The APQC Blog

You, Too, Can Measure Quality

Whew! A new APQC Collaborative Research study has just launched: Harnessing Enterprise Quality Measurement to Create Business Value. This summer, we’ll be investigating the ways top organizations measure quality. And with the hot, hot Houston summer upon us at APQC, there’s no better time to stay inside air conditioned meeting rooms to learn from the best.

Some business components are easy to measure in days, cycles, time, iterations, etc. But the readily quantifiable parts of a business make up only a very small part of an organization. At most organizations, quality (however abstract a concept it may sometimes seem like) plays an essential role in the success of the business and its ability to attract and retain customers. But how do you quantify something like quality?

Every manager and executive has his or her own ways of evaluating the quality of work, products, or services. But in order for an organization to make real changes and measure success, leaders have to agree on a definition of quality for different products, services, and work tasks. A still greater challenge can be determining not only the characteristics an organizational leader uses to define quality, but the elements that are most important to customers.

Sure, you could try to come up with ways to measure quality on your own, within organizational walls, and perhaps the occasional business has found long-term success this way. But the vast majority of organizations need external guidance—benchmarks if you will—to determine the best way to define quality for their businesses. Why struggle to define these things on your own when other organizations have shared with each other and proven measures of quality already?

This spring, APQC published Twelve Practices for Measuring Corporate Quality at Large, Diverse Organizations, based on research conducted in 2010 and 2011. Go ahead and check these practices out today.

That research formed the foundation the study I mentioned earlier: Harnessing Enterprise Quality Measurement to Create Business Value. Later this year, we’ll be publishing an amazing report relaying all the findings, along with other content gleaned from the best-practice organizations involved in the study.

Read more about the study, or find out more about our other upcoming projects at www.apqc.org/best-practice-studies. We’re here to help make even the most difficult practices your best practices.