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What does QUALITY mean?

I love a good acronym, and the world is full of them.

I recall with great fondness memorising C.L.A.P and many other acronyms during my time in the Military. This got me to thinking, what does Q.U.A.L.I.T.Y mean to me and how can I translate that into an acronym? One acronym in ISO 9001:2015 is P.D.C.A (Plan Do Check Act). I put my own spin on this and came up with the following:

Q – Q is for ‘Question’. As ‘Q’ professionals we should always be asking questions. One of my favourite tools for conducting a Root Cause Analysis, or RCA, is the ‘5 Whys’. Questions obviously give us answers and, sometimes, even lead us to conclusions we would not necessarily be expecting. That information could transform the way we do things

U – U is for ‘Use’. Use the information gathered from asking the questions to look at opportunities to improve how we do things. This doesn’t just apply to products and/or services, it should also be applied across the full spectrum of a QMS, from how we take an initial inquiry to how we interact with all interested parties

A – A is for ‘Act’ – After assessing any opportunities for improvement make sure you act on them. All too often we get caught up in the moment and those ‘good ideas’ get pushed further and further down the list of priorities. Implement those good ideas as quickly as you can

L – L is for ‘Listen’ – I mentioned under ‘A’ that good ideas should be implemented as quickly as possible, certainly before they are pushed so far down the list that they eventually get forgotten about. However, we should also consider the impact these changes may have and, therefore, we need to listen to our people. I refer to people in a very broad context, there will be many ‘interested parties’ that any change will affect. Keep people well informed of impending change and give them an opportunity to have an input

I – I is for ‘Information’ – Information is everywhere and, at the touch of a button, we can have access to as much of it as we can possibly dream of. Think about using this amazing 21st century world we live in to take in as much information as possible in order to make the most informed decisions

T – T is for ‘Team’ – Nobody can do everything alone. Even a self-employed ‘one man band’ needs the support of other people, an Accountant for example, in order to be successful. The old adage ‘teamwork makes the dream work’ is one of those cliches that really does make one feel nauseous but, nevertheless, it still rings true

Y – Y is for ‘You’ – Yes, YOU. You, whoever you are and whatever your role, have a valuable input into quality. No single person has all the answers. Sometimes the best ideas come from the least obvious of sources

So this is what QUALITY means and looks like to me. Please feel free to leave your comments below, perhaps you have a different idea or can put an different spin on my effort. Have a great weekend folks.


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