How to Improve Quality Management Consistently?
Quality Management, a relatively recent phenomenon ensures that an organization, product or service is consistent with quality. It is based on both prospective and retrospective reviews. However, the scope of Quality management is not just limited to product or service quality but also deals with the means to achieve and maintain quality standards. Thus, Quality Management may be defined as an act of performing all the activities and tasks which are needed to maintain a desired level of excellence. This includes creating and implementing quality planning and assurance, as well as quality control and quality improvement.
What Is Quality Management Improvement?
Continuous and consistent quality improvement is a must pre-requisite for all the Quality Management Systems. Quality improvement is a recurring process and should be repeated at regular intervals. It is an ongoing process, not a one-time effort and lasts with the life of an enterprise. Different examples across industries have proved that any negligence on product quality and process improvements end up in serious catastrophic results for the company and its products.
The following representation shows the process of continual improvement in a Quality Management System.
The International Standard for Quality Management (ISO 9001:2008) has identified the following management principles which help organizations to improve their performance:
- Customer Centric: Customer’s satisfaction is of utmost importance for the overall growth of an organization. All the members of an organization should know about the requirements of the external as well as the internal customers and also resolve ways to meet those requirements.
- Involvement of employees in decision making: This brings a sense loyalty among the employees towards the organization and they become more responsible.
- Leadership Qualities: An organization needs to inculcate leadership qualities among its people so that they establish unity of purpose.
- Process Approach: This approach helps in attaining the desired result when activities and available resources are managed efficiently.
- System Approach to Management: This approach implies identifying, understanding and managing all systems which are interrelated as a process. Quality control involves checking transformed and transforming resources in all stages of production process.
- Continual Improvement: It is one of the most important quality improvement functions and helps in gaining insights about the overall performance, leveraging clear and concise Process Performance Measures (PPMs).
- Factual Approach to Decision Making: Decisions made on data basis and analyses are always effective and efficient.
- Win- Win Situation for both organization and its suppliers: Both organizations and its suppliers are inter-dependent on each other. Therefore, a mutually beneficial relationship is a must for their growth.
What Are The Methods Involved In Quality Improvement?
Following are the globally accepted and recognized methods for Quality Improvement:
- FADE Model: This model comprises of four steps- focus (on the process to be improved), analyze (collection and analysis of data to find possible solutions), Develop (data plans for improvement, implementation and communication), Execute and Evaluate (implementation of data plans).
- PDSA Model: Another important method of Quality Improvement is based on the PDSA model which involves combination of building and applying knowledge. PDSA model comprises of Plan, Do Study and Act. This process runs as a cycle and needs to be repeated.
- Six Sigma: It is one of the most important methods of Quality Improvement. The term ‘Six Sigma’ is derived from the Greek letter, Sigma which denotes standard deviation of time from the mean. Six Sigma equals to 3.4 defects or errors per million. It is a measurement based strategy of quality improvement and finds great success in problem reduction.
- Total Quality Management (TQM): TQM, as a management approach was first promoted in Japan and then was adopted in USA and Europe. TQM involves total employees participation in improving processes, product, services or the culture in which they operate. It’s a long term process and aims at customer satisfaction through integrated approach.
What Are The Different Stages In Quality Management?
Broadly, the process of Quality Management involves three important phases viz. Quality Planning, Quality Assurance, Quality Control and Documentation. Let us discuss these phases in detail:
- Quality Planning: This is the most important phase of Quality Management which marks the start of the plan. Every plan has a particular goal or objective and Quality Planning ensures the quality of the plan which is being made to achieve the desired goal or objective. The plan needs to be error proof and all the goals should be clearly communicated to the stakeholders involved.
The overall success of any plan depends upon the quality planning. Quality planning enables to check whether the plan meets customer’s expectations or not.
- Quality Assurance: This process monitors overall path of the project. It checks whether the project is following the laid plan or not. The Quality Assurance plan comprises of quality audits and various techniques used to evaluate performance of a project.
- Quality Control: Another important step in Quality Management is Quality Control. This method comprises of quality management plan, quality standards for the project and factual observations and measurements of the work done or in progress.
- Documentation: The process of documentation finds a place of utmost importance in Quality Management. A project is more likely to fail if all the necessary requirements are not sufficiently documented.
An effective Quality Management Improvement plan is the need of the hour for any organization. A successful implementation of a Quality Management Improvement Plan always results in achieving a balance of quality, efficiency and profitability in any organization. All the activities, methods and phases involved in a Quality Management Improvement Plan are cyclic and recurring in nature. An organization is expected to understand its own delivery systems and key processes in order to embark on the path of an effective Quality Management Improvement.
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