When the commitment to quality control is greater than the sum of its parts
Neil Maree discusses the challenges of growing a business and retaining the quality you have built your business on. While manufacturing roasters is the discussion point here, the challenges of quality control resonate with all entrepreneurs on a path to widening their customer base.
I think as a business owner you can relate to the ups and downs that are associated with the quality of your services and products as well as those of your suppliers. With the rapid growth Genio has experienced over the last few years, we have been forced to increase our focus on quality control. Due to a much higher output to local as well as international markets, we now not only have to meet our standards, but we also have to meet different sets of compliance standards for industries across the world. At Genio, we not only tick the boxes for compliance, but we also tick them to better our service and look after our customers.
Why is quality control important?
Quality control involves maintaining a level of consistency in quality across the entire value chain. Everyone in your business should contribute to the quality control process in everything they do. One weak link can cause a major delay or even failure in the entire system. Just think about your own business and how a faulty delivery or miss communication between departments can upset the entire business environment. My advice is to first find the cause of a problem and then put measures in place that will prevent it from happening again. Internationally recognised systems like ISO 9001:2015 can help companies to achieve and maintain such goals.
I would like to share some insights and valuable lessons that the Genio Team has learned over the past few months. Hopefully, it will help you to navigate your quality control processes and procedures.
Learning from the best
We have set ourselves the highest quality manufacturing standards. We draw inspiration from the motor vehicle industry and others to help guide our efforts in manufacturing and communicate this quality through our products to our customers. Genio is fortunate enough to have a Procurement Manager, Industrial Designer as well as a Quality Inspector with experience in this specific industry. We are striving to achieve the same quality as a premium car product, and that is why we are bringing in this specific experience from outside to augment us and sharpen our skills.
As in the motor vehicle industry, our quality control checklist is our inspection criteria for every component and process that goes into building a Genio coffee roaster. We currently have 243 checkpoints that need to be adhered to. In the final inspection, the quality control checklist is there to ensure that the standard of the product meets the customer’s expectations. But long before we get to the final inspection, each and every one of our parts have stringent quality standards that they must pass. These standards set the tone for the final product, and get updated continually as living documents that grow with ourselves and with our customer expectations.
Recently, the Genio Team also implemented our system which complies with BPMN 2.0 (Business Process Model and Notation), to define our business process workflows as a means of identifying potential improvements. We brought in a team of consultants to assist us with the initial system and to verify the steps that have been implemented against that of the BPMN model.
But quality does not stop at Genio ticking the boxes on a checklist. Quality must be upheld throughout the whole value chain. Our suppliers need to adhere to our quality standards, and these standards are followed across every department in Genio; from the welding bay right through to our Customer Experience Team. We refer to it as the Genio life cycle – the entire value chain from end to end.
Kingsley is our Quality Inspector at Genio. His experience in the motor vehicle parts manufacturing industry makes him the perfect fit for Genio Roasters. Kingsley ensures that every Genio works perfectly by monitoring the quality standards of our manufactured products:
“What I bring to Genio is the ability to assess the quality of incoming materials as well as the quality of the outgoing product by ensuring that production standards are met. As part of the Quality Team, we continuously stress improvement with a no-compromise approach. It is ‘the person behind the machine’, that makes all the difference.”
Quality is a collective effort
Whether it is the sourcing of material and parts from reputable suppliers, state-of-the-art tools and even our internal production processes, we are continuously working towards improvement. Similarly, we want to pull this mindset through to our customers’ experience, as we want them to share the same high standards with us. So, we preach it forward by educating our customers on quality control for their businesses. We include free training to all Genio clients in coffee cupping, sensory development, site preparation, basic and advanced coffee roasting and more.
A transparent relationship with your suppliers is imperative. We conduct regular meetings on order updates, feedback on quality issues and management of expectations from both parties. When our suppliers share the same values and quality standards as us, we know it is a relationship that will grow from strength to strength. Even through tough times in the heat of the ongoing Covid battle, we ensured that we paid our suppliers timely and even split orders to those who were more in need to ensure that they can grow with us.
Innovation, innovation, innovation
Creating a culture of innovation within a business can be challenging. However, looking at a problem or situation with a fresh set of eyes can spark new ideas and solutions. Genio recently invited a chemical engineering student to spend a whole day at the Genio factory. His task was to, from a customer perspective, work on each coffee roaster before it was shipped to the customer. We aimed to counter any form of bias when testing the performance of a new machine ourselves. The goal was to give Genio a report on the workmanship, operation, and user experience from his objective view as if he is the customer. And the result: priceless feedback that will translate to an enhanced overall customer experience. And for the record, he is now a permanent addition to our Quality Team and tests each and every roaster for an entire day before we sign off on the production.
The buck stops with me
Each Genio employee is accountable for their work, and this adds to our overall quality output. One person is assigned to a machine. The person performs all the tasks in the manufacturing process of that particular machine. It means the person has a good grip on everything that happens on the quality control of the machine because the individual is accountable for every part and every process. The difference: personal commitment and pride - the individual starts something and takes it up to the finished product. Again, it is the life cycle, where people are involved in everything about a particular phase in the life of a Genio.
Technical support: our lifetime commitment
In terms of our accountability, we stand up to say that, yes, we do make mistakes and, yes, we have had quality issues. However, we own our problems and we admit that they exist. We do not run away from glitches and will go as far as to recall a machine for in-house repairs if that is what it takes. We have done so in the past and we will do so again if it means giving our customers the assurance that we stand by our products, and by our customers, for life. We appreciate the fact that people’s livelihoods rely on our machines. To stand by this claim, the leaders of Genio unanimously agreed to offer up to 3 years of warranty on our machines without even thinking twice. Our commitment to quality on every level of our business runs in our DNA and we challenge you to evaluate your own business and see where you can work smarter and be more productive when it comes to your products and services.