensures that all components in the organization are working simultaneously to one end goal. Quality culture does not achieve its goal for implementing quality if the people working in an organization do not believe in it. It might look really good in an organization’s mission statement, but it only provides value if all of the components of the organization are fully engaged in it

Finally, in an article written by Bridgette Heard the director of quality for Illinois Cancer Care, she states that to create a quality culture, an organization must follow four essential steps:
1.                  “Determine what quality means for your organization.
2.                  Analyze your mission statement and core values.
3.                  Train your employees.
4.                  Task employees with the responsibility of showing behavior that aligns with the quality program.” (1)

Heard, Bridgette. "Creating a Culture of Quality: The Essentials." N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2014. <>.