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Why Building a Quality Culture is More Critical than Ever for Indian Companies

The massive disruption in the global supply chain brought about by the pandemic has exposed the need for diverse sourcing.

Aditya-ChaudharyWhile India has several strengths that could help it become a manufacturing powerhouse, it is ‘punching below its weight’ in manufacturing. This has been highlighted in multiple reports by various consulting and rating firms. These reports, which delved into how manufacturing in India can become globally competitive called out issues such as quality complaints and fulfillment delays as a possible Achilles heel.

Overcoming this challenge is crucial, especially given the tremendous opportunity at play.

India is already a $3.1 trillion economy and one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. The massive disruption in the global supply chain brought about by the pandemic has exposed the need for diverse sourcing. India is an attractive option given its good infrastructure, fairly well-developed domestic market, and reasonably trained labour market.

Indian Government initiatives such as Aatmanirbhar Bharat are encouraging. A recent example is the decision to reserve nearly 68 % of the military’s capital acquisition budget for purchasing locally produced weapons announced in the Union Budget 2022.

Yet, for India to leverage this opportunity, building a quality culture is crucial.

Building a Quality Culture

Doing so requires a delicate interplay between various aspects such as people, technology, process and the identification of the ‘vital few’ parameters for quality control.

  • People

The role of people participation is extremely crucial in quality control. Unless everyone is aware and trained about the mission  to create a quality product, it cannot translate on the ground. Unfortunately, most companies delegate quality to the quality assurance and quality control department, which simply does not work. Unless quality is democratised across the entire value chain starting from product design to supply chain manufacturing encompassing logistics, sales, and even post sales, it is near impossible to create a culture of quality.

  • Identifying the ‘Vital Few’

The 80-20 rule applies to manufacturing quality too. 20% of KPIs have can have an 80% impact on the quality of the product. So, identifying these is crucial. The second important aspect is the ability to track these KPIs closely by providing employees visibility into real time quality scores. This visibility can prove to be a huge motivating factor for employees and encourage them to keep these KPI at the top of their minds. Some examples of KPIs for quality control could be defects that are measured in ppm, on-time complete shipments, or even the cost of poor quality.

  • Process

It’s often tempting to dismiss processes as a waste of time, but over time, one realizes that processes are a necessary evil to scale up. Without processes, it would be near impossible for large teams to function and move towards a common goal. Processes are especially crucial in the area of quality.

At the same time, ensuring that processes are not too complex to be practical and also not just trapped in an obscure Excel is important. Unless the processes are streamlined and made visible to all the employees, they do not serve a real purpose.

  • Technology

There are two facets of technology that play a role in quality management. One is automation. The second is establishing a quality management system, which consists of a technology framework that allows for tracking of documentation, compliance etc.

Also, the system must be easy to use. Our experience shows that the moment you increase ease of use, there is an increased employee engagement, and hence, adoption of the culture. Hexagon recently acquired ETQ, a leading provider of SaaS-based QMS (quality management system), EHS (environment, health and safety) and compliance management software. With ETQ’s advanced data management capabilities, driven by machine learning and artificial intelligence, quality data is fully actionable and available further upstream. This helps reduce defects, scrap, re-work, and recalls. At the same time, it enables an autonomous feedback loop, digital information trail and virtuous cycle of continuous improvement.

A comprehensive & flexible quality management system such as the one offered by ETQ and Hexagon can improve end-product quality, speed new product introduction, and make smart manufacturing a reality.

Building a quality culture within an organization isn’t always easy. However, the right technology infrastructure and the strategy can go a long way in helping organizations truly internalize quality and realize the many benefits of this.

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Nitisha Dubey

I am a Journalist with a post graduate degree in Journalism & Mass Communication. I love reading non-fiction books, exploring different destinations and varieties of cuisines. Biographies and historical movies are few favourites.

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