Quality Assurance and Standards of Performance

The gateway to business excellence and profit

Quality assurance and standards of performance are topics rarely heard of in hospitality and tourism. Why is that?

I assume these topics are talked about within our industries but it is not easy to convert the idea into reality. A structured approach to introducing quality assurance in our industry is missing.

Why would hospitality business like to find out more about quality assurance?

  • Is it about an increase in competition and economic vulnerability of businesses?
  • Are businesses looking for solutions to enhance their performance?
  • Maybe businesses recognise the importance to improve product and service offer?
  • Do businesses want to be more customer-oriented and augment staff morale and productivity?

A quality assurance program can help in all those instances.

The Quest for Quality

I’ll try to explain the cornerstones of quality assurance and how our industry can benefit from using this concept. Setting and adhering to “standards of performance” will be an important part of quality assurance and I will outline how to set standards.

However, rather than writing a long essay on this page, I opted for short sequential articles in my “News” section which you can easily follow. Of course we need to start with a “brief history of quality assurance”.

In those articles I seek to describe what “quality”, “assurance” and “standards of performance” are and their significance for our industry. I will outline examples and provide guidelines how you can apply the principles of quality assurance (“QA”) in your business.

Nevertheless, I have to inform you, that the process of implementing a QA program is not straight forward. But the benefits for your operation will be felt without a doubt.

  • Your customers will recognise a significant change in your service delivery
  • Your competitiveness will increase
  • Your business performance will improve
  • Your costs will come down and your profits will go up
  • You will have happier staff!

Even more importantly – you will lay the foundation for the future of your business and long-term survival.

If you are REALLY serious about implementing a QA program in your business, you should get in contact with me. We will discuss an approach specifically focussing on your business and your business needs.

Get more information

But for now, let me just briefly outline the approach I suggest when I come and see you.

My approach

Firstly, I need to get an understanding about your commitment to investing in QA; at least let me know why you want to talk with me and what your aspirations are. This point is absolutely crucial because I must know about your reasons for engaging with QA and your ultimate goals.

Then, most likely I will suggest conducting an assessment of your operation in order to understand your current business structure and service standards; this includes reviewing your existing service guidelines and requirements. If you don’t have any – don’t worry, you are not alone.

Once we (you and I) have defined the loop-holes, we will move on to defining a plan on how to move forward. Allot depends on your operation because we don’t want to make this process too complex. I will try to keep it simple but certain processes are critical within the QA process. There are various ways to get started – we don’t have to aim for a “gold star standard” – if you want to – that would be excellent! – but we may start with targeting the “bronze level”. Gold-stars were not borne overnight…

A non- negotiable QA element will be identifying key-players of your operation who must be involved in the process. This is because I will suggest forming a QA committee which aims to obtain the staff buy-in. We’ll do a presentation to the selected committee members and explain what we seek to accomplish and that their input is of utmost importance.

After the QA committee is set up we’ll announce our intention to all staff members – although the secret might have already leaked out. The aim is to obtain a full acceptance for QA from all members of staff. This means that we may have to do some “missionary work” to convert the “non-believers” or cynics.

The next part will be to elaborate our plan which will include defining a time table – of course we will consider the business level of your operation. Business always comes first – BUT we also have to press forward with the program. This is part of the overall commitment for QA!

The above mentioned process is called the “Introduction Phase”. Getting this phase right is of paramount importance as it is the foundation of your QA program.

The next phase is called “Meshing” when we review loopholes, current conditions of management and training etc and address how some of these issues can be resolved. During the “Development Phase” we have a look at the cost of error, then start developing standards of performance and set a roadmap to enhance training matters. The fourth phase is called “Diffusion” – which is the implementation part of the program; training will be in the forefront. Last but not least comes the “Measuring and Monitoring Phase”.

If all this sounds complex to you, it isn’t – trust me: these processes do NOT have to be complicated! We tailor this to your operation and your specific needs.

I will address these topics in my “News” section but for a more comprehensive breakdown of implementing a QA program, please get in touch.

Please call me

Just a small example of “Standards of Performance”

We will seek to find a solution how to get from “Standard A” to the desired Standard B.

Errors cost money

Standards of Service

This does not look too difficult you might say. But in order to achieve the desired level of performance we need to set up the rules to change the way we work today and how we must work in the future. I am sure you agree that Standard B is much more desirable.

Standard Operating Procedures

These procedures should not be mixed up with “Standards of Performance”. However, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are an essential part of your operation and will play an important part of your QA program.

SOPs are rules and instructions – guidelines on how your business is managed and run. Without such procedures it is difficult to work because there is no foundation to how your operation functions and is controlled. If SOPs are not in place or are inadequate, “rules” will just be made up by each staff member as they go along. This can be dangerous.

An essential part of your SOPs are “policies” – setting the rules of your operation. Policies must be backed up with procedures – outlining how these policies are implemented and achieved.

Of course SOPs are especially relevant when it comes to legal obligations. There are some statutory rules which you must meet.

You must have the following policies in place:

  • Health & Safety Policy
  • Fire Safety Policy
  • Licensing Policy
  • Food Safety Policy

Other policies – which may be part of your procedures, cover anything from

  • Smoking, drug and alcohol policy
  • First Aid
  • etc

Many other statutory “rules” have to be covered within your core-procedures which are:

  • Health & Safety (covering anything from work place, fire safety, risk assessments, manual handling, preventing legionella and much more…)
  • Human Resources (terms and conditions of employment etc…)
  • Finance (how to deal with money, customer and supplier accounts, data protection etc)

Of course it is recommended that “Terms and Conditions” in place to inform your customers about your rules.

This is quite a task to have all this in place AND to make sure that all that stuff is up to date AND to guarantee that these rules are followed. I am sure you are aware that in case of litigation you as the duty holder have to prove that you have done the utmost (“so far as is reasonably practicable” !) to meet the legal requirements.

I recommend to businesses to have their statutory compliance checked from time to time. That is why I offer independent in-depth audits which will highlight any deficiencies. Again my approach is straight forward.

My approach

A thorough assessment of your operation will be conducted – what is in place and what is missing.

I will also look at your current structure of guidelines or SOPs; this includes reviewing your existing documents based on your requirements.

You will receive my recommendations and solutions on how to strengthen your legal obligations. SOPs are rules or standards which are required within a QA process. Again – this process does not have to be complicated!

For more detailed information and to discuss your requirement

Contact me