14 Steps to Establish Process Improvement

This article is presented as part of an overview of the quality guru’s of the 1980’s. The 14 steps were 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.

Quality Councils guide the quality Improvement Process

Step 1 of the 14 Steps – Management Commitment for Process Improvement

Management must make clear where it stands on quality. Without top management commitment the process is doomed to failure (see “Four Ways a Quality Improvement Process Can Fail” and “Five Ways to Assure the Success of a Quality Improvement Process”).Top management must communicate it has a zero defect strategy if it wants a quality improvment process. The primary action to accomplish this is to write and communicate a Quality Policy. In ISO 9001 all documentation comes from the philosophy in the quality policy. This is the reason why that is so important.

Step 2 of the 14 Steps – Quality Improvement Team to Create Process Improvement

A framework is needed to coordinate the quality improvement process which is driven by the quality improvement team. This is the vehicle to remove roadblocks to progress and provides a formal communications medium to ensure the quality improvement efforts are coordinated throughout the company. Each department should have a representative on the team and a charter is needed. The team members take responsibility for one or more of the 14 steps. This team is not the problem solving team but manages the various activities associated with quality improvement throughout the company.

Step 3 of the 14 Steps – Measurement of Process Improvement

One definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result. Measurement is the determination of the result. Teams measure the difference their changes have made. Measurement is done in simple terms of things (part XYZ) or events (shutdowns or recalls) and compared to past performance to see if it is a process improvement, no change or a deterioration.

Step 4 of the 14 Steps – Cost of Quality and Process Improvement

The Cost of Quality takes “things” and “events” and converts them to a common language – money. The group charged with making the change does not monetize their efforts this is done at a central level providing for consistency of costing. (see “The Cost of Quality”) Speaking in terms of money allows managment to justify the costs to create process improvement.

Step 5 of the 14 Steps – Quality Awareness as it Relates to Process Improvement

The purpose of Quality Awareness is to raise the personal concern felt by all employees toward the conformance of the product or service and the quality reputation of the company.[1] As Dr. Deming also said in his 14 points, we are all dependent on each other. Process improvment can not occur unless the entire team agrees it is needed.

Step 6 of the 14 Steps – Corrective Action for Process Improvement

Corrective Action Systems respond to 3 sets of rules – Input rules, Administrative rules, and output rules. Corrective action looks for systematic rather than anecdotal solutions. The process should have steps and be formalized throughout a company. They should be designed to eliminate compromising on conformance to requirements. Implement “Do It Right the First Time” to create process improvement.

Step 7 and 9 of 14 Steps – Zero Defects Planning and Zero Defects Day impact on Process Improvement

Zero Defects day is designed to be an event to create a personal experience for all employees so they know a permanent change, a process improvement, has been made. Management is committed and this is a process not a project. It will not go away.

Step 8 of 14 Steps – Employee Education Creates Process Improvement

All employees must understand the Absolutes of Quality so they can competently carry out their role in the quality improvement process. This means an education plan as well as reference documentation such as procedures and work instructions. Treat Suppliers as if they were employees when it comes to education.

Step 10 of 14 Steps – Goal Setting for Process Improvement

Total quality is achieved incrementally over time but in order to keep focused on process improvement it is important to establish realistic goals. Employees must participate in the goal setting and have a say in what can be accomplished in a defined timeframe.

Step 11 of 14 Steps – Error Cause Removal in Process Improvement

Employees have to be able to communicate roadblocks to accomplishing quality improvement process. Communication must flow in both directions; management must make expectations clear and employees must define issues and concerns that they believe will prevent them from being successful. The process to do so should be simple and formal with procedures  and assigned responsibilities to address employee concerns.

Step 12 of 14 Steps – Recognition of Process Improvement Efforts

Everyone needs to know their hard work was recognized. A quality improvement process must include a formal program to recognize both individuals and groups for their actions which create quality improvement.

Step 13 of 14 Steps – Quality Councils for Process Improvement

The purpose of this step is to bring together the appropriate people to share information that may benefit other areas of the company. In a large company with multiple divisions it could be a periodic meeting of the quality managers. They must also audit the quality improvement process for effectiveness and be will to go to management if the system is not functioning as planned.

Step 14 of 14 Steps – Do It All Over Again for Continuous Process Improvement

A quality improvement process never ends. It must be a permanent management responsibility. The focus must be to always satisfy the customer. At this time the Quality Improvement team changes although at least one member of the old team must stay on to provide information and continuity in the quality improvment process.

 

 



[1] “Quality Improvement Process Management College Manual” @1987 pg 4-6-1 “Purpose”

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