The term “quality” now is considered as a complex concept. It includes the quality of the final product, management, supply or work, life of people (employees) and society.
Quality management - is a coordinated and interrelated activity for the management of the organization that provides it strong and smooth operation.
The management of the organization according to the quality means that all activities are follow to established quality objectives. The organization has developed a system of plans to achieve these objectives. It has necessary resources and actions are carried out to achieve quality objectives.
Quality management includes four main components:
- quality inspection;
- quality assurance;
- quality planning;
- quality improvement.
Quality inspection - is the assessment activity for compliance of the object of control with the established requirements. Assessment activity may include measurement, testing, surveillance, monitoring, inspection, calibration and other action. The result of these actions is a comparison of the observed characteristics with assigned values.
Quality assurance - is a systematic (regular) activity. It enables your organization to meet the requirements. This activity includes production, management, material support, maintenance, etc.
Quality planning - is actions that includes determining the necessary characteristics of the object and setting their target values. Quality management calls these actions the setting of quality objectives. Quality planning also includes the identification of processes and resources needed to achieve objectives.
Quality improvement - is the implementation of actions that can improve the organization's ability to meet the requirements for the object. Quality management considers products, processes, management system and the organization as an object.
Quality management is a large and voluminous section of applied science which contains the philosophy and the theory and practical methods.
Quality management history
Interest to quality management came with the formation of mass industrial production. Quality management has had several stages from the end of the 19th century to the present time. These stages are associated with the development of certain production technologies. These stages do not have clearly defined scopes. It is more correct to talk about the overlapping stages, because the development and formation of certain management methods and production technologies does not begin and does not end at one point.
Quality management paid the greatest attention to the control of parameters and characteristics of products at the first stage of its development. This stage occurred at the end of 19th and beginning 20th century. It was characterized with attention to the product and the identification of problems in the product. Developed and large quality control services were appeared at the factories during this period. They were engaged in verification of each product. Control was usually carried out at the end of the production cycle and required the involvement of specially trained inspectors.
The second stage refers to the period of the 20s - 50s of the 20th century. This stage is called "process control stage". The focus is moved from product to production processes. This transformation was made possible through the development of statistical methods for monitoring processes and control charts. It was possible to significantly reduce the cost of control and improve the quality of products as a result.
The third stage of quality management development took place in the period from the end of 50s to the beginning of 80's. The transformation into this stage was related to the efforts that made by Japanese companies to increase competition of their products. This stage can be called "quality improvement stage" or "quality assurance". Quality management was focused on improving the subsystems of the enterprise - production processes, management processes, processes of support, personnel management, purchases, sales, marketing etc.
The fourth stage is formed approximately at the end of 60's to beginning of 70's. It is associated with focusing on the most important characteristics of the product for the consumer. The competition was growing among manufacturers at this period. Quality management began to pay attention to quality planning. This stage can be called the "quality planning stage".
Quality management Gurus
Quality management is closely connected to the names of many scientists and engineers who have made important contribution to solving quality problems. The efforts some of them were the "catalysts" of the transformation to the next stage of quality management.
- Walter A . Shewhart - He developed statistical methods of process control. His name is associated with the use of control charts in the production (control charts Shewhart). His scholarly writings became the basis for the creation of a quality improvement cycle. This cycle is known as a cycle PDCA (Plan - Do - Check – Act).
- Joseph Juran - He is known for developing the "quality triad". The quality triad includes a cycle of actions on quality planning, quality control and quality improvement. Juran is also the developer of the CWQM concept (Company - Wide Quality Management).
- W. Edwards Deming - He is considered the creator and developer of the concept of "Total quality management". He made important contribution for the development of statistical methods of process management. Deming is known for developing a systematic approach to quality improvement. He was able to present this approach as a simple and clear mode - as a PDCA improvement cycle (Shewhart – Deming cycle).
- Armand Feigenbum – He developed the principles of Total quality control. He was the founder and Chairman of the international Academy of quality.
- Kaoru Ishikawa – He is the developer of many quality tools. The most well-known tool is the cause-effect diagram or Ishikawa diagram. Kaoru Ishikawa developed the basic principles of the corporate quality control system and proposed to use the "quality circle" to describe the life cycle of product.
- Genichi Taguchi - He was engaged in development of statistical methods and applied it in industrial production (so-called "Taguchi methods»). These methods are the basis of six sigma now. Taguchi also developed a method of industrial experiments planning. He suggested an idea of improving quality while reducing costs. This idea is based on the concept of "quality loss function".
- Shigeo Shingo - He is one of the developers of Just-in-Time system (the well-known Japanese planning and production system). He is also known as a developer of the SMED method (single minute exchange of die) and Poka-Yoke system which are part of lean-production system now.
- Philip Crosby – He is the developer of the well-known quality program "zero defects". He made important contribution to the development of quality improvement methods the basics of which are formulated as 14 steps of quality improvement.
Applied directions of quality management
Quality management has a large theoretical base at the present stage. This base incorporates elements of many Sciences. Quality management remains an applied science since its appearance to the nowadays. Its main purpose is to plan, create and provide a quality result (products, management system, processes, infrastructure, living environment etc.). This purpose is provided by creating of application systems that are implemented in different companies.
The most well-known and popular systems are:
- ISO 9000 – It is quality management system based on international standards ISO 9000 series. This is one of the most popular and formalized system. It focuses on regulation of activities, interaction of employees and continuous improvement of subsystems and a whole organization.
- TQM (Total Quality Management) - It is both a system and a management philosophy. TQM is used in Japan more than another world. It is popular and widespread there. This system was developed in Japan. TQM is based on the ideas of Deming, Juran, Crosby, etc. The main principle of this system is the principle of improving everything that can be improved in the company. Strongly formalized requirements (as in ISO 9000) do not exist.
- Quality award - It can be considered as another one of the quality system version. Different countries have their own quality awards – Deming Prize, Malcolm Baldrige award, EFQM model. The award is given only to the best organization that meets the established criteria of the award. The set of these criteria is large. The organization must apply different quality management methods to respond these criteria.
- Six sigma (6 sigma) – It is a method of improving the quality of the organization's processes. It focuses on identifying and removal the causes of various nonconformities and defects. Six sigma method is a set of quality tools and strategies. It was originally developed and used by Motorola. It became popular since the late 80-ies of the 20th century. The six sigma method is based on the scholarly writings of Taguchi.
- Lean production (lean manufacturing) - This is a set of production practices. The use of these practices can reduce costs and improve the quality of the final product. The concept of lean production is based on the one principle. Use of any resources of the organization should be directed only to the creation of value for the end user. Any usage of resources that does not add value must be reduced. A set of different methods, techniques and tools of quality management is used for this purpose. Lean manufacturing became known and popular after the publication of information about the Toyota production system in the early 90-ies of the 20th century. This concept is based on the scholarly writings of Shigeo Shingo.
- Kaizen – It is philosophy and set of practices directed on continuous improvement of the organization processes. Kaizen is a Japanese term. It means - striving for the best. Kaizen has formed as a systematic approach to improving performance since the early 50s. It is one of the basic approaches in the TQM system. The core of this approach is to perform small and minor improvements every day. Large number of minor improvements will lead to a major improvement after some time. Kaizen shows the well-known law of dialectics - transition of quantity to quality.
- Best practice - This is a set of methods and techniques that allow you to get a qualitative result. The results of the best companies in the industry are understood as a qualitative result. The distribution of best practices began in the early 90s of the 20th century. Best practices are formed as sourcebooks or standards. These standards contain requirements for the application of certain methods, including quality management methods.
This is not the whole list of techniques and systems that are developed and used in quality management. New concepts and methods of quality management are being developed nowadays. The term “quality” is becoming more and more various.