- Quality Circle is a problem-solving technique.
- Quality Circle is a form of participative management.
- Quality Circle is a human resource development technique.
Quality Circle Structure
- Provide visible support and recognition
- Act as a resource
- Provide overall direction for programme
Make implementation decisions
- Facilitate team meetings
- Coach team and team members
Conducts before and after session “sit-rep” meetings with the Circle leader
- Plan meetings
- Give support and guidance
- Provide a focal point for leadership
Liaise with management
Launching Quality Circles
- Expose middle-level executives to the concept.
- Explain the concept to the employees and invite them to volunteer as members of Quality Circles.
- Nominate senior officers as facilitators.
- Form a steering committee.
- Arrange training of coordinators, facilitators in the basics of a Quality Circle approach, implementation, techniques and operation.
- Later the facilitator may provide training to Circle leaders and Circle members.
- A Quality Circle meeting should have a fixed time and place for preferably no more than one hour a week
- Formally inaugurate the Quality Circle.
- Arrange the necessary facilities and resources for the Quality Circle meeting and its operation.
- Brief orientation programme for top management.
- Programme for middle-level executives.
- Training of facilitators.
Training for Circle leaders and members.
Process of Implementing Quality Circles
- Be punctual
- Everyone to contribute (to teach and to learn)
- To listen
- Don’t judge
- Don’t take offence
- Respect each other’s cultural differences
- Respect for all ideas
- All feel free to speak
- Don’t be critical
- Take every idea and run with it
Area of Operation
- Brain-storming -creativity, explore issues, ideas, there should be no ‘sacred cows‘
- No criticism of ideas during development stage
- Record all ideas
- All members take part
Think out of the box (especially in the cause and solution seeking stage)
- Develop mindmaps/clusters and label them
- When process dries up discuss clusters
- Individuals define and share all interpretations of the problems
- Defines, combine or eliminate clusters
- List and Label clusters (A – B – C) etc….
- Individual prioritisation of clusters
- Share individual prioritisation
- Team prioritisation of cluster
Team discussion and agreement on desired priority set
- Prioritise Problems
- Nominal Group Technique,
- Pareto 20/80 principle
- Define problem (ensure high probable cause, not effect)
- What is the perceived problem?
- Is there a difference between the “as is” and the required performance?
- Where is it a problem?
- When is it a problem?
- How often does it happen?
- What are the perceived effects?
- Establish quality output criteria and indicators
Analyse & Determine Causes
- Cause and effect- Problems may have more than on cause
- Conduct cause-effect analysis
- Fishbone Analysis
- Root Cause Analysis such as the 5 Whys
Generate Alternative Solutions
The Decision Process
- What exactly has to be decided? (Identify issues)
- What are the alternatives? (Undertake analysis)
- What are the pros and cons? (Evaluate options)
- Which alternative is the best? (Identify choices)
- What action needs to be taken? (Implement plans)
- Loop back to original issue (Systems thinking)
The list below is useful for highlighting different approaches and emphasising that a single style will not always prove to be the most appropriate.
- 5 Approaches To Decision Making
- The leader makes the decision himself based on information available
- The leader obtains information from subordinates and then decides
- The leader shares the problem with individuals, obtains information and then decides
- The leaders shares the problem with the team, obtains information and then decides
- The leader shares the problem with the team, together they generate and evaluate alternatives and attempt to reach an agreement on the solution.
- Factors influencing our decision-making
- Legal restrictions
- Skills knowledge and experience
- Rational thinking
- Intuitive thinking
- Organisational culture
- Ethnic culture
- Possible Reasons for Bad Decisions
- Tunnel vision; restricting the scope of analysis
- Personal, even selfish, objectives or ambitions
- No real framework; and the consequent grasp of the first or easy alternatives
- Lack of information
- Deliberately ignoring information
- Failure to consider or generate alternatives; lack of creativity; insufficient time
- Inability or reluctance to appreciate consequences of certain actions
- Failure of a group to reach or agree on a decision; or reaching a decision which no individual really supports, but which nobody fundamentally objects to.
Test possible Solution
A suggested structure may look something like;
- Select a suitable venue, time and date (sometimes it is advantageous to do this on site so that management can really appreciate the problem at hand)
- Rehearse the presentation more than once (remember amateurs practice until they get it right, professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong)
- Do a few dry runs before final presentation
- Select a presentation leader (not necessarily the circle leader)
- Organise your material (handouts – power point etc)
- List and discuss possible questions and your answers
- Design the sequence, starting with company’s strategic imperatives
- Monitor the time (20 mins, plus 10mins for questions)
- Take management through the whole team problem-solving process
- Emphasise recommendations, accomplishments, test results and progress
Implement Proposed Solution
Evaluate Results And Confirm Effects
Standardise and Prevent Recurrence
Review Remaining Problems:
Methodologies Used By the Team:
- Pareto Analysis
- Improvement Matrix
- Cause & Effect Analysis (Fishbone or Ishikawa diagrams )
- Data Collection
- Data Analysis
- Cleaning and organising their workplace
- Rationalising the system
- Goal Alignment
- Reducing Work-in-Process
- Quick Changeover Technology
- Kaizen of operations
Facilitation and presentation skills
- Bar Charts
- Circle graphs
- Line graphs
Benefits and Limitations of Quality Circles
- How do you keep staff motivated & raise people’s commitment to organisational effectiveness
- Improve long-term sustainable competitiveness
- To improve the quality of products and services as well as productivity.
- Give people insight into how a business operates
- Developing a culture of learning and innovation
- To identify and solve work-related problems
- Improved Customer satisfaction
- It encourages employee participation as well as promotes teamwork.
- Satisfies the human needs of recognition, achievement and self-development.
- Improves communication within the organisation,
- Tapping the creative intelligence of people working in the organisation and making full use of human resources.
- Helps build a content, bright, and meaningful workplace worthwhile to work
- To improve employees loyalty
- Heightened quality awareness reveals faults in the system that might go un-noticed.
- Increases the value of your brand, and securing your customers’ confidence.
- Inadequate training
- Uncertianty of the purpose of Quality Circles
- Not truly voluntary
- Lack of management interest and implementation
Quality circles are not really empowered to make decisions
Summary of Quality Circles
- Meet for 1 hour each week during working hours.
- Choose a project/problem and spend anything from a month to six months analysing and solving it.
- The whole process of problem-solving follows strict procedures and stages.
- Problems are identified, and then one is selected by the team voting for it.
- After this, the cause is thoroughly investigated, and the facts are verified by data gathering and double checking.
- On occasions, the actual cause which had been assumed was not the same as that which showed up after the data gathering.
- Armed with facts and a solution, a presentation is made to management to get approval for implementation of the project.
- Once this has been granted, the whole process of establishing controls and general monitoring begins so that the solution can be standardised.
- The whole procedure from the initial cause and effect chart on to the final result is recorded with all the charts, drawings and graphs to the final results which are constantly checked and audited.
A regular check is made to see that the improvement is maintained.
Question: What is the biggest constraint to you implementing Quality Circles in your operations?
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