Decision-Making in Strategic Quality Planning

Introduction

Decision-making processes are often lengthy, complex, and involve some type of uncertainty (Office of Quality Improvement, 2016). However, making the right decision is an important quality for managers because it helps them to effectively plan, organize, staff, lead, and control their teams (Rocha-Luna, Garza-Reyes, & Kumar, 2013). The effectiveness and quality of their decisions determine their level of success in strategic management.

In this regard, strategic planning emerges as an important and commonly used management tool (Office of Quality Improvement, 2016). However, some people have asked many questions about its relevance and effectiveness in improving specific aspects of management. More importantly, experts have asked about its relevance to quality management (RRC, 2015). To address this line of questioning, this paper explains the importance of the decision-making process in quality management and highlights its relation to the strategic quality planning process of an organization.

Helps in Strategy Formulation

Kahraman and Yanık (2015) have demonstrated the importance of decision-making skills in the strategic quality planning process by highlighting the successful adoption of intelligent decision-making tools, such as “heuristics, fuzzy logic, queuing theory, artificial neural networks” (Kahraman & Yanık, 2015, p. 3) in quality management processes. They say the quality planning process involves the formulation of effective strategies for the realization of organizational goals (Kahraman & Yanık, 2015).

However, this process requires managers to be good at decision-making because they have to evaluate volumes of information to find relevant data that would be important in formulating the right strategies of quality management (Rocha-Luna et al., 2013). Such information may come from the internal or external environment. External market information would require quality managers to match the organizational strengths to the opportunities they have identified (Leadership and strategic, 2011).

Comparatively, an internal analysis of the firm would help the managers to attain improved quality standards for the organization through the formulation of cost-based strategies, or differentiation strategies. Based on these insights, managers require effective decision-making skills to formulate effective strategies for quality management.

Helps in Strategy Implementation

The process of implementing quality strategies often requires organizations to use quality management tools, such as budgets, procedures, and programs, to meet quality management goals (Leadership and strategic, 2011). The desired outcome of the implementation process is to create an effective operational framework that channels organizational resources to realize quality management goals and to have a motivated workforce that would meet the same (WFS, 2012).

The decision-making process is an integral part of this process because it helps managers to devise the best operational plans for implementing the strategies they have formulated. This process is important because it helps determine whether the strategies they have formulated would be successful, or not. In my experience, I have found that large companies often rely on timely decision-making skills to meet quality management goals because people who formulate decisions may not be the same ones who implement them. Comprehensively, the decision-making process is an important aspect of strategy implementation because it helps managers to find the right operational plans to use when integrating their formulated strategies to ongoing organizational processes (Rocha-Luna et al., 2013).

Provides Direction to Quality Managers

Understanding how the decision-making process relates to strategic quality planning depends on our ability to comprehend the strategic planning model for quality management systems (Rocha-Luna et al., 2013). Researchers have said that quality managers often rely on the association between decision-making and the strategic quality planning process to get direction in quality management (Office of Quality Improvement, 2016). Rocha-Luna et al. (2013) add that decision-making tools, in this context, also provide direction to continuous improvement processes.

This process is the result of effective analysis of data relating to an organization’s internal and external environments. The generation of plans and objectives is often a direct result of analyzing information from these environments because, through such data, quality managers find the right direction to steer their quality management efforts.

Therefore, decision-making, as a core tenet of strategic planning, mainly focuses on providing the right direction to quality managers. This action is usually prescriptive and deliberate, but it generally seeks to match the organization’s core competencies with the opportunities that exist in the operating environment. In this regard, strategic planning helps organizations to adapt to their environment in ways that have seen managers get commendations for navigating their organizations through the murky waters of poor organizational performance, through effective quality control (Office of Quality Improvement, 2016).

Helps to Evaluate Progress

Many researchers have highlighted the importance of monitoring and evaluation techniques in quality management (Rocha-Luna et al., 2013). Strategic quality planning helps to improve this process by providing managers with appropriate decision-making tools to do so. For example, it allows managers to make the best decisions in quality management, based on available information and provides realistic assessments of what the organization could achieve in the same context (Leadership and strategic, 2011). Through this process, quality managers also add value to the quality management process by building a stage in the strategic planning process. This process involves evaluating the goals and progress of the strategic quality planning process within a specific time (Leadership and strategic, 2011).

Helps to communicate Quality Management Strategy to Staff

The success of the quality management process often depends on the holistic contribution of different members of the quality management team to realize organizational goals (RRC, 2015). Synergy is important in improving the overall productivity of the quality team. However, it is difficult to realize this team synergy if there is a communication breakdown, or if quality management teams fail to work in harmony. The diagram below highlights the centrality of communication in strategic quality planning

Centrality of communication in strategic quality planning
Figure 1: Centrality of communication in strategic quality planning. Source: (RRC, 2015)

Strategic quality planning helps to eliminate communication breakdowns in the implementation of quality management plans by fostering effective communication within the quality management team. Using such techniques, quality managers could choose the best communication strategies that work for their organizations.

For example, some of them could choose an open communication style to improve team cohesion, while others could choose a hierarchical communication style for sequential quality planning and implementation processes (RRC, 2015). Based on these assertions, it is difficult to ignore the role of effective communication in the quality management plan and the important role played by managers in using the right decision-making tools to make it work.

Conclusion

The insights provided in this paper show that the decision-making process is important in quality planning because it helps quality managers to select the right quality models, methods, and tools for quality management. Generally, strategic planning helps managers to make cost-effective decisions to improve the overall business performance.

This paper reinforces this fact by highlighting the importance of strategic decision-making in improving organizational quality planning processes because it outlines the organization’s long-term direction and value orientation that should guide the quality management process. Comprehensively, this paper explains that the decision-making process is a central management and governance discipline in quality planning.

References

Kahraman, C., & Yanık, S. (2015). Intelligent Decision Making in Quality Management Theory and Applications. New York, NY: Springer.

Leadership and strategic planning for total quality management. (2011).

Office of Quality Improvement. (2016). Measuring the success of your strategic planning.

Rocha-Luna, L., Garza-Reyes, J.A., & Kumar, V. (2013). Building quality management systems: Selecting the right methods and tools. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

RRC. (2015). Open Communication Culture (OCC) and Total Quality Management (TQM).

WFS. (2012). Leadership Strategies – Introduction to Strategic Planning.