The Quality Movement

During the past hundred years, the views of quality have changed dramatically. Prior to World War I, quality was viewed predominantly as inspection, sorting out the good items from the bad. Emphasis was on problem identification. Following World War I and up to the early 1950s, emphasis was still on sorting good items from bad. However, quality control principles were now emerging in the form of:

• Statistical and mathematical techniques

• Sampling tables

• Process control charts

From the early 1950s to the late 1960s, quality control evolved into quality assurance, with its emphasis on problem avoidance rather than problem detection. Additional quality assurance principles emerged, such as:

• Zero-defect programs

• Reliability engineering

• Total quality control

Today, emphasis is being placed on strategic quality management, including such topics as:

• Quality is defined by the customer.

• Quality is linked with profitability on both the market and cost sides.

• Quality has become a competitive weapon.

• Quality is now an integral part of the strategic planning process.

• Quality requires an organization-wide commitment.

Although many experts have contributed to the success of the quality movement, the three most influential contributors are W. Edwards Deming, Joseph M. Juran, and Phillip B. Crosby. Dr. Deming pioneered the use of statistics and sampling methods from 1927 to 1940 at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. During these early years, Dr. Deming was influenced by Dr. Shewhart, and later applied Shewhart's Plan/Do/Check/Act cycle to clerical tasks. Figure 20-3 shows the Deming Cycle for Improvement.

Deming believed that the reason companies were not producing quality products was that management was preoccupied with "today" rather than the future. Deming postulated that 85 percent of all quality problems required management to take the initiative and change the process. Only 15 percent of the quality problems could be controlled by the workers on the floor. As an example, the workers on the floor were not at fault because of

• IMMEDIATE REMEDIES

• FUTURE ACTIONS

• OBJECTIVES

• AGAINST OBJECTIVES

• HOW METHODS EXECUTED

FIGURE 20-3. The Deming Cycle for Improvement.

the poor quality of raw materials that resulted from management's decision to seek out the lowest cost suppliers. Management needed to change the purchasing policies and procedures and develop long-term relationships with vendors.

Processes had to be placed under statistical analysis and control to demonstrate the repeatability of quality. Furthermore, the ultimate goals should be a continuous refinement of the processes rather than quotas. Statistical process control charts (SPCs) allowed for the identification of common cause and special (assignable) cause variations. Common cause variations are inherent in any process. They include poor lots of raw material, poor product design, unsuitable work conditions, and equipment that cannot meet the design tolerances. These common causes are beyond the control of the workers on the floor and therefore, for improvement to occur, actions by management are necessary.

Special or assignable causes include lack of knowledge by workers, worker mistakes, or workers not paying attention during production. Special causes can be identified by workers on the shop floor and corrected, but management still needs to change the manufacturing process to reduce common cause variability.

Deming contended that workers simply cannot do their best. They had to be shown what constitutes acceptable quality and that continuous improvement is not only possible, but necessary. For this to be accomplished, workers had to be trained in the use of statistical process control charts. Realizing that even training required management's approval, Deming's lectures became more and more focused toward management and what they must do.

Dr. Juran began conducting quality control courses in Japan in 1954, four years after Dr. Deming. Dr. Juran developed his 10 Steps to Quality Improvement (see Table 20-2), as well as the Juran Trilogy: Quality Improvement, Quality Planning, and Quality Control. Juran stressed that the manufacturer's view of quality is adherence to specifications but the customer's view of quality is "fitness for use." Juran defined five attributes of "fitness for use."

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Project Management Made Easy

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