The global economy has a cyclic nature where the periods of deep recession are followed by the stages of prosperity and success. Subsequently, the companies and organizations need to adapt their performance and operation accordingly to stay competitive in the market. One possible strategy is to improve the quality of the process or product, which is possible due to innovations.
Any innovation does not emerge spontaneously; there are some triggering factors, including statistical data, changes in micro and macro environments, and organizational performance that drive a necessity for quality changes in the business. Any enterprise needs to comply with and be ready to respond to the alterations in the macro-environment. Political and socioeconomic environment, legislation, ecological and technological advancements tend to impact companies and their operation on the market. For instance, when a deep political or economic crisis occurs in the country, companies need to make immediate decisions to overcome it and stay profitable. When international committees adopt new ecological standards, businesses also need to adjust their production. Even though innovation is often considered a strategy, “sometimes it can be perceived more as a necessity rather than a competitive advantage” (Antunes et al. 1483). For example, the utilization of information technology within the company is necessary at the time. Otherwise, it will be impossible to stay competitive and liable without such innovation implemented in the production environment.
The connection between quality and innovation is obvious, especially when related to the product or process. When organizations want to increase productivity and product excellence, process innovation is something essential within the microenvironment. Antunes et al. claim that process innovation depicts much more improvements than product innovation, “resulting in enhancement of both financial and operational performance of organizations” (1474). Visual management can greatly assist various process-improvement initiatives (Schonberger 8). Furthermore, the quality of products and process brings companies to a new level of competitiveness within the microenvironment. The organizations that follow current trends are more likely to develop a notion of quality and deliver better products and services to their customers. Antunes et al. affirm that the focus on customer needs drives organizations to develop new strategies and implement changes effectively (1481). As a rule, higher quality of services and products makes the company attractive to its target audience, launching awareness and loyalty among the customers.
Transitioning from theory to practice allows obtaining a better understanding of the interrelation between quality and innovation. Steve Jobs, being the CEO of Apple, always introduced revolutionary ideas in the world of information technology. However, the launch of the iPhone became a real sensation that transformed the cell phone industry dramatically, offering the customers some computer-level features on a mobile device. Jobs created a quality innovation that considered the needs and expectations of the customers, making communication and interaction easier. Another company is IKEA with its principle idea of offering low-cost furniture to the customers. IKEA products are renowned for the do-it-yourself concept, which makes the customers committed and involved. The company managed to develop quality products at low prices and gained a significant market share as a result.
The notion of quality is associated with excellence and higher standards. Meanwhile, the concept of innovation is related to a process, product, or strategy that is aimed to enhance quality. The companies are forced to implement innovations for improving their organizational performance, products, and competitiveness on the market. The cases of Apple and IKEA depict how quality reformations based on innovative ideas may lead to increased market share, better reputation, and higher revenues.
Antunes, Marina Godinho, et al. “The Relationship Between Innovation and Total Quality Management and the Innovation Effects on Organizational Performance.” International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, vol. 34, no. 9, 2017, pp. 1474-1492.
Schonberger, Richard. “Quality Management and Lean: A Symbiotic Relationship.” Quality Management Journal, vol. 21, no. 3, 2014, pp. 6-10.