Quality = Customer Satisfaction = Quality

We’re living in a fast-moving world – everything has to be handled more swiftly, more efficiently. Time is proverbially money. But what use is a swiftly completed product if features that are of particular importance for the client concerned do not come up to his expectations? Customer satisfaction is a key variable for quality, and quality is in its turn a fundamental precondition. If you want a satisfied customer, his requirements for the product need to be satisfied in full.

For ensuring that the desired product is ultimately arrived at, a quality management system is indispensable. This can assume different forms, and be customised to suit the particular company concerned. A system of this kind structures and documents a project, thus enabling individual processes to be traced.

The right vendor

If you want to use high-quality semi-finished or end-products, vendor monitoring in the shape of a selection or certification procedure is essential. Testing of the products delivered is performed by Purchasing. The more intensive the checks are at the beginning, the lower the liability risk will prove to be. Another principle involved is this: the quality can be influenced more effectively at an early stage in the product’s lifetime. The costs then rise as the products grow older. This is why Krones lays down stringent requirements for its vendors, based on a Supplier Code of Conduct that covers issues like health, safety, environment and quality. In order to assure compliance with the guidelines, Krones’ quality management team conducts on-the-spot audits. Krones has always prioritised a long-standing, fair relationship with its business associates.

The ideology

There are various ways of dealing with quality during the course of a project. Options here include TQM (Total Quality Management); by implementing the EFQM system or modelled on the ISO-9000 standards. Systems of this kind define particular areas that are subject to quality assurance. Fundamentally, the continuous improvement process forms the basis of a TQM system.

The measures

In order to steer the project in the right direction from the very beginning, Quality Function Deployment (a quality assurance method) provides an option for incorporating clients’ wishes directly into the product. The use of an FMEA analysis (Failure Mode and Effects Analysis), for example, can expose possible errors at an early stage, before the costs spiral out of control. Other tools include quality control charts, the Pareto diagram or the cause-effect diagram (Ishikawa diagram / fishbone diagram).

Controlling

Quality costs have to be determined and documented. The basic principle involved here is this: the more funding is channelled into defect prevention, the lower the defect-related costs at the end will be. Excessive controlling at the wrong places, however, is just as harmful as none at all. So it’s immensely important at the beginning of a project to define a QM manual providing the basis for all quality-related matters. The computer-aided measures for monitoring and management include CAQ (computer-aided quality assurance) and PPS (production planning and control system).

Quality has a lengthy tradition at Krones AG. As the market leader in beverage and packaging technology, Krones sees itself as obligated to supply its clients at all times with products featuring the latest technology and maximised levels of quality. It’s thanks to the active involvement of all staff in the quality management system that Krones generates its corporate success – because each and every individual is responsible for maintaining the requisite quality levels.

Quality management is, by the way, an important module in my open university course. Since I myself am keenly interested in these subjects, and encounter them every day in my job, I pay particular attention to appropriate compliance in my work packages.

To return to my circular definition formulated in the heading: Quality = Customer Satisfaction = Quality, it is ultimately intended to state that quality leads directly to customer satisfaction and customer satisfaction is accordingly THE indicator of quality.