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QUALITY CIRCLES. By Zaipul Anwar Business & Advanced Technology Centre, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. Overview. What are Quality Circles? Summary of History and Practices How Do Quality Circles Work? How Can They be Used in an Organization? Example and Activity

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quality circles


By Zaipul AnwarBusiness & Advanced Technology Centre,Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

  • What are Quality Circles?
  • Summary of History and Practices
  • How Do Quality Circles Work?
  • How Can They be Used in an Organization?
  • Example and Activity
  • Problems with Quality Circles
  • Bibliography
summary of history and practices
Summary of History and Practices
  • Quality Circles were first seen in the United States in the 1950’s
  • Circles were developed by Dr, Kaoru Ishikawa in Japan in the 1960’s
  • Circles were re-exported to the US in the early 1970’s
summary of history and practices continue
Summary of History and Practices (continue)
  • 1980’s brought Total Quality Management and a reduction in the use of Quality Circles
  • Quality Circles can be a useful tool if used properly
summary of history and practices continue5
Summary of History and Practices (continue)

Quality Control (1960’s)

Inspection (1950’s)

Quality Assurance (1970’s)

Total Quality (1980’s)

“World Class”

Zero Defect,

Customer Focus,

Quick Response (1990’s)

2000’s ?

what is a quality circle
What is a Quality Circle?
  • Voluntary groups of employees who work on similar tasks or share an area of responsibility
  • They agree to meet on a regular basis to discuss & solve problems related to work.
  • They operate on the principle that employee participation in decision-making and problem-solving improves the quality of workThe reduction, by their efforts, of the countless number of problems which impede the effectiveness of their work
  • Encourage circles to elect their own leaders towards the end of the training period
what is a quality circle continue
What is a Quality Circle? (continue)
  • Frequency and duration of meetings is set by the group
  • Circle should be autonomous in that it should select the problems that it wishes to solve QCCs useful for mutual-self-development and process control and improvement within their workshop.
  • Utilising basic 7 QC Tools.
  • Japanese experience indicated that 95% of the problems in the workshop can be solved through 7 QC Tools
the japanese description of the effectiveness of a quality circle is expressed as
The Japanese description of the effectiveness of a quality circle is expressed as:

“It is better for one hundred people to take one step than for one person to take a hundred’

The World Turned Upside Down!

















how do quality circles work
How Do Quality Circles Work?
  • All members of a Circle need to receive training
  • Members need to be empowered
  • Members need to have the support of Senior Management
  • Characteristics
    • Volunteers
    • Set Rules and Priorities
    • Decisions made by Consensus
    • Use of organized approaches to Problem-Solving
formation of quality circles
Formation of Quality Circles
  • Start on the Shop Floor
  • Base Circle on Training
  • Allow the Circle to Form Itself
  • Do The Training Properly
  • Support with Information Required
  • Provide Skills and Experience
requirements of quality circles
Requirements of Quality Circles
  • Management Support
  • Training
  • Recognition System
how can they be used in an organization
How Can They be Used in an Organization?
  • Increase Productivity
  • Improve Quality
  • Boost Employee Morale
the premise of quality circles
The Premise of Quality Circles
  • Much of the trouble originated from the gulf between management and shop floor
  • Operators were frequently well aware of the cause of quality problems and, with modern standards of education, often knew how to cure them
team exercise
Team Exercise
  • Break down into teams of 6-8 people
  • Establish a leader and rules for your Circle
  • Have a brainstorming and problem-solving session to resolve the issue on the next slide
team exercise16
Team Exercise
  • A Collegiate class on Statistical Analysis has a total enrollment of 45 people.
  • Average attendance is 18 students
  • The class consists mainly of lectures
  • How can the professor of this class improve the quality of this course and increase student involvement?
the benefits of quality circles
The Benefits of Quality Circles
  • A Direct Pay-off (cost/benefits)
  • An Operator To Manager Dialogue (involvement, participation, communication)
  • A Manager To Manager Dialogue (awareness)
  • An Operator to Operator Dialogue (attitudes)
  • A Quality Mindedness (product quality and reliability, prevention of non-conformance)
  • The Personal Development of the Participants
reasons for failure of quality circles
Reasons for failure of Quality Circles
  • Inadequate Training
  • Unsure of Purpose
  • Not truly Voluntary
  • Lack of Management Interest
  • Quality Circles are not really empowered to make decisions.
reasons for failure of quality circles continue
Reasons for failure of Quality Circles (continue)
  • They have not had enough training
  • They have not been given sufficient autonomy
  • The Quality Circles have been started in isolation and not part of a wider programme of Company-wide Continuous Improvement
  • Cole, Robert E. 1999. Managing Quality Fads: How American Business Learned to Play the Quality Game. New York, NY: Oxford Press.
  • Aubrey, Charles A. 1988. Teamwork: Involving People in Quality and Productivity Improvement. Milwaukee, WI: Quality Press.
  • Foster, S. Thomas. 2001. Managing Quality: An Integrative Approach. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Author Unknown. 1984. Quality Circles in the Community College [online]. Available online via http://www.ed.gov/databases/ERIC_Digests/ed353008.html
  • Author Unknown. 1994. Kaizen and Quality Circles [online]. Available online via http://sol.brunel.ac.uk/~jarvis/bola/quality/circles.html
quality improvement teams22
  • Team formed where there is a specific problem whose solution is unlikely to reside in a single department and which is large enough to justify the establishment of a team to resolve the problem
  • For example (the combined actions of Production, Testing, Technical Departments as well as the Supplier for persistent equipment breakdown)
characteristics of qits
  • Set up by management
  • Inter-departmental
  • Group is usually formed to resolve a problem identified by others
  • Team is usually disbanded once the problem solved
benefits of qits
  • Break Down Inter-Departmental Barriers
    • QIT process is part of team building and ownership of the problem
  • Solutions Are More Global In Concept
    • optimised for corporate rather than departmental goals
  • Improved Communications
    • solutions are sought for the corporate good rather than to shift blame
  • Improved Problem Solving
    • create a degree of mobile expertise in problem solving within the company
the qit process
  • Adequate training in appropriate skills must be provided before the QIT starts work
  • To deny the team the problem-solving tools it needs to carry out the task is inviting failure which will affect not only the issue under consideration but the credibility of the QIT process itself
the qit process26
  • Identify the Project And Form The Team
  • Define The Problem Accurately
  • Identify And Verify Root Causes
  • Plan And Implement Corrective Action
  • Standardise And Seek Other Applications
  • Conduct A Review Of The Project