In business, is ‘quality’ misapplied or meaningless?

Does the word quality mean something is good? Will the inclusion of ‘quality’ in a statement bestow integrity or imply correctness?

Marketing departments act as though people will always instinctively associate the word ‘quality’ with that which is good. But meaning is quickly lost in use and in overuse. For instance, is good quality better than quality? For that matter, what about high quality or fine quality? Which is better and who decides how these terms rank? If you see a slogan “Service quality leads to value,” will this automatically ensure you trust your requirements to this company? Why would you? Without specific reasons to back up this claim, it is meaningless.

Quality is just one characteristic that constitutes the basic nature of any entity. How it is used defines the feature of any product or process. In business, it must be used in a pragmatic and meaningful way, such as defining a company program of ‘Total Quality Management.’

Total Quality Management is essential in today’s business world. The Total Quality Management program is an improvement of organizational performance through creating and improving internal processes. The program is managed by the employees who are responsible for all aspects of total quality. This philosophy encourages employees to create and then follow internal processes, which, in turn, helps build closer relationships with external groups such as suppliers, manufacturers, and ultimately, customers.

Recently Cartel has taken a more progressive view on implementing Total Quality Management as it pertains to communications. Part of this move was implementing a communications strategy that includes improving customer facing documentation, leveraging social media, and revamping our outdated website. These initiatives, championed by our team, are supported by our leadership.  

The new website, for instance, began as an initiative that came out of marketing. The whole project was meant to reframe and better articulate Cartel’s current products and services. Through the long, and often arduous process of bringing it online, it came to represent more, however. The landing page presents readers with Cartel’s new slogan “Life is Better When We Communicate.” More than a catchphrase, “Life is Better When We Communicate” represents our commitment to the process of implementing better communications internally and externally.

Every company wants to be quality compliant. However, in order to put a plan in place, it is critical to understand what that means, conceptually and practically. Company management must understand that quality is just one characteristic of the total plan (how the company can be effective in the marketplace). The target will encompass an understanding of what areas need improving (such as processes), and finally, how to get the message out.  Whatever the strategy, it must embrace change. Company processes must continually evolve to meet the needs of the market and the culture at large.

In following blogs, I will detail some of the ways Cartel is building its Total Quality Management program, and how it will affect our suppliers and customers.

Allan Cowdy, Operations Manager


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