Quality is a continuous process that can be broken anywhere in the system of supply and customer service. By letting every person know how their activities help fulfill customer’s requirements, the organization can motivate their employees and suppliers to provide quality consistently. They must also realize that throughout the organization they will have both internal customers and suppliers similar to those outside the organization.
In general a process helps to change a set of inputs (i. e. resource, equipment, material and methods etc.) into desired outputs in the form of products or services. It is obvious that for certain aspects of an organization there will be various processes taking place, for example an organization may be involved in budgetary processes, accounting processes, salary and wage processes, costing processes, production processes, etc. Each process in every organization can be described by a proper investigation of the inputs and outputs of that organization. This will help to determine the action to be taken for the improvement of quality (Boznak, 1989).
The people who recently visited various quality companies in Japan and USA will tell that the central philosophy of all these companies is ‘Kaizen’ or loosely translated from the Japanese ‘continuous improvement’ and the quest for quality is a continuous cycle (Alic, 1988). The process on which continuous improvement is based is generally known as the Deming wheel. However, this wheel shows a continuous movement in a certain direction as shown in Fig. 1. The idea behind this is that the input which generates activities with measurable output is processes and the perfection of the process is the ultimate objective.
In Deming’s wheel the plan defines the process which ensures documentation and sets measurable objectives against it. The do executes the process and collects the information required. The check analyses the information in suitable format. The act obtains corrective action using total quality management techniques and methods and assesses future plans. At the end of each cycle the process is either standardized or targets are adjusted based on the analysis and the cycle continues. The link between customer/supplier with process improvement can be seen in Fig. 2 above.
Total Quality Management Approach As we know that many organizations in the United States of America are now also quality performers and there is a very good chance of a ‘gripping’ effect on the markets of European organizations that do not follow the quality improvement process. These United States organizations that have already achieved substantial advantage in their domestic markets by keeping the Japanese organization at a distance, are now well equipped to develop their market in Europe where the companies are just waking up to the quality improvement revolution.
Quality is now more of a survival kit for many European companies and without proper care and consideration they will be squeezed by the United States of America and Japan (Alic, 1988). In developing quality performance, various organizations in the United States did not follow completely the Japanese method of quality improvement; instead they have considered the country’s basic cultural issues in order to achieve the required quality in every aspect of their activities. By introducing quality improvements in this way they have developed quality ethics in their own organization with their own quality culture.
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