Know what you measure but don’t measure what you already know

On the 28th of November I happen to be one of the 5 lucky students attending the Kwinta congress 2017. The central question of the day was if measuring really is the same as knowing. This question is not easily answered but after the congress it’s obvious that not all information is quantifiable.

If one is interested in assessing the quality of a product or service, or even an entire business, a balanced scorecard is advisable to be used. On such a scorecard, both qualitative and quantitative aspects are incorporated. The goal is to have a complete and realistic evaluation of the overall quality. Where a cost-benefit analysis is often only based on quantifiable elements, a multi-criteria analysis gives better insights and delivers higher relevance for decision making.

Another interesting aspect of the process of measuring is that one really should beware of what to measure. A main question here is “how can quality be assessed?”. One should investigate significant time in identifying the key parameters of the quality of a certain product, service or business. An important role lays in the human aspect, the “people”. They are often the drivers of the final quality. Jos Borremans gave the multiplication of Power, knowledge and commitment as a formula for the quality delivered by people.

A third inspiring theme of the congress was about the structure of the quality management. Who is actually checking and measuring the quality? It happens that management is setting KPI’s and measuring quality by the insights of their helicopter view. At that point, processes tend to go smooth, however if employees are given the chance to express their opinions, more valuable information can be freely available. There is an important role taken away by communication when it comes to quality measurement. For instance, in a PDCA-cycle, it’s both the task of the employees and the management to rethink and execute. In this way, actions that improve the quality and performance can be saved within the company for later use.

After all, I can conclude that the presenters of the day inspired me and made me overthink the classic definition of quality measurement. In my opinion, measuring definitely is knowing but with the remark that also qualitative information needs to be incorporated. And all this preferably in an integrated approach where all stakeholders are addressed.

Vinni De Smaele, student UGent

Je vindt de presentaties terug op Kwinta Knowledge: meld je aan met je persoonlijke gegevens en klik in de navigatie op "VCK activiteit" en vervolgens op "Congres".

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