How To Measure Quality in 5 Steps (With Tips)
Updated March 10, 2023
When measuring success, companies use internal tools to assess factors such as the quality, reliability and efficiency of their operations and products. Measuring the quality of operations and products can help companies understand how to further improve. You may benefit from learning more about these measurement processes if you plan to evaluate company success. In this article, we discuss why it's important to measure quality, how to measure quality and tips for doing so at work.
Related: What Is Quality in a Business?
Why is it important to measure quality?
It's important for companies to measure the quality of their products, services and processes, as it can demonstrate where the company performs well and where the company might benefit from improvement. Companies might also examine the quality of elements such as safety, performance or efficiency. Quality metrics can also sometimes be indicative of the overall health of the company or of customer satisfaction.
The concept of quality can cover many different concrete and abstract aspects, such as total sales or stability. It's important to carefully consider and create metrics for these aspects so companies can determine how and if they want to implement new quality measurement practices. Improving products or processes may increase profits, customer satisfaction, efficiency and company morale, among many other things.
Related: SMART Goals: Definition and Examples
How to measure quality
Consider this list of steps you can use to measure quality:
1. Decide what factor to measure
Identify a specific feature of a company, department or product and establish a method with which to measure or track it. For example, you may choose to measure the quality of a finished product or customer service department responses. A quality metric for these components might include the number of positive or negative customer reviews, or the number of product returns against the number of products sold. Consider measuring these components individually, then measuring the final results against any other components measured within the company. This may help a company estimate its overall health and quality of services.
Before determining what to measure for quality, it may be beneficial to first decide on a company-wide definition of quality. This may help ensure that all departments within the company have a set standard to measure against and can work towards it while performing their duties. Company-wide targets or objectives may help maintain established quality standards in the future.
2. Determine the method of measurement
Once a you agree on a definition of quality, you can determine the metrics by which to measure and establish a method for measurement. Different departments often use different methods to measure quality. For example, a software development team might measure quality by assessing the number of bugs in a program while a manufacturing facility might measure quality by evaluating processing and delivery speeds.
Here's are some metrics to consider using to assess team efficiency and the quality of company products or processes:
Reliability refers to the stability of a product or process, and the ability of those elements to perform without errors. You can measure reliability by:
Identifying system bugs, product defects or team issues during production
Analyzing equipment or product malfunctions
Testing products under various stressful conditions
Asking for and implementing customer feedback
Evaluating customer complaints
Efficiency and performance
Efficiency and performance refer to the speed and accuracy of employee, process and product operations. Some methods for measuring efficiency include:
Creating fair performance rating systems for employees
Reviewing these performance ratings and analyzing needs for additional training
Testing product performance capacities
Measuring units processed per day/week
Calculating equipment capacities and performance
Safety and security
Safety refers to employees' and consumers' abilities to use products or services without harm. Security involves safe access to company computer systems, networks and devices without the risk of cyber attacks. It also involves the protection of private or sensitive customer information within the company.Methods for measuring safety and security include:
Reviewing federal safety standards
Evaluating the safety of materials in products
Regularly testing all IT infrastructures
Scanning software to identify vulnerabilities
Identifying any previous cyber attacks or data breaches
Usability refers to the quality of a person's experience while using a product. You can measure usability through:
Analysis of competitors and their products
Rate of customer satisfaction
Analysis of user tests before product release
Assessment of accessibility, such as the inclusion of larger buttons or text-to-voice functionality
3. Establish quality assurance procedures
Some companies may have quality assurance departments that can help evaluate quality measurements and implement solutions in areas a company might improve. Smaller companies may not have this type of department, but there are a few procedures you can follow to evaluate and improve quality. These include:
Pick a responsible individual or team to oversee quality measurement activities.
Establish clear responsibilities, directives and resources to complete these tasks.
Execute analysis of quality metrics and begin improving processes or other aspects of the company.
It may also be beneficial to measure the quality of the proposed solutions at a later time to determine if they meet user and company standards. This ensures that the quality assurance team fulfills its duties. You might do this by running user tests on products, temporarily implementing small changes to department policies or meeting with specific company supervisors and teams.
4. Create and standardize policies for future quality measurement activities
It may save time and resources if companies establish standard procedures for measuring quality in the future. Companies can also standardize these procedures so they can apply to all areas of the company. This may include:
Performing and overseeing regular quality measurement activities in all departments or specific ongoing operations
Formulating a set of quality measurement tools, such as computer programs to assist in data analysis
Ensuring policy compliance
Training staff to complete quality measurement tasks
5. Revisit quality standards periodically
It may be beneficial to periodically revisit established quality standards, as some processes, departments or products may change over time. Revisiting and possibly revising these quality standards may ensure that the company continues to operate efficiently and produces valuable goods or services. Changes in the market can also be cause for revision. If you implement any changes to quality assessment procedures, be sure to notify the rest of the company so everyone stays informed.
Tips for measuring quality
Here are some tips to help you measure quality:
Open communication channels: Ensure that all employees can clearly communicate with their coworkers and supervisors. This may assist in quality measurement efforts so team members can relate information on specific processes, upcoming test procedures, or product and requirement updates.
Record your actions: Keeping a record of tasks you perform while measuring quality may help you if the current task requires you to reverse previous actions or change the project's direction.
Train other team members: You may benefit from teaching others to complete certain quality measurement tasks so everyone understands company standards and can contribute toward quality assurance .
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