Quality management techniques are commonly referred to as TQM (total quality management). The core concepts of quality management are:
– Continuous process improvement
– Customer focus
– Defect prevention
– Universal responsibility
Continuous process improvement takes place in incremental steps. It should not stop in any case. The first step in quality development is for employees to look at their work and effort in terms of being part of a continuous business process.
Continuous improvement is a persistent effort. To enhance the quality improvement process select an improvement project with a specific target. Selecting project with specific plan helps in improving the total quality management. After this assign a appropriate project team to improve it. Define the project steps using a flow chart, and define variability and problems in the project. Locate the root causes of the problems and recommend improvements, and implement. Measure the results and proceed to a final implementation. Then start the new project.
The continuous quality improvement process should be driven from the top management, but implemented from the core team member and other staff. The selection of improvement projects needs a pointed focus. The problem areas should be prioritized, serious processes selected for improvement, and improvement goals set for the projects team members. This is a top down procedure. There are various techniques which teams can use for their quality improvement effort. Training should be provided so that the teams know how to use these quality techniques.
Employees who are assigned to project improvement teams need to know how to use these techniques. Managers and superior need to know these techniques too, because it is their job of make easy and drive the quality improvement effort.
Everyone is a customer – External and Internal customer. The external customer is someone who purchases the product or service. Internal customers are those who make use of what another group providers. This has fairly profound implications. It means that every work group has to think about providing value to the people who utilize their product. This involves finding out exactly what the user requirements, and ensuring that the process provides it. The initial point for quality improvement is to determine the customer requirements. When the requirements are fairly simple, this can be done merely by talking to them.
When dealing with an external customer and the product is extremely complex, the determination of the customer requirements can be quite time consuming and requires a detailed analysis. A useful tool for determining the customer requirements and ensuring that these needs are incorporated into the product design is the Quality Function Deployment Matrix. Determining customer requirements accurately is an important aspect of quality control. Obviously, it is less expensive to rectify a mistake in defining customer requirements before a product is produced then it is afterwards. So spending the time and effort to figure out the needs correctly at the start is time well spent.
Defect prevention or avoidance saves money. Process for manufacturing a product begins with a specification. Drawings are created, parts are made and assembled, and the product is delivered to the customer. The cost of rectifying a fault increases by at least a factor of ten as the product moves through each of these stages. Defect prevention or avoidance is concerned with catching the errors as early in the game as possible or preventing them from happening at all.
Universal responsibility deals with the fact that total quality is not only the responsibility of the inspection department but is everyone’s responsibility in the organization. Quality improvement should be totally pervasive. Every work group in the business should be concerned with seeking ways to improve the quality process.