Some aspects on achieving Quality

Eliminate Numerical Quotas:

Deming advocates the removal of quotas, because they end up encouraging people to focus on quantity often at the expense of quality. Companies should focus on quality issues instead of blindly pursuing numbers.

Dubbed Airline of the Year by Air transport World in February 1991 and ranked number one in all Consumer Reports airline categories, Alaska Airlines relies on high service quality to grow profits. Although the airline industry as a whole lost more than $5 billion in 1990, Air Alaska posted profits of $17 million. Once referred to as “Elastic Airlines” for frequently running late and often changing flight schedules, Alaska Airlines now stresses punctual performance and customer service. Focusing on quality, not quantity enables the company to attract profitable, full fare business fliers. For more than ten years, revenues of the Alaska Air Group have grown at a rate of more than 24 percent a year, to $ 1.05 million in 1990.

Remove Barriers to pride of Workmanship:

Deming maintains that annual rating or merit systems should be eliminated. If people inherently want to perform well, as Deming assumes, then they do not need such incentive systems. What they need is assistance in over coming obstacles imposed by inadequacies in Materials, equipment, and training. Systems that endeavor to remove such obstacles should replace systems that attempt to coerce performance by making workers feel that they are always being judged, ranked, and rated.

A lean workforce of 150 fully empowered employees produces air conditioner compressors in Carrier Corporation’s Arkadelphia, Arkansas, plant. Empowered plant employees do not punch a time clock or have to prove illness of absent.

The empowered, team based workforce in Carrier’s highly automated plant is extremely flexible. Workers are trained in several job assignments and can fill in at numerous points on the assembly line. Often, employees interview their prospective managers. The manager will not be hired if employees decide the compatibility between the manager and workers is not just right.

Institute a vigorous Program of Education and training:

Deming emphasizes training. This includes a thorough foundation in the tools and techniques of quality control, as well as additional instruction in teamwork and the philosophy of TQM culture.

Infiniti, the luxury car division of Nissan Motor Company, runs a six day camp for dealer personnel. The goal of the innovative training program is to make Infiniti dealership unequalled in the treatment of customers. The car maker requires that all dealer employees, even clerks and receptionists, attend the training programs conducted every other year in Phoenix Arizona. Attendees are taught to change their attitudes and no longer think of dealership visitors as “tire kickers” or mere customers. Instead, potential car buyers are to be treated as honored guests. In Japan, honored guest and customer are defined by a single word, okyakusama. In 1991, Infiniti tied Toyota’s Lexus for first place in J D Powers and Associates annual customer satisfaction survey. While Lexus was rated first in car quality, Infiniti won the overall title for its treatment of customers.

Take Action to accomplish the transformation:

According to Deming, the entire organization must work together to enable a quality culture to succeed. Top managers Must design and implement the strategy so that workers can then cooperate in the pursuit of a TQM culture.

Zytec, a 1991 Baldrige winner has revamped its entire strategic planning process in order to achieve the highest level of quality possible. The company uses formal and informal means to collect data from customers for market research and to help it improve its own operations. A five year strategic plan is developed by six cross functional teams, and then reviewed and critiqued by about 20 percent of the company (150 employees) – from all shifts, departments and expertise. Feedback on the plan is also solicited from a handful of customers and suppliers before it is finalized by Zytee executives.