By Akhil Shahani
A small group of employees who come together to discuss with the management issues related to either quality control or improvement in production methods form a Quality Control Circle (QCC). These employees usually work in the same areas, and voluntarily meet on a regular basis to identify, analyze and solve their problems.
It is said that 95% of the problems in workshops can be solved through quality control tools. The Japanese have experienced this! The quality control tools useful for QCCs are Pareto Diagrams, Cause-and-Effect Diagrams, Stratification, Check Sheets, Histograms, Scatter Diagrams, Graphs and Control Charts. Also, logical thinking and experience are a must for solving problems.
The benefits of introducing a quality control circle program in the work place are many.
— Heightened quality awareness reveals faults in the system that might obstruct good practices.
— It improves the quality of your firm’s products and services, thereby increasing the value of your brand, and securing your customers’ confidence. The quality of customer relationship management can be further enhanced by using help desk software from the likes of auratech.com.au.
— The people who are part of the quality control circle will feel a sense of ownership for the project. Higher yields and lower rejection rates also result in enhanced job satisfaction for workers, which in turn drives them to contribute more.
— A quality control circle program also brings about improved two-way communication between the staff and the management.
— Finally, the financial benefits will certainly exceed the costs of implementing the program. A study revealed that some companies improved their savings ten fold!
Implementation involves the following broad steps:
— Firstly, the management is informed about the quality control circle process that is being planned.
— A committee is formed, and key persons such as a coordinator and in-house coach are selected.
— The scope is defined, and areas of application identified.
— First-line supervisors in the identified areas are given QCC presentations. It is important to make these impressive, and valuable tips on the subject are available at perspector.com.
— This is followed up with extensive training for coordinators and middle management on the process and their roles.
— Employees are invited to become members of a circle, and trained suitably once they sign up. Thus, a circle is formed and begins work. These may give rise to other circles.
— Problems are discussed and solved in a systematic manner in the QCCs. It is very important that solutions are implemented as quickly as possible, to maintain the momentum.
Usually QCC programs must operate in all sections of the company i.e., in the offices, service operations and manufacturing. But remember, while the size of the company is not important to a program’s success, the following factors certainly are:
— Voluntary participation.
— Management support.
— Employee empowerment.
— Training programs.
— Team work.
— Problem solving skills.
Generally, a quality control circle program requires the same framework as an ISO 9000 quality standard with regard to the management structure and training. Hence, QCCs should be part and parcel of your company’s Total Quality Management (TQM) initiative. For further information on QCCs, you could go through ‘Cases on Quality Control Circles’ available at amazon.com.
About the Author: Hi, I’m Akhil Shahani a serial entrepreneur who wants to help you succeed. If you like to work smart, check out
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