Quality Management

Quality Management

Quality Management Jonathan Poland

Quality management is a process that ensures products and services meet certain standards of quality before they are released to customers. It involves setting quality standards, testing products and services to ensure they meet those standards, and implementing processes to correct any deficiencies. Quality management can help organizations improve customer satisfaction, reduce costs, and increase efficiency.

There are several key principles of quality management that can help organizations achieve these goals. The first is customer focus. This involves understanding the needs and expectations of customers and ensuring that products and services are designed and delivered to meet those needs. The second principle is leadership. Effective leadership is essential for establishing a culture of quality within an organization and for driving continuous improvement.

The third principle is engagement of people. All employees should be involved in the quality management process, and their expertise and knowledge should be leveraged to identify and solve problems. The fourth principle is process approach. This involves treating each product or service as a process, with inputs, outputs, and controls, and identifying and managing the interrelated processes that make up the organization.

The fifth principle is improvement. Quality management should be seen as a continuous process of improvement, with regular assessments of processes and products to identify areas for improvement and the implementation of strategies to address those areas. The final principle is evidence-based decision making. This involves using data and other forms of evidence to make decisions about quality and to measure the effectiveness of quality management strategies.

Implementing a quality management system can help organizations improve their products and services, reduce costs, and increase customer satisfaction. By following the principles of quality management and continuously seeking to improve, organizations can ensure that they are providing the highest level of quality to their customers.

Quality Principles

Quality management is typically based on a set of principles adopted by a firm that define how an organization will prioritize and achieve quality. For example, the well known 14 quality principles used by Toyota to drive every process at the company.

Management by Walking Around

Firms that achieve high levels of quality use techniques such as management by walking around whereby executives are expected to be fully engaged with both customers and operations such that they understand any gaps in quality. Where this doesn’t occur, the quality management team is tasked with aggressively advocating for quality at the executive level.

Management Accounting

Management accounting is the practice of measuring anything that management needs to know. Quality management is largely a practice of measuring, improving and measuring again. This can include measurements that improve operational processes in real time. For example, measuring quality variances at every step of the production process to identify quality problems at the workstation level.

Root Cause Analysis

Determining the root cause of quality problems and addressing the cause as opposed to the symptoms.


Capturing and communicating knowledge so that the same quality mistakes aren’t repeated. Knowledge waste and knowledge loss are common root causes of quality problems.


Giving teams the knowledge they need to produce quality in their role. For example, training front desk staff at a hotel in hopes of improving service quality.


Designing processes and roles to give employees the authority they need to address quality issues on the spot. The classic example is a worker on an assembly line who has authority to stop an entire production line for a quality problem.

Quality Control

Quality control is the process of testing products and services. This is a tiny part of the quality management process that is too often mistaken as the only step required to achieve quality.

Quality Assurance

Quality assurance is the process of ensuring end-to-end quality including elements such as process design, product design and procurement. Quality management is often separated into two practices: quality assurance and quality control.

Quality Management = Quality Assurance + Quality Control

Incident Management

Incident management is the reactive process of managing quality incidents such as a service that goes down.

Problem Management

Problem management is the corrective process of addressing the root causes of incidents.

Customer Engagement

Engaging customers to understand quality perceptions. This avoids a process of naive quality management whereby quality is viewed as a specification as opposed to a market reality.

Product Design

Quality management feeds into product design to improve quality at the design level.

Process Design

Quality management often takes a design thinking approach whereby all quality problems are designed-out of processes. For example, mistake-proofing a step in a production process.


Sponsoring changes to technology that design-out quality problems. For example, user interfaces that remove latent human error.


Advocating for quality with company wide communication. For example, speaking at weekly all-hands meetings to raise awareness of quality issues and recognize individuals who have improved quality.


Developing norms, expectations, symbols and language that are conductive to quality. For example, the norm that all employees only speak positively about customers in internal conversations in a firm that depends on customer service quality.


Managing suppliers to obtain quality inputs. For example, a supplier scorecard whereby suppliers are held accountable for quality failures.


Quality often requires consistent processes, practices, products and services such that standards compliance is an important element of quality management.

Learn More…

Trade Secret Jonathan Poland

Trade Secret

A trade secret is a type of carefully guarded information that gives…

Elastic Demand Jonathan Poland

Elastic Demand

Elastic demand is a term used in economics to describe the responsiveness…

Added Value Jonathan Poland

Added Value

The total combined industries of consumer goods and services.

Pricing Power Jonathan Poland

Pricing Power

Pricing power refers to a company’s ability to increase prices without significantly…

Program Efficiency Jonathan Poland

Program Efficiency

Program efficiency refers to the effectiveness with which a computer program uses…

Business Constraints Jonathan Poland

Business Constraints

Business constraints are limitations or factors that can impact an organization’s ability…

Unstructured Data Jonathan Poland

Unstructured Data

Unstructured data refers to information that is not organized in a specific,…

Lead Qualification Jonathan Poland

Lead Qualification

Lead qualification is the process of identifying the most promising sales leads…

Credit Risk Jonathan Poland

Credit Risk

Credit risk refers to the likelihood that a borrower will default on…

Jonathan Poland © 2023

Search the Database

Over 1,000 posts on topics ranging from strategy to operations, innovation to finance, technology to risk and much more…

Time to Volume Jonathan Poland

Time to Volume

Time to volume is a marketing metric that measures the time it takes for a new product to go from concept to launch and reach a significant level of sales or usage.

Travel Expenses Jonathan Poland

Travel Expenses

Travel expenses refer to the costs associated with traveling for business purposes.…

Pull Strategy Jonathan Poland

Pull Strategy

A pull strategy is a marketing approach in which a company creates…

Distribution Jonathan Poland


Distribution is the process of making a product or service available for…

Ingredient Branding Jonathan Poland

Ingredient Branding

Ingredient branding, also known as component branding or parts branding, is a…

Corrective Action Plan Jonathan Poland

Corrective Action Plan

A corrective action plan is a process designed to identify and address…

Pricing Strategy Jonathan Poland

Pricing Strategy

Pricing strategy is the process of determining the right price for a…

What are Tactics? Jonathan Poland

What are Tactics?

Tactics are short-term, immediate strategies that are designed to respond to fast-changing…

What is Food Sovereignty? Jonathan Poland

What is Food Sovereignty?

Food sovereignty is the right of peoples and countries to define their…