MGT510 - Total Quality Management - Lecture Handout 29

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Installing an ISO -9001 QM System

ISO 9001’s requirements for quality management systems are also generic in nature, and are applicable to organizations in any industry or economic sector. Whether the organization manufactures a product or provides a service, whether it is a company or a governmental agency, whether it is large or small, ISO 9000 can apply, and be used to advantage. To be registered the organization must go through a process that includes the following steps:

  1. Develop (or upgrade) a quality manual that describes how the company will assure the quality of its products or services.
  2. Document procedures (or upgrade existing documentation) that describe how the various processes for design, production, continual improvement, and so forth, will be operated. This must include procedures for management review/audits and the like.
  3. The organization must provide evidence of top management’s commitment to the QMS and its continual improvement.
  4. The organization’s top management must ensure that customer requirements are determined and met.
  5. The organization must hire an accredited registrar company to examine its systems, processes, procedures, quality manual, and related items. If everything is in order, registration will be granted. Otherwise, the registrar will inform the company of which areas require work (but will not inform the company specifically what must be done), and a second visit will be scheduled.
  6. Once registration is accomplished, the company will conduct its own internal audits to ensure that the systems, processes, and procedures are working as intended.
  7. Also once registered, the outside registrar will make periodic audits for the same purpose. These audits must be passed to retain registration.

An important point to understand about ISO 9000 is that the organization has to respond to all ISO 9000 requirements and tell the registrar specifically what it is going to do and how. ISO does not tell or advise the organization. Assuming the registrar agrees with the organization’s plan, registration is awarded. To retain that registration, the organization must do what it said it would do.

Implementation, AUDIT and Registration

The registration process includes document review by the registrar of the quality system documents or quality manual; pre-assessment, which identifies potential noncompliance in the quality system or in the documentation; assessment by a team of two or three auditors of the quality system and its documentation; and surveillance, or periodic re-audits to verify conformity with the practices and systems registered. During the assessment, auditors might ask such question as (using management responsibility as an example):

Does a documented policy on quality exist? Have job descriptions for people who manage or perform work affecting quality been documented? Are descriptions of functions that affect quality been documented? Are descriptions of functions that affect quality available? Has management designated a person or group with the authority to prevent nonconformities in products, identify and record quality problems, and recommend solutions? What means are used to verify the solutions?
Re-certification is required every three years. Individual sites – not entire companies – must achieve registration individually. All costs are borne by the applicant, so the process can be quite expensive.

Implementation and development barriers

  1. Poor Planning -- The absence of a sound strategy has often contributed to ineffective quality improvement. Juran noted that deficiencies in the original planning cause a process to run at a high level of chronic waste. Using data collected at then recent seminars, Juran reported that although some managers were not pleased with their progress on their quality implementation agenda, they gave quality planning low priority.
  2. Lack of management commitment -- A quality implementation program will succeed only if top management is fully committed beyond public announcements. Success requires devotion and highly visible and articulate champions.
  3. Lack of commitment in quality management may stem from various reasons. Major obstacles include the preoccupation with short-term profits and the limited experience and training of many executives. Juran, for example, observed that many managers have extensive experience in business and finance but not in quality improvement.
    Top management is sometimes hesitant to initiate a far-reaching program unless forced to by competition. The vice president of quality and training at Reimer Express suggested that the company adopt a more proactive stance in promoting quality production and personnel training. The vice president of quality and customer satisfaction at Xerox Canada stated that decision-makers must risk a "step of faith." He agreed, however, that this is difficult when faced with a crisis, and more so when a company is in a comfortable position.
  4. A common problem in implementing a quality program is the lack of acceptance by middle and lower managers. Often, line managers isolate themselves from floor workers and resist considering their suggestions.
  5. Resistance of the workforce -- A workforce is often unwilling to embrace TQM for a variety of reasons. Oakland explained that a lack of long-term objectives and targets would cause a quality implementation program to lose credibility. Production workers must want TQM to continue because they recognize the real benefits to society. Lehr pointed out that at one company the improvement effort was sometimes misinterpreted as a motivation, productivity or cost-reduction program.
  6. Lack of proper training -- There is evidence that lack of understanding and proper training exists at all levels of an organization, and that it is a large contributor to worker resistance. Schein, for example, mentioned that business school failure to teach relevant process skills contributed to manager ineffectiveness.
    TQM requires a well-educated workforce with a solid understanding of basic math, reading, writing and communication. Although companies invest heavily in quality awareness, statistical process control, and quality circles, often the training is too narrowly focused.
  7. Teamwork complacency -- Most TQM programs place substantial emphasis on teamwork and problem-solving groups. Firms such as Xerox and 3M have several thousand such groups. Problems arise when teams feel they have no authority, when they lack direction and purpose and when their large number causes status confusion.
    Newall and Dale found that teams are seldom fully used, and their individual members are often complacent. They suggested these problems are caused by a lack of feedback, since few companies have effective communication channels between senior managers and production workers.
    Oakland warned of basic misconceptions concerning the status of various teams during the initial years of a quality program. Often their roles are distorted because the workforce feels that some teams are for workers while others are for management. In addition, communications are sometimes so poor that many staff members are unaware of a team's existence.
  8. Use of an off-the-shelf program -- Many executives learn through their mistakes that a quality process must be adapted to, not adopted by, an organization. Companies that introduce off-the-shelf packages often find that they do not suit their needs. Ultimately, prepackaged quality programs are either completely rejected or modified extensively.
    Lehr reported that not one single process or approach could be installed intact in two different organizations. Each firm must custom-make its own quality program to fit the culture, and practices and policies that are unique to that organization.
  9. Failure to change organizational philosophy -- Many firms find that the transition of performance through management controls to performance through people is arduous to accomplish. This is facilitated by modifying the reward system to emphasize long-term goals and quality output instead of filling short-term production quotas.
    Although short-term profits are important to maintain a firm's liquidity, they should not be the final judge of a company's performance. TQM should be a high priority with senior executives because it pertains to the long-term success of the organization. The implementation of a successful TQM project precipitates rapid quality improvement. However, the financial rewards are more long-term. This leads to initial disappointment, considering the extraordinary effort and innovation required to eliminate the last five percent of defectives.
    Rewards and incentive programs are seldom shifted to favor quality improvement. When they are, Cox warned against the use of extrinsic controls that compel behavioral changes in people. He observed that performance measures placed on managers might lead them to take quality improvement seriously, but only enough to meet the minimum standards. In such cases, the company culture remains predominantly production-driven even though management may believe that it has achieved total quality. In addition, worker incentives often cause conflict and inhibit the cooperation needed for continuous improvement.
  10. Lack of resources provided -- Newall and Dale found that despite their importance, many quality departments were over-worked and understaffed. Juran reported that although the return on investment for a quality improvement project is very high, many companies fail to provide the resources necessary to achieve significant results.
  11. Lack of effective measurement of quality improvement -- TQM is centered on monitoring employees and processes, and establishing objectives that anticipate the customer's needs so that he is surprised and delighted. This has posed a considerable challenge to many companies.


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