Safeguarding trust and quality in the global marketplace

The digitalization of society in the last decade has created many opportunities for businesses and organizations. But digitalization, combined with a rapidly changing world, has also opened up new threats and vulnerabilities that can cause very serious damage to businesses. Every day we see headlines about different types of attacks and incidents. 

In our recent article, Top 3 Challenges for Tomorrow’s Quality Leaders, we touched upon challenges you might face as the global marketplace evolves and expands. What does it mean to be a quality leader, and what happens to your company when customers lose trust in the quality of your products and services? One recent industry example shows how a missing screw slipped through quality control and created a global firestorm of bad publicity. News about doors falling out of the sky does not inspire customers’ or public confidence. It can have a devastating impact on human lives, your company’s reputation, and the bottom line. It takes a few seconds to destroy trust and can take years to repair.  

For seasoned and budding quality leaders, safeguarding your company’s quality in a global market should be a top strategic priority. Quality impacts your brand’s reputation and confidence in the products and services you deliver.  

This is where many of the quality leaders’ different roles —strategic thinker, problem solver and improvement driver, change agent, and compliance specialist—come into play. By being well-prepared to meet dynamic global markets, you can successfully steer your company’s quality assurance and build trust from your customers.  

What are then your top four strategies to position yourself and your organization as a future quality leader? Here are our recommendations:  

1. Apply value systems to manage global and local markets 

The global marketplace is growing, driven by globalization, technology, innovations, increasing consumer demand, and emerging markets. These drivers put pressure on consistently delivering quality across multiple jurisdictions with different standards, regulations, and customer expectations.  

Cultivating your company's values and commitment to quality is a step towards ensuring quality and building trust from your internal and external customers. These values may seem like a hygiene factor and are important across different markets. At the same time, you must understand where quality falls in your organizational value systems and those of your customers, countries, and public governments. Values such as transparency in your processes, choosing and sourcing raw materials & components, and manufacturing practices all rely upon inherent quality control processes. Implementing robust quality control processes throughout the supply chain is critical. This includes regular inspections, testing, and monitoring to promptly identify and address any issues.  In your role as a problem solver and improvement driver, applying corrective and preventative action (CAPA) or the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) methods and other tools are the keys to continuous quality improvement. 

2. Walk the walk, talk the talk
DO be transparent. Withholding information about quality issues only creates mistrust in the market, so regularly communicate what you do to improve quality. And not only when there is a problem. Talk and demonstrate your company's commitment to quality to your colleagues and internal stakeholders. One example is elevating the role of a quality leader to a strategic level, such as the Chief Quality Officer. Positioning quality on par with other C-suite positions signals the strategic importance of quality to stakeholders, colleagues, suppliers and customers. This also means implementing and driving change within all levels of your organization. Handling resistance and implementing continuous improvement projects are essential as a change agent 

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3. Nurture customer and supplier relationships 

All of your customers and suppliers have their own values and views of quality. Some critical techniques can strengthen your customers’ trust in the quality you deliver. Developing a robust loop of customer feedback, reviews, warranties, and complaints will capture quality issues that require corrective actions. Encouraging feedback also ties into transparency. Responsive and effective customer service and clear communication help build credibility.  

Suppliers are partners. Establishing strong relationships with suppliers and ensuring they meet quality standards is essential. This includes auditing suppliers, conducting quality checks on incoming materials, fostering open communication and sharing best practices. Improving quality at every stage benefits the entire supply chain and builds collective trust in the marketplace. In the future, you will need more integrated supplier quality management processes and tools. 

4. Implement tools to support continuous change

Reimagining and reinventing traditional quality management systems (QMS) is necessary to meet the demands of a rapidly changing global market. Adaptability and agility are vital. Create flexible, scalable, and adaptive future QMS frameworks that can evolve alongside your organization, processes, and customer requirements. This can strengthen trust in the quality of your products and services. The right tools, such as CANEA ONE, can also develop customer and supplier relationships. 

Overall, implementing these strategies will put you in a good position to protect your company’s quality reputation in the market.