A Case Study of Engineering Tooling Company For Quality Improvement
Engineering Tooling Company Case Study for Quality Improvement
Table of Contents
Quality improvement methods include three components – process improvement, product improvement, and people-based improvement (Waldman et al., 2008). Quality is the first ability to meet customer requirements; these can be explicit or implicit. Quality is therefore not what we think we put or recognize in a product or service. But what the customer finds there and what he is willing to pay for. Everything else is a waste and not valuable.
Efforts for quality improvement need to be closely measured. To demonstrate ‘whether the improvement efforts (a) leads towards any change within the primary endpoint over the required direction; (b) contributing towards unintended results in various parts of the system and; (c) has the requirement of extra efforts so as to being the procedure back within acceptable ranges’ (Woodhead, 2015). The underlying rationale for improving quality is the belief that the good performance of the company is the reflection of its good-quality practice.
Improving quality is basically the act of overseeing the different tasks. Activities in an organization so as to assure that the products and services which are being offered as well as the resources or means that are utilized for their provision are consistent. This process helps in attaining and maintaining a set quality level within the organization (Mannion and Davies, 2018). However, attaining a large-scale implementation of innovations and guidelines within the organization is a very complex task. The collaborators of quality improvement are designed for improving the operational quality of the organization as well as the outcomes through the application of a structured approach (Schouten et al., 2008).
Quality is not just a matter of common sense, tools, and techniques. It is a state of mind, a process of change, and a method that involves all the actors of the company (Bate et al., 2014). This requires collective awareness and permanent evolution of the internal culture of the organization.
The Quality approach is based on fundamental principles:
- A policy: quality is a factor in mobilizing the company around three inseparable issues, levers of operational results.
- The expression of a managerial will symbolized by continuous progress.
Results orientation: the purpose of the company is to maintain and improve its overall capacities and performance. This is to satisfy its customers and other stakeholders (staff, shareholders, suppliers, partners, community, etc.).
Customer orientation: the organization is dependent upon its customers. You must understand their current as well as future needs to develop their level of satisfaction.
Leadership and consistency of vision: managers set directions and get involved in achieving objectives. They thus create a favorable environment for development and improvement.
Staff involvement: it allows the optimal implementation of staff “skills”, the establishment of trust and accountability. These areas are fundamental in the service (management of the client-organization interface through staff in contact with clients).
Process approach: To be effective, activities and their associated resources are managed as a process.
Continuous improvement of performance: this is a permanent objective of the organization.
Factual approach to decision making: action decisions are made based on data analysis.
Mutually beneficial relationships with suppliers: the company (or organization) and its suppliers are independent. Mutually beneficial relationships allow everyone to “create value”.
Responsibility towards the community: the company or organization acts as a “corporate citizen” (ethics of behavior). It takes care to prevent nuisances, and directs its activities towards the conservation and sustainability of resources.
Strong and substantial leadership support (Adam, 2002), consistent commitments towards continuous improvement in quality of products and services (Gosfield and Reinertsen, 2005), involvement (Institute for Healthcare Improvement, 2012) as well as visibility (Alderwick et al., 2015) both physically and in writing is significant in bringing the quality improvement. Additionally, commitment on part of the board was also considered to be an important element (Berwick, 2006). The inevitability of the resources demands that are linked with changed processes.
It is called the senior leadership for (a) assuring adequate financial resources through the identification of funds sources along with purchasing as well as testing innovative technologies and equipment (Ham, Berwick, and Dixon, 2016), (b) facilitating and enabling major players to get the required time for being actively involved in the change process (Cole, 2001) and provisioning of administrative support and; (c) emphasize over safety to be an organizational priority along with reinforcing expectations especially when the process is delayed or the results were not periodically evaluated (Jones et al., 2019).
Although even there is a committed and strong leadership. However, there may be some people which might be resistant or hesitant towards participating in the quality improvement process. The reason behind because some previously made attempts for the implementation of change were hindered due to several system factors (Dixon-Woods and Martin, 2016), lack of organization-wide commitment (Øvretveit, 2009), ineffective communication (Alderwick et al., 2017) and poor organizational relationships. However, the influence of these obstacles were seen to be less in case the company embraces the need for implementing change (Solberg, Solberg and McDonald, 2007), changed the organizational culture to enable change (Davidoff et al., 2014) along with actively following a culture of quality improvement.
The process of improvement also requires involving and engaging all stakeholders as well as gaining their understanding. That investing within resources involved for quality improvement can be recovered through efficiency gains (Twycross and Shorten 2014). Moreover, considering the different perspectives of stakeholders is also very important (Hill and Small, 2006). As variations amongst stakeholders and team members’ opinions are expected, obtaining buy-in from all the stakeholders in the process at an earlier stage is important to gain feedback for the crucial changes within the process (Finkelstein et al., 2015).
Sharing or communicating information with the stakeholders and the staff members is crucial for specifying the purpose. The strategy is related to quality improvement efforts (Finkelstein et al., 2015). Assuring that all staff members are appropriately included within the dialogue process and sharing of lessons learned from the root-cause assessment is also considered to be important in the process (Davidoff et al., 2014). Though, in the process of sharing information and keeping every member informed, some staff had difficulties in accepting the change within systems (Dixon-Woods and Martin, 2016).
The success of these strategies is highly dependent upon empowered and motivated teams (Richter, Dawson, and West, 2011). It is important that teams are equipped with the right staff, engage all stakeholders (senior managers and staff members) as well as be supported by the leadership/management (Hillman and Roueche, 2011). Since the implementation of quality improvement strategies involves substantial changes, considering their willingness and attitude so as to implement specific improvements is important (Hillman and Roueche, 2011).
There are many models and methods which are geared in the management of quality for the products and services of the company. However, only a few of these models consider the wide belief that any business can be as strong as its weakest link. Having this in focus, the quality improvement strategy developed a new set of methods that address quality (Douglas and Judge, 2001).
The quality management division considers quality improvement to be more like a philosophy than anything else. Improvement implementation in top-to-bottom approach involves uninterrupted involvement of all the key stakeholders and employees. As a result, the Total Quality Management (TQM) approach was initialized.
Total Quality Management assures longer-term success through the enforcement of encompassing internal guidelines as well as process standards so as to reduce errors. Through in-depth audit along with orchestrated soul searching, TQM will assure that the company will be able to meet the stakeholders’ expectations in an effective manner without abandoning its ethical values (Burgess, 2013).
In order to assure the continued quality of manufacturing cutting-edge products over a larger scale, the management focused on developing an environment that improves with every sale. In order to maintain the efficiency level, the manufacturing of the tools is divided into different workstations where the tools are partially assembled after which they are moved on to the next station. Every workstation is chaired by a senior engineer and that no tool will leave the station of that engineer until he is 100 percent satisfied with the quality of the product. The product quality is similar to the conventional line of assembly however, unlike a customary top-to-bottom factory; the quality assurance manager is closely involved in every phase of the product manufacturing.
By implementing the doting method of quality improvement and management, it will be difficult to determine how clients will not be satisfied with the product quality. However, if there are still any issues pertaining to the quality of the product, senior managers will personally be available for any queries related to the features and technicality of the tools. In order to take the company to a new level of industrial heights, the quality of the tools manufactured as well as the higher level of customer satisfaction is a piece of evidence in itself and because of which the company boasts a lengthy backlog of medical equipment orders (Ivanova and Torkkel, 2013).
For the purpose of quality assurance, ETC will prepare a quality management system that is based upon international standards (ISO 9001:2000). The scope of QMS will include the justification and details of the process, provision of documented procedure of working as well as a documented description of the interaction between the various processes. For monitoring, analyzing, evaluating, controlling as well as improving the process, the QMS will focus on establishing a Quality Assurance and Control Department (QACD). QACD will be operated by the company’s most experienced engineers. Moreover, the department will have the power and authority to inspect, monitor, and test all the activities and operations within the department. The QACD will review in cooperation with the senior management including the review of QMS bi-annually so as to assure continuing suitability, effectiveness, and adequacy.
Maintaining the highest level of quality and service of the company, it has now become the responsibility of the company to deliver high quality and lower manufacturing costs of the medical equipment manufacturing for North East Hospital. In this aspect, the main aim of the QA&QC program will be to deliver safe and effective medical tools and equipment. In this aspect, major elements that will be controlled include:
Safety: This aspect will cover the patient’s, operator’s, and the technical personnel’s safety. The QA program will ensure that all the safety measures are being followed at every workstation during the manufacturing process.
Personnel: This is the most critical and perhaps the most valuable element which will determine the standard of quality. As a result, the quality assurance plan will be developed to monitor personnel with respect to various parameters and indicators such as commitment, productivity, motivation, behavior, etc.
Time: The speed of service delivery is rendered to be an important factor in the healthcare sector. As a result of this, the quality assurance plan will include special tools so as to monitor and measure the time involved in delivering services to the manufacturing of the medical equipment.
Cost: This is a vital and the most sensitive factor within every manufacturing activity. This means that the QA plan will also inspect the elements of cost-effectiveness within the manufacturing process. This will include price control of various equipment parts, man-hours per manufacturing job, transportation cost, overtime, etc.
Quality: The QA plan will include different tools and indicators which will be designed to measure the final results of every operational activity so as to determine whether the operations tend to be in compliance with the predefined operational criteria, the set objectives, the needs and demands of the clients as well as fulfillment of the quality requirement.
Source: Mobarak et al., (2006)
To fully play its role as a determining factor of competitiveness, quality should no longer be taken as a set of techniques carried out by operational staff. But, it must become an inseparable part of the general orientations of the company and therefore fit into its strategy.
The business as an open system is influenced by both its external and internal environment. Taking quality management into account within the framework of this system enterprise makes it possible to highlight the role of management and to focus on strategic actions capable of transforming environmental constraints into opportunities.
By quality management, it is meant that “all the activities of the company with a view to optimizing its commercial, financial, organizational, and technical and human resources implemented to ensure the success of the defined strategy. The set to be managed consists of all the characteristics of the product and the services associated with the complementary which specify its quality “(Christensen and Overdorf, 2000). Thus, the field of quality management will be all the more extensive as the notion of quality will be considered in its different dimensions.
The strategic dimension: in a complex environment marked by fierce competition, the total quality project is perfectly consistent with the company’s project and mainly aims at customer satisfaction and adaptation to the market.
The commercial dimension: this is essential insofar as the quality approach originates from the consideration of customer needs.
Financial dimension: in the sense that not controlling quality can be very costly.
The organizational dimension: the company’s ability to produce quality depends on the quality of its organizational structure.
The technical dimension: Quality comes into play at this level because the arrangement of machines and mastery of production methods ensure the production of quality from the design stage to the production stage.
The human dimension: the success of all of the company’s activities depends on buy-in and coordination between all staff. Improving quality remains a business of human management.
The report aims in drafting a quality improvement plan for ETC in their manufacturing process for medical equipment for North East Hospital. The quality improvement plan focuses on designs and procedures. It allows the attribution of improved outcomes with that of improvement plans or initiatives. For ETC, the quality improvement plan will serve as a make point. Because the company will be able to set out high-quality products. Though the process is not easy, however, the rewards of implementing the policy rightly will be immense.
In order to bring the quality improvement plan from theory to practice. It is recommended that the employees’ knowledge related to best practices needs to be improved. It should be at the earliest and as comprehensively as possible. For this, incorporating the goals and objectives set for quality improvement in the training process is an effective strategy. If all the employees work towards achieving these set goals for quality improvement. If attaining these goals will be more quick and effective.
Increasing the level of employee involvement in quality management is another way of making the quality improvement plan effective. It is equally very important to assure that supervisor are equipped with a good understanding of the goals. It is associated with quality improvement plans. In most cases, these supervisors are those who help the employees in the execution of the quality improvement process. It means that they should be the first to know about the change and why.
Investing in technological improvements in the process of quality management makes the plan limitless. Through the implementation of technologies the process of data collection and customer feedback. The company will be able to develop in-depth training tools, implement IoT devices so as to monitor the process of manufacturing, and detect any defects earlier in the process along with installing equipment that is accurate and durable thereby producing fewer errors.
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