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Quality control

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A new IQ program has employees and customers paying close attention to details.

Lee Chilcote | May 26, 2011

Bemus crews maintain an outdoor education center at a Boy Scout facility in Orange, Calif.

 

 

When the recession began, many American families went back to basics. They dropped cable TV and restaurant meals, paring their budgets down to essentials. They ended up with a stripped-down list of what they consider valuable in their lives.

Today’s businesses are no different. Commercial clients seek not only excellent service and quality, but also thrift and value. Successful businesses have capitalized on this trend by responding to customers’ demands for affordable, high-quality service.

Bemus Landscape, a 40-year-old lawn and landscape company based in San Clemente, Calif., has spent the past two years rolling out an innovative quality control program that focuses on the five essential items that its clients value most.

“We’ve created an IQ program, which stands for ‘Independent Quality,’ to focus on doing five things well – green grass, no weeds, beautiful flowers, no trash and no dead plants,” says Jon Parry, Bemus’s general manager. “As simple as that sounds, it can be a tremendous challenge when you’re doing a lot of work.

“It makes a huge difference in how customers respond to the quality of work,” he says.

Here’s how the program works. IQ Director Stuart Williams completes quality control inspections on projects every three months. Williams has no operational or sales role and reports directly to the company president, lending credence to his objectivity. He measures the condition of the job on a scale of 1 to 100. The scores are charted over time and can bring extra compensation to managers and supervisors in the form of quarterly incentive payments.

“It has worked very well,” Parry says. “Now that we have been using the IQ program successfully for two years, we’re incorporating the results into our marketing.”

In addition to keeping customers happy, Parry says that the IQ program has created internal competition that has gradually improved scores and raised the bar. “We are seeing scores inch their way up – nothing dramatic, but we’re improving.”

The IQ program is part of Bemus’ larger efforts to remain focused and strategic as it continues to grow. “You can be good at 100 different things, but if you don’t have quality, the rest falls apart,” he says. “Everything begins and ends with quality.”

 

This story is one of three that appeared in Lawn & Landscape’s Growing Green e-newsletter. To continue reading about Bemus Landscape:

Renewed focus: As new home construction halted, Bemus Landscape diversified its lawn care model.

Uniform messaging: Bemus Landscape retooled its marketing strategy for greater focus.

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