Quality is the foundation of our lasting customer relationships
“Quality work,” “Quality has its price,” and “This is a real quality team” – we often use the word “quality” in everyday life to express our appreciation of special products or achievements. Objectively, quality only means “the individually and concretely defined property of a thing or a service.”
At Voith, however, it means much more than that. We have been shaping the markets in which we operate with our know-how and inventive spirit for over 155 years. Our quality consciousness is reflected not only in our products and processes but is also an integral component of our culture and forms the foundation of our lasting customer relationships.
Quality is multidimensional
Various dimensions have an effect on the quality of our products, solutions and services. The more precisely the supplied product or service matches the requirements, the higher the quality is. Differentiation can be made between the following:
Specified expectations are fixed in cooperation with the customer in advance and usually agreed upon in writing.
Implied expectations are not explicitly set forth, because the customer assumes they will be met anyway.
Legal requirements are anchored in generally binding laws.
Internal requirements are imposed by the company itself; one example is that the raw materials for production must originate from renewable resources.
Quality – a matter of attitude
Albert Einstein said, “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” Quality management systems and processes can support and secure quality. However, in order to achieve outstanding quality, you need the commitment of employees.
By sharing our knowledge, seeing mistakes as opportunities, and celebrating our successes together, we continuously learn from and inspire one another across all functions. Dedicated employees deliver higher quality. But this can only happen if they know their work is valued and important.
Right the first time
This approach to quality work is shown by employees through their assumption of full responsibility for their product or service. Their personal quality commitment is expressed through the “right the first time” concept:
“Right the first time” means that all employees personally aim to complete their tasks to the satisfaction of customers, partners and colleagues. Only when all requirements and expectations have been met is the work delivered.
The “right the first time” mentality shows the connection between quality and efficiency: There is less reworking needed, not as many tasks are done twice, and fewer clarifications are required. The result is that direct and indirect quality costs are lowered and customers and colleagues are satisfied.
Quality as a personal success
Successfully completing tasks is satisfying – the higher the quality, the more enhanced your self-confidence and the more pronounced your sense of achievement. And the greater your determination to do even better the next time.
Excellence and corporate culture
“Doing even better” is a quality aspiration that goes far beyond the measurable standard. We are entering “excellence” territory here. Excellence means a performance level that exceeds the measurable standard.
If you want to achieve excellence, you have to leave the comfort zone of the quality standard and enter the unknown. This starts with looking at things from your customer’s point of view and discovering possibilities that nobody – not even the customer – has thought of before. This customer experience has become a trademark of digital innovations. With this kind of quality, technology companies such as Voith can set themselves apart from everyone else in the traditional industry.
Excellence quality grows out of an excellent corporate culture. Voith promotes values such as teamwork, diversity, creativity, feedback, motivation, openness and community because these criteria are conducive to quality and excellent performance. By working in teams with different professional and cultural backgrounds and experiences, we can examine topics from different perspectives. This creates an environment marked by innovative strength and problem-solving expertise.
Quality and an open error culture
Only if you are allowed to make mistakes will you try new things. Besides having a “right the first time” philosophy, a quality company needs a tolerant error culture. The former refers to careful adherence to best practices, processes and standards; a tolerant error culture aims to unleash creative forces.
An important condition for constructively and objectively dealing with errors is the admission that mistakes happen – even at the highest level. The benefit of the mistake lies in the fact that you don’t make it a second time. If you learn from mistakes and use this information as a template for future improvements, you raise the general quality standard.
Effective and efficient through quality management
Companies use quality management systems to effectively and efficiently ensure quality. A quality management system (QMS) is a set of rules, responsibilities and procedures for aligning products, services and internal processes to the implicit and explicit expectations of internal and external customers.
Ever since Voith got its start 155 years ago, quality has played an important role in setting the company apart from the competition. Voith’s high quality standard is the result of a systematic approach. This is the responsibility of the Quality + HSE/Sustainability Board. The board has the goal of systematically using and expanding the company’s know-how in the various divisions for all of Voith in order to meet quality standards more efficiently throughout the Group.
To accomplish this, Voith uses various quality management tools:
- FMEA (failure mode and effects analysis):
This is a team-oriented analysis in which potential failures (errors or defects) in products or processes are identified and evaluated before they occur. Prevention controls can be derived from this.
- Continuous improvement:
This means constantly aiming for perfection in everything we do in the company. Every process is continuously improved. Focus is on activities that pursue two goals: generate the greatest benefit for customers and at the same time minimize waste.
Key quality standards
Standards play an important role in quality management. They describe the properties that a product, service or process must possess. Standards thus deliver the objective evaluation criteria with which quality can be confirmed. For Voith, a number of different international standards are relevant, for example:
International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards define requirements pertaining to the quality of products, execution of services, and management systems and associated processes. They are mainly relevant in the fields of technology, production and occupational safety and health.
ASME provides standards on topics including boilers and pressure vessels, power plants, elevators, construction machinery, pipelines and nuclear components.
These are the European standards, or rules, that have been ratified by a European standardization committee. This work is performed by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN), the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC), and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI).
“GB” stands for “Guobiao,” which is Chinese for “national standard” and refers to standards applicable to the Chinese market.
These standards result from national, European or international standardization work. The standards are formulated in committees at DIN, the European standardization organizations CEN/CENELEC, and the international standardization organizations ISO/IEC according to defined principles as well as procedural and design rules.
Quality is a key factor for technology companies. If a company can make a higher quality product, it has a decisive competitive advantage. Customers are generally willing to pay a higher price for quality work. They trust in the fact that quality pays off in the long run. This especially applies to today’s technology companies with high value-add in their industrial manufacturing processes. For a technology company to be successful, it has to be able to deliver a constant level of quality.
With digitalization, this requirement hasn’t fundamentally changed but has been realigned. Through digital solutions, new quality requirements have arisen in traditional industries. One example is that software control must be fault-free. On the other hand, digitalization also delivers the means of controlling quality more efficiently, for example, through the evaluation of machine data.
From quality to customer experience
The customer’s quality experience has also changed. Quality defects are reported more quickly and publicly, and expectations regarding the product and the service are also changing.
Customers don’t just want to check off the quality box; they want to “experience” quality. “Customer experience” has become an important catchword today.