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5.3 Quality Assurance
Terms in this set (24)
A good or service that meets customers' expectations and is therefore 'fit for purpose'
The expectations of customers expressed in terms of the minimum acceptable production or service standards
Advantages of producing quality products and services are:
1. Easier to create customer loyalty
2. Saves on costs associated with customer complaints; e.g. compensation and replacement
3. Defective products and loss of customer goodwill
4. Less advertising may be necessary as the brand will establish a quality image through the performance of its products
5. A higher price -
- could be charged for such goods and services. Quality can, therefore, be profitable.
This is based on the
of the product or a sample of products
This is a system of agreeing and meeting quality standards at each stage of production to ensure customer satisfaction
Three stages of effective quality control:
: this is the most effective way of improving quality. The design of the product should follow requirements of the customer and allow for accurate production. Quality should be 'designed into' a product.
: traditionally this has been the most important stage, but it does have high costs and these could be reduced by 'zero-defect manufacturing (TQM).
Correction and improvement
: this is not just about correcting faulty products but is also concerned with correcting the process that caused the failure in the first place, to improve quality in the future.
Weaknesses of inspecting for quality:
1. It is looking for problems and is, therefore, negative in its culture. It can cause resentment among workers (inspectors believe they have been
'successful' when finding faults
). Workers are likely to view the inspectors as management employees who are there just to check on output and find problems with the work.
2. The job of inspection can be tedious, so inspectors become demotivated and may not carry out their tasks efficiently.
3. If checking takes place only at specific points in the production process, then faulty products may pass through several production stages before being identified - extra cost and time wasted.
is that it
takes away from the workers the responsibility for quality
(inspectors now assume this responsibility) which can be demotivating and will result in lower quality output.
1. Puts much more emphasis on prevention of poor quality by designing products for easy fault-free manufacture, rather than inspecting for poor-quality products - "getting it right first time".
2. Stresses the need for workers to get it right the first time and reduces the chances of faulty products occurring or expensive reworking of faulty goods.
3. Establishes quality standards and targets for each stage of the production process.
4. Checks components, materials and services bought into the business at the point of arrival or delivery - not at the end of the production process by which stage much time and many resources may have been wasted.
1. It makes everyone responsible for quality - this can be a form of
2. Self-checking and making efforts to improve the quality increases motivation.
3. The system can be used to 'trace back' quality problems to the stage of the production process where a problem might have been occurring.
4. It reduces the need for expensive final inspection and correction or reworking of faulty products.
Why it is important to establish quality assurance systems:
1. To involve all staff and this can
promote team work and a sense of belonging which aids motivation
2. To set quality standards for all stages of production so that all materials and all production phases are checked
before it is 'too late' and the whole product has been completed
reduce costs of final inspection
as this should become less necessary as all stages and sub-sections of the process have been judged against quality standards.
reduce total quality costs
by instilling in the whole organisation a culture of quality, it is possible for quality assurance to lead to reduced costs of wastage and faulty products.
gain accreditation for quality awards
Internationally recognised certificate that acknowledges the existence of a quality procedure that meets certain conditions.
accreditation a firm must demonstrate that it has:
1. Staff training and appraisal methods
2. Methods for checking on suppliers
3. Quality standards for all areas of the business
4. Procedures for dealing with defective products and quality failures
5. After-sales service
Total quality management (
An approach to quality that aims to involve all employees in the quality improvement process
Producing goods and services with the minimum of wasted resources while maintaining high quality
People within the organisation who depend upon the quality of work being done by others
The aim of achieving perfect products every time
Japanese term meaning
Conditions necessary for
must be directed towards involving staff and giving their views and ideas importance (the experience of workers in their day-to-day jobs is invaluable).
- suggesting and discussing new ideas to improve quality or productivity is best done in groups. Each Kaizen group should meet regularly.
- by giving each Kaizen group the power to take decisions regarding workplace improvements, this will allow speedier introduction of new ideas and motivate staff to pursue further ideas.
should be involved.
Limitations of Kaizen
1. Some changes cannot be introduced gradually and may need a radical and expensive solution.
2. There may be real resistance from senior managements due to their existing culture (especially authoritarian managers).
3. At least in the short-term there may be tangible costs to the business of such a scheme, such as staff training to organise meetings and lost output as a result of meeting time.
4. The most important advances tend to be made early on during the Kaizen programme, with later changes showing diminishing returns.
Comparing the performance - including quality - of a business with performance standards throughout the industry
Stages in the
1. Identify the aspects of the business to be benchmarked.
2. Measure performance in these areas.
3. Identify the firms in the industry that are considered to be the best.
4. Use comparative data from the best firms to establish the main weaknesses in the business.
5. Set standards for improvement.
6. Change processes to achieve the standards set.
1. Offers a faster and cheaper way of solving problems than firms attempting to solve production or quality problems without external comparisons.
2. Areas of greatest significance for customers are identified and action can be directed to improving these.
3. A process that can assist the firm to increase international competitiveness.
4. Comparisons between firms in different industries, such as customer service departments in a retailer compared to a bank, can encourage a useful cross-over of ideas.
5. If the workforce is involved in the comparison exercise, then their participation can lead to better ideas for improvement and increased motivation.
1. The process depends on obtaining relevant and up-tto-date information from other firms in the industry. If this is difficult to obtain, then the benchmarking exercise will be limited.
2. Merely copying the ideas and practices of other firms may discourage innovation and original ideas.
3. The costs of the comparison exercise may not be recovered by the improvements obtained from benchmarking.
An evaluation of quality issues:
1. Quality is not an option. It is a fundamental aspect of all successful businesses.
2. Quality is an issue for all firms, in all sectors of industry. It is essential for business to put quality of products and customer service at the top of their priorities to survive in competitive markets. Improving quality has obvious cost advantages if the rate of defective products is reduced.
3. Satisfying customers will give clear marketing advantages when seeking further sales.
4. Involving all staff in quality improvement programmes can lead to a more motivated workforce.
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