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October 22, 2007  

Hi MBBP Subscribers,  

Is your company's quality system producing products and service that exceed customer expectations?  

Remember, what I said in my writings about customer service, 'The reality of customer satisfaction is in the eyes of the beholder. . . the customer.'  

The sooner we accept our customers' perception of the quality of our products and service as reality, and accept it as our challenge, the sooner we will earn their confidence AND BECOME THEIR PERMANENT SUPPLIER OF CHOICE. 

To that end, today's writing is about total quality management and IS0 9001. If your company is serious about improving their quality performance, don't miss out on reading today's bulletin.  

Have a nice day, and stay connected.

Bill Gaw
Business Basics, LLC

P.S. Be sure to visit our six sigma, black belt, and ISO guru's web page at: http://bbasicsllc.com/zalatan.htm

George Zalatan provides in-house training and consultingfor companies serious about optimizing their MRP, ERP, lean manufacturing, six sigma and quality performances. 

Check out his services at:  



You may have heard of companies having a 'Quality System.' You may have also heard buzz words such as 'Quality Assurance System, Quality Management System, Customer Satisfaction System or TQM.' What are they, and what do they really mean?  

Perhaps these companies have something your Company doesn't? Strictly speaking, any business or company operating successfully must have a system to run the business. Then, what is this so-called 'Quality System' or 'Quality Management System'? Is it something new that can solve all your problems? Rest assured ... it is nothing new. It is documenting commonsense rules and methods for running a business.  


Before we define the quality system, first we should try to define the term 'quality.' We associate the term quality with 'degree of excellence, superiority of some kind, a characteristic or feature.' We all know what quality is. We know that Rolls Royce is a quality car.  

Yet, there are more Fords on the road compared to Rolls Royces. How do you measure this degree of excellence or superiority? Does quality means luxurious? Expensive? Popular? The problem is in defining the term 'quality' itself.  

Leave the term 'quality' for a moment. Just think what is your, or for that matter the majority of the businesses aim or goal? Obvious, to make money! How do you make money (profit)? You have to supply a product or a service;  

· What the market wants (meets the stated or implied requirements of the customer)· When it wants (delivered on time and every time)· At a price it is prepared to pay (produce at a total cost as low as possible) 

For our purposes, the definition of 'quality' is the same as the above three points. At its most basic, quality means producing what is wanted and when it is wanted and at a expectable total cost.  

Your business goal = profit = quality, so, your business goal must be quality.  

Once you have defined the term 'quality' as above, the definition of a quality system becomes very simple. A system that achieves your business goal (quality = profit) is the quality system. More technically a Quality System can be defined as 'the organizational structure, responsibilities, procedures, processes and resources required to achieve total customer satisfaction. 

The layman's definition of quality system is 'a documented system of how to run or manage a successful business'. As this is all about managing your business,

t is frequently called 'Management System' or 'Quality Management System.' As any such system provides 'assurance' both for customers and yourself, it is often called a 'Quality Assurance System.'  

The companies possessing a Quality System have documented their systems in writing in the form of Manuals, Procedures and Instructions. You have your own Quality System if you document the way of running your business and implement it consistently. The establishment of rules, the documentation of those rules and ensuring that all employees maintain those rules are the nucleus of a Company's Quality System. The documented system should cover all aspects of your Company's operations.  


Many consultants within the quality assurance field sell the Quality System as 'a panacea of all ills which saves money and improves everything.' The reality is far from true. Many companies boast having certified quality systems, but you may notice that their quality has not improved and in some cases deteriorated. Are the quality systems to blame? 

Many companies develop a Quality System as a new concept or way of operating. This is the root cause of the problem. Companies write new procedures and methods which force out existing unwritten practices or rules. The common quote is 'the standard says we need that.' As a consequence two systems end up operating within a Company.  

The first is the 'informal' system, the unwritten system to which the Company always worked and which worked well. This informal system is responsible for 'real quality' in the product or service.  

The second, the new Quality System, is the 'formal' system with flashy and well-presented documents such as quality manuals and procedures to impress the customers and certifying bodies. This system is responsible for 'paper quality' that is, quality on paper only, and creates documentation for the sake of it. The same personnel responsible for 'real quality' have to also satisfy the 'paper quality' due to the introduction of the new system.

Obviously, less time will be available for real quality,' which leads to either no improvement or education in 'real quality.'  

These two systems are like a railway track. Two rails running parallel, always close to each other but never meeting. To be of any use or benefit, a Quality System must document and reflect the rules or methods you are currently following. You must avoid having both systems, the formal and informal, running within a Company. Not properly documenting a system to your individual Company's needs, costs time and money both in the short-term and long-term.  

A well-developed system tailored to the Company's needs will always help in achieving its goals. When a Quality system is implemented for the first time, the benefits may not be visible immediately. Not everybody likes to follow the rules and many enjoy individuality in the way they carry out their duties. Any written system or standard takes away the individuality and to adhere to uniform rules requires discipline. Discipline comes through culture, education and the learning process. As this cultural or learning process takes time, you may not see the benefits of the Quality System in the short-term. You can see the negatives immediately as employees resent this new discipline.  


Be sure to visit our six sigma, black belt, and ISO guru’s web page at: http:/bbasicsllc.com/Zalatan.htm  

George Zalatan provides in-house training and consultingfor companies serious about optimizing their MRP, ERP, lean manufacturing, six sigma and quality performances. 

Check out his services at:  


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