Want to get the best out of your business? Managing Director of Ex-Import Otto Mitter reveals his checklist for quality control and peace of mind in your company.
In business, it’s always great to keep an open mind about making improvements in your workplace. It doesn’t matter what your business does, whether you manufacture products offer education, or provide a service to customers there is always room for improvement when a business is moving along its journey. Here are my top tips for improvement.
Setting a benchmark – raising the standard
Your business or brand will always have a vision and a certain feel about it that you wish to project to customers and you really need to work out what that benchmark is that you absolutely must adhere to every time you are implementing new products or services. For example, when manufacturing cosmetics we have many regulations that must be followed, GMP requirements, labelling laws and regulations, but let’s look a little deeper than that, what can we do over and above the standard requirements? Once we take on this mind set, you’ll start to see this really helps to keep your standards above the rest or what is usually expected. Yes, you will say, makes sense, but that is extra work and I don’t have time to do any extra work. Well in many cases it might not be that much extra work but to be better than the average usually does take a bit more effort from the get go. If you can ask yourself that question am I going to be better than the average and the answer is yes, then go for it and watch your standards rise and others follow.
Learn from mistakes and document
Your journey in business is one for you to learn, grow and hopefully always improve, we’re all human at the end of the day and we can only be perfect 98% of the time, right? Sometimes we have amazing ideas that make complete sense to us and then when we action those ideas they may not always go to plan and you know what? That is okay and we need to learn to understand that’s how life and business works and not beat ourselves up about it. Yes, mistakes can be very costly hence why it is a good way to learn not to ever do it again. But sometimes mistakes can be forgotten so it’s always important to track what has happened in these circumstances analyse and report on it. Write down the system for ensuring that you won’t have that issue again and then action that with your team. It’s all well and good having a conversation about things and from my experience over
the years and especially when your company grows to a larger number of employees, having things documented and procedures that rectified mistakes is a great reference point to go back to and it usually reinforces the information to your team to ensure that you don’t run into that trouble again.
Following on from my above point, ongoing training is a vital part of improving performance and quality within your team. Using the data that you collect from mistakes you may have made along the way and various analytics and reporting you can use this information to train team members to ensure that they have the procedures they need to avoid issues in quality in whatever it is you’re doing in your business. It could be the way your team communicates within the workplace to your clients, it could be an application procedure that has not been followed in a treatment plan, it could be incorrect statements or representation on social media and how your brand wishes to be represented. There are so many aspects to business that need procedures and ongoing training to ensure that you maximise quality control on all of these levels. The training doesn’t necessarily need to be expensive or even outsourced, just ensure the sessions are exciting to your team and engaging so keep thinking outside the square but remember that keeping the ongoing training positive, influential, motivating is going to excite your team and motivate and help to lift those quality standards and keep them consistent. Look at the areas in your business that maybe falling down and implement some positive training strategies and watch things turnaround.
Feedback assessment from team members – Listen to your team
Most of the time as a business owner, we have a great idea on what it is we need to do and implement so we can continue to grow and have customers adoring what we offer. However, businesses also really thrive on fresh ideas and sometimes these fresh ideas can happen in brainstorming sessions or getting great feedback from your team members who are often on the coalface of what is happening in the business. There’s an old saying which is hire people that are better than you at doing particular tasks and I’ve certainly seen this works for me over the years, if you have the right people on your team they can certainly help you come up with ideas and strategies that help to improve the quality of your services. Having regular meetings and great communication with your team and just asking them questions and getting feedback on what they think could be improved often opens up doors that you may not have seen were there in the beginning. Ultimately as the business owner it is up to you to guide the ship along the journey but listening to your crew can really help you get to that destination a little faster.
Positive approach and focus on improvement
If we always had an outlook that everything we do is perfect and there is no need to improve then most likely we’d get a good shock along the way when we see our competition soaring past with some innovative system that we haven’t thought of yet. The world really is moving faster than ever, and information is so readily available at everybody’s fingertips. Some people say that “knowledge is power”, however that knowledge is of no use if it is never implemented in the right way. That knowledge will just sit there forever until somebody does something with it. Focusing on having a positive approach to improving any systems within your business is also a big one for me, positivity is very infectious and will encourage others to help you achieve these goals, I’m not saying that you have to laugh, smile, hop skip and jump into work every morning, what I’m saying is you need to really believe that what you’re doing is the right way and be enthusiastic about it – not this is a drag and it’s a real pain to have to follow this system kind of way. That kind of attitude will drag you and everyone else down around you. Harness your knowledge to action the systems that are going to take effect and keep a clear eye and focus on what it is that is falling down. Have a game plan with your team, identify the issues, understand everyone’s interests that is involved, list the solutions and options, agree and then implement. After these steps you evaluate and track your progress. Following these steps can help raise the quality standards and give you the advantage over the standard.
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