Posted in Operations and Supply Chain Terms, Total Reads: 398
Definition: Quality Circle
A Quality circle is a management technique which involves solving the problems faced by employees at their workplace and related with their own jobs by enlisting help from all employees. Employees working together on an operation meet at intervals to discuss quality issues and try to devise solutions to improvise on the same.
Quality circles are small in size, are autonomous in nature and are led by a senior person or a supervisor. Employees are trained in problem solving techniques like pareto analysis, cause and effect diagrams, brain-storming before enrolling for Quality Circles.
Quality Circles originated in Japan during the post-war period inspired by the U.S. Statistician W. Edwards Deming. He emphasized that the task of quality control should be entrusted with the shop floor workers rather than their supervisors as they were more likely to find defects to rectify them.
This helped to decentralize the whole management system and increased the participation of workers in management decision making.
Success of this technique in Japan prompted the U.S. aerospace manufacturer Lockheed to organize a tour of Japanese industrial plants in early 1970s. By 1980, more than half of the Fortune 500 companies had either implemented or were planning to implement quality circles.
7 important conditions for successful implementation of Quality Circles:
1) They must be totally staffed by volunteers.
2) Each participant must represent a different function in the operation.
3) Problem to be tackled must be chosen by the Quality Circle and not by the management.
4) Management must be totally supportive of the decisions made by the QCs and must finance them as and when needed in order to implement real time solutions.
5) Members must be trained in problem solving techniques.
6) Members must democratically elect their leader from within the QC.
7) A person from the management must be appointed as the mentor for the QC, but he should not interfere in the decision making process of the team and must only help them in achieving their objectives.