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QUALITY O. M. Customers perceive the quality of a product by observing and comparing: -physical appearance and design -image and reputation of manufacturer or seller -reliability -durability -fit for purpose -safety features -customer service -after-sales services In essence, quality is determined by the perceived value for money Products that do not meet the needs or expectations of customers, producers or governments are said to be substandard and such products can be very costly to a b. Quality does not mean that a product has to be expensive, prestigious or exclusive.
O. M 4 driving forces have led to quality being priority for many b. : -increasing consumer awareness: any mistake made by large multinationals is likely to be reported in many sources very quickly all over the world -increasing competition -government legislation -increasing consumer incomes: with more disposable income, consumers are more able and willing to buy higher quality products Poor quality harms the competitiveness of an org. by affecting its reputation and costs in an unfavourable manner.
O. M. QUALITY CONTROL AND QUALITY ASSURANCE The quality of an org. ’s products is important for 2 main reasons: its reputation and its ability to control costs. Quality management is the function concered with controlling business activities to ensure that products meet quality standards. There are 2 main categories of quality management: quality control and quality assurance. • Quality Assurance is process oriented and focuses on defect prevention, while quality control is product oriented and focuses on defect identification. • Quality control is the traditional way of quality management that involves checking and reviewing work processes, such as inspecting, testing and sampling the quality of manufactured items. Products must be made to the required specification. This approach to managing quality is mainly based on detecting defective output or poor quality, from the delivery of raw materials to the output of finished products. It helps to identify substandard quality or a problem before the product is sold to consumers. • Quality assurance is the management process of assuring the consumer of a product’s quality. It informs customers that products have been made to the required specification and that certain quality standards have been met. Quality assurance, as a major feature of a total quality culture, is an ongoing process. Once a b. has achieved a certain quality standard, its processes are regularly inspected by the respective awarding body to ensure that the standards are being maintained. • It is argued that prevention of poor quality is far better than conventional methods of detecting faults and imperfections. Finally, whilst quality management can be costly to
O. M. LEAN PRODUCTION Is the process of streamlining operations and processes in order to reduce all forms of waste. In turn, lean production should lead to reduced costs and improved quality. In adopting lean production, several principals are followed: • Waste minimization: this requires that the b. remove any operation or process that does not add value to the product • Right first time: this means that b. aim for zero defects by identifying and resolving all problems at the source. • Flexibility: capital and human resources must be adaptable to the changing needs of the b. • Continuous improvement • Supply chain management: this means that the b. must develop and maintain good professional working relationships with its suppliers and intermediaries to facilitate streamlining its operations.
O. M. TOTAL QUALITY CULTURE Places quality as the core focus in all functional areas, i. e. every employee is responsible for quality assurance, rather than it being the traditional role of the quality control department. The purpose is to achieve zero defects in the org. If achieved, this will eliminate waste and the need to rectify mistakes. It will lead to improved customer satisfaction. TQC is synonymous with total quality management. TQM will remove wastage and inefficiencies in all forms of b. activity. This will, however, mean that all employees are properly trained to check and correct their own work. + of TQM: • Motivation is likely to improve since workers are empowered and involved in decisionmaking • Wastage is reduced or eliminated thus preventing firms from having to dispose of defective goods. This can therefore lead to lower costs of production • TQM can improve image and reputation of an org. • Customer needs are a central focus of the production process. Hence, TQM can help to give a b. a competitive edge over its rivals
O. M. Limitations of TQM: • High costs of maintaining or improving the quality of their products • There are costs in establishing and maintaining a quality management system • Trying to improve quality will also require sufficient finance for the costs of training and developing staff or the cost of investing in new technologies • TQM can become quite bureaucratic as procedures and processes must be properly audited and administered • TQM only works if every member of the org. , irrespective of their position or role, is fully committed to quality assurance
O. M. Quality assurance is crucial for retaining customer loyalty. It also affects the reputation of an org. Hence, quality plays a vital role in determining the profitability and success of a b. However, to achieve an org. culture that is commited to quality, all managers and employees must constantly strive to improve their working practices. B. can do this through motivational methods, developing multiskilled workers, and using flexible working structures. A b. with a highly trained, flexible and motivated workforce is much more likely to achieve total quality management. Lean production and TQM may also require flatter and/or more flexible org. structures. This should enable the org. to be more effective in responding to market changes. Finally, although the costs of meeting quality assurance standards may be very high, the costs of not meeting these standards may be even greater to a b. , particularly in the long run.