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Quality Management Different Systems, Philosophies
and Approaches to Excellence
Quality Management: Different Systems, Philosophies
and Approaches to Excellence
As is known within the field, operations management is an area of management specifically concerned with the overseeing, designing, and redesigning of business operations in the production of good and services. In order for operations to move smoothly within a business, management must ensure that day-to-day business moves forward in a manner that not only utilizes the highest quality standards, but additionally uses as little resources as needed in order to both meet company standards and satisfy customer needs in order to retain continued business. In beginning to ensure that such standards are upheld within a business, the area of quality management comes highly into play. In understanding the basis of quality management, along with the systems, philosophies and approaches that go along with it, one can better understand the impacts such systems have had on the business world, as well as better understand the adjustments that can be made in the future to maintain standards that meet the highest quality of both products and production.
Differing Quality Systems
The basis of quality management is fairly simple. When one is involved in production, different factors are obviously involved in the job process, and the end result of that production process is the assurance that quality goods have met the customer, who in turn should be satisfied. In any circumstance in which a customer is involved, the issue of quality becomes an exceedingly important factor in the business-to-customer transaction, and special attention must be made to the quality of goods produced. As nearly every individual knows within the business and management field: one bad apple does have the ability to ruin the bunch. If a customer is not fully satisfied with the quality of a product they have purchased, or unsatisfied by the manner in which the product was obtained, that customer will become a one-time-only patron, which can be a death sentence to a company's success. The key to business success within the market lies on the repeat patronage of customers, which is specifically what quality management is set in place to foster.
In understanding this basis for quality management, one can better understand the different systems of quality management that have been set in place over the years within the business field such as the following models: the quality circle approach, the total quality management approach, the theory of inventive problem solving, and the business process reengineering approach, all of which function to incorporate and drive quality improvement within a business or industry. In understanding these systems as well as their respective philosophies and approaches, one can better gauge the relative effectiveness of each system within the market in terms of the approaches and belief-systems used to back them.
The quality circle quality management approach centers on the idea that the individuals working at the ground floor of operations have the ability to best identify management solutions and quality control issues to higher-ups within the company in order to maintain that quality products, efficient methods of production and safety standards are most correctly and successfully adhered to. In utilizing the quality circle approach, an operations manager enlists a team of employees who are trained to identify, analyze, and solve work-related and quality-related problems within the workplace, and these individuals are further identified as qualified to bring their proposed solutions to higher-level management in order to improve the performance of the organization. Such a means of quality management allows not only operations managers and quality managers to be assured of the standards present within an organization, but such an approach, based in the philosophy of full team involvement consistently works to motivate and enrich the work of company employees. Despite the generally easy-going, easy-to-implement facade that such an approach gives off at first glance, the quality circle approach is in fact far more complex than one might initial garner, and several tools are often implemented within these circles to ensure any problems with quality will be swiftly pinpointed and remedied.
Members of quality circles utilize effective tools from the "seven basic tools of quality" that have been designated within the field of operations management as being most helpful in troubleshooting issues related to quality, which include: cause-and-effect diagrams, the check sheet, the control chart, the histogram, the Pareto chart, the scatter diagram, and stratification (alternately flow chart or run chart) (Douglas 2005, pp. 148). The utilization of many of these tools within a quality circle can be as simple as using process mapping, data gathering, graphical tools, to more sophisticated tools like fishbone diagrams, which show hierarchies of causes that may be contributing to a problem as well as Pareto charts, which analyze different causes by frequency to illustrate the vital cause of a problem. These tools and this overall approach has proven to be highly effective in terms of quality management, specifically in its ability to get each member of the contributing employment staff on board with the business' mission. While such an approach may take significantly more time to implement effectively, needing training and leadership standards set in place within these quality circles, upon maturation, quality circles often tend to become self-managing, having proven itself as a quality means of management within the organization supported by a management team that is generally confident of the results such a group can bring forth.
Additionally, the total quality management approach (TQM) is a significantly popular quality management concept that has been used over the years to ensure not only product or service quality, but full customer satisfaction at every stage in the game -- all the way from production to customer delivery. TQM can be viewed as more of an overall philosophy for quality than an approach, often finding itself associated with the notion of doing things right at the first given opportunity rather than correcting for mistakes at a later point in time.
Like most quality management concepts, TQM views "quality" entirely from the point-of-view of the customer, and seeks to work as an integrative philosophy of management for the continuous improving of the quality of products and of processes involved within a business (Ahire 1997, pp. 91-93). TQM functions under the notion that the quality of products and processes within a business is the responsibility of every single person who is involved with the creation or consumption of the product or services being offered by an organization, all the way from management to the customer. On a more basic level, TQM seeks to capitalize on the involvement of management, workforce, suppliers, and even customers in order to meet or exceed customer expectations and desires, and the success of this approach depends on the full cooperation of each party involved (Chambers, Johnston and Slack 2010, pp.508).
TQM has proven significantly effective in allowing members of a company and specifically operations management, quality management, and employee management officials to work more closely with the entirety of the production process. In other words, individuals who once thought themselves "above" the everyday dealings of production, with TQM, are placed on the ground floor in a way that allows them directly involved with the opinions of and dealings with customers and ground-level employees in order to ensure that production remains adherent to the highest quality standards in every conceivable area of production and distribution.
The theory of inventive problem solving (TIPS), is a problem-solving analysis and forecasting tool that is used by quality management officials and is derived from the study of patterns of invention in global patent literature (Coulibaly, Hua, Yang and Zhang 2006, pp. 112-113). The theory includes a practical methodology, tool sets, a knowledge base, and mode-based technology for generating new ideas and solutions for problem solving in the field of quality control, and it is intended for application in problem formulation, system analysis, failure analysis and patterns of systems evolution (Coulibaly, Hua, Yang and Zhang 2006, pp. 114). Such a systematic, and scientific approach to quality management has been used widely in business ventures that employ a significant technological basis within company work, and TIPS has proven significantly effective in recent years, being utilized by such big-name companies as Ford, Johnson and Johnson, Boeing, NASA, Hewlett Packard, Motorola, General Electric, Xerox, IBM, Samsung, Procter and Gamble and Kodak, all of which have used TIPS methods in varying projects (Wallace 2000, p.1). Further, such an approach is effective in fostering and promoting creativity within a company as well as managing knowledge and innovations which encourage companies to note the social responsibility that comes in finding solutions to the challenges they face (Chambers, Johnston and Slack 2010, pp.615).
Finally, the business process reengineering approach (BPR) is the analysis and design of workflows and processes within an organization. BPR is an approach and philosophy that aims to redesign the way certain aspects of production and quality assurance are completed within an organization to better support that organization's overall mission and additionally reduce its costs.…[continue]
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