The House of High Quality Articles for Everyone in the World

Feb 27, 2010

Quality Planning

Any project should have a quality plan. In reality, very few do. The two main reasons people don't produce a project quality plan are: It's too difficult and they are overwhelmed by the jargon of quality in relation to compliance with standards. So let's break this down into more simple terms to get a better understanding of how to run a plan.

First what is quality? This definition in every organization depending on their goals and mission. Quality has been defined by J.M. Juran simply as "fit for use". H. James Harrington states "Quality is customer satisfaction". Generally speaking we could all agree that the definition is to make sure whatever is delivered is within the quality expectations of the organization. If the quality of your goods are below acceptable quality standards you are on the fast track to closing shop. When your organization under performs there are consequences. Keeping an eye on quality will prevent any serious fatal mistakes. A project quality plan will help you know what you need to measure, what the acceptable outcomes are, and how to accomplish all of this. A project quality plan is how and when "Quality Events" and "Quality Materials" are applied to a project. They are the activities undertaken using "Quality Materials" to validate the quality of the project. The artifacts used within an organization to assist a Project Manager improve quality in the project e.g. Checklists. These materials are used in "Quality Events". Technical project quality is usually judged by asking three questions: Does the system comply with corporate standards for: user interface, documentation, naming standards etc.? Is the technology stable? Is the system well engineered so that it is robust and maintainable? By asking these questions you will get a better idea of where the quality of your program is. A project quality plan needs to includes a number of elements. You must identify what needs to go through a quality check? Typically what needs to be checked are the deliverables. Any significant deliverable from a project should have some form of quality check carried out. A requirements document can be considered significant. Also, what is the most appropriate way to check the quality? If the end result is that a particular deliverable should meet a standard, then part of the quality checking should focus on compliance with the standard. This would indicate a "Standard Audit" could be the best approach. When should it be carried out? Most "Quality Events" are held just prior to the completion of the delivery. If however there are long development lead times for a deliverable, it might be sensible to hold earlier "Quality Events". For example, if development of code for a particular module will take 10 weeks, it may be worth holding a code inspection after 4 weeks to identify any problems early and reduce rework. Before beginning your project quality plan you should also identify who should be involved and what materials are needed. Producing a project quality plan is not complex. It involves identifying all the deliverables at the start of the project and deciding how to best validate their quality. There is an overhead in undertaking quality checks but this is offset by not having to fix things further down the line. Inevitably, the later you find a problem, the longer it takes to fix.

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Lean Manufacturing

One of the earliest examples of lean manufacture is that of renaissance shipbuilding at the Arsenal in 16th century Venice. Over 3,000 workers and apprentices were organized by the state to manufacture boats that were part of the Venetians prosperity. The division of labour from expert trades to support roles and training programmes predated the industrial revolution in the 18th century.

War and the military took a huge part in the development of Lean Manufacturing. The 18th century saw the introduction of interchangeable parts for weapons. Prior to this gunsmiths and craftsmen made individual "one off" weapons, which either had to be repaired or discarded. In 1778 Honoré Blanc showed that muskets could be made from interchangeable parts. This was built on by many others including Simeon North and John Hall who produced complex machines having preformed castings that were then machined. Other supporting technologies such as measuring gauges were developed during the 19th century.
Simon Colt, famous for his revolver published a patent on the "improvement to firearms" in 1836 . The Colt Patent Arms Company Hartford gun factory was the prototype for America's Industrial Revolution. It had lines of steam powered belt driven machines with individuals working on one piece of it. Then these were taken to another part for assembly.
In the early 19th century, the father of the great British engineer Isambard Brunel, Marc Brunel introduced a new process for making rope pulley using machines and unskilled labour that was 10 times more productive.
Chicago developed cattle disassembly lines that reduced a butchers time of 3 hours to minutes. These lines had 120 workers that killed, cut up and packed. The supply chain of cowboys and railways brought in 10 million cattle a year. Henry Ford is believed to have studied the lines and based his lines on the principles.
At the end of the 19th century Sakichi Toyoda introduce the first automatic loom, that continually developed over the next three decades. The lean concept of Jidoka - or "automation with a human touch" was born. The looms stopped when there was a problem, so no defective parts and many looms could be run by one operator.
Frederic Taylor developed scientific management and many of the industrial engineering tools. He replaced old habits and rules of thumb by analysis and trials. One concept was understanding what a "first-class man" could do. His thinking included "time and motion" studies, standardization of tools and materials, method simplification, selection and training of workers, measurement and benchmarking of performance. He also spoke of his desire for management and labour to work together for their mutual benefit.
Taylors thinking was taken to the next level by Henry Ford. A great believer in continuous improvement the original 14 hours for a car was reduced to 1 hour 30 mins. There was great level of dedication in the lines, such that only one type of car could be produced - in black. However it did allow him to reduce the price of a car from $1,000 to $360. There were other issues with Fordism, the lack of flexibility, demeaning job roles and harsh management of worker. Other companies built on these weaknesses.
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Feb 24, 2010

Quality and Ethics

Quality appears to be good business. Quality is also good ethics. It is unethical to ship defective products knowingly to customers. Reliable products and low defect rates reflect an ethical approach of management’s care for its customers.
This ethic is stated in the well-known mission statement of New Bedford, Massachusetts, shipbuilder; “We build good ships. At a profit if we can, at a loss if we must. But, we build good ships”
Companies focusing on their customers often develop a set of ethics that includes valuing employees. They are seriously striving to improve the lives of their employees. This is reflected in education, training, health, wellness, and compensation programs that show empathy for the employees. Increasingly, environmental friendliness is seen as an ethical concern. As a result, more companies are implementing recycling programs and making efforts to improve environmental practices.
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Leadership For Quality

Leadership is a key strategic variable for quality management. A leader organizes, plans, controls, communicates, teaches, advises, and delegates. The existence of a leader implies the existence of a follower. Therefore, the leading involves a power-sharing re­lationship between two or more individuals where the power is distributed unevenly. Leadership is the process by which a leader influences a group to move toward the attainment of super ordinate goals. Super ordinate goals are those goals that pertain to achieving a higher end that benefits not just the individual, but the group.

For followers to have power, leadership must share its power. As a result, leader­ship is about the sharing of power. This power takes many forms:
Power of expertise: Sometimes a leader has special knowledge (or is perceived to have special knowledge). Professors are leaders in the classroom as they have knowledge that they are sharing with the students. This type of power tends to have very narrow parameters in that the followers will follow only within the confines of the leader's expertise.
Reward power: If a leader has rewards that he or she can bestow on subordinates in return for some desirable action, the leader has reward power. This is often the case in the granting of raises, promotions, rewards, recognition, or a variety of other incentives.
Coercive power: If the leader has power to punish the follower for not following rules or guidelines, the leader has coercive power. Such power often results in un­intended responses, such as the follower giving up or circumventing the leader's rule surreptitiously.
Referent power: If a leader is charismatic or charming and is followed because he or she is liked, then the leader has referent power. A case of referent power is the mentor who is admired by his or her protégées who want to be like the mentor. Often, people will follow referent leaders on the basis of reputation alone, imbu­ing the referent leader with qualities the leader may or may not possess.
Legitimate power: As a result of the positions that different people hold within an organization, the manager has the obligation to request things of subordinates, and the subordinates have the duty to comply with the request. Legitimate power comes with the position. It has certain re­sponsibilities and authorities. A newly appointed leader may have to rely on this positional authority in the early part of his or her tenure as a leader.

Four important skills for leaders are:
1- knowledge,
2- Communication,
3-Planning, and
4- Vision

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Feb 23, 2010

Quality Circle

People are the greatest assets of an organization, because, through people all other resources are converted into utilities. However, management of ‘People Resources’ has always been a vexed problem ever since the beginning of organized human activities.

Quality Circle is one of the employee participation methods. It implies the development of skills, capabilities, confidence and creativity of the people through cumulative process of education, training, work experience and participation. Quality Circles have emerged as a mechanism to develop and utilize the tremendous potential of people for improvement in product quality and productivity.
It is "a way of capturing the creative and innovative power that lies within the work force".
The concept of Quality Circle is primarily based upon recognition of the value of the worker as a human being, as someone who willingly activates on his job, his wisdom, intelligence, experience, attitude and feelings. It is based upon the human resource management considered as one of the key factors in the improvement of product quality & productivity. Quality Circle concept has three major attributes:
1- Quality Circle is a form of participation management.
2- Quality Circle is a human resource development technique.
3- Quality Circle is a problem solving technique.
Benefits &Limitations of Quality Circles:-
It took more than two decades for the quality control concept to get acceptance in India, after its introduction in Japan. This may be due to the differences in the industrial context in the two countries. Japan needed it for its survival in a competitive market. India had a reasonably protected, sellers market, with consequent lethargy towards efforts to improve quality and productivity. However, with the policy of liberalization of economy and privatization of infrastructure development, contexts changed. The concept now needs to be looked upon as a necessity.
Quality Circles are not limited to manufacturing firms only. They are applicable for variety of organizations where there is scope for group based solution of work related problems. Quality Circles are relevant for factories, firms, schools, hospitals, universities, research institutes, banks, government offices etc.

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Feb 22, 2010

The 5S Method

What is The 5S Method
In a metal manufacturing setting, the Kaizen 5S scheme, which is an arrangement of five Japanese words beginning with the letter "S" can be implemented for the shop floor.

The first "S" is "sort." The shop floor in a metal environment should always be neat. Any parts not required for production need to be discarded. A way of recognizing unnecessary items is by "red tagging" them. The parts are then relocated to a location where they can be sorted out and either thrown away, used elsewhere.
The second "S" is "set in order." The shop environment should have everything organized. parts have to be stockpiled effectively and tagged so that employees can find them quickly and easily. If things are out of place, this will advance production time while workers look for components. It is important that all of the "S" steps go in order and that this step is done after sorting because time does not need to be wasted sorting items that need to be red tagged and disposed of.
The third "S" is "shine." Now that everything is put away, an exhaustive cleansing of the shop needs to be done. Equipment and areas should always be clean so they are working at their best so cleaning of areas should be done daily. Cleaning also helps employees notice if anything is not functioning optimally. Grim can hinder the performance of a machine in a metal manufacturing environment.
The fourth "S" is standardization. Standardization ensures that everyone is on the same page in what they should be working on and a standard form of procedures is always followed so that the 5S methodology is upheld. Straying from the steps or standards can squander valuable time. Prevention is important in this step so that a buildup of unnecessary materials is prevented, a dirty work environment is avoided, and the first 3 S's are maintained.
The final "S" is sustaining the discipline and continuing with the principles of Kaizen through continuous improvement. The aim is to make all of the S's a practice and to not revert to old habits and fail to remember the 5S methodology. Management follow-up and constant reminders are required to ensure that the 5S methodology is a success.
5S System in Practice
At my company (fac filter co.), we used the 5S system to better our working environment. We used metrics to evaluate efficiency and achievement in our production work environment as well as evaluated production quality levels. We also observed benchmarks of needed skill sets for employees working in certain areas so that they could determine which of their employees needed more training. The system let us to improve our business significantly by putting into practice the 5S system in a metal manufacturing setting.

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Feb 18, 2010

Kanban System

Kanban (kahn-bahn) is Japanese word that when translated literally means “visible record” or “visible part”. In general context, it refers to a signal of some kind. Thus, in the manufacturing environment, kanbans are signals used to replenish the inventory of items used repetitively within a facility.

The kanban system is based on a customer of a part pulling the part from the supplier of that part. The customer of the part can be an actual consumer of a finished product (external) or the production personnel at the succeeding station in a manufacturing facility (internal). Likewise, the supplier could be the person at the preceding station in a manufacturing facility. The premise of kanbans is that material will not be produced or moved until a customer sends the signal to do so.
The typical kanban signal is an empty container designed to hold a standard quantity of material or parts. When the container is empty, the customer sends it back to the supplier. The container has attached to it instructions for refilling the container such as the part number, description, quantity, customer, supplier, and purchase or work order number.
Kanbans serve many purposes. They act as communication devices from the point of use to the previous operation and as visual communication tools. They act as purchase orders for your suppliers and work orders for the production departments, thereby eliminating much of the paperwork that would otherwise be required. In addition, kanbans reinforce other manufacturing objectives such as increasing responsibility of the machine operator and allowing for proactive action on quality defects. However, kanbans should not be used when lot production or safety stock is required because the kanban system will not account for these requirements.
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Product Quality Dimensions

Performance :-Refers to the efficiency with a product achieves its intended purpose.
Ex: the fuel efficiency of an automobile, or the acoustic range of a pair of stereo speakers
Features :-Are attributes of a product that supplement the product's basic performance. These include many of the "bells and whistles" contained in products.Ex: television or computer features such as surround sound, DVD capability, speed and size , are powerful marketing tools for which customers will pay a premium
Reliability:-Refers to the propensity for product to perform consistently over its useful design life.Ex: if a refrigerator has 2% chance of failure in a useful life of 10 years, we say that it is 98% reliable
Conformance :-When a product is designed, certain numeric dimensions for the product's performance will be established, such as capacity, speed, size, durability. These numeric product dimensions are referred to as specifications. Specifications typically are allowed to vary a small amount called a tolerance. If a particular dimension of a product is within the allowable range of tolerance of the specification, it conforms.
Durability :-Is the degree to which a product tolerates stress or trauma without failing.Ex: light bulbs are easily damaged and cannot be repaired.
Serviceability :-Is the ease of repair for a product. A product is very serviceable if it can be repaired easily and cheaplyEx: if your computer need repair by technician, if this service is raped, courteous, easy to acquire then the product have good serviceability.
Aesthetics:-Are subjective sensory characteristics such as taste, feel, sound, look and smell. Ex: although vinyl interiors in automobiles require less maintenance, are less expensive, and are more durable, leather interiors are generally considered more aesthetically pleasing.
Perceived Quality:-Is based on customer opinion. Customers imbue products an services with their understanding of their goodness.Ex: the ranking of football college team are based on past won/lost records, team recognition, tradition of the university and other factors that are generally poor indictors of team quality .

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Feb 17, 2010

Quality Management

The design and development of a product forms part of a method called quality management. This method (quality management) ensures that all the activities necessary (implementation, design, development) are both efficient and effective with respect to the performance of the system. The focus of any successful organization should thus always be to achieve more consistent quality. The responsibilities, quality policy, and objectives of an organization are determined and implemented by quality management. Three main components are concerned with quality management. These are:
.Quality planning
.Quality improvement
.Quality control
One of these components, quality control, will be discussed in more detail further in this article.
Total Quality Control
Total Quality Control is one of the most important components of Quality Management. In a nutshell it can be defined as the most necessary inspection control of all. Even though statistical quality control techniques and quality improvements are implemented, it does not guarantee an increase in a company’s sales. On the contrary, sales might even decrease.
If sales decrease, a total quality control should be launched. A total quality control incorporates a number of “characteristics”. These are:
Thus, in order to improve manufacture and overall business performance, a lot of careful planning, attention and detail must be given to the above characteristics. If this is done correctly, part of the total quality control was done.
Something else which forms part of a total quality control is the implementation of some refinements into all aspects of business. These include the following:
.The marketing department must define the customer’s specifications.
.Specifications should conform to certain requirements.
.The quality levels of products should not be affected if workers are on holiday or on sick leave.
.Inspections and tests should be carried out regularly on the products.
.All complaints/feedback from customers should be dealt with by management.
.Product/process change notification.
The above information basically forms the basis on which total quality control is based. It is clear that every employee, from operator to management, plays an important part in total quality control. If done correctly, sales should start to increase immediately.

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What Do you know about Quality Assurance?

According to ISO 9000, "quality assurance refers to all systematic and planned activities in quality systems that are proved to be sufficient enough to build up proper confidence in meeting quality requirements."
Quality assurance has 2 aims: build up managers' confidence in the internal organizations and customers' confidence as well. If the quality requirements do not reflect all consumers' needs, products cannot get the proper confidence of consumers.
When considering QA, it is essential to be noted that:
(1).-QA that satisfies consumers' needs doesn't mean just satisfying customers with international or national standards. Because in the modern production, enterprises are not allowed to provide products that do not meet the specific quality standards. However, it just meets the legal requirements and does not mean that production is effective.
(2).-It is the same for exports. Products for exporting must meet the requirements of foreign customers who place orders.
(3).- Senior managers must notice the importance of QA and ensure that all members in their organizations actively attend to quality assurance programs. Also, it is necessary to connect employees' interests with companies' performance.
Besides, we need to follow these principles to assure product quality:
-Accept to approach customers from the beginning and master their needs. -Customer is God. -Continuously improve product quality by doing the Deming cycle (PDCA). -Producers and distributors have the responsibility in QAs. -Next process is the customer of the previous process.
QA includes all things from production planning to product completion process, maintenance, repairing and product discard. Thus, it is important to clearly determine what should be done in each period in order to assure the quality during product life that including the assurance of highly efficient functions of products and regularly check what have been done.
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Quality Assurance

Methods of Quality Assurance
1.- In product design process
A good design that is in accordance with production conditions has a direct effect on product quality. In order to assure the quality in this process, manufacturers have to assure the collection of all customers' requests that required the good quality. The requests must be fit in product characteristics to satisfy customers the most with reasonable costs.
2.- In production process
After having good quality designs, in the production process, it is needed to ensure the most effective utilization of selected equipments and technology lines in order to make products in accordance with the designs and ensure the quality of products that is suitable to customers' needs.
3.- In product use process
3.1.-Satisfy customers' complaints when supplying low quality products
When producers supply low quality products, customers normally do not complain about low-cost products but expensive ones. Therefore, the information about low quality products cannot reach the producers while consumers quietly buy similar products by other producers. Producers have to use various ways to collect consumers' complaints even about low-cost products.
However, whether solutions for customers' complaints are effective or not is up to producers' attitude and arrangement. Responsible producers regularly implement reliable measures to ensure to get customers' responses. They always try to satisfy almost all of customers' needs and consider that customers are always right.
3.2.-Define the warranty period
Warranty is an important activity to assure the product quality in the use process. Defining exact and suitable warranty period makes consumers much more satisfied. Normally, customers know that a part of warranty cost is contained in product prices. Thus, it is said that warranty and technical maintenance is the agreement between businessmen and consumers. The more advantages consumers get, the more profit and reputation producers take.
3.3.-Set up service centers and supply spare parts.
This is an equally important part in quality assurance of products in use. Products' reliability and longevity are only defined when being used. Production is never perfect so it is necessary to set up service centers everywhere in order to:
- Ensure the producers' prestige. - Ensure consumers' interests. - Collect market information.
3.4.-Provide instruction manuals
Improper use, operations in extraordinary conditions or inadequate periodical maintenance can emerge problems or even damage products when they are in use. Products that can be used for a long time needs to be enclosed with detailed instruction manuals. It is producers' responsibility. The manuals must be printed in local languages and point out consumers' interests when using the products and producers' responsibilities when problems come.
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Feb 15, 2010


Lean Six Sigma is also referred to as Lean manufacturing, Lean enterprise, Lean service, etc. Lean has been successfully put to use in different industries ranging from manufacturing to service, and sometimes even by customer service centers.
The main goal of implementing the Lean Six Sigma concept is to speed up the processes without affecting the quality. This can be done by the elimination of unnecessary steps or wastage in the processes.
Quality is maintained by the thorough study of the processes based on the data and putting controls in place which help to retain the quality of the products and services. The basis of Six Sigma improvement decisions is the customers and their needs.
The implementation of Lean Six Sigma helps reduction in the operational cost involved in various processes. If you consider a manufacturing unit, obsolete inventory and excess raw material are a major cause of concern.
These can be eliminated to a large extent by using Lean Six Sigma tools like 5S for the elimination of waste. To undertake process improvement, the Six Sigma concept identifies the CTQ for any process - and ensures that the changes are brought about without duplicating sub-processes.
Lean Six Sigma also promotes the need to train the employees to acquaint them with the different tools and techniques of Lean Six Sigma. The training helps to prepare them for the project implementation.
The training covers most of the members at different levels of the organization like the process owners to the top management. Mentors can assist other team members in understanding the minute details about the implementation, which will ensure the effectiveness of the entire project at all levels.
Benefits of Lean Six Sigma
Lean Six Sigma tools and techniques are beneficial to companies by reducing the cycle times required for different processes and improving the overall productivity and capacity of existing processes.
It helps to reduce the operational costs involved in processes like production, where the inventory holding cost for obsolete stock take up a major chunk of the profits.
The use of tools like Value Stream Mapping helps quick identification of the improvement opportunities that exist in various processes. However, it may not be useful for the resolution of highly complex issues.
Six Sigma concepts that are aimed to achieve customer satisfaction and delight are useful to achieve high quality levels for the products and services. Customer retention and continual improvement can be achieved by execution of the projects under the expert guidance of Six Sigma Black Belts and Champions.
Integrated Lean Six Sigma projects can bring about tangible and visible results in an even shorter period of time. The winner is the customer, who will get quality products and services achieved by the integrated approach thanks to Lean Six Sigma.
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Feb 14, 2010

Andon System

Andon is a method of signaling a quality or process problem.
It can be a signboard incorporating signal lights to indicate which machine or station has a problem.
The signal can be triggered by pushing a button or a cord, or even by the equipment itself.
Think for example of the stack lights present on some of your machines.
The system is an integral components of the Jidoka principle.
Modern signals can include text, graphics, even audio.
There are several companies specialized in building signboards.
You can have something customized to serve your specific needs.
Make sure you check the market, as the prices can get quite high.
The best thing is to try and create a simple device that answers your needs while economic.
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Quality Circles

What is a Quality Circle?

Voluntary groups of employees who work on similar tasks or share an area of responsibility. They agree to meet on a regular basis to discuss & solve problems related to work. They operate on the principle that employee participation in decision-making and problem solving improves the quality of work


The objectives of Quality Circles are multi-faced.a) Change in Attitude.From "I don’t care" to "I do care" Continuous improvement in quality of work life through humanization of work.b) Self DevelopmentBring out ‘Hidden Potential’ of peoplePeople get to learn additional skills.c) Development of Team SpiritIndividual Vs Team – "I could not do but we did it"Eliminate inter departmental conflicts.d) Improved Organizational CulturePositive working environment.Total involvement of people at all levels.Higher motivational level.Participate Management process

How Do Quality Circles Work?

- Volunteers
- Set Rules and Priorities
- Decisions made by Consensus
- Use of organized approaches to Problem-Solving
- All members of a Circle need to receive training
- Members need to be empowered
- Members need to have the support of Senior Management

How can they be used in an Organization?

• Increase Productivity
• Improve Quality
• Boost Employee Morale

Real World Example

At Penn State University in 1983, Professor Hirshfield, a Professor of East Asia History, formed a Quality Circle. Selected 8 Students from a large lecture class
Resulted in increased involvement from the class.

Team Exercise

Break down into teams of 6-8 people. Establish a leader and rules for your Circle
Have a brainstorming and problem-solving session to resolve the issue. A Collegiate class on Statistical Analysis has a total enrollment of 45 people.
Average attendance is 18 students the class consists mainly of lectures
How can the professor of this class improve the quality of this course and increase student involvement?

Problems with Quality Circles

• Inadequate Training
• Unsure of Purpose
• Not truly Voluntary
• Lack of Management Interest
• Quality Circles are not really empowered to make decisions.

It took more than two decades for the quality control concept to get acceptance in India, after its introduction in Japan. This may be due to the differences in the industrial context in the two countries. Japan needed it for its survival in a competitive market. India had a reasonably protected, sellers market, with consequent lethargy towards efforts to improve quality and productivity. However, with the policy of liberalization of economy and privatization of infrastructure development, contexts changed. The concept now needs to be looked upon as a necessity.

Summary of History and Practices

Quality Circles were first seen in the United States in the 1950’s. Dr, Kaoru Ishikawa in Japan in the 1960’s, developed quality circles. Quality circles were re-exported to the US in the early 1970’s.
1980’s brought Total Quality Management and a reduction in the use of Quality Circles. Quality Circles can be a useful tool if used properly

Quality Circles are not limited to manufacturing firms only. They are applicable for variety of organizations where there is scope for group based solution of work related problems. Quality Circles are relevant for factories, firms, schools, hospitals, universities, research institutes, banks, government offices etc.
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Feb 12, 2010

History of Quality

The quality movement can trace its roots back to medieval Europe, where craftsmen began organizing into unions called guilds in the late 13th century.
Until the early 19th century, manufacturing in the industrialized world tended to follow this craftsmanship model. The factory system, with its emphasis on product inspection, started in Great Britain in the mid-1750s and grew into the Industrial Revolution in the early 1800s.
In the early 20th century, manufacturers began to include quality processes in quality practices.
After the United States entered World War II, quality became a critical component of the war effort: Bullets manufactured in one state. The armed forces initially inspected virtually every unit of product; then to simplify and speed up this process without compromising safety, the military began to use sampling techniques for inspection, aided by the publication of military-specification standards and training courses in Walter Shewhart’s SPC techniques.
The birth of total quality in the United States came as a direct response to the quality revolution in Japan following World War II. The Japanese welcomed the input of Americans Joseph M. Juran and W. Edwards Deming and rather than concentrating on inspection, focused on improving all organizational processes through the people who used them.
By the 1970s, U.S. industrial sectors such as automobiles and electronics had been broadsided by Japan’s high-quality competition. The U.S. response, emphasizing not only statistics but approaches that embraced the entire organization, became known as total quality management (TQM).
By the last decade of the 20th century, TQM was considered a fad by many business leaders. But while the use of the term TQM has faded somewhat, particularly in the United States, its practices continue.
In the few years since the turn of the century, the quality movement seems to have matured beyond Total Quality. New quality systems have evolved from the foundations of Deming, Juran and the early Japanese practitioners of quality, and quality has moved beyond manufacturing into service, healthcare, education and government sectors.
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The cost of poor quality
It’s a term that's widely used – and widely misunderstood.
  • The "cost of quality" isn't the price of creating a quality product or service. It's the cost of NOT creating a quality product or service.
    Every time work is redone, the cost of quality increases. Obvious examples include:
    The reworking of a manufactured item.
    The retesting of an assembly.
    The rebuilding of a tool.
    The correction of a bank statement.
    The reworking of a service, such as the reprocessing of a loan operation or the replacement of a food order in a restaurant.
    In short, any cost that would not have been expended if quality were perfect contributes to the cost of quality.
  • Quality Costs—general description
    Prevention Costs
    The costs of all activities specifically designed to prevent poor quality in products or services.
    Examples are the costs of:
    New product review
    Quality planning
    Supplier capability surveys
    Process capability evaluations
    Quality improvement team meetings
    Quality improvement projects
    Quality education and training
  • Appraisal Costs
    The costs associated with measuring, evaluating or auditing products or services to assure conformance to quality standards and performance requirements.
    These include the costs of:
    · Incoming and source inspection/test of purchased material
    · In-process and final inspection/test
    · Product, process or service audits
    · Calibration of measuring and test equipment
Failure Costs
The costs resulting from products or services not conforming to requirements or customer/user needs. Failure costs are divided into internal and external failure categories.
  • Internal Failure Costs
    Failure costs occurring prior to delivery or shipment of the product, or the furnishing of a service, to the customer.
    Examples are the costs of:
    Material review

External Failure Costs
Failure costs occurring after delivery or shipment of the product — and during or after furnishing of a service — to the customer.
Examples are the costs of:
Processing customer complaints
Customer returns
Warranty claims

Total Quality Costs:
The sum of the above costs. This represents the difference between the actual cost of a product or service and what the reduced cost would be if there were no possibility of substandard service, failure of products or defects in their manufacture.

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seven basic quality tools

Once the basic problem-solving or quality improvement process is understood, the addition of quality tools can make the process proceed more quickly and systematically. Seven simple tools can be used by any professional to ease the quality improvement process: flowcharts, check sheets, Pareto diagrams, cause and effect diagrams, histograms, scatter diagrams, and control charts. The key to successful problem resolution is the ability to identify the problem, use the appropriate tools based on the nature of the problem, and communicate the solution quickly to others.
Flowcharts describe a process in as much detail as possible by graphically displaying the steps in proper sequence. A good flowchart should show all process steps under analysis by the quality improvement team, identify critical process points for control, suggest areas for further improvement, and help explain and solve a problem.
Check sheets help organize data by category. They show how many times each particular value occurs, and their information is increasingly helpful as more data are collected. More than 50 observations should be available to be charted for this tool to be really useful. Check sheets minimize clerical work since the operator merely adds a mark to the tally on the prepared sheet rather than writing out a figure. By showing the frequency of a particular defect and how often it occurs in a specific location, check sheets help operator's spot problems.
Most quality problems result from a small number of causes. Quality experts often refer to the principle as the 80-20 rule; that is, 80% of problems are caused by 20% of the potential sources. A Pareto diagram puts data in a hierarchical order which allows the most significant problems to be corrected first. The Pareto analysis technique is used primarily to identify and evaluate non-conformities, although it can summarize all types of data. It is perhaps the diagram most often used in management presentations.
The cause and effect diagram is sometimes called an Ishikawa diagram after its inventor. It is also known as a fish bone diagram because of its shape. A cause and effect diagram describes a relationship between variables. The undesirable outcome is shown as effect, and related causes are shown as leading to, or potentially leading to, the said effect. This popular tool has one severe limitation, however, in that users can overlook important, complex interactions between causes. Thus, if a problem is caused by a combination of factors, it is difficult to use this tool to depict and solve it.
The histogram plots data in a frequency distribution table. What distinguishes the histogram from a check sheet is that its data are grouped into rows so that the identity of individual values is lost. Commonly used to present quality improvement data, histograms work best with small amounts of data that vary considerably. When used in process capability studies, histograms can display specification limits to show what portion of the data does not meet the specifications. After the raw data are collected, they are grouped in value and frequency and plotted in a graphical form. A histograms shape shows the nature of the distribution of the data, as well as central tendency (average) and variability. Specification limits can be used to display the capability of the process.
A scatter diagram shows how two variables are related and is thus used to test for cause and effect relationships. It cannot prove that one variable causes the change in the other, only that a relationship exists and how strong it is. In a scatter diagram, the horizontal (x) axis represents the measurement values of one variable, and the vertical (y) axis represents the measurements of the second variable.
A control chart displays statistically determined upper and lower limits drawn on either side of a process average. This chart shows if the collected data are within upper and lower limits previously determined through statistical calculations of raw data from earlier trials. The construction of a control chart is based on statistical principles and statistical distributions, particularly the normal distribution. When used in conjunction with a manufacturing process, such charts can indicate trends and signal when a process is out of control. The center line of a control chart represents an estimate of the process mean; the upper and lower critical limits are also indicated. The process results are monitored over time and should remain within the control limits; if they do not, an investigation is conducted for the causes and corrective action taken.

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Quality Control

Quality control is a process within an organization designed to ensure a set level of quality for the products or services offered by a company. This control includes the actions necessary to verify and control the quality output of products and services. The overall goal includes meeting the customer's requirements, product satisfaction, fiscally sound, and dependable output. Most companies provide a service or a product. The control is important to determine that the output being provided is of overall top quality. Quality is important to companies for liability purposes, name recognition or branding, and maintaining a position against the competition in the marketplace.
This process can be implemented with a company in many ways. Some organizations bring in a quality assurance department and practice testing of products before they are delivered to the shelves. When quality assurance is used, a set of requirements is determined and the quality assurance team will verify the product not only meets all of the requirements but they will also perform faulty testing. Companies with a customer service department often implement quality controls through recording phone conversations, sending out customer surveys, and requiring employees to follow a specific set of guidelines when speaking to customers over the phone. Implementing a quality control department or strategy allows a company to find faults or problems with products or services before they reach the customer.
It is common for a company to send out products that have defects or problems or provide poor service to customers. A good strategy and using techniques can help ensure the elimination of issues that give the company a bad name. This is because quality control monitors the overall quality by comparing the product or service with the requirements. Making sure the products or services meet or exceed the requirements set forth allows a business to be more successful and improve the organization.
Quality control not only consists of products and services but how well an organization works as a whole together within the organization and in the marketplace. A strategy to manage and improve the quality within an organization can help a company become and remain a success. Quality is an ongoing effort that must be consistent and improving every day. Every organization or business can benefit by using quality control for their products or services, within the internal organization, and interacting in the marketplace.

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Quality Function Deployment

QFD provides the essential link between customer requirements and the available technology required for developing optimized products and services that best suit customer needs and expectations. By using this, businesses can now easily make use of existing technology - or even use a completely new technology - for designing and developing products or services without worrying about the negative fallout that is commonly associated with undertaking technology development and product development initiatives, both at the same time.
QFD has made it easier for businesses to make the benefits of newer technology available to their customers through improvements made in the existing product or service.
Importance of QFD
This is important because it offers multiple benefits such as better conceptualization and implementation, increased production efficiency, and increased customer satisfaction. At the conceptualization stage, the main worry of product designers is whether the available technology can be successfully used or not for satisfying customer needs and expectations. It may look good on paper, but problems may start to surface when actual production starts if proper analysis is not done at the conceptualization stage regarding the compatibility of the available technology with the suggested manufacturing processes.
QFD helps because it effectively maps the complete production cycle, indicating exactly when and where to use the available technology to get the desired results. This also points out possible problems that may arise in the near future, which in turn helps managers to devise innovative solutions or backup plans well in advance. This not only helps businesses to satisfy customer needs and expectations through optimized products or services, but also helps them to reduce costs though increased production efficiency.
When To Use QFD
QFD is most effective when it is implemented in the early stages of the design phase. Implementing it after the design phase may not help much, because by then it will be very difficult and costly for the business to revert back to another product design if it has been found that the existing product design does not confirm to customer needs and expectations due to faults in the conceptualization stage.
To derive maximum benefits from QFD, businesses should make it a point to undertake proper analysis of all the related aspects and make the information available to all employees associated with the project.

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