Quality management ensures that an organization, product or service is consistent. It has four main components: quality planning , quality assurance , quality control and quality improvement. Quality management, therefore, uses quality assurance and control of processes as well as products to achieve more consistent quality.
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What a customer wants and is willing to pay for it determines quality. It is written or unwritten commitment to a known or unknown consumer in the market. Thus, quality can be defined as fitness for intended use or, in other words, how well the product performs its intended function.
Quality management is a recent phenomenon but important for an organization. Civilizations that supported the arts and crafts allowed clients to choose goods meeting higher quality standards rather than normal goods.
In societies where arts and crafts are the responsibility of master craftsmen or artists, these masters would lead their studios and train and supervise others. The importance of craftsmen diminished as mass production and repetitive work practices were instituted. The aim was to produce large numbers of the same goods.
The first proponent in the US for this approach was Eli Whitney who proposed interchangeable parts manufacture for muskets, hence producing the identical components and creating a musket assembly line. The next step forward was promoted by several people including Frederick Winslow Taylor , a mechanical engineer who sought to improve industrial efficiency.
He is sometimes called "the father of scientific management. Henry Ford was also important in bringing process and quality management practices into operation in his assembly lines. In Germany, Karl Benz , often called the inventor of the motor car, was pursuing similar assembly and production practices, although real mass production was properly initiated in Volkswagen after World War II.
From this period onwards, North American companies focused predominantly upon production against lower cost with increased efficiency. Walter A. Shewhart made a major step in the evolution towards quality management by creating a method for quality control for production, using statistical methods, first proposed in This became the foundation for his ongoing work on statistical quality control. Edwards Deming later applied statistical process control methods in the United States during World War II, thereby successfully improving quality in the manufacture of munitions and other strategically important products.
Quality leadership from a national perspective has changed over the past decades. After the second world war, Japan decided to make quality improvement a national imperative as part of rebuilding their economy, and sought the help of Shewhart , Deming and Juran , amongst others. Edwards Deming championed Shewhart's ideas in Japan from onwards.
He is probably best known for his management philosophy establishing quality, productivity , and competitive position. He has formulated 14 points of attention for managers, which are a high level abstraction of many of his deep insights. They should be interpreted by learning and understanding the deeper insights.
These 14 points include key concepts such as:. In the s and s, Japanese goods were synonymous with cheapness and low quality, but over time their quality initiatives began to be successful, with Japan achieving high levels of quality in products from the s onward.
For example, Japanese cars regularly top the J. Power customer satisfaction ratings.
Quality Management and Control
In the s Deming was asked by Ford Motor Company to start a quality initiative after they realized that they were falling behind Japanese manufacturers. Many of the methods not only provide techniques but also have associated quality culture i. These methods are now adopted by the same western countries that decades earlier derided Japanese methods.
Customers recognize that quality is an important attribute in products and services. Suppliers recognize that quality can be an important differentiator between their own offerings and those of competitors quality differentiation is also called the quality gap. In the past two decades this quality gap has been greatly reduced between competitive products and services.
This is partly due to the contracting also called outsourcing of manufacture to countries like China and India, as well internationalization of trade and competition. These countries, among many others, have raised their own standards of quality in order to meet international standards and customer demands. Customer satisfaction is the backbone of Quality Management. Setting up a million dollar company without taking care of needs of customer will ultimately decrease its revenue.
There is a huge number of books available on quality management. Some themes have become more significant including quality culture , the importance of knowledge management , and the role of leadership in promoting and achieving high quality. Disciplines like systems thinking are bringing more holistic approaches to quality so that people, process and products are considered together rather than independent factors in quality management. The influence of quality thinking has spread to non-traditional applications outside of walls of manufacturing, extending into service sectors and into areas such as sales , marketing and customer service.
The International Standard for Quality management ISO adopts a number of management principles, that can be used by top management to guide their organizations towards improved performance. The primary focus of quality management is to meet customer requirements and to strive to exceed customer expectations. Sustained success is achieved when an organization attracts and retains the confidence of customers and other interested parties on whom it depends.
Every aspect of customer interaction provides an opportunity to create more value for the customer. Understanding current and future needs of customers and other interested parties contributes to sustained success of an organization . Leadership has to take up the necessary changes required for quality improvement and encourage a sense of quality throughout organisation. Creation of unity of purpose and direction and engagement of people enable an organization to align its strategies, policies, processes and resources to achieve its objectives .
Competent, empowered and engaged people at all levels throughout the organization are essential to enhance its capability to create and deliver value. To manage an organization effectively and efficiently, it is important to involve all people at all levels and to respect them as individuals. Consistent and predictable results are achieved more effectively and efficiently when activities are understood and managed as interrelated processes that function as a coherent system. The quality management system consists of interrelated processes.
Understanding how results are produced by this system enables an organization to optimize the system and its performance. Improvement is essential for an organization to maintain current levels of performance, to react to changes in its internal and external conditions and to create new opportunities. Decisions based on the analysis and evaluation of data and information are more likely to produce desired results. Decision making can be a complex process, and it always involves some uncertainty.
It often involves multiple types and sources of inputs, as well as their interpretation, which can be subjective. It is important to understand cause-and-effect relationships and potential unintended consequences. Facts , evidence and data analysis lead to greater objectivity and confidence in decision making. For sustained success, an organization manages its relationships with interested parties, such as suppliers , retailers.
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Interested parties influence the performance of an organizations and industry. Sustained success is more likely to be achieved when the organization manages relationships with all of its interested parties to optimize their impact on its performance. Relationship management with its supplier and partner networks is of particular importance.
Quality Management Process
She demonstrates that zero-error processes and the associated illusion of controllability involve the epistemological problem of self-referentiality. The emphasis on the processes in QM also ignores the artificiality and thus arbitrariness of the difference between structure and process. Above all, the complexity of management cannot be reduced to standardized mathematical procedures. According to her, the risks and negative side effects of QM are usually greater than the benefits see also brand eins , There are many methods for quality improvement. These cover product improvement, process improvement and people based improvement.
In the following list are methods of quality management and techniques that incorporate and drive quality improvement:. Proponents of each approach have sought to improve them as well as apply them for small, medium and large gains. Simple one is Process Approach, which forms the basis of ISO Quality Management System standard, duly driven from the 'Eight principles of Quality management', process approach being one of them.
Thareja  writes about the mechanism and benefits: "The process proficiency may be limited in words, but not in its applicability.