Modern society is resulting in quality and compliance management no longer being looked upon as an afterthought for businesses.
Globalisation and competition for choice – coupled by the explosion of social media in the last decade –mean businesses need to be operating to the upmost standards under immense scrutiny.
Paul Hastings, a quality and compliance consultant with software firm Ideagen, is well placed to discuss the changes that are forcing a cultural movement across quality and compliance.
Hastings, who has over 20 years’ experience and has advised some of the largest companies in the world on quality standards and regulatory requirements, presented at the Total Supply Chain Summit in London in May on ‘Quality and Compliance in the Digital Age’.
He believes, due to the developments of modern society – including the explosion of social media and general consumer and business awareness – that quality and compliance are becoming more inclusive.
He says: ‘Quality is becoming a focus of modern day society because people are now more aware of the choices out there. If you look back to quality as it was in years gone by, there were limited choices – or limited knowledge of choices – and so businesses weren’t under as much competition for market share. For example, if you were buying a computer, you bought an IBM or Compaq or if you’re going to get soft drink you bought a Pepsi or a Coke.
‘But now, when you look at the competition, there is so much choice and knowledge for consumers that any business not maintaining consistent quality levels or operating to the appropriate standards will struggle. It is literally forcing every single business to do things better to stay ahead of the game. In terms of quality and compliance, this in turn is forcing organisations to look at both areas more seriously, introducing dedicated software systems and electronic processes to help. No longer is it the responsibility of the quality manager or the quality department – it is becoming much more inclusive and involving everyone from the C-suite down.’
Forced to modernise
Hastings adds: ‘Businesses are being forced to modernise. They need to become more productive, more efficient and more streamlined and to be able to respond faster as well. It’s a good time for quality and compliance within the global business space.’
Hastings is heavily involved in the manufacturing, production and services industries for Ideagen, a UK-based global software firm which provides software and services to organisations operating within highly regulated industries.
Throughout a career spanning more than two decades – 10 with Ideagen – Hastings has provided strategic guidance, advice and training to some of the world’s largest and most complex organisations.
He says: ‘“Globalisation and the impact of social media have played a huge part in helping quality and compliance become more mainstream.
‘The interconnectivity of the world is a mega trend across all industries now - every company has a global market. For example, if you look at the car industry the likes of Honda, Mitsubishi, BMW and Volkswagon etc, all have a global market for their brand. Looking at companies such as Pepsi and Coca Cola again, as well as the likes of McVities and Walkers – all of them have global brands. If their standards slip – it could be catastrophic for them.
‘Solid productivity and efficiency processes have to be in place to help these companies manage their global operations and this is where society is playing its part. You can’t have a global brand operating different quality processes in Paris than they do, in say, Sydney. Social media and the interconnectivity of the modern world means that simply isn’t possible now – the scrutiny is too much.
‘People and businesses now have an understanding that quality and compliance management should be at the forefront of business’ strategy and, therefore, the responsibility of everyone. That can only be a good thing for global business and, in turn, the consumer.’