Quality and Continuous Improvement Initiatives – Basic Concepts

Quality has two major components:

1.       Quality of Conformance – absence of defects

2.       Quality of Design – degree of customer satisfaction


Executing Quality Initiatives

·         Identify Problems

·         Organize Team

·         Verify Need/Mission

·         Diagnose

·         Remedy

·         Deal with Resistance to Change

·         Establish Controls


Total Quality Management (TQM)

·         Focus on customer needs

·         Long-Term

·         Participation of all Members

·         System of activities directed at:

o   Delighting customers

o   Empowering employees

o   Increasing revenues

o   Lowering costs


Quality Imperative

·         Good quality is no longer considered a competitive advantage… it’s a necessity


Customer-Driven Quality Standards

·         Definition of quality

·         Developing products with customer involvement

·         Internal customers


Quality at the Source:  the producer is responsible to provide 100% acceptable material to the consumer

·         Companywide involvement

·         Employee Empowerment

·         World Class Supplier Development

·         Prevention Orientation


7 Deadly Wastes:

1.       Overproduction

2.       Waiting

3.       Transportation

4.       Stocks

5.       Motion

6.       Making Defects

7.       The Process Itself (should the product even be made/should the process even be used?)


Implementing Continuous Improvement Plans

·         Key Questions

o   Where am I going?

o   What road will take me there?

o   What are the milestones?

o   How am I going to get there?

o   Who’s in charge?

o   What resources needed?

o   How long will it take to reach milestones?

·         Roadmap

1.       Establish Team

2.       Develop Action Plan

3.       Develop Specifications and standards

4.       Prioritize attributes

5.       Determine process control/capability

6.       Measure performance

7.       Take ownership


Quality Improvement Tools

·         Affinity Diagrams

o   Ideas generated on cards/sticky notes, then categorized

·         Matrices

o   Analyzes relationship of items in one set of ideas to another set (e.g. individual customers compared against factors such as the profit margin from each and potential for future business from each)

·         Prioritization Matrices

o   Adds a numerical weight to factors in the normal matrix depending on importance of each factor

·         Tree Diagrams

o   Shows range of tasks to achieve primary goal and subgoals; read from left to right

·         Process Decision Program Charts (PDPC)

o   Shows alternative paths to achieve set goals

o   Prepares contingency plans and helps maintain project schedule

·         Arrow Diagrams

o   Diagram to establish plan for completing tasks; read from left to right

o   Includes how long each task will take

·         Interrelationship Diagrams

o   Issues related to a specific problem are arranged in a circle and arrows show the relationship between each one (arrows show direction of influence)

·         Taguchi Method

o   Reduces variability of product

o   Encompasses 3 phases of product design

·         System design

·         Parameter design

·         Tolerance design

o   Design of Experiment (DOE)

·         Objective: to improve performance

·         Idea:  to identify product or process parameter settings to reduce variation

·         Mistake-Proofing (Poka-Yoke)

o   Prevents defective output

o   Simple/inexpensive solutions

·         Autonomation

o   Automated shutdown of a line/machine if detects abnormality/defect

·         Benchmarking

o   Measuring products, services, costs, processes, practices against other best-in-class competitors

o   Performance Benchmarking

·         Comparison of a product or service

o   Process Benchmarking

·         Comparison of process to produce a product or service


Continuous Improvement Tools

·         Stewhart Cycle (aka PDCA process)

o   Plan

o   Do

o   Check

o   Act

·         Brainstorming

·         Cause-and-effect Diagram (aka Fishbone Diagram)

o   Illustrates main causes and subcauses leading to an effect or problem

·         Root Cause Analysis

o   Examines all possible causes of problems, drilling down to the main cause

·         Pareto Chart

o   Bar graph that ranks in order of importance the causes, sources, types, or reasons for problems

o   80/20 rule:  80% of problems typically come from 20% of possible causes

·         Problem-Solving Storyboard

·         Force Field Analysis


Quality Circles

·         Small group of people that works to uncover and solve problems

·         3 Main Objectives

1.       Improve the Enterprise

2.       Build a Better Workforce

3.       Develop Individual Abilities


Job Design

·         Jobs and workers must have high flexibility/adaptability

·         Job rotation, job enlargement, job enrichment


Pitfalls of Traditional Evaluation Techniques

·         Emphasis on continued production regardless of actual need

o   Machine-use measures encourage production to keep machines running

o   Labor productivity measures encourages production to keep direct labor occupied

·         Building unneeded inventory

·         Priority given to output over quality

·         Emphasizing control of direct labor



JIT Evaluation Measures

·         Profit contributions

·         Quality

·         Teamwork

·         Ideas

·         Flexibility


JIT Performance Enablers

·         Value added per employment dollar

·         Parts per million defects

·         Throughput-based performance measures

·         Cost of quality

·         Total cost of material acquisition

·         Shipment linearity

o   How evenly a company ships products every day of the month

·         Trends versus absolutes

o   Pay more attention to trends

·         Velocity costing

o   Overhead allocation based on lead-time days

o   The longer a facility is used to produce an item, the more overhead should be allocated

·         Number of Kanbans


JIT Performance Inhibitors

·         Purchase price variance

·         Utilization

·         Efficiency

·         Defects per person

·         Overhead rates


Effective Compensation Plans

·         Pay for capability:  Individual rewarded for learning new skills/applying them where needed

·         Gain sharing:  a share of the savings are rewarded to team that helped achieve those savings

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