Quality management emerged as an area of expertise when organizations understood the importance of delivering products and services at optimal levels. A lot of organizations started using a different variety of quality management tools. Earlier, the main focus of all companies was to produce on time. As long as the deliveries went out at the given deadline, nothing else would matter. Over time, they realized that customer satisfaction was not just based on timely deliveries. It was, in fact, focused on delivering services at a superior quality.
This is what quality management takes care of. Quality management is a set of tools and processes utilized by organizations of all sizes across many industries to help them deliver their products and services of consistent and high quality on time. Quality management has several benefits, which are discussed in the article below. The article also talks about the most fundamental tools of quality management.
Benefits of Quality Management Tools
Quality management tools have a lot of benefits when implemented correctly. The main goal for organizations is to work hard, not smart, and then create an environment that encourages productivity and achievement of business goals. Some of the most widely known advantages of quality management tools are:
- Quality management tools are cost-efficient options. In research conducted by the Center of Economic and Business Research, it was noted that the benefits of investment in quality management were sixteen fold. For every dollar invested in a quality management tool, the organization saved $16. They also increased their profit margin by $3
- Quality management tools help improve end-user satisfaction. Since the main goal of quality management is to improve the quality of the deliveries, it results in improving the satisfaction level of the end-user or the customer
- Quality management tools improve efficiency. Quality management tools are methods that eliminate errors and focus on the improvement of processes. This way, teams and the organization as a whole can operate in a more efficient manner
- Quality management tools improve productivity. Quality management tools help employees eliminate chances of error and reduce the time it takes to do tasks. This motivates teams and helps boost productivity
- Quality management tools help reduce waste. There are many different types of waste that an organization can incur. Waste of time, human resources, energy, physical assets, and more. Quality management tools optimize processes, thereby reducing waste significantly
Many such benefits come with using quality management tools. They help reduce errors, create a more driven culture and work environment, improve communication, help companies maintain compliance, and more. Adopting the right quality management tool can help companies save a lot of time and resources, improve the overall quality of delivery and processes, as well as generate a high ROI. Some of the most commonly used quality management tools are listed below.
7 Basic Quality Management Tools
Quality management tools listed below were greatly emphasized upon by Kaoru Ishikawa, who was instrumental in creating total quality management and maximizing productivity by improving the quality of deliveries in the manufacturing industry. These seven basic quality management tools are also known as the ‘old’ seven or the ‘first’ seven. They are:
- Cause and effect diagram or the Fishbone diagram
- Control chart
- Pareto chart
- Check sheet
- Scatter diagram
The Fishbone Diagram
Kaoru Ishikawa created the Fishbone diagram or the cause and effect diagram. It was created as a means for problem-solving purposes. The diagram is also referred to as a Fishbone diagram because it resembles a fishbone upon completion. The cause and effect diagram lists out a problem and then lists out the possible causes for the problem and its effect or result.
The main problem that impacts quality is listed out on the right side of the diagram, and all the possible causes leading up to the problem are listed out on the left side.
A control chart is used to maintain the quality assurance of a product or service. It takes all historical data into account to find an average or mean line of quality, which is drawn out on a graph. Other limits are added to the chart (both upper and lower) using data to see what type of variations are taking place. Once the variations have been listed out on the graph, quality management professionals or quality assurance professionals can find the causes of what is affecting the process, both positively and negatively.
A control chart helps monitor the quality of deliveries and expectations from the end-users or customers. It helps create a predictable outcome with each delivery and helps the quality management team identify negative variations that need to be worked on or eliminated.
A Pareto chart is also known as the 80-20 rule of quality management. Here, organizations assume that most of the problems they face with quality management in any process are caused by the biggest factors. These problems are listed out as 80% of all problems, and their causes are listed out to be 20% of the biggest factors.
A Pareto chart is a combination of a line graph and a bar graph. The values are shown by using the bar graph in the Pareto chart, and the line graph shows the total impact. This way, organizations can find the biggest causes of their problems with quality and implement measures to reduce them.
Stratification is used to divide different factors that could affect the quality of delivery into separate groups. All the collected data is split up to create and observe different patterns of factors that affect quality. The stratification method is widely used for data analysis in terms of quality assurance.
A check sheet is a quality management and assurance tool used to find the frequency of an error or problem or a specific value. This makes it easier to spot errors or patterns causing errors and defects, as well as the frequency of their occurrence in a process. Creating a check sheet is simple. It is also fairly easy to understand. It is often used as a preliminary tool for other tools in quality management because it simplifies the whole process of problem identification.
A histogram helps quality analysts and management professionals accurately analyze different types of information they have available on different data groups to help create controls to improve the quality of any process.
A sample is taken and divided into different groups, after which the frequency of the data is calculated. This helps in the identification of areas of improvement in a process. The low performing areas show up in less frequency on the histogram, and quality management professionals can then find the root cause of the problem and solve it.
A scatter diagram is used to find the relationship between A and B. For example, if B is facing an issue with packaging, a scatter diagram can be used to find A, which is the main reason that B takes place. This way, all possible causes to the defects to the quality of a product or process can be identified easily, after which the quality management professionals can create and implement focused solutions to solve the main cause.
Quality management is based on continuously improving all processes, regularly monitoring them, and looking out for any flaws or defects. Quality management professionals need to be certified to have the knowledge and experience that they need to implement thoughtful and valuable changes to the production and development processes so that they can deliver at the optimal level, regularly and consistently.
Some of the popular quality management certification courses that individuals and enterprise teams can take up are: