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Quality Improvement Team

To create a quality organization it requires a comprehensive cultural change in order to provide the required management shift for the improvement of quality. The following points illustrate the requirements in management approach in organizations just embarked on the quality path. They are:

(1) Managing Director’s commitment in quality issues; (2) Senior management’s commitment for customer, supplier and staff contact; (3) Management action for real improvement of the attitude of the work force;(4) Every department’s commitment to total quality;(5) Satisfying customer’s requirements through quality improvement; (6) Customer and suppliers relationships exist in everybody.

(7) Everybody’s commitment to quality improvement; (8) Trade-off between quality and cost;(9) Error-free work as a standard; (10) Quality to be designed and managed; (11) All costs are challenged to eliminate wasteful activity; (12) Manager’s role to support his team; (13) Barriers to customer satisfaction are systematically eliminated;(14) Trained people to do the job and seek further improvement; and (15) People are rewarded on quality of work and improvement. An essential part of building any quality program must be the education and training of staff.

The main objective is not only to include training on the quality philosophy and tools, but also developing a common language and preparing employees to promote the quality concept. One of the aspects of total quality management is that the decision must be based on data and not on the management’s wishes. Data is a powerful resource to understand where the problems originate and also help to diffuse emotions and blame (Linkow, 1989). Some of the specific techniques that can help you achieve ‘Total Quality Management’ are given below.

The list is far from exhaustive, but includes a sufficient number to promote the total quality management program in an appropriate way. Many of the techniques suggested here can be applied to only one of the four specific stages of the Total Quality Management process described earlier.

(1) Customers’ perception surveys; (2) Cost of quality statement; (3) Steering group; (4) Quality co-ordinator; (5) Top team workshops; (6) Total quality seminars; (7) Departmental purpose analysis; (8) Quality training; (9) Communication techniques; (10) Improvement action team; (11) Task force; (12) Job development; (13) Quality circles; (14) Suggestion schemes; (15) Help calls; (16) Visible data; (17) Process management; (18) Statistical process control; (19) Process capability; (20) Foolproofing (‘pokaoki’); and (21) Just in time (JIT). Total quality improvement can be achieved rapidly by the proper use of the appropriate quality techniques.

However, no techniques can replace the systematic approach of the total quality management process to create a quality company. Choosing the right kind of techniques for the total quality management process is one of the vital roles of senior management and the degree of success will depend on their skill. To provide continuous improvement in every aspect of work it is necessary to develop quality improvement teams. They will provide the foundation for companies to create the necessary culture to give employees a structured environment in which to work together towards improving quality of products and services and team work. The quality improvement team can be developed on the basis of the following principles:

(i) People’s pride–giving employees incentive and pride for their work. (ii) Customer’s need–fulfilling the customer’s requirements at all times. (iii) Management by information–perform analysis on information to identify improvement area. (iv) Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA)–quality improvement cycle of the Deming model. Conclusion The understanding of total quality management is becoming clear as more and more organizations embark on quality improvement process. Some of these organizations pass through a phase where what has to be done becomes very clear to them. However, the present complexity of the business prevents them from realizing their downhill situation before it is too late.

Normally, it takes a detailed understanding of total quality management to bring clarity to the objectives and activities which characterize most business. The Japanese started total quality management from scratch after World War II. For the rest of the world the total quality management impetus may be loss of market share, an unexpected take-over bid or final notice from the customer to become a quality supplier. A company’s ability to respond to the requirements of customers actually depends on its internal operations and is based on its people. Nothing can therefore be achieved without people and when adopting total quality management it is essential that the first job is to motivate employees.

Whatever the motivation, there are now many companies that have used the concept of total quality management to overcome their problems successfully. The turnaround at Jaguar is an example of what can be achieved within a reasonable period of time. Another example is Rank Xerox who lost two-thirds of their market to the Japanese, but managed to reverse their decline and increase their market with the help of total quality management. JCB, sandwiched between Case and Caterpillar in the West and Komatsu in the East, used the total quality management approach to keep its entire share of the international market. If these organizations can survive and achieve success, so can you.

At present there are many organizations committed to the total quality management path and on their way to becoming ‘total Quality Organizations’. There is no longer any question about the issue of quality as the market-place has shown its requirements. To compete, produce and survive, quality must improve and the improvement must extend to every level of every operation in the organization. To ignore total quality management is to invite insolvency.

References

Aguayo, Raphael, (1990). Dr. Deming: The Man Who Taught the Japanese About Quality. New York: Carol Publishing Group.