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Total Quality Management: the 7 principles of quality

Giulia has a company, produces a certain product and sells it quite well.


She and her team manage to get the company to break even. At Christmas dinner they all congratulate each other on the excellent job done, but a doubt arises: is there room for improvement?

This question can only have one answer: definitely!

There is always room for improvement, as Marilyn Monroe put it.

But how do you go about it? Where do you start? And above all, what are the right questions to ask and the strategies to follow? What are the levers for improvement?

It is at this point, ladies and gentlemen, that on the other side of the boxing ring, to tackle the weaknesses and gaps of a company with clenched fists, Total Quality Management emerges!

In this post you will find:

Have fun reading!

Let's get to the heart of the matter: what is missing from your company?

An average company combines its resources without having set goals, implements different processes without knowing them thoroughly, and offers a product or service to sell to the consumer. It follows this pattern as long as the business continues, then closes or sells to others who know how to "manage" it better.

An excellent company has set up management and objectives to be achieved, knows its processes perfectly in terms of timing, roles and staff involvement, evaluates the most suitable combination of resources for its objectives and processes, continuously listens to feedback from the market and other interested parties to make its product better and better.

Nothing but the best for its customers.

Is it complex? Yes! Is it difficult?

Nothing is difficult if you know what is to do.

Total Quality Management gives us the right tools for this purpose.

Quality management

Let me tell you right off the bat.

Quality is not about how good your product or service is (what does product or service quality really mean - have you ever thought about it? -).

It is more a feature of your system.

Take McDonalds: you can probably make a better and tastier hamburger at home, but it has conquered the world (almost 37,000 points of sale!) with its System.

It's just one example, but I could give you hundreds.

The quality of the business depends on the system.

In fact, quality means creating and improving effective and efficient systems and processes over time in pursuit of the objectives of a strategy that aims to give value to your customers.

This will automatically help you increase your profits.

In short, it is counterintuitive, but aiming for higher turnover is not a good goal if you want to have higher turnover!

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, in the book "Invent and wander" says: "For 2010, we have defined 452 specific goals [...] The word 'revenue' is used eight times, and the expression 'free cash flow' just four. In all 452 objectives, the terms 'net profit', 'gross profit' or 'gross margin' and 'operating profit' do not appear even once."

So, what should we do?

You have to meet customer expectations and constantly try to exceed them.

A satisfied customer is someone who comes back to you, greets you like an old friend, and tells others about your product or service without being asked to do so. They can't wait to buy.

Again, in this instance Bezos comes to our aid: "the customer must be 'an obsession'. [...] Our goal is to build the most customer-centric company in the world",

Small changes, big results

Big words are often frightening. Just think how complicated the words "Total Quality Management" sound.

However, there is nothing to fear. It is precisely the most trivial and small changes that yield the greatest results.

For example, paying close attention to problems, recording them and analysing them over time, can help you define your next steps, understand how to improve individual business processes and activities, avoiding waste of time and budget.

The fruits of this attention are an increase in productivity, the satisfaction of customer needs, the increase in profits and, last but not least, the creation of a stimulating workplace and the wellbeing of employees who fuel the virtuous circle.

The real question now is: how do I make this magic work for me?

Quality management system

If only the swish of a magic wand were enough to put things right... Unfortunately, it takes work and dedication in every activity. As always.

However, when it comes to quality, there are incredibly effective and useful tools that allow this magic to do its work.

Tools, I repeat, not magic wands.

And you have to learn to use these tools. Try giving a hammer to a one-year-old: he won't drive in a single nail.

From today, your entrepreneurial toolbox is called Management systems, and quality systems in particular.

The famous ISO 9001 standard offers, precisely, a number of requirements to be met in order to create your own toolbox, the Quality Management System.

ISO 9001 is one of the most internationally recognised standards. It has been designed to help companies follow the principles of quality management, comply with the requirements and possibly obtain certification (it is not always mandatory, but it can be important to obtain recognition from third parties).

We too have made it our own.

The 7 principles of quality management

The seven fundamental principles that govern the ISO 9001 standard are its compass and act as such for the entrepreneur and for their entire company.

One of the major advantages of the standard, which also happens to be my favourite, is in fact the creation of a stimulating and enthralling work environment, which jointly pursues a precise course.

The standard and the resulting certification are not just pieces of paper and endless text (unless you don't believe it 😅).

The trick is to learn them and make them your own. This is the only way to really reap the promised benefits.

Find out the other benefits by reading the post:

The principles on which it is based are what make this standard fundamental.

Let me introduce them: here are the 7 principles:

  • Customer focus (which you've surely understood by now)

  • Leadership (aren't you the entrepreneur? It still concerns you)

  • Active participation of people (no, I don't mean fitness)

  • Process-oriented approach (sounds like a tongue twister, but it's essential)

  • Continuous improvement

  • Evidence-based decision making (your intuition is formidable, but, as you have learned the hard way, it is not enough)

  • Relationship management (get your paws off Tinder, we don't mean that kind of relationship)

This time, however, I want to leave you with bated breath.

To go into the details of each one, you need the right lighting and the right space.

Soon we will illustrate them in dedicated articles, one at a time.

We will tell you about the underlying objectives and the possible actions to be taken in order to pursue them.

In the meantime, you can learn more about other issues relating to ISO 9001 on our Blog or subscribe to our newsletter. We will keep you abreast of all the news.

See you soon!


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