Business Management - Operations management: quality management
Operations Managers are concerned with the quality of the output of their
Operations system. This quality may be associated with the reliability of
the product or service, the conformity to regulations, the level of waste,
the level of after sales service provided, the design of the product, and
the consistency of delivery of the product or service.
Quality benchmarks may be achieved by using one or more of the following
* quality control (where the quality is monitored during the production
or the service provision process)
* quality assurance (where the organisation achieves certification that
is dependent upon them achieving specified levels of quality in the actual
production of the good or service)
* total quality management (where the organisation applies both quality
control and quality assurance to their production or provision processes)
TQM aims to improve quality and productivity by striving to perfect the
entire production process. TQM stresses coordination between departments,
especially product design, purchasing, sales and service so that all groups
are working together. It is based on promoting continuous improvement
in the quality of all the processes involved.
One operations management technique for improving quality and productivity
is statistical process control (SPC).
SPC is the application of statistical techniques to control work processes
in order to detect production of defective items.
The steps involved in SPC include:
* define the characteristics of a high quality output
* break down the various work activities into individual activities
required to produce a high quality output
* have a standard for each work activity
* discuss specific performance expectations for each task with employees
* make check sheets and collect data for each task activity
* evaluate employee progress against standards at frequent intervals
This process relies upon the 'PLAN-DO-ACT-CHECK' approach to production.
This involves planning to achieve set standards of performance and
identifying areas to be improved, implementing these strategies, measuring
performance and carrying out corrective action.
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