Priorities. Every company has them, no matter what industry they’re in. When it comes to proper quality management, cost management has to be part of the equation. Far too many companies have bold ideas of what they should do next, but they don’t like to spend a lot of time on the numbers. Newer companies are incredibly guilty of this, choosing to look at the idea rather than how much it’s going to cost, and more importantly, how much it’s going to cost to fix if things go south quickly.
One way to make sure that a company is spending the right amount of resources on an issue is to look at the company as a whole from a n 80/20 point of view. The 80/20 analysis is based on the Pareto Principle, which says that the majority of the success is based on a small minority of the inputs. In other words, 80% of the positive cash flow in a business can be tracked to 20% of the efforts to generate that cash flow. This reveals a lot of waste within a company, and cutting back that waste can reveal a business that runs much leaner and has an even bigger impact.
For example, after careful analysis you may find that a software suite or set of industrial tools doesn’t yield the same value as another set of tools. Rather than continue to use the tools that aren’t working, why not drop them altogether? This might mean that everyone has to be trained on the more effective technology, but that’s a small cost of doing business when you focus on long term growth.
Many Quality strategies are costly upfront, but tend to have a large impact when the procedures are analyzed over time. By cutting back on the things that aren’t serving the company, you can focus on the things that are working. Designing experiments to test metrics is a wise way to also look at what’s working and what needs to be pushed back.
Can this extend to people? Absolutely, but we will cover managing employees from a Quality standard in another article.