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Brighton School of Business and Management Student Newsletter February 2011

February Theme – Quality Management

The contents of this month’s newsletter will be of particular interest to our students who are studying for CQI qualifications, and those who have Quality Management as a major module in their course.

However, it is now universally acknowledged that everyone should be aware of Quality principles and practices. Regardless of your role and responsibilities a knowledge and understanding of Quality Management is now essential to your professional development and to your workplace performance.

The articles below, and the website links to the left, are designed to introduce newcomers to Quality Management principles and practices, and to serve as a refresher to those with experience.

Personal & Career Development – Tip of the Month

Apply Quality Management principles to yourself.

Plan, Do, Act, Review – Do It Right First Time – Zero Defects – Continuous Improvement – apply these to your behaviour, your relationships, your work performance, your professional development, your career planning – and you will be successful.

The History of Quality Management

Concerns for product quality and process control is nothing new.

Historians have traced the concept as far back as 3000 B.C. in Babylonia. 

Among the references to quality from the code of Hammurabi, ruler of Babylonia is the following excerpt: “The mason who builds a house which falls down and kills the inmate shall be put to death.”  This law reflects a concern for quality in antiquity.

The concept of Process Control was certainly in place at the time the pyramids of Egypt were being built, around 2,200 B.C., when a system for quarrying and dressing stone was designed. One has only to examine the pyramids at Cheops to appreciate this remarkable achievement.

Later Greek architecture would surpass Egyptian architecture in terms of quality, and the core approaches were also applied in the area of military applications.

In China the first recorded Chinese quality control systems – in use in construction, in education, and in the military – date back to the Shang and Zhou Dynasties 1,800 years B.C.

Centuries later, the shipbuilding operations in Venice used rudimentary production control and standardization.

In the West, following the Industrial Revolution and the resulting factory system, quality and process control began to take on some of the characteristics that we know today.

Specialization of labour in the factory demanded it. Interchangeability of parts was introduced by Eli Whitney when he manufactured 15,000 muskets for the US federal government. This event was representative of the emerging era of mass production, when inspection by a skilled craftsman at a workbench was replaced by the specialized function of inspection conducted by an individual not directly involved in the production process.

Specialized labour and quality assurance took a giant step forward in 1911 with the publication of Fredrick W. Taylor’s book Principles of Scientific Management. The pioneering work had a profound effect on management thought and practice. Taylor’s philosophy was one of the extreme functional specializations and he suggested eight functional bosses for the shop floor, one of whom as assigned the task of inspection:

The inspector is responsible for the quality of the work, and both the workmen and speed bosses [who see that the proper cutting tools are used, that the work is properly driven, and that cuts are started in the right part of the pieces] must see that the work is finished to suit him. This man can, of course, do his work best if he is a master of the art of finishing work both well and quickly.

Taylor later conceded that extreme functional specialization has its disadvantages, but his notion of process analysis and quality control by inspection of the final product still lives on in many firms today.

Statistical quality control (SQC), the forerunner of today’s TQM or total quality control, had its beginning in the mid-1920s at the Western Electric plant of the Bell System. Walter Shewhart, a Bell Laboratories physicist, designed the original version of SQC for the zero-defects mass production of complex telephone exchanges and telephone sets. In 1931 Shewhart published his landmark book Economic Control of Quality of Manufactured Product. This book provided a precise and measurable definition of quality control and developed statistical techniques for evaluating production and improving quality.

During World War II, W. Edward Deming and Joseph Juran, both former members of Shewhart’s group, separately developed the versions used today.

Deming and Juran were part of the team that assisted Japan in its post-war reconstruction, and it is generally accepted today that the Japanese owe their product leadership partly to adopting the precepts of Deming and Juran.

After World War II, the U.S. was the only major power with an intact economy. Deming and Juran found their quality improvement theories were considered as irrelevant to U.S. business leaders who were interested only in quantity, not quality.
Deming found a more appreciative audience in Japan, where he was conducting postwar support work.

Dr. Deming predicted in the early 1950’s that the Japanese industry would become a world-class force equal to any other country. Everyone around the world laughed. The Japanese didn’t laugh – they worked hard to apply the lessons learned from Deming and Juran. Henry Ford’s book on manufacturing (written decades earlier) became a Japanese best seller. There was a weekly radio program that trained workers, lead hands, supervisors, and managers on statistics and Dr. Deming’s methods. It became a national hit in most Japanese homes. Drs. Deming and Juran became celebrities in constant demand as speakers and consultants.
Decades later, the Emperor of Japan awarded Dr. Deming with the highest Japanese award for a civilian in recognition for the years of hard work and leadership that he had given to the Japanese people and their government. To this day, the most prestigious business award in Japan is known as the Deming Award.

In the 1970s and 1980s the US and other countries realised that the Japanese approach was the most effective one, and they too began to adopt SQC and QA practices.

This rapidly developed beyond statistical control activity, adding approaches that embraced the entire organization, into what is now known as total quality management (TQM).

During the same period formal Quality Management Assurance Systems such as ISO9000, supported by approaches such as the Business Excellence Model, IIP, and complimentary systems such as ISO14001, became established as essential core elements of an organisation’s approach to managing Quality.

In the few years since the turn of the century, the quality movement has matured and spread into all business sectors. New sector specific quality systems have evolved, and Quality Management is now regarded as an essential approach in services, healthcare, education, charities, and government sectors.

* compiled by the BSBM tutor team

Key Components of a Quality Management System

An organization’s performance can be greatly enhanced by increased employee involvement and commitment. But while this aspect is critical, it is also imperative that managers commit to any new system and properly implement its initiatives. When management systems are understood and implemented correctly, they produce better job processes, eliminate unnecessary steps, reduce errors, and create an overall work environment that is truly motivational.

The concepts of quality and continuous improvement are important factors to consider when building management systems in organizations. A model framework should be based on the following characteristics:

A strong commitment to customer satisfaction

Employee participation encouraged throughout the organization

Benchmarking against peers

Processes that are continuously improved through innovation

Progress that is monitored through appropriate statistical models, with resulting information shared throughout the organization

Implementation of a simplified model educates everyone in the organization about the management system design and implementation process. There must be a commitment to change from management staff and from employees. This requires an educational effort focused on the key parameters of the management system.

Developing and implementing a management system is a continuous improvement process that involves several key steps. They include planning, implementing, monitoring and measuring, and revising — or quite simply “plan, do, measure, and revise” (the Deming PDCA Cycle).

Organisations in any business sectors should embed the concepts of quality, best management practices, and continuous improvement in their planning efforts.  Every activity area must align their objectives and actions with the organisational strategic objectives, maximum efficiency and generating an attitude of one mission, one goal, one team.

The benefits of a management system include increased employee enthusiasm and motivation toward doing a job well. Incorporating pride in work activity, service, ownership of the job, and quality into the job processes, adds considerable value to the products and services produced.

Management systems that have been implemented effectively allow the organisation to work smarter whilst satisfying the needs of their customers.

Although it is challenging, an appropriate, continuously improved quality management system, will enable the organisation to meet all of its goals.

* from an article by the US Department of Transportation

The PDCA Cycle – a Project View

The PDCA Cycle (Plan, Do, Check, Act) is also commonly known as the Deming wheel, named after W. Edwards Deming, a Quality Management pioneer. The cycle is a well known model for CPI, or continual process improvement. It is also a basic foundation for models of project management.

The PDCA cycle is a valuable process that can be applied to practically anything.

The PDCA cycle involves four basic steps – Plan, Do, Check and Act.

Plan – To identify and recognize a particular problem, break it down into smaller, more manageable components, select one for improvement and outline the methods and solutions that can be taken to solve this problem / component. This phase also included establishing correct metrics through which we can measure concretely the factors cause the problem.

Do – Known as the prototyping/testing phase in projects, this involves testing the proposed change on an experimental basis and / or on a small scale. Such caution is warranted; this minimizes the risk of disrupting regular processes, and allows management to test whether such changes will actually make a positive impact or not (without running the risk of reducing productivity or affecting profits).

Check – An evaluation of the tests carried out (i.e. the ‘Do’ phase). Usually problems and their impact are measured by certain metrics (decided in the ‘Plan’ phase), and this phase circles around measuring results in the Do phase versus benchmark results specified in the Plan phase. In project management terminology, this means evaluating key performance indicators in light of experimental changes in a practical setting.

Act – An implementation of the proposed changes in case the tests (Do phase) prove successful (established by the ‘Check’ phase). This phase transforms the proposed changes into integrated practices within your regular business processes.

These four steps complete the ‘cycle’ – the journey from facing the problem (Plan phase) to solving the problem (Act phase).

The PDCA process involves a deep grounding in identify and measuring key performance indicators – unless this is done correctly, everything else is extraneous. Similarly, it also requires the expertise to test changes within a controlled environment, and the management to implement successful changes on a wide-scale. Within a small team that may be easy to do, but working with hundreds or thousands of employees requires a solid foundation in best practices of project management.

The PDCA cycle is an optimal tool to regularly improve your processes and practices. It involves all the hallmarks of a successful project itself: Clear identification of the problem and metrics, a prototyping of the solution, evaluation of the changes and subsequently, a full-scale implementation of the success.

In any industry, success and survival is built upon a process of continuous improvement; the PDCA cycle epitomizes that belief, and helps the organisation improve effectively.

* from an article on

Process Design and Improvement – an Overview

Process design is the conscious (re-)evaluation and organization of the tasks that a business process is composed of. Designing a process that improves current performance and/or conformance is a challenging task that requires a plethora of inputs (for example, organizational strategies, goals, constraints, and IT capabilities, to name a few). Process modeling, which is a heavily researched aspect of the business process lifecycle, is also an important pre-requisite of process design.

However, it is the actual act of process improvement that is the most value-adding step in the process lifecycle.

Process improvement principles (principal functions):

The ultimate goal of process improvement practice is to reach the best possible balance between the main constraints of the process, so that it consumes fewer resources while produces results of higher (or at least fixed) quality;

Continual monitoring of how the process functions in reality to measure its performance metrics, to detect its fails and problems, to define bottlenecks and risky areas, and to define success rate of particular process segments along with the overall process;

Continual analyzing of the process and its elements to determine opportunities that can be used for increasing its productivity and effectiveness via evaluating these opportunities, planning their feasibility, profitability, investments, impact, effects, and practical ways of realization;

Continual enhancement of the process’s body through inventing new ways of streamlining its design, and enhancing its means via purposeful investments into new productive technologies, personnel trainings, cultivating better attitudes, getting ineffective segments re-organized, etc;

Continual process changes evaluation to determine their actual business impact, and to define return on the innovations acquired and optimizations implemented;

Continual process testing using wide variety of modeled situations & tools, and applying extreme scenarios to check stability, consistency and assurance of the process;

Process improvement activities (handling and solving problems):

Identifying and locating business process problems via:

Facing defections while practicing business process;

Facing defections while modeling and testing it;

Disclosing fails and possible problems while analyzing process map;

Quantifying problems if detected:

Poor performance metrics;

Resources overspending;

Principal and factual problems (process doesn’t meet normal challenges and requirements);

Qualifying problems:

Stable errors (defections of process design);

Occasional errors (risk-related fails, unforeseen contingencies);

Potential and relative problems;

Rating process improvement problems:

Critical errors (making the whole process and/or its segments fail);

Insignificant errors (that don’t seriously influence the baseline process flow);

Bottlenecks and risky areas (areas fraught with problems in a case of certain conditions);

Ineffective elements (process components that have a significant potential for development for the sake of saving more resources and producing better productivity/results);

Studying, analyzing and identifying process improvement opportunities:

Optimizing process schema to eliminate excessive and unnecessary steps;

Correcting errors via redesigning process plan and changing process constraints (basically time, quality, costs);

Avoiding and minimizing process risks;

Bettering elements and tools of the process via implementing new technologies and attitudes; 

Evaluating and giving rationale to different process improvement opportunities;

Concentrating resources at the most valuable opportunities and developing them;

Continual re-planning, reorganizing and testing the process to streamline it;

Baseline process improvement structure:

Determine and take control over the matters of the process which you want to improve (process name, purpose, scopes, controls, products, owner and operational manager, process performance metrics);

Organize a team to improve the process (including process stakeholders and industrial experts);

Study process performance metrics (you can do it, for example, with a help of Benchmarking that is a method of comparing the performance metrics of subjected process against industry’s best practices) to recognize its current problems or certain unrealized potential for development;

Visualize the process via depicting its flowchart (schema). This is a step-by-step map including the activities, actions and decisions which take place between the starting and ending points of the process;

Analyze the process’s flowchart to research ways for optimizing the process’s design by removing its redundant or unnecessary activities, reorganizing consistency of necessary steps;

Analyze the process via using different process improvement techniques (see a list in the next section), check fairness and correctness of performance metrics applied on every step of the process, identify process risks, qualify and quantify problems;

Identify and locate problematic process’s areas, segments or elements which can be considered as worth/requiring improvement;

Use expertise of project team members to define possible resolutions;

Establish well-defined process improvement objectives (define desired goals to be reached by the process improvement) – process improvement examples: making the process cheaper, faster, easier, more productive per rotation, etc;

Run process through Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle (Shewhart-Deming cycle):

Plan: Develop process improvement roadmap (identify opportunities, select resolution, set actions and methodologies necessary to implement the change);

Do: Implement and test the change (do a small-scale study defining its success and impact);

Check: Review and analyze the results to identify what you’ve learned;

Act: Take actions reasoning from what you’ve learned in the check step (if the change did not work, go through the cycle again with a different plan);

Process improvement and analyzing techniques:

ICOR (inputs, controls, outputs and resources) is a process analysis methodology for process mapping that defines the inputs, outputs, controls and resources for both the high level process and the sub-processes;

DRIVE is an approach to problem solving and analysis that can be used as part of process improvement (Define, Review, Identify, Verify, Execute);

The Six Sigma process improvement technique deals with improving the quality of the process output. This is achieved via removing/reducing factors that may add errors in the end product.

Force Field Analysis is a technique for identifying forces which may help or hamper achieving a change or improvement in the process. Through assessing negative forces, special plans can be developed to overcome them;

Cause & Effect Diagrams for outlining and understanding the inputs & factors affecting the quality of final/intermediate products (CEDAC is a more advanced variant of this method);

Use Brainstorming to generate a large number of process improvement ideas;

Statistical process control (SPC) employs statistical techniques to measure and analyze the variation in processes (it ensure that process operates at its full potential to produce appropriate product);

* from a paper presented at the on Business Process Management Conference 2010

Using Quality Principles to Improve Business Performance
In order to lead and operate an organisation successfully, it is necessary to manage in a systematic and transparent manner.  Success can result from implementing and maintaining a management system that is designed to continually improve performance while addressing the needs of all interested parties.
Eight quality management principles that should be used by management in order to lead the organisation towards improved performance are outlined below:

Customer focus
Organisations depend on their customers and therefore should understand current and future customer needs, meet customer requirements and strive to exceed customer expectations.

Leaders establish the purpose and direction of the organisation.  They should create and maintain the internal environment in which people can become fully involved in achieving the organisation’s objectives.

Involvement of people
People at all levels are the essence of an organisation and their full involvement enables their abilities to be used for the benefit of the organisation.

Process approach
A desired result is achieved more efficiently when activities and related resources are managed as a process.

System approach to management
An organisation’s effectiveness and efficiency in achieving its objectives is attributed to the identifying
, understanding and managing interrelated processes.

Continuous improvement
Continuous improvement of the organisation’s overall performance should be a permanent objective of the organisation.

Factual approach to decision making

Effective decisions are based on the analysis of data and information.

Mutually beneficial supplier relationships
An organisation and its suppliers are interdependent and a mutually beneficial relationship enhances the ability of both to create value.

These eight quality management principles form the basis for the quality management system standards within the ISO 9000 family, and should be the foundation stones on which any quality management system is based.

* from a series of articles at

Study Resources of the Month


Smylie M A – Continuous School lmprovement: A Process of Continuous Improvement (Corwin Press, 2010) ISBN: 1412936896

Grigorourdis E, Siskos Y – Customer Satisfaction Evaluation: Methods for Measuring and Implementing Service Quality (Springer, 2009) ISBN: 1441916393

Summers D – Quality Management: Creating and Sustaining Organisational Effectiveness (Pearson, 2008) ISBN: 0136087426

Hoyle D — Quality Management Essentials (Butterworth Heinemann, 2006) ISBN: 0750667869


Student Recommended Resources

“….   …. “much information on strategy and planning” – our thanks to Jamal

 “…… … “lots on change and similar”   – our thanks to Emma

Quotes from the Gurus

In Kaizen, standards exist only to be superseded by better standards – Masaaki Imai

Professionalism means consistency of quality – Frank Tyger

Quality is free, but only to those who are willing to work hard at it – Philip Crosby

It is quality rather than quantity that matters – Lucius Annaeus Seneca 5BC-65AD

Excellence is a habit, not a single act – Aristotle 384BC-322BC

Not Gurus but ….

The ASQ ran a global competition for its members to encapsulate “Quality” in six words. The winning entries are shown here (our tutors were amongst them):

Study Links

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