by Myrna R. Co, SERDEF Media Bureau
(first published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Sunday Biz, March 31, 2013)
Danilyn’s Enterprises, Inc. took the Philippine Quality Challenge in 2011 and never looked back.
The Philippine Quality Challenge is a self-assessment program aimed to encourage and assist various organizations to pursue organizational improvement and performance excellence. It is implemented by the Department of Trade and Industry with the Philippine Society for Quality and the Development Academy of the Philippines,
Jovi Romero, Danilyn’s VP for Finance, recounted the company’s quality journey during the recent National Symposium Workshop on Workplace Cooperation for Quality and Profitability organized by U.P. Institute for Small-Scale Industries, Quality Partners Co., and Small Enterprises Research and Development Foundation.
Taking the quality challenge was no picnic, Jovi admits. They were at first overwhelmed by the work involved – the paper chase, the discipline to imbibe, the excruciating self-examination to go through. In the end, it was well worth their effort.
In 1991, Danilyn’s Enterprises began as a small, home-based business owned by Jovi’s sister, Linda and husband Dante Medallo. With two sewers and two portable sewing machines, Linda made curtains and soft furnishings at volumes so small she might well be doing it for a hobby.
When Linda was about to buy an Astrotex franchise store, she knew she had reached a point of no return in commercializing Danilyn’s and invited Jovi in. In 1998 , they incorporated the business with their respective husbands Dante and Robert and their brother Mauro.
Today, Danilyn’s Enterprise, Inc. is a thriving company of 50 workers with a plethora of modern equipment producing house and car upholstery, wall papers and blinds, furniture and furnishings, and interior decoration services. A building at T.S. Cruz Subdivision, Almanza Dos, Las Pinas City houses its operations.
The company’s niche market includes not only household customers but also building contractors and interior designers, some of them big names in the business.
Implicit in the upscale client base it has built is a quality mindset the firm must have imbibed early on.
“We must be doing quality long before we took the Challenge;” Jovi confirms, “except we weren’t going after it in a systematic, integrated way.”
“Oido” is how she describes their early quality strategy.
“When Linda and I go abroad, we’d scrutinize furnishings in the hotel we check into. We look at drapes, how they are folded, how high. We inspect hemlines, backings, curtain holders. We compare these with what we produce at Danilyns. That is one way we tried to be at par internationally.”
Danilyn’s is kept on its toes by the influx of cheap goods from China and other countries and the emergence of more and more competitors.
Networking helped Danilyn’s keep its place at the top of their industry segment. “We joined the Las Pinas Chamber of Commerce, then the Chamber of Furniture Industries. This led us to the DOST’s interest-free, collateral-free Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program.” This was how the company modernized its facilities.
By then they had also started joining trade fairs.
In 2011, Danilyn’s was cited as an outstanding company by the DTI Center for Industry Competitiveness.
Taking the ‘Q’ challenge
At the awards night, Jovi recounts, the Quality Challenge was announced. “I was asked on stage if I was up to the challenge. I answered: ‘Of course,’ thinking that with DTI one can’t go wrong.”
“We attended an orientation, which was followed by an ocular inspection by assessors. Then we were asked to answer a questionnaire which covered management, planning, customer focus, measurement and data management, workforce focus, operations focus, and business results.”
With the help of a coach Joel Amante, they went through the tedious assessment and passed.
PQC helped the company identify its strengths and outstanding practices. It was found to have a leadership system in place, a ManCom meeting monthly, supervisors meeting regularly, a strategic planning process communicating core values and goals. Plus a well-articulated vision: To be the premier one-stop solution for soft furnishings and furniture.
“We were also found to have a competitive edge in that we do drapery and beddings aside from furniture and soft furnishings, which means less work for our designer-clients.”
The company scored high on performance factors like satisfaction mood index, on-time delivery, repeat customers, response to complaints.
The assessment revealed opportunities to improve: ‘Vulnerable’ company processes; systems and procedures at an infant stage; a similarly immature continuous-improvement process; loopholes in communicating operational strategies from management to line people.
“Our eyes were opened to the implications of rejects: They were not only money lost in bad products but also in loss of clients.”
The PQC also alerted them to the need to address customer and workforce satisfaction, learning and development, value creating, new-market entering, and market-positioning activities.
Told they lacked data vis a vis other industry players for product and service outcomes, they have begun addressing this gap.
As a result of the PQC, the company has become more aggressive in going after new clients, more confident of delivering in the right quality, and more discriminating in sourcing and selecting raw materials. “We now have institutional clients — hotels, call centers, and project management companies dealing in construction.”
Danilyn’s has embarked on a journey that will never stop and will open new opportunities.
It is a journey that all other businesses, big and small, should take too, Jovi thinks.