The quality management field is undergoing a lot of change, and it’s not going to slow anytime soon. With the introduction and modification of standards, legislation, regulations, new technologies, new strategies and many other elements, disruptions sure to abound. But just because a trend or event is disruptive doesn’t necessarily mean it’s something your business should be focused on. It’s more beneficial to invest in trends that are truly going to have an impact on your business and bottom line.
Here are four key trends in quality management technology that you should be paying attention to.
1. Increased Visibility and Transparency
Quality will always be a mainstay of the field, and it continues to become more and more important over time. But there's a direct correlation between investments in improved quality and the overall risks of an operation. The more you invest in a project — time, money or manpower — the higher the risks should you fail to succeed. It's crucial, then, to find modern tools that help you properly assess risk, keeping its looming presence visible throughout the scope of a project.
In addition, there’s a much stronger demand from higher-ups to view the day-to-day operations of quality management systems and how that affects an organization.
Collectively, these elements have helped spark a focus on increased transparency and visibility, components to consider when you're rolling out new systems, deploying new tools and just diving deeper into the quality management process.
2. Analytics, Analytics, Analytics
Modern technology has brought something fairly unprecedented to nearly every industry in existence: incredibly vivid and detailed insights through the collection of various forms of data. The digital content or information comes in, and it's then organized, processed and eventually converted to usable insights or actionable intel. The resulting insights then inform future decisions and actions to create a more successful operation for the business.
In quality management, useful analytics help drive improvement and growth, and this data is picking up considerable speed in the field as more organizations realize just how vital it is for core business functions. In addition, analytics and business intelligence already play a huge role in marketing, customer targeting, communication and decision-making. It only makes sense to apply it to quality improvement too as a means to boost customer experience.
3. There Is No Finale
Quality management is an ongoing process that should remain consistent and prioritized throughout an entire organization’s life cycle. If you must break it down to something more manageable, then at least incorporate it throughout the course of a product or service’s life cycle. It should never stop with a product or public launch, and it should continue indefinitely, ingrained in normal operations as a means to improve overall customer experiences.
No matter how successful, no product or service is ever perfect. There are always things you can do to improve an experience, be it upgrading digital software or firmware or changing hardware designs for future iterations. Quality should be an element that's of the utmost importance to everyone in your organization, and that means building a culture around the concept. It also means there’s no finale, no finish line. You're never done investing time and effort in quality management. The tools and software you employ should reflect that.
It's not unlike cybersecurity and digital protections, both of which require a culture of continuous improvement.
4. Quality Should Be Managed as a Project
Achieving quality products and services is about more than just several fine-tuned decisions or actions — it’s more of a learned philosophy. For quality to improve and for it to truly make a difference to the customer experience, it must be implemented organization-wide and managed as a single project.
In this way, it will incorporate a variety of tools, applications, techniques and methodologies, all of which can relate directly to project management. In fact, it should work exactly like any other project you have in your timeline, starting with conception and initiation and ending with a traditional project close — steps include a post mortem, punch list and lots of analytics and data reporting. The idea is to approach it as you would a new product or service development, actively boosting its effectiveness and success throughout the scope of the project.
Quality Management Trends
These four quality management technology trends are here to stay and will also have a direct influence on the future of the field. It's essential, then, that you pay them the proper attention and consideration. The sooner you implement these practices, the better off your entire organization will be.