Quality Management and Continuous Improvement


Success in quality management can be achieved when managers are focused on certain objectives to accomplish and improve their professional performance. Since quality management can be viewed as a continuous process in an organization, the improvement of managers’ skills and qualities should also be continual and associated with an organization’s goals (O’Neill, Sohal, & Teng, 2016). The purpose of this paper is to discuss how accomplishing course objectives can contribute to success in work, what risks exist in this area, what is continuous improvement in this context, as well as to present and analyze the examples of improvement approaches, techniques, and management quality initiatives.

Course Objectives and Success in Management

The objectives associated with the course on quality management cover such areas as the necessity of applying critical thinking skills, using communication techniques, measuring the cost of quality, guaranteeing the process improvement, discussing quality initiatives and the role of technology, and assessing tools for the quality control among others. It is possible to state that the accomplishment of these objectives directly supports the professional success in the sphere of quality management because a manager faces the necessity of completing the mentioned tasks or objectives every day (Siva et al., 2016). Thus, all these objectives that will be accomplished during the course allow a manager to practice his or her daily duties, tasks, and responsibilities with the focus on the advanced approach to quality management.

As a result, if a manager is not successful in developing skills associated with the mentioned objectives, he or she can face many challenges, risks, and obstacles in the workplace. The first risk is that a manager will not be able to effectively analyze business situations through the lenses of quality management to propose effective solutions. The second risk is that a manager will not apply quality initiatives and supporting technologies, develop the process improvement, and perform calculations (Goetsch & Davis, 2016). Challenges are also associated with the inability of a manager to communicate in the context of quality management and evaluate the observed situations to offer relevant decisions.

Continuous Improvement and the Cost of Quality

In the context of quality management, continuous improvement means the application of strategies to plan quality monitoring, control quality, and realize preventive and corrective actions. These processes need to be continuous to guarantee that the quality of work corresponds with standards, industry trends, and customer expectations. Consequently, the quality of products and services increases, as well as the overall performance of a firm and customer loyalty. This continuous improvement can affect the cost of quality, which is calculated by applying certain tools that help managers determine how effectively an organization’s resources are used to increase quality and prevent errors (Goetsch & Davis, 2016). When managers are focused on continuous improvement, the cost of quality is balanced, and it can be effectively calculated as the poor quality is prevented or immediately addressed. The use of resources to ensure the quality of products becomes efficient.

Process Improvement Tools

In their practice, managers can apply different process improvement methods to change their approach to quality management. Available tools include resources for planning and evaluating the process. Thus, managers often choose to use process mapping, cost-and-effect diagrams, flowcharts, Pareto charts, check sheets, and histograms. These tools are suitable to plan the process of improving quality management, organize the process according to stages, and measure changes on each stage to determine whether the quality of production has improved (Goetsch & Davis, 2016). Visual process improvement tools allow managers to determine key objectives and targets for the process and evaluate the observed changes. For instance, using a flowchart, a manager can control inputs and outputs related to the process. Moreover, cost-and-effect diagrams will help managers determine what causes associated with a certain process can lead to negative effects and eliminate these causes.

Management Quality Initiatives

There are also management quality initiatives, such as Total Quality Management (TQM) and Six Sigma, that are appropriate to improve quality while applying a systematic approach. TQM is an approach according to which all employees contribute to supporting quality about a company’s activities and operations (Dale, 2015). Efforts of all employees are combined to guarantee the continuous improvement of quality with the focus on following high norms and standards.

This integrated system helps a company achieve the competitive advantage because the system is customer-oriented, high quality of products and services guarantees customer satisfaction, and the application of the strategic approach and involvement of all employees contributes to their focus on further improvements (Jiménez-Jiménez, Martinez-Costa, Martínez-Lorente, & Rabeh, 2015). Six Sigma is also a complex of management methods and techniques that work to improve the quality of business processes while eliminating the possibility of errors and defects (Jacobs, Swink, & Linderman, 2015). Consequently, the number of high-quality goods and services increases, attracting customers, and contributing to the competitive advantage of a firm.

Conclusion

They discussed key elements of quality management that are directly related to the course objectives that need to be accomplished to practice the studied approaches effectively. Each manager should learn the analyzed process improvement tools and quality improvement systemic approaches to succeed. From this point, it is possible to state that the application of quality management methods and techniques is important for the continuous improvement of performance in an organization.

References

Dale, B. (2015). Total quality management. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Goetsch, D. L., & Davis, S. B. (2016). Quality management for organizational excellence: Introduction to total quality (8th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Pearson.

Jacobs, B. W., Swink, M., & Linderman, K. (2015). Performance effects of early and late Six Sigma adoptions. Journal of Operations Management, 36, 244-257.

Jiménez-Jiménez, D., Martinez-Costa, M., Martínez-Lorente, A. R., & Rabeh, H. A. D. (2015). Total quality management performance in multinational companies: A learning perspective. The TQM Journal, 27(3), 328-340.

O’Neill, P., Sohal, A., & Teng, C. W. (2016). Quality management approaches and their impact on firms’ financial performance–An Australian study. International Journal of Production Economics, 171, 381-393.

Siva, V., Gremyr, I., Bergquist, B., Garvare, R., Zobel, T., & Isaksson, R. (2016). The support of quality management to sustainable development: A literature review. Journal of Cleaner Production, 138, 148-157.