In today's fast-paced, competitive world, where every professional works hard and strives to be the best, standing out from the crowd and leaving your mark on the world is harder than ever before.
And nowhere is this more apparent than in the field of Quality Management, with its lure of six-figure salaries, near-universal applicability, and tremendous scope for professional development.
Yet, success as a Quality Management professional is actually well within your reach. Over the years, as our network of trained, certified Six Sigma and other Quality Management professionals has grown, a simple, fundamental truth has begun to present itself: success in Six Sigma is a matter of following an informed, systematic approach.
Read on to find out more!
What is Quality Management?
Quality Management involves the processes of "controlling, ensuring, and improving quality" in business productivity and operations. It ensures that the organizations, their products, and their services are consistent. Quality management consists of four main components:
- Quality Planning
- Quality Control
- Quality Assurance
- Quality Improvement
Why Is Quality Management so Important for Businesses Today?
Put simply, the success or failure of a business has come to depend on the quality processes in place. Quality is a major part of any business, and businesses that cannot ensure quality in their products would quickly lose credibility and consumer trust, ultimately resulting in plummeting sales.
Customers want to know that their hard-earned money is being spent on something that is worth the price and not something that is of poor quality, much less defective. A sound Quality management implementation ensures that a company provides services that are not only up to the mark of the customers but exceed customer expectations.
In turn, customer satisfaction leads to customer loyalty. If a customer is satisfied with the product of a company they will go back to the company for other products. However, if they are handed a defective product, they are most likely not going back to that specific brand!
The Implementation of Quality Management tools help ensure higher customer loyalty, resulting in better business, which in turn ensures increased cash flow and satisfied employees, and the positive cycle continues, making the organization a better place to work.
|Interested in learning Lean Six Sigma and it’s importance? Check out the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification course preview!|
All Right. So How Do I Get into Quality Management?
First things first: The initial step to success is understanding quality management as a discipline and what it has to offer.
Quality management is a broad spectrum that covers topics like:
- Six Sigma, which has levels of mastery like Champion, Yellow Belt, Green Belt, Black Belt, Master Black Belt and so on;
- Minitab, a software designed for six sigma professionals;
- CTFL, which is a foundation level for software development/ software testing;
- Lean Management, which is an approach to running an organization, and;
- TOC or the Theory of Constraints, which provides a set of holistic processes and rules based on a systems approach that focuses on a few leverage points to synchronize parts to achieve ongoing improvement in the performance of a system as a whole.
The prerequisites for the Six Sigma certification are a certain amount of work experience in the areas defined by the Six Sigma Body of Knowledge, depending on the level you are starting at.
Neither Minitab nor CTFL have any specific, set requirements, and anybody can take these examinations to get certified. Lean Management courses can be taken by professionals who have worked on process improvements and have specific knowledge on the quality aspects.
There are no pre-requisites for the TOC exam.
Did Someone Say Books?
The library of Quality literature is as vast as it is wide: here are our picks for the absolute best must-haves:
- Out of the Crisis, by W. Edwards Deming
- Quality Management for Organizations Using Lean Six Sigma Techniques, by Erick C. Jones
- The Quality Toolbox, Second Edition, by Nancy R. Tague
- Juran's Quality Handbook, Sixth Edition, by Joseph M. Juran and Joseph A. De Feo
- Root Cause Analysis: The Core of Problem Solving and Corrective Action by Duke Okes
- Making Change Work by Brien Palmer
- Economic Control of Quality of Manufactured Product by Walter A. Shewhart
- Practical Engineering, Process, and Reliability Statistics by Mark Allen Durivage
- The Ten Commandments of Quality Management By Ajit Silva
What Skills Would I Need to Develop?
Certain fields require certain qualities. If you do not possess those qualities, it is important to cultivate them. The three qualities listed below are essential to make it big in the quality management industry:
Listening skillsActive listening is the first step to effective problem-solving. When the members of a team feel comfortable to communicate insight from their vantage point, the team leader gains a different perspective on the problem that could bring about a more effective team strategy or execution process.
Self-confidenceA quality manager must always have self-confidence. He needs to be sure of what he is doing. If this trait isn't developed, then when running into a problem, there would always be the fear of taking a risk or making some tough calls.
PatienceThis is a very important leadership quality. A quality professional must be patient with the people and processes he or she is dealing with. Taking the time to communicate with the stakeholders about the upcoming processes and products results in better customer reviews which in turn results in increased team productivity. Communication and patience are traits that go hand in hand.
Top Companies to Work For
Once you have completed your certification and built the necessary traits, begin to look for jobs to start off your professional career. Here are a few of the best-listed Quality Management Companies to work for.
- EMC Corporation: Dell EMC is an American multinational company. They specialize in data storage, information security, virtualization, analytics, cloud computing and other products and services which enable businesses to store, manage, protect and analyze data. EMC completed more than 2,400 Lean Six Sigma projects, exceeding $800 million in total, measurable benefits.
- McKesson Corporation is another American company that deals with the distribution of pharmaceuticals at a retail sale level and providing health information technology, medical supplies, and care management tools. Implementing the Six Sigma discipline, the company has achieved excellent results. Six Sigma helped transform the company from being function-oriented to process-oriented. McKesson Corp was named on the iSixSigma list of "Best places to work for Six Sigma Professionals".
- Nike: This Company has worked with some NGOs and manufacturers like the Fair Labor Associations on various sustainability projects like creating sustainable sourcing and performance indicators. With the US Environmental Protection Agency, they launched the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, saving money on energy and waste materials.
- John Deere: The world's largest manufacturer of agricultural machinery in 2003, John Deere spent close to $100 million on the transformation of its Iowa, US operation from mass production to lean production.
Ready to Take on the World of Quality Management?
Not quite. Finish off your pre-preparation with this series of articles on Six Sigma and Lean. Feel free to drop in at our Free Resources Section for more goodies!