Updated: Apr 6, 2022
The following twelve principles of management form the core values of an AV9000 Certified Company. The first eight address those embodied in the ISO9000 Standard for Quality Management Systems, and the last four address principles recommended for audio-visual technology companies. Together, they provide a powerful compass for AV Technology leaders striving for excellence.
Principle 1 (ISO 9000): Customer Focus
It is fitting that we start with the principle of Customer Focus since there is so much confusion over who exactly in the audio-visual industry the customer actually is in the first place.
The Integrator that purchases equipment from a Manufacturer for use in an audio-visual system is an intermediate customer, as well as the Technology Manager who purchases the system for the benefit of an internal department for his company. They are not the ultimate customer. The Integrator thinks the customer is the AV Designer since they were put on a bid list by the Designer. The Manufacturer oftentimes thinks the Integrator is the customer, since the Integrator purchases equipment from him. The AV Designer often thinks the Architect is the customer since they sell their services to the Architect. Confusing? Yes!
So who is the ultimate customer we need to focus on? What I define as the customer for these purposes would be the consumer or the one who actually uses the system. If the audio-visual system does not provide the functionality that the user requested, is difficult to use, lacks the performance objectives asked for or implied, or is always in need of repair, then poor quality results. Poor quality comes with wasted, useless costs that everyone eventually bears; the vendor, the Technology Manager, and the user. This cost often includes the cost of a new or significantly modified system. Focus on the AV User. When all stakeholders do so, everyone wins.
ISO 9000 is written first and foremost for the customer. It answers a worldwide demand for high quality, and it lessens the growing confusion in international trade due to differing national and sub-national quality system requirements. For the same reason, the de facto standard AV9000 is written for the ultimate customer of AV, the AV User.
The benefits to the AV Company that complies with these standards, however, are well known. ISO9000 companies, for example, usually have increased revenue, market share, and customer loyalty due to their better customer satisfaction and flexibility in changing market requirements. AV Companies also have better profits. AV9000 has been adopted by many customers and hundreds of systems. It has proven to benefit users by assuring systems have verified compliance to specifications with minimal if any punch lists. The Association for Quality in Audio Visual Technology, Inc. (AQAV) is a non-profit organization that directly focuses on the ultimate customer, the AV User.
Since the ultimate customer is also the ultimate source of revenue for manufacturers, AV companies, and Technology Managers, then ultimately everyone benefits from this effort.
The AV9000/ISO9000 compliant company continuously researches and understands the customer’s needs and expectations. They communicate with the customer, eliminating surprises, despite the complexity of the technology. They overcome the tendency many AV companies have to obfuscate or drift from the original scope of a contract because the technology itself distorts the original intent of the customer. They communicate the customer’s needs throughout their company and measure customer satisfaction when the job is completed. The AV9000/ISO9000 company ensures a balanced approach to satisfying all the stakeholders involved (including the Technology Manager, the AV Designers, the Manufacturer, the Independent Programmer, the Project Team, etc.). The project is completed with everyone's reputation intact.
And because they do this, they oftentimes get paid faster than their competitors.