Sunday, November 11, 2007

Quality management: Changing the rules of the game

by Shibu Cheruvatoor
The Economic Times

While elaborating on the concept of Total Quality Management (TQM), the late quality management guru Professor Ishikawa would use an analogy comparing the Shinkansen - the Japanese bullet train to other trains in the west. He would explain that the Shinkansen was then the fastest train in the world because each of the train’s carriages had a motor, unlike others which only had a locomotive in the front. In much the same way, he would conclude total quality management has a similar effect when practiced correctly. Concept of Japanese quality management Put simply, Total Quality Management (TQM) is the process of instilling quality throughout an organisation and its business processes. The Japanese were instrumental in extending Quality Management (QM) to the more broad-based concept of TQM, synonymous with Japanese quality management. Nearer home, Mahindra Institute of Quality (MIQ), a premier management institute located in Nashik, in the western region of the country, imparts residential training programmes in the Japanese way of Quality Management. The training programmes are animated with world-class infrastructure, the Japanese faculty, guest faculty from industry, case-study presentations, experiential learning games, self learning teams, etc. At the end of each course it is mandatory for the participants, facilitated by MIQ, to implement improvement projects in their organization. Scientific management In 1881, F.W. Taylor, published his revolutionary work on scientific management. He propagated the application of scientific methods to each element of work instead of the old rule-of-thumb. He also advocated training of workers, instead of letting them use their own tasks and methods. Alongside he recommended a healthy spirit of co-operation between workers and management to ensure work is done by scientifically devised procedures and appropriate division of work between workers and management. Thermolab, a Maharashtra-based ISO 9001 certified company accredits its Quality Control department as the reason for its ability to provide customers with the best quality equipment. The department is equipped with specialized people to run quality checks at each and every stage of production, keep a track for the incoming material test, check the quality of the equipment during the production stage and finally at the final testing stage. This has resulted in avoiding component and product failure in the field. Customer interests at the centre A company which can understand current and future customer needs, meet their requirements and strive to exceed expectations is more likely to enjoy increased revenues and market shares, which could lead to repeat business. The team at Thermolab proudly state, “Our success is based on actively listening to our customers’ needs and knowing how to convert the customer’s requirements into tangible customer advantage, using a high level of technical expertise. At the same time, we maintain a commitment to introduce the best and latest to the market. This is the key attribute of our focus on customer-driven core values.”

No comments: