In a cluttered smartphone market, the importance of setting quality standards cannot be ignored.
By Charles Peng
The evolving smartphone landscape has not only set the precedent for major players to invest in new technologies, but has also spoilt the user for choice. Smartphone players often look at breaking new grounds by burning through their finances, which often leaves them with no clear long-term strategy. We have examples in India where once promising players eventually fizzled out, mainly because of no long-term strategy for the country. In an aspirational market such as India, it is extremely essential to focus on the basics and one such important factor to be considered is quality.
In the smartphone industry, most organisations tend to have a skewed idea of having proper quality standards. Setting a quality mechanism just to make profits and overtake the competition often makes them lose sight of the end goal. The growing aspirations of the Indian consumer have resulted in growing demand for quality standards. Recent reports suggest that 80% of the total sales in 2019 will come from phones worth above Rs 10,000. The mid-segment (Rs 10,001-Rs 25,000) will contribute to 51% of total sales while the premium segment (Rs 25,001-Rs 50,000) will account for 20% of total sales.
Many organisations struggle with the idea of quality standards and often view it as a complicated system. However, with a proper and comprehensive understanding, companies can make the leap from resisting to embracing it.
The intent of quality control
What may be seen as quality product at a competitive price by one can be seen as an inferior or a downgraded product by other. Making a budget friendly phone does not mean downgrading the quality of phone, it primarily means providing the best quality of features at certain costs to a specific set of consumers. Therefore, it is essential to define the requirement and the objective of the quality standards.
The consumer must be at the centre of everything that a smartphone player does. Everything must begin by identifying the actual needs of the consumers. A clear alignment is needed between the leadership and the operational teams which are tied by the product lifecycle management and customer business process, as well as a top-down quality strategy, to improve customer satisfaction.
Identifying the key points of the product lifecycle
It is essential to value the voice of every customer and take that as the source to set benchmarks for continuous improvement. Integrating, evaluating and measuring the user experience in the quality management process from planning, development, testing, production and delivery, should be standardised.
Standards for smartphones are key to build the competitiveness of quality. Multiple levels of testing of the most basic component ensure that the consumer experience is seamless. Investments in research and development efforts for smartphones such as industrial design, software development, new materials and cameras, and even call quality, ensure that the products are equipped with the latest technologies, processes and best user experience.
Innovation is the key to ensure sustainable growth; it is therefore imperative for companies to invest in building capabilities that can help them make strides in fields such as cloud services, aesthetics, nanometer technology, future network, new energy, big data, autonomous driving, Artificial Intelligence (AR), Augmented Reality (AR)/Virtual Reality (VR) and algorithms.
Quality must start at the top of the organisational structure. It is essential for organisations to have shared beliefs and values ingrained in quality that ultimately defines everything that they do. This understanding results in an environment wherein a quality-focused approach internally creates positive consumer experiences. Such a culture organically incorporates continuous improvement as a key process, thus resulting in a happy workplace, content consumers and a successful company.
The writer is president – Honor India