There are various definitions of quality depending on specific target markets and individual characteristics of customers. However, there is one thing in common for all definitions: quality is correspondence with the aim a customer wants to reach (Bamford & Forrester 2010). For business managers, improving the quality of their products and services is a crucial element of success. There are ten basic quality improvement programs (QIPs), each of them having advantages as well as some limitations.
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A zero defects program focuses on seeking excellence in service and quality. This method identifies two attitude-altering ways: via product perception and via quality recognition. Kaizen programs presuppose organizing corrective action groups launched by management. Members of such groups are usually not proficient in improvement. Thus, this kind of enhancement is rather a task force than a powerful program. A program of quality function deployment accumulates the core features of production cycle stages and stimulates teamwork collaboration among the employees from various functional spheres within the organization. Value analysis has similar objectives (Bamford & Forrester 2010). Quality circles are formed by free-willed groups of people working in a company who attend regular meetings and come up with long-term improvement goals. A disadvantage of this program is that the participants usually receive no financial encouragement.A quality costing program aims at determining the spheres in which an organization can induce fines.
The program includes such components as prevention, appraisal, and failure costs. Total quality management (TQM) is established on the hypothesis that a centralized management approach can solve the most quality issues. The core premise of TQM is that quality means making clients satisfied (Bamford & Forrester 2010). Six Sigma is a program aimed at decreasing variation and waste. It is a powerful improvement tool that is employed in such industries as healthcare, warehouse management, and finances. The challenge of this program is that it pays too little attention to the employees (Faint 2011). The quality improvement team is a general notion incorporating several small enhancement activities. This program empowers managers to choose their methods without being attached to a particular approach. Business process reengineering combines the elements of an organization, people, technology, and process, which makes it a rather beneficial program (Bamford & Forrester 2010).
The company where I work employs such QIPs as quality function deployment, a zero-defects program, total quality management, and business process reengineering. These approaches allow managing the work within our healthcare organization in the most effective way. QIPs make it possible to know the customers’ needs and find ways of satisfying them. The least productive program previously employed in the organization was a quality circle approach.
The Role of Quality Improvement Programs in Reaching Suppliers and Customer Satisfaction
One of the basic functions of QIPs is helping to satisfy customers and reach suppliers (Ates & Bititci 2011). Continuous improvement programs (CIPs) have proved to enhance communication with suppliers and reduce the bottlenecks in the shopping industry (Godinho Filho & Uzsoy 2014). Thus, the issues of CIPs have become a focus of attention of many scholars and organization managers (Sanchez & Blanco 2014).
QIPs are noted for their capability to enhance the education industry in a distant way (O’Rourke & Al Bulushi 2010). Effective quality improvement helps to eliminate risks in supply chain management as it allows to track the demand and prevent risks (Kumar & Schmitz 2011). The Healthcare system is interested in QIPs as its customers are constantly seeking for the best services and most beneficial outcomes (Duarte, Goodson & Dougherty 2014). Managers in healthcare institutions need to come up with the most innovative and improved services to attract customers and get them satisfied with the outcomes.
QIPs are vital in all spheres of the industry which deal with customers and suppliers. Apart from satisfying the clients’ needs, QIPs enhance the employees’ productivity and work engagement.
Ates, A & Bititci, U 2011, ‘Change process: a key enabler for building resilient SMEs’, International Journal of Production Research, vol. 49, no. 18, pp. 5601-5618.
Bamford, D & Forrester, P 2010, Essential guide to operations management: concepts and case notes, Wiley, London.
Duarte, N T, Goodson, J R & Dougherty, T-M P 2014, ‘Managing innovation in hospitals and health systems: lessons from the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Winners 2014’, International Journal of Healthcare Management, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 21-34.
Faint, R 2011, ‘Leaning towards business efficiency’, Operations Management, vol. 37, no. 5, pp. 37-41.
Godinho Filho, M & Uzsoy, R 2014, ‘Assessing the impact of alternative continuous improvement programmes in a flow shop using system dynamics’, International Journal of Production Research, vol. 52, no. 10, pp. 3014-3031.
Kumar, S & Schmitz, S 2011, ‘Managing recalls in a consumer product supply chain – root cause analysis and measures to mitigate risks’, International Journal of Production Research, vol. 49, no. 1, pp. 235-253.
O’Rourke, S & Al Bulushi, H A 2010, ‘Managing quality from a distance: a case study of collaboration between Oman and New Zealand’, Quality in Higher Education, vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 197-210.
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Sanchez, L & Blanco, B 2014, ‘Three decades of continuous improvement’, Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, vol. 25, no. 9/10, pp. 986-1001.