Posted on: November 19, 2020
Author: Teshia Payne, Technical Editor
Quality is Universal image
“The most successful sectors of the U.S. marketplace recognize that standards and conformance are business tools that should be managed right alongside their quality, safety, intellectual property, and environmental policies. In addition, standardization and conformity assessment activities lead to lower costs by reducing redundancy, minimizing errors, and reducing time to market.”

To me, this means cost savings, streamlining, and maximizing time that fosters quality within a business or organization. Developing a process that can be streamlined via automation will allow companies to maximize their time, which eventually leads to cost savings. Quality is universal in the sense that it can make or break your business—any business. Even your child’s lemonade stand, must exemplify the perfect balance of water, lemons, temperature, and sugar to ensure it’s of the best quality to serve as a refreshing treat on a hot summer’s day. 

I come from the world of government contracting and there are differences in how quality is defined based on the subject matter. Most often, key performance indicators (KPIs) are generated to ensure that a contractor has measurable metrics for evaluation of the contract. Some key drivers of performance are, IT modernization, data, accountability and transparency, cross-cutting priority areas, improving customer experience, and producing quality services. KPIs acts as the broker for contractors by showing the government they can perform the work outlined in the awarded contract. If not, a company might not be eligible for recompete of their contract resulting in a sure indicator in loss of revenue. Some government contracting officers have issued stop work orders on contracts for this very reason.

KPIs communicate what is important and, when a target is attached, what the expected level of performance must be. They can be cross-functional across organizational and individual attention on the objective that is seen as “key” to reaching desired performance and/or goals. For these reasons, the question of “What should you measure?” is important. There are many avenues that exist that might define quality and standardization. For example, within a contract, a contractor can be evaluated on a documentation-only requirement or project management and/or both throughout the life of the contract. Some KPIs might include:


  • Percentage of documents rejected due to quality/compliance issues
  • Percentage of documents rejected for document control related reasons
  • Percentage of late documents
  • Average review time
  • Percentage of documents in the various statuses (for example: X% of documents in “Issued for Review,” X% of document in “Issued for Construction,” etc.)

Application Development:

  • How long it takes to go from idea to delivery
  • How long it takes to make a change to the software and deliver the change into production for delivery
  • How many cycles it takes for a team to complete an iteration
  • How long will it take to perform testing of a requirement (with or without issues)

How does all of this relate to manufacturers and those in the standards writing industry? Coming from the government contracting, where there were so many factors of importance when working on a contract, I assume that quality and standardization is equally as important across all industries. Manufacturers have processes, training, and endless measurements that ensure quality is one the most important factors in design, application, and failure avoidance. KPIs are not too far off the process for writing our standards and publications as well as designing, manufacturing, and fine-tuning the application of medical instrumentation.

Never-the-less, all measurable value demonstrates how an organization is achieving key business objectives, reaching strategic plan goals, and this is done through effectively managing the quality of a program, the employees, the overall requirements of the contract, sterilization methods, the manufacturing of devices, etc. Quality is not just the driving force behind the success of a business, but it is the sole reason a company will thrive and exist in the future.

About the Author


Graduated with a B.A. in Business Administration with a concentration on management from Strayer University in 2008. She works closely with the Council on Standards Development assisting the Standard Consensus Body, and/or committees with their Standards development projects and editing and maintaining IACET standards and publications. Before IACET, Teshia worked as a Technical Writer with large and small government contracting firms for more than 20 years with the last six as a Proposal Writer throughout the DC, Maryland and Virginia locale.

“I believe that my background in technical writing and documentation development will allow for a nice transition into assisting the IACET Standards Department,” Payne said. “I look forward to working with all of the different people that contribute to our standards’ process and to continue to build on the strong reputation and success of promoting and enhancing the quality of continuing education and training.”

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