When you’re looking for equipment to heat and cool your materials, samples, and processes, quality is important, but what kind of quality should you be looking for?
As you search for temperature control equipment for your lab or facility, you’ll probably come across several “quality” claims, like: Our products are of the highest quality. We provide superior quality. We offer the best quality in the market. These claims may sound nice, but what do they mean, and how do you substantiate them?
In this article, we’ll explore what quality means, how to measure it, and how a company-wide commitment to “quality” makes a difference. Quality is often associated with product design, materials, craftsmanship, and durability, but it can be much more. When a company adopts a “quality” mindset across all departments, it improves its culture, effectiveness, performance, and ability to serve customers.
Quality is about more than the product itself
Most quality claims, like the ones we mentioned above, focus on the product. At one point in time, these types of claims were important. You had to be able to identify which products were safe and properly manufactured. But, modern manufacturing practices and regulations have remedied a lot of these issues.
Quality products are now an expectation, not an exception. If a company can’t deliver quality, it won’t last long in the market. Plenty of companies produce quality products that meet specifications and perform as designed. Even if you define quality as a product made with durable materials by expert craftsmen, it’s still not a feature that’s going to differentiate one product from all the other products made in a similar way with similar materials.
Quality is a science that requires measurement
Quality is more than a claim; it’s a scientific process that can be observed, calculated, assessed, and quantified. The Oxford English Dictionary defines quality as “the standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind; the degree of excellence of something.” According to this definition, there’s a “standard” to be “measured against” that defines quality.
If a company claims excellence related to product quality, you have to ask yourself – “How do they know this?” Have they measured their product consistently against every other available model in the market? Do they purchase their competitors’ models and test them side-by-side with what they’re offering? What is the basis of their evaluations? Chances are that most “quality” statements you encounter are useless in determining which product is best for you.
Quality management & the customer-centric mindset
Some companies approach quality from a different perspective. They go beyond the measurements to find new ways to innovate, and to surpass the standards. These companies focus on their internal efforts and how they affect customer satisfaction. They have a constant improvement mindset. This type of organization has a system to scientifically evaluate and improve its products, services, and processes to align with customer needs and meet the changing needs of the market.
This is called quality management and, when it’s taken seriously, it means the organization is committed to measurable standards of excellence that are repeatable across all processes and departments. At JULABO USA, we practice this form of quality management, and it has become a central part of our company culture. Through our quality management processes and ISO 9001 certification, our employees develop an “improve” and “prove” mindset. Improve what’s not working or may not work optimally, and verify that the solution works.
Measurement & ISO 9001 certification
JULABO USA’s commitment to quality management is evident in our ISO 9001 certification for international quality management systems. The ISO 9001 certification recognizes companies that deliver consistent quality to customers by having well-defined and regularly reviewed processes and procedures. It means that JULABO USA adheres to a measurable and definable process. Simply put, JULABO USA plans things in a certain way, does things systematically, checks things consistently and thoroughly, and acts in a way that eliminates risk to people and products.
“Our quality management program is part of every process. We’re the only German-engineered temperature control company in the U.S. to have an ISO 9001 Quality Management certification. If you want quality German engineering backed by a company-wide commitment to quality, we’re the obvious choice. We’re proud of our commitment to ongoing, measurable standards of quality across every department.” -Ralph Juchheim, President, JULABO USA.
JULABO USA’s quality management system and ISO 9001 certification have enhanced every aspect of the business, including productivity and profitability. It reduces waste and inefficiencies. It helps us monitor inventory and prepare for demand. It establishes a regular and open conversation between departments. It ensures that we’re protecting the safety of employees and customers. And, it creates training programs to make sure there’s consistency in processes and information throughout the organization.
How quality management benefits customers
The quality management system may include a lot of data and details, but it also helps us see the big picture and forecast current and emerging needs. It lets us see things clearly and discover areas where we need to improve or innovate to help customers. Based on what we’ve found, we’ve changed processes and made adjustments to products. We’ve identified gaps and introduced innovations and technologies like LucaVision and vDelivery to limit disruptions and inconveniences.
“Quality management is a living thing; it’s not just standards and accreditation. It’s an evolving process that constantly improves products, services, and processes while empowering people. When the whole company is thinking about how they can improve the customer experience, that’s powerful. It creates a culture of customer allegiance and accountability that drives everything.” – Dirk Frese, Vice President, Sales, Marketing & Service, JULABO USA.
Specific ways JULABO USA’s Quality Management helps customers:
- It demonstrates accountability. You know there’s a quality management team and system in place to address and solve issues.
- Incoming goods and units are inspected to ensure they meet specifications, and any previous issues have been addressed.
- Service is held to specific goals and KPIs such as 72-hour analysis and recommendations on repairs, and resolution of electronic and refrigeration repairs within six (6) days.
- There’s a constant evaluation of inventory to ensure frequently used parts are in stock to reduce wait times.
- Tools used to test our instruments and units are also tested and calibrated to minimize inconsistencies.
- Non-conforming goods, if and when there are any, are carefully tested, monitored, and tracked to trace system-wide problems.
Our entire team is continuously working behind the scenes to evaluate our progress and how we can better serve customers. We have regular cross-departmental meetings to ensure everyone is aware of developments, progress, and potential issues or changes. We also exercise risk-based thinking where we ask ourselves: what will happen if we do this, how will it affect the customer experience?
Conclusion & take-aways
A quality mindset and ISO 9001 certification can’t make a company fool-proof or perfect, but they do add a layer of assurance and accountability. If you’re looking for a refrigerated circulator, heating circulator, recirculating chiller, temperature control system, or other liquid thermoregulating solutions, you can feel confident that JULABO USA has a system in place to listen, respond, and act. Additionally, if ISO 9001 certification is a requirement for procurement, we have that covered.
Quality is more than how a product is made, it’s about how a company thinks and behaves. If a company isn’t addressing quality across all its departments and doesn’t measure its findings, chances are quality is just a buzzword.
We encourage our customers to communicate with us and let us know how we’re doing and what we can improve. We take these conversations seriously and address them from every angle. When you’re looking for quality temperature control and a company committed to your needs, we’re here for you. In the meantime, we’ll keep assessing, innovating, and doing what we can to improve every aspect of our business.
For more information about JULABO USA, visit our website, julabo.us.