Quality Management

Management requires everyone to work together for quality
Management requires everyone to work together for quality

A Fundamental Concept for Quality Management

Dr. Joseph M. Juran taught that quality management used the same three processes as financial management. They are:

  • Quality Planning
  • Quality Control
  • Quality Improvement

Quality Management – Quality Planning

Of the three elements, inadequate quality planning is a major source of quality deficiencies. Many of the remedies for quality improvement projects consist of re-planning quality. The best way to deal with poor quality is to prevent it in the first place. The earlier in the process a cause of poor quality can be removed the lower the cost to the company.

Quality Management – Quality Control

In creating quality control it is important to choose what to control, establish a unit of measurement, establish performance standards, measure performance, interpret the difference between actual versus the standard, take action on the difference. This is similar to Dr. Deming’s Plan-Do-check-Act cycle.http://technacon.com/category/dr-w-edward-deming

Quality Management – Quality Improvement

Improvement is created on a project by project basis. The first step is to identify specific projects, organize teams, discover causes, develop remedies, prove the effectiveness of the remedies, deal with cultural resistance, and establish controls to the hold the gains.

Quality Management – Return on Investment

As a rough rule of thumb, the average improvement project is worth $100,000 per year in decrease waste/cost while the average one-time cost is approximately $10,000-20,000.

Quality Management – Lessons learned

Some of the lessons learn through applying quality improvement projects are:

  • The return on investment in quality improvement is among the highest available to managers and quality improvement is not capital intensive.
  • The most decisive factor in the race for quality leadership is the rate of quality improvement



Quality Management follows the same basic principles as financial management, has a high return on investment and a low capital investment requirement.

Zero Defects

Zero Defects means no inspectionsThis article is presented as part of an overview of the quality guru’s of the 1980’s. Zero Defects was a key phrase develop by Mr. Philip Crosby and presented by Philip Crosby Associates. Reading “Quality Is Free”, “Quality Without Tears”, and “Quality Without Pain” are helpful in understanding how Mr. Crosby developed his philosophy and encouraged others to use it. For more information about Philip Crosby Associates, go to http://www.philipcrosby.com/pca/index.html.

How does Zero Defects Relate to Conformance to Customer Requirements?

Much of the negative comments applied to the philosophy of Mr. Philip Crosby was a result of taking the term “Zero Defects” out of context. To understand Zero Defects a person must first accept that “conformance to customer requirements” constitutes an acceptable quality level. Therefore the goal is to meet the customer requirements 100% of the time.

Zero Defects is a Goal

It must also be noted that the goal is 100% conformance to customer requirements. To achieve that goal it may first be necessary to meet three sigma and then four sigma and then six sigma. Goals must be set using the cost of quality to determine how to apply resources. If one process is at a 6 sigma performance relative to meeting customer requirements and another equally utilized process is at 2 sigma performance, then scarce resources must be applied to the poorer performing process first.

The Effort to Reach Zero Defect Must Be Continuous

A basic tenet of Mr. Crosby’s philosophy was that improvement is a never ending cycle. This idea is also promoted by Dr. W. Edwards Deming, Dr. Joseph Juran and ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. The effort is continuous and never ending in order to stay in business, provide jobs and make a profit. So simple.

How Come Hardly Anything Ever Gets Better? The Case for Quality Improvement.

How do you create quality improvement?

Quality Improvement from the Quality College

In 1987, I had the privilege to attend the Quality College in Winter Park, FL. It was a highly informative week and I have kept the binder and used it as a reference ever since, although I haven’t gone back to it for a few years.

When I started to develop a page for the teachings of Philip Crosby I pulled out the binder and reviewed the material. Near the back I found a letter from Philip Crosby titled “How come hardly anything ever gets better?” A similar question was posted on LinkedIn so it seemed a good place to start.

Mr. Crosby’s first point was that no one, not the powerful or the powerless were against quality improvement. All of his books, speeches and educational material showed the financial fact that doing things right the first time cost less than doing things wrong and fixing them. Products, services, prisons, morals, the judiciary, Congress, movies, taxis – just about everything needs improvement.

Since everyone was in favor of improvement and opportunities abound, there should be an epidemic of things getting better. That begged the question; why is hardly anything getting better?

Who is Responsible for Quality Improvement?

Mr. Crosby came up with 3 basic reasons:

  1. The highest paid and most talented people in a company do not work on improvement. They produce strategy books, planning manuals, marketing reports, five year plans etc that are shown like merit badges but are not used or implemented. Everyone is working hard on things that make little difference.
  2. People who understand a subject do not get help in determining a policy for improvement. Nationally known consumer advocate groups have no experience in quality management. Most business media experts talk about quality and yet their experience is limited. Getting a common definition of “quality” would be difficult and it has been overlaid with emotion.
  3. 3.      Management and labor do not understand each other. There are very few members of management that have ever actually done the work they supervise. Motivation of the workers is the most popular theme for quality improvement programs. Yet it is management that needs to realize they are the cause of the problems by the way they manage. Union management falls into the same boat as company executives.

The Results of Quality Improvement

Companies that create a renaissance in terms of changing management operating attitudes have drastically improved their products and services and reaped the reward to the bottom line. Companies have already paid for quality, isn’t it time they should get what is coming to them?

Has There Been Quality Improvement?

As I read the letter in many ways I agreed with Mr. Crosby. However looking back over the past 25 years, I also realized that we have come a very long way in large part thanks to Mr. Crosby, Dr. Deming, Dr Juran and Dr. Shewhart. So I invite you to comment. What improvements have you seen? Are things getting better or is hardly anything getting better?

Point 14 – Top Management Commitment to Action

Clearly define top management’s permanent commitment to ever improving quality and
productivity, and their obligation to implement all of these principles. Indeed, it is not enough that top management commit themselves for life to quality and productivity. They must know what it is that they are committed to—that is, what they must do. Create a structure in top management that will push every day on the preceding 13 Points, and take action in order to accomplish the transformation. Support is not enough: action is required!

Dr. W. Edwards Deming

What is Management’s Job – Commitment to Action

One of my father’s favorite sayings was, “lead, follow or get out of the way”. Management’s job is to lead. There must be a commitment to constant and on-going improvement. Each and every morning, management must look at their operation and decide what needs improvement and make a commitment to take action.

The Price of Failed Commitment to Action

If management does not make a commitment to constant and on-going improvement, it
will not happen. Management does not have to implement  the change but they must lead the change or their employees will end up building internal empires or chasing projects with
a lower value to the company.

Part of creating this commitment is developing a structure that guides the employees to
an on-going commitment of improvements in quality and productivity. Management must establish a system, indicate its’ importance to the company and demonstrate their own commitment to constantly and forever improving. It does not have to be fancy, but management must believe and support it.

The Call for Commitment to Action

There is a childhood chant, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will
never hurt me.” I wish it were true. How many suicides were prompted by cruel words? Words have power, the power to build up or the power to tear down.When management stands up and says “this is who we are and this is what we stand for” it can change the world.

My first job was with an ethical pharmaceutical company. We had a simple rule,
“Would you want your child to take this medicine?” If the answer was no, we threw it away. Every person on the line had the ability to call the supervisor and point out a problem. Each and every person on that line knew the importance of what they did and that attitude came from the top down. The VP of manufacturing walked through the plant several times a day and any operator
could stop him with a question or a concern. We had power and pride.

So what are you going to do, lead, follow or get out of the way?

Sick of the Green Revolution

“If I have one more person tell me I need to make my company Green, I’m going to become politically incorrect.” This statement was made in a CEO round-table meeting and perfectly describes the frustration business owners feel. Sales are down, the economy is questionable and they are being pressured to make an investment because it is the “right thing to do”. The first priority is to stay in business and find a way to make payroll. Getting pressured to make what they perceive as unrealistic investments for a feel-good
moment is not something a wise business owner does.

Unfortunately, they couldn’t be more wrong.

The Start of the Green Revolution

In the early 1990’s, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) created the environmental standard ISO 14000 as a response to conservation initiatives from the 1970’s. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_14000.Unlike the more well known ISO 9000 Quality Standard, ISO 14000 was not required by most clients, for one simple reason, all cost benefits went to the implementer. ISO 9000 allowed clients to eliminate costly auditing staff, supplier audits and incoming inspection. There was a direct benefit to the
client to insist the supplier implement ISO 9000. The benefit for the implementation of ISO 14000 was indirect so many companies did not include it as a requirement to do business with them.

Why Aren’t Business Owners joining the Green Revolution

Suppliers had limited resources and meeting the customer requirements was the first priority. ISO 14000 got lost in the shuffle as few people had time to analyze the standard and realize the cost benefits.

How does ISO 14000 Relate to the Green Revolution?

The purpose of ISO 14000 standard is to create a continuous improvement process to reduce consumption and waste. If a company can make more product using less materials and energy, and has to pay less to process waste, the unit cost of producing their product is reduced. This gives the business owner the option of increasing profits or reducing price and increasing sales. Still business
owners did not see ISO 14000 as something they wanted to pursue. To make it more palatable to the average business owner, ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 have been gradually changing to make them so similar they can be implemented through thesame process and systems. Companies already meeting ISO 9000 will have little or no difficulty incorporating ISO 14000.

Frequently the barrier to implementing continuous improvement in reduced consumption and waste is a capital investment.http://technacon.com/… However, due to the Green Revolution significant grants are available to help
companies across this hurdle. Now is the time to embrace the Green Revolution, implement ISO 14000 and increase profitability. Joining the Green Revolution could make more business sense than it does today.

Point 12 – Pride of Workmanship is Power

Pride of Workmanship is Power

Permit pride of workmanship
Remove the barriers that rob hourly workers, and people in management, of their
right to pride of workmanship. This implies, among other things, abolition of
the annual merit rating (appraisal of performance) and of Management by
Objective. Again, the responsibility of managers, supervisors, foremen must be
changed from sheer numbers to quality.

Dr.W. Edwards Deming

The Never Ending Motivator – Pride of Workmanship

There was a Disney movie about the Jamaican bobsled team, titled “Cool
Runnings”. One of the characters, Junior, lacked self-confidence. He
lacked pride in workmanship. One of his teammates gave him guidance. He had
Junior look into the mirror and see “pride” and “power” and a “crazy [person] that
didn’t take nothing from nobody”. It was a turning point for both Junior and
ultimately the team. Creating that kind of pride in workmanship in employees is
the most effective thing a manager can do.

The manager doesn’t need to stand over the operator or pour through charts to see
if the employee did it right. The manager could go play golf because the person
with pride of workmanship is making the best part possible without supervision.

Instilling Pride of Workmanship

When I worked in pharmaceuticals, pride of workmanship was the first thing we
instilled. We simply asked each employee to ask themselves one question;
“Would you want your loved one to take this particular bottle of medicine?”. If the answer was “no”, we didn’t want to sell it
because someone’s loved one would be taking it.

I’ve had clients say to me, yes but something like medicine is easy to create pride in workmanship but our
product isn’t. Generally, I ask them where is the product used and if it fails
what is the worst that can happen. A plastic disposable cover can be sharp and
cut the user or provide a choking hazard. A component in a car or truck or
school bus can fail and the vehicle could crash.

If you can do a Failure Mode and Effect Analysis, you have a tool for instilling pride of workmanship. If
the IT system fails will a company shutdown and put people out of work? If a
report is sloppy and sends management down a wrong path will the company close?
If a customer service rep is surly and the client goes somewhere else, what is
the long run impact on the company? It is the manager’s job to teach the
employee why they are important to the company and should take pride in

Killing Pride of Workmanship

Unfortunately, killing pride of workmanship is all too easy. Ignore an employee when they warn
you of a problem. Ta-da, pride in workmanship just took a major blow and
“I just keep my head down and my mouth shut and collect my pay”
becomes the attitude of the day. Give the employee bad tools, either machines
needing maintenance or reports filled with bad or missing information and the
result is a loss of pride in workmanship. Set an arbitrary goal the employee
can not possible achieve and you rob them of pride of workmanship. Tell the
employee to do a task, reprimand them if they do it wrong but don’t give them
the tools to measure and know if they did it right or wrong and frustration
will kill pride of workmanship. Killing pride of workmanship is way too easy.

You Matter = Pride in Workmanship

To create and maintain pride in workmanship in your staff, make sure they know
they matter. Listen if they tell you “there is a problem” and don’t
shoot the messenger. If they are wrong take the time to make sure they know why
it isn’t a problem.

Each time a manager helps to grow the understanding of an
employee in job knowledge, the manager creates pride in workmanship. The cost
is small, no big raise, no creative title, just recognition that the employee
makes a difference in the overall performance of the company.

When a manager creates pride in workmanship their employees they create the best sales tool in
the world – consistent high quality product. When an employee knows they are
creating high quality product their pride in workmanship increases and the
company reaps the benefit.

Point 11 – Arbitrary Numerical Targets


Is your management review a continuous improvement tool or an arbitrary numerical target?

Management Review – a Continuous Improvement Tool or Generator of Arbitrary Numerical Targets


Eliminate arbitrary numerical targets
Eliminate work standards that prescribe quotas for the work force and numerical goals for people in management. Substitute aids and helpful leadership in order to achieve continual improvement of quality and productivity.
Dr. W. Edwards Deming

Doing it Wrong – Management by Arbitrary Numerical Targets

I think the key phrase is “arbitrary numerical targets”. Various companies I
worked for over the years have had management goals and objectives. Sometimes
the managers chose them, sometimes we were guided in them, and at a few it was
just an outright order. At one particular company we had to find either a 10%
increase in productivity or a 10% reduction in costs each year. To the outside
world we were setting our own goals. In reality we were working to arbitrary
numerical targets. The glossy projection sheets and plans appeared to be the
desires of a motivated workforce. We were motivated alright, we either
delivered on the arbitrary numerical target or lost our jobs.
The reason these goals were arbitrary numerical targets was they were identified
using the wrong method. Management did not sit in the management review and
look at the reported performance, and ask the staff to participate in continuous improvement. They looked at how much money they needed to bring in
to be a hero and then told everyone to deliver on arbitrary numerical targets.

Doing it Right – Management by Continuous Improvement not Arbitrary Numerical Targets

There was one company I worked for that did this right. They decided, from the data
in the management review, which was the worst performing press in the plant. It
was one of those bad economic times and no one had money to replace the
machine. Management built a team of operators, mechanics, supervisors and
engineers and turned the machine over to them. They didn’t set an arbitrary
numerical goal, they asked “what would you do to make this run better?”
The team cleaned the machine and then ran an order. Any place there was an oil leak,
they fixed it. They figured out why the leak had occurred in the first place
and where necessary made improvements in replacement parts like bearings and
seals. Once the machine was functioning as designed, they implemented the
Plan-Do-Check-Act process. They analyzed the production on the next order and
tweaked the machine and tooling. They adjusted gages so they were easy to read
and ran another order. By the time they got through, the machine was producing
at 130% of design with a part-time operator. No arbitrary numerical target
would have set the goal this team achieved.

Which Way Are You – Management Review to Eliminate Arbitrary Numerical Targets

A key tool in eliminating arbitrary numerical targets is the management review. If done well, it leads to aiding the improvement of quality and productivity. If done poorly it leads to arbitrary numerical goals. Look at how the process is managed. Are reports put into place to pass the audit or are they a tool to identifying problems and solutions? Who contributes to the reports? Is this a “dog and pony show” or are
employees encouraged to talk openly without fear of losing their jobs? If a
company wishes to create continuous improvement, to stay in business and create
jobs, then the first place they need to look is the management review. So what
does your management review generate; continuous improvement or arbitrary
numerical targets?

Point 9 – Are You Talking to Me?

Break down barriers

Break down barriers between departments and staff areas. People in different areas, such as Leasing, Maintenance, Administration, must work in teams to tackle problems that may be encountered with products or service.

Dr. W. Edward Deming

If you every want to see a head butting contest, put an experienced tool and die maker with a freshly graduated tooling engineer. If you don’t have a vested interest it can be entertaining. Certainly, I found it significantly enlarged my four letter word vocabulary.

The company faced an unacceptable defect level being generated from the tool. Root cause analysis guide us to a poor understanding, and therefore almost non-existent communication, between engineers and the tool makers. Each vocally attributed the problem to the other.

Our solution, have them trade positions for a day. The engineer got his hands dirty and once he got over being self-conscious actually had some fun running mills, lathes and all the other toys the tool maker used. The tool maker got to try his hand at CAD and got an earful of just how little information the engineer had to work with. Each came away from the project with respect for the other and the freedom to communicate instead of blame.

We started a program having new hire engineers working in the tool room and training toolmakers on the engineer’s toys. Each learned to respect the other. The groups went from snubbing each other in the lunch room to wearing a path in the floor tile between each others’ work stations.

Our next step introduced Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA). We now had people who were willing to work together instead of point fingers. As soon as we armed them with data and invited them to utilize their education and experience our quality made a geometric improvement. Where 3 sigma had been an unrealistic dream, we made the jump to 6 sigma and parts per million defect levels.

This break though came because we broke down barriers, increasing respect and communications. If we had started the FMEA without first developing respect between the participants our success would have been minimal.

Where are the communication barriers in your company?