How to Sell Quality to Your Organization

Admittedly, quality is a tough sell in many organizations. It doesn’t generate income or profits — quality isn’t a money-maker. Most organizations consider quality overhead, an expense — a cost center.

It’s commonly thought that implementing an effective quality management system (QMS) requires mass quantities of time and money. Maintaining a QMS also requires time and money. So, where and when is the payback?

Every organization wants — check that, needs — a return on investment. When it comes to deciding between two projects, every organization will pick the one with the greater ROI.

Organizations need to know the payback period on their investments. Most, if not all, would like a payback period of days rather than weeks, weeks rather than months, and months rather than years. Then why do quality professionals insist on grand, complex solutions? Might it “help the cause” of quality improvement if we developed and implemented quality management systems incrementally, rather than all at once?

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Of course, we need to develop a long-range plan to know where we’re headed and how we’re getting there but, to borrow a sports cliché, let’s take it one game at a time. Start with a relatively small project – one that could be developed and implemented within 2-3 months. We could start with one of ISO 9001’s six required procedures:

  • Record control (clause 4.2.3);
  • Document control(4.2.4);
  • Internal auditing (8.2.2);
  • Controlling nonconforming material (8.3);
  • Corrective action (8.5.2); and
  • Preventive action (8.5.3).

Be sure your objectives are specific, measurable, attainable, reasonable, and time-bound…SMART objectives.

Once you’ve implemented the procedure, start collecting data right away. Continue to collect and analyze the data as you go, to determine your progress. Use the data to prove the value of the quality project to your organization.

After achieving success, tackle another procedure. Slowly but steadily, you’re building a quality management system. Your system is improving the efficiency and effectiveness of your organization. You’re reducing waste and saving time and money – results top management can live with.

To find out how this methodology will advance your company, contact Q9C right away.

Thanks for your time this time. Until next time…


We help small businesses improve their efficiency and effectiveness. Whether you're selling a product or a service, we'll show you how you can improve product and service quality, effectively and affordably. If you need quality, environmental, or health & safety management but can't afford a full-time manager or staff, call on Q9C and we'll pick up the slack. For information or a quote, call or write. Subscribe to the Q9C blog while you're at it.

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Posted in Business transformation, Quality improvement, Quality management

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