The business environment today is, in most instances, fast-paced and driven by the need to make quick cash. Unfortunately, this haphazard way of working makes way for operational errors and compromises product and service quality.
In this article, we’ll look at ways to build your company’s sustainability by establishing processes to maintain standards and remain efficient.
Company policy refers to a commitment that the business makes so that each division runs optimally, which guides the development of departmental procedures. In other words, policies are the ‘what,’ where procedures are the ‘how.’ For instance, your quality policy should commit to systematically meeting a ‘degree of excellence’ where the needs of all stakeholders are met. To do this, you’ll have to promote a quality culture in the organization by procedurally sharing information, including personnel in the decision-making, and delegating certain quality management functions to suitably skilled and competent persons.
Standard policies and procedures exist throughout different industries where specifications related to finance, administration, human resources, and marketing, for example, are relevant regardless of the type of business you’re in. For instance, finance management procedures will include information on processing quotes and invoices, a standard requirement in most companies.
Then, there are systems specific to your company, where you’ll have to take the time, or allocate an appropriately qualified person, to define the steps needed for operations to run smoothly. Doing this also ensures that should a resource decide to leave, they’re equipped to conduct a smooth handover because documented company practices are in place.
Let’s look at what policies and procedures your company should establish to ensure quality throughout your business, where consistency and reliability become what distinguishes you from your competitors and generates income for the long term.
- Finance. This procedure determines the dates of your financial year and dictates how often you audit your accounts. Depending on the size and structure of your company, as the owner or finance manager, it’s important to communicate the requirements of this procedure so that employees know what the expectations are regarding activities related to creditors and debtors, for example.
- Administration. This universal procedure has to do with document processing and filing, which may sound tedious, but having your paperwork in order is vital to the efficient running of your enterprise. Although, as a business owner, your primary objective is selling a fantastic product and stellar service, you also need to ensure that your company remains compliant so that you legitimately deliver on the promises you’ve made to the client.
- Human Resources. People are the indispensable wheels that make your company or department go round. Ensuring their well-being in the workplace is to your advantage as a happy workforce delivers the best results. Establishing and communicating procedures for managing time off and job performance, for example, give employees security that they’re working in a controlled environment where there is room for growth.
- Marketing. It is the lifeblood of your business where you take the time to research customer needs to provide products and services that sell.
Being cost-effective is another skill you’ll have to master as a business owner so that you don’t risk missing out on business because you’ve overcharged or where, to make a deal, you’ve underpriced.
Creating channels for customer feedback is also used as a marketing tool. It provides an opportunity to make improvements where necessary and where the enhanced product or service assists in generating more sales.
Keeping abreast of industry developments is another way of gaining client confidence.
Putting Quality Policies into Action
Quality was once described to me in the following way: ‘once you have said what you’re going to do, you have to do what you said you were going to.’ So, once you have these procedures in place, you’ll have to ensure that they are put into practice in the daily operations of your business. Over and above training, how you do this is by having documents that help implement these procedures. For example, leave application forms or customer feedback forms.
Another way to put quality into action is to audit your systems at regular intervals or when circumstances require it, such as an investigation of a health and safety incident in the workplace. This process is invaluable for the continuous improvement and, in turn, growth of your company. Let’s look at the principles of internal and external audits so that you can use this exercise to advance your business endeavors.
- Internal. To ensure the effective implementation of the procedures you’ve put in place, you’ll have to regularly review systems and report them where, if deficiencies are found, corrective and preventative actions are delegated to specific resources to close out within a given timeframe.
For example, when auditing whether or not your company is adhering to COVID-19 protocols by checking to see if staff and visitors have been filling out screening forms as required by health and safety officials should they want to inspect your offices. You may find that the team doesn’t complete the documents daily and decide that you need to assign a compliance officer to ensure that the forms are routinely filled in.
For the internal audit to be a meaningful exercise, it’s key that the person conducting it has no responsibility in the area being audited so that bias does not compromise the outcome.
- External. Engaging in the services of consultants and aspiring to meet the quality standards of national bodies gives your organization the chance to refine its practices. You may run a training company, for example, where getting your company accredited by the relevant authorities is what will set you apart from your competitors. Should you have more ambitious plans for your company and want to get your business on the map, you could work towards meeting the International Standards Organization’s practices depending on the nature of your business. For example, standards exist for information security management, sustainable events, or food safety management.
We have seen how your company can establish and implement quality policies and procedures. By running your business in a systematic and collaborative way, you ensure employee satisfaction and customer loyalty and give your company its best chance of achieving its vision and mission.
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