Right people in the right places

Right people in the right places

When the quality of a product isn’t up to scratch, the marketing department has to deal with the complaints from customers, while the real fault lies with those responsible for product quality during the manufacturing process. ANLERIE DE WET finds out why it is important to have the right people in these positions

Key players in the engineering industry recently took Minister Thulas Nxesi, his Department of Public Works (DPW) and the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA), to court alleging that the appointment of the new ECSA council – which was appointed by Nxesi in July 2016 – was unlawful. ECSA is responsible for registering the quality standards of engineering practice and training.

The South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) is heading the legal charge on behalf of 14 engineering associations, collectively representing more than 50 000 members.

Manglin Pillay, SAICE CEO, says people without industry knowledge have been appointed as council members and that this will affect the quality of engineers and projects undertaken in the country.

“By undermining the quality of oversight of engineering practitioners in South Africa, the entire pipeline of engineering infrastructure services, manufacturing and production will be at risk,”
says Pillay. “This could potentially result in the health and safety of the public being placed in jeopardy.”

Having the right people in positions overseeing quality is also essential in other industries. Glen Greenwood, service deputy manager at Panasonic South Africa, says it is imperative to have the right people in positions overseeing product and service quality in every industry.

“Product and service quality lead to customer satisfaction, which, in turn, breeds customer loyalty. Business is built on what a brand offers. Any negative perceptions or experiences with a product or service quality will undoubtedly adversely impact the brand,” says Greenwood.

“Having the right people will build trust, reinforce quality, build brand identity, increase loyalty and ultimately increase revenue and market share.”

He says Panasonic has a strong culture of providing quality products and service internationally. To ensure that Panasonic South Africa upholds these standards, employees have to meet specific criteria in terms of qualifications, experience, passion and drive.

“Instances of quality failure could have potential negative effects such as damaging trust, destroying brand identity, decreasing brand loyalty and, ultimately, decreasing the company’s revenue and market share,” explains Greenwood.

Many companies worldwide measure their product and service quality by using the International Organisation for Standardisation’s (ISO) specifications, which provide world-class specifications for products, services and systems to ensure quality, safety and efficiency. It is, however, essential to have the right staff in place to ensure that quality expectations become a reality.

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