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Need to convince stakeholders that you need a QMS? Want to test your quality management maturity?

Need to convince stakeholders that you need a QMS? Want to test your quality management maturity?
Read what our customers say

Don't take our word for it. Read what our customers say on Gartner Peer Insights.

Join our 1-hour online demo to get a clear impression of how AlisQI could help you work smarter.
2 sides of the same coin

Culture & Cost of Quality

2 sides of the same coin

The profit pulling power of quality 

An old Dutch proverb says: 
Great wealth comes from great care. 

This is especially true in quality management.  

A culture of quality helps businesses to pave their way to wealth – by creating top-tier products that people want to buy and helping to avoid the financial pitfalls associated with poor quality and neglect. 

It stands to reason that the opposite is also true. As revealed by the American Society for Quality, the cost of poor quality within an otherwise successful company ranges between 10 to 15% of its operational costs. In worst case scenarios, these costs can escalate to a mind-boggling 40% of total business expenditure.

When it comes to quality, the stakes are high. That’s why we’ve put together this detailed guide to building a culture of quality and how it impacts profitability.

We’ll dissect what it means to create a quality-centric culture and how it can help to mitigate costs and minimize overheads. Additionally, we’ll look at specific examples of a culture of quality in practice and how it’s likely to impact your profit margins and operational efficiency.

quality inspection men in manufacturing


Building a Culture of Quality

Let’s start by looking at what we actually mean when we talk about a “culture of quality”. 

The best way to think about it is that a culture of quality is a code of conduct that everyone in the business adheres to. It guides every decision and action – big or small. 

A culture of quality is more than just ticking boxes for compliance or meeting minimum standards. A culture of quality means going above and beyond, striving for excellence in every facet of the business, from product development to customer service. 

For this reason, good quality equals good business. In fact, you can check out an in-depth whitepaper on how improving quality also improves business outcomes right here

You don’t need to look any further than Apple to see how good quality translates to business success. The whole experience, from the moment you walk into their store to the after-sales service, is designed to exceed customer expectations. Apple products are also well-respected for their quality craftsmanship and style. It's no coincidence that Apple has one of the most loyal customer bases in the world.

Right direction of your business. Collage

Or how about Toyota? Their dedication to continuous improvement and elimination of waste (also known as the Toyota Production System) is the stuff of legends in the manufacturing world. Toyota’s culture of quality has helped them maintain their position as one of the world's top car manufacturers, despite facing fierce competition.  

In manufacturing, one of the most impactful ways to build a culture of quality is to invest in digital technology. A digital Quality Management System (QMS) acts as a framework that can guide organizations to achieve quality objectives and focus on improvement– By automating tasks, organizations ensure efficiency, save time and significantly reduce costs - more on this later. 

Benefits of a quality-driven culture in manufacturing

Before we move on to look at some examples of how to build a culture of quality in your organization, let’s first understand some of the benefits that arise from it.

Improve customer satisfaction High quality products and service helps you to exceed customer expectations, building customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Enhance brand reputation Create an aura of trustworthiness and reliability, which will enhance your brand reputation and attract new customers.
Reduce costs Reduce the amount of rework, waste, and inefficiencies. Proactively avoiding mistakes and defects, cuts the number of resources used over the long run.
Attract and retain talent Employees are more likely to take pride in their work and stay with a company that values quality and promotes collaboration throughout the organization.
Continuous improvement Employees that are always looking for ways to better their work and processes will lead to improved business outcomes.
Drive innovation When quality is a key focus, businesses are more likely to innovate and find new, better ways to meet customers' needs and stand out in the marketplace.
Increase profitability Improved customer satisfaction and loyalty, reduced costs, and increased efficiency, should lead to higher profitability over time.
Ensure compliance A focus on quality often means you are also focused on meeting industry standards and regulations, thus minimizing the risk of non-compliance issues. 
Build resilience Businesses that prioritize quality often have more robust processes in place and are better equipped to handle challenges and adapt to changes in the market.
Employee engagement A culture of quality creates a sense of purpose and unity among employees, promoting higher levels of engagement and job satisfaction.

How to implement a Culture of Quality

Starting a journey towards a culture of quality may seem daunting. However, it can be compared to preparing a good meal – you start with quality ingredients, follow a clear recipe, and add a dash of innovation to create something excellent and memorable. 

Here are seven tips to guide you on your way:

Culture of quality


  • 01 Set a clear vision and goals
  • 02 Encourage employee engagement 
  • 03 Lead by example
  • 04 Implement robust processes 
  • 05 Make quality a part of everyday work
  • 06 Invest in the right tools 
  • 07 Encourage continuous improvement

Set a clear vision and goals

To make any substantial change, you need to know where you're heading. Paint a clear picture of what a 'culture of quality' looks like for your organization.  

Start with your vision statement, emphasizing the role of quality, and align your objectives accordingly. Remember, it's like picking the perfect destination for your road trip - you need to know what you’re aiming at so that you head in the right direction.  

Next, set a series of goals that are specific, measurable, and realistic.  

For example, let’s say that you’re the quality manager of a manufacturing company. Your vision and goals may look something like this: 

Vision Statement: "We aspire to be the industry leader recognized for superior quality. We want to make our brand synonymous with trust, delivering flawless products that exceed customer expectations every time." 

Goal 1: Improve Product Quality
Decrease defect rate by 25% in the next 12 months. 

Goal 2: Enhance Customer Satisfaction
Increase customer satisfaction score to 90% over the next year by improving product quality and addressing customer feedback proactively.  

Goal 3: Boost Employee Engagement in Quality
Implement quality training programs for all employees within the next six months and aim for at least 80% participation.  

Encourage employee engagement 

Creating a culture of quality isn't a one-person show. You need senior management buy-in if you want to improve quality management – check out this guide on how to nail your QM business case which will help you get any stakeholder’s approval. Employees are the backbone of this transformation, and their active engagement is key. 

Let's say you're managing a production line in a manufacturing company. 

Start by sharing your vision and goals in a team meeting - like reducing product defects by 30% in the next quarter. Then, launch the 'Quality Ownership Program' where each team member becomes responsible for the quality of a specific part of the production process. 

To equip your team, provide specialized training on best manufacturing practices and quality control techniques. 

To amplify employee voices, hold bi-weekly 'Quality Talks' for feedback and discussions about potential improvements. These steps create shared responsibility, empowering everyone to play their part in the quality improvement journey.

Lead by example

In the journey to quality, leadership is the compass.  

As a leader, you can embody the principles of a quality culture in your actions and decisions. Show your team that you prioritize quality over everything else, and they'll be more likely to follow suit. 

Imagine you're the plant manager at an automobile assembly line. A new model is in production and the launch deadline is fast approaching. Your team is under immense pressure to meet this deadline. 

During a routine quality check, a significant flaw is discovered in the braking system. Fixing the issue would require halting the production line and missing the product launch deadline. 

This is a good opportunity to lead by example. 

Despite the looming deadline and the potential fallout from delaying the product launch, you decide to halt production to address the flaw. You communicate this decision to your team and higher management, explaining that the safety of the consumers and the reputation of the company for quality are paramount and cannot be compromised for the sake of meeting a deadline. 

Taking this kind of action demonstrates that quality is not just a buzzword, but a core principle that guides every decision. Your team sees this, and it reinforces their understanding that a culture of quality is truly valued and upheld in your organization. In this way, you're not just telling them about the importance of quality, you're showing them in the most impactful way possible. 

Implement robust processes 

Invest in setting up robust systems and standards to guide your team's work. Remember – it's not just 'set it and forget it'. Regularly review and update your processes based on feedback and changes in the market.

For example, an electronics manufacturer could establish a rigorous testing protocol for each stage of assembly to identify and fix defects. They could also set up a quarterly system audit to identify any outdated practices and make necessary updates to ensure they stay in line with industry standards and market expectations.

Make quality a part of everyday work

In the pursuit of a culture of quality, consistency is key. Make quality a part of the everyday conversation. Encourage team members to discuss quality at meetings, share quality-related success stories, and celebrate quality achievements. 

Some examples might be daily stand-up meetings where each team member discusses the quality of their work. Another example could be a “Quality Wall” upon which team members post stories of when they went the extra mile to improve quality and customer satisfaction.

Invest in the right tools 

The right tools can make a huge difference. A digital Quality Management System (QMS), for instance, can provide better, immediate insights and proactively lower the cost of quality. It's all about finding the right tools that suit your needs. 

A high-performance no-code digital QMS like AlisQI can help to improve quality and lower costs in the following ways: 

  • Streamline processes:
    A comprehensive suite of quality management tools allows you to consolidate your quality-related procedures into one user-friendly platform. This simplifies and standardizes processes, helping to reduce errors and improve efficiency. 
  • Empower employees:
    With its intuitive interface and real-time data reporting, AlisQI empowers employees at all levels to take ownership of quality. Employees can access the data they need, when they need it, enabling them to make informed decisions and take immediate corrective action when issues arise. 
  • Encourage collaboration:
    AlisQI eases collaboration by providing a centralized platform where teams can share information, discuss issues, and develop solutions together. This can boost engagement and help to create a culture of continuous improvement. 
  • Provide actionable insights:
    AlisQI's advanced analytics and reporting tools provide valuable insights into your company's quality performance. Leaders can use these insights to make evidence-based decisions, set realistic goals, and monitor progress towards a culture of quality. 
  • Make quality a part of everyday work:
    With AlisQI, quality management becomes a seamless part of daily operations. Employees can report issues, track progress, and view quality metrics directly within the platform, keeping quality front and center. 

For more information on how to persuade the decision makers in your company, as well as the wider team, that an QMS can help to build a culture of quality, check out these valuable tips

Encourage continuous improvement

A culture of quality is never stagnant – it's dynamic and always evolving. In other words, it is a form of continuous improvement.  

To get people on board with a continuous improvement mindset, it’s a good idea to clearly communicate the benefits. The main benefit of continuous improvement and quality-driven culture is cost savings, which we’ll look at in more depth in the next section. 

Again, an QMS is a fundamental part of a culture of quality and continuous improvement for forward-thinking businesses. Companies that don’t implement and leverage digital tools to improve quality will find themselves quickly falling behind those that do. 

The Cost of Quality
How lack of quality impacts business

The price of neglecting quality 

Neglecting quality invites trouble and can come with a hefty price tag. Here's the damage you might be looking at if you don’t create a culture of quality in your business:

  • Product returns
  • Customer complaints
  • Brand damage
  • Additional training costs
  • Regulatory fines
  • Lost opportunities
  • Lower employee morale

Product returns

Let’s say you ship a product with defects. Not only do you face the immediate cost of handling returns and organizing product recalls, but you also risk losing the customer's future business. Research suggests that it costs around 66% of the product price to return an item, with a $50 item costing the company $33 for each one returned.

Customer complaints

Dealing with an angry customer isn't just stressful; it's also costly. You've got to invest time and money to rectify the issue and smooth ruffled feathers. Research from the Harvard Business Review suggests that customer complaints cost American businesses around $38 billion per year in total.

Brand damage

Once your reputation takes a hit, it's uphill work to rebuild that trust. The process of brand damage limitation is not cheap.

Additional training costs

When you disregard quality, you might end up needing to invest in additional training for your staff to fix the mistakes made. This not only involves the cost of the training itself, but also the time that your employees spend away from their core duties.

Regulatory fines

In certain industries, neglecting quality can lead to a breach of regulations, resulting in hefty fines and penalties. This is especially true when dealing with data, with the UK government revealing that poor data quality can cost companies between 10 to 30% of their revenue.

Lost opportunities

Think about all the business opportunities lost due to poor quality. Imagine a potential client choosing your competitor simply because they're known for better quality. Can you put a price on that?

Lower employee morale

Quality neglect can lead to a demotivated workforce, resulting in higher employee turnover. Based on data from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the average cost for a company to replace an employee is equivalent to 6 to 9 months' salary. For instance, for an employee earning $60,000 annually, this translates to recruiting and training expenses ranging from $30,000 to $45,000.

The Power of Prioritizing Quality

Now, let's flip the script. What happens when you prioritize quality? 

  • Fewer defects, lower costs
  • Decreased overheads
  • Enhanced reputation
  • Higher efficiency
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Customer retention
  • Premium pricing
  • Stronger supplier relationships
  • Process improvement
  • Employee pride and retention

Fewer defects, lower costs

Reducing defects doesn't just improve your products; it also decreases the costs associated with returns, complaints, and rework. In the manufacturing industry, for example, improving defect rates by even a single percentage point can translate into significant savings.

Decreased overheads

A culture of quality is like a dam protecting your business against a flood of financial troubles. Producing top-quality products and services helps you mitigate risks of returns or complaints, which in turn keeps your overheads down.

Enhanced reputation

Companies that are known for quality attract and retain customers. That means more repeat business and fewer resources spent on acquiring new customers.

Higher efficiency

A focus on quality means less time spent on rework and fixing mistakes and fewer delays. Processes become more efficient, saving both time and money. This can directly translate to lower production costs and higher profit margins.

Increased customer satisfaction

When you deliver top-notch quality consistently, customer satisfaction increases. Satisfied customers are likely to become repeat customers, and they might even become your brand advocates, spreading positive word-of-mouth and bringing in new customers at no extra cost to you.

Customer retention

Quality products create happy customers, and happy customers come back for more. Repeat customers are more profitable and less expensive to serve than new customers. According to a study by Bain & Company, increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can increase profits by 25% to 95%.

Premium pricing

Quality products and services can command a premium price in the market. Customers are often willing to pay more for items they perceive as high quality. This can significantly boost your revenue and profitability.

Stronger supplier relationship

When you prioritize quality, it doesn't just reflect on your products or services. It also extends to your business relationships. Suppliers and partners are more likely to want to work with companies that have a strong reputation for quality.

Process improvement

A culture of quality promotes a mindset of continuous improvement. By continually refining your processes, you reduce waste and improve efficiency.

Employee pride and retention

In a quality-centric culture, employees take pride in their work. This can increase job satisfaction and reduce turnover, leading to lower recruitment and training costs.

For a more detailed insight into the cost of quality and how a QMS can boost your quality management and impact your business, join our free ROI webinar. In this 1-hour webinar, you’ll learn exactly how much a QMS can save you, how you can use software to reduce waste and find out how you can assess the impact of any quality-related investment. 


As we draw this journey to a close, it's clear that a culture of quality is more than just an industry buzzword. It’s the well-oiled machine driving your business towards sustained profitability and peak operational efficiency. 

Cultivating a culture of quality isn't about overnight transformation or quick wins. Instead, it's about laying a sturdy foundation that paves the way for your company's long-term success, helping your business to stand firm, even amidst the shifting sands of market changes and customer demands. 

From decreasing defects to increasing customer loyalty and enabling premium pricing, a quality-centric culture boosts your bottom line and creates a profitable, efficient business. It helps you navigate around the costly pitfalls associated with poor quality and paves the way to enhanced customer satisfaction and greater business opportunities.

However, creating this culture of quality doesn’t have to be an arduous task.  

Enter AlisQI, a no-code QMS designed to empower organizations like yours. Without the need for software developers, you can seamlessly infuse quality into every part of your business operations. AlisQI makes it easier to manage, track, and continuously improve your quality management practices. 

Experience firsthand how AlisQI can facilitate your journey towards a robust culture of quality:

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3 easy steps to convince everyone that you need a QMS

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