Quality Management Tools and Techniques
In order for an organization to be able to meet its mission, vision, and objectives, it should have quality management tools and techniques. In this particular case study, the analyzed organization is Unilever, which is an international company operating in Africa, Europe, America, Asia and Middle East. The company’s vision consists of four pillars, which they use to explain where they want to go and how to reach there. These pillars include: day by day improvement of people’s future, customer satisfaction by the use of their brands, inspiring people to take actions that can change the world positively and finally, developing ways of expanding their business while taking care of the environment. All these pillars, when achieved, make the company successful in its operations and hence more profitable. The company’s mission is to add Vitality to life by meeting each day needs for nutrition; hygiene and personal care with brands, which make people appreciate life. Their objectives are as follows: to increase volume of sales, to increase their market share (i.e. to minimize the share of their competitors), to increase the value of their share in the stock market both locally and internationally, to increase their profit margins and finally to take social responsibility, e.g. environmental management.
Ways of Implementing Quality Management Tools
Implementation of appropriate quality management tools and techniques is necessary for a company to be successful. The company’s management is of a high level that is committed to achieving their set objectives. This means that they clearly understand their mission, vision and what they are supposed to achieve within a specific period of time. Apart from having objectives, the company has set both short-term and long-term goals, as well as the period within which they should be achieved. The company’s management offers a ground for achieving the goals because they determine the morale of employees, e.g. through wages and remuneration. Project planning and management is carried out by those relevant to the department and allowed for implementation by other employees.
Training provides workers with relevant skills on production process. This will be either technical training, or training on a new adapted technology with fresher periodical courses. Each department may provide this training to enhance the quality of work produced by each individual, hence, increasing the quality that will result to boost the sales. Training also enables one to take responsibility alone and to be accountable for an ignorance or misconduct.
Effective communication contributes to achievement of the objectives that are defined goals of each department and the organization as a whole. Effective means of communication are identified in delivering information about actions that should be taken at a particular time. Such means may include emails, telephone calls, meetings and use of notices and internal memos. The information should be clear, understood and from a reliable source. Customer relations department should be able to understand the requirements of various customers in order to meet their needs effectively.
Carrying out periodical internal audits before the external one helps to identify where there are loopholes and how they can be mended/improved. Self-assessment is useful to check whether the set goals within a certain period are achieved (i.e. whether it is individual, departmental or organizational goal).
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The company is using various tools and techniques successful in effecting quality management, such as use of check sheet in summarizing the quality of the output and the input labor. Workers usually sign an attendance list, which data is being recorded and used to determine the number of workers involved in operation. It also helps to know the number of output, the defectives and when production takes place by checking the shifts. This has been implemented safely, leading to the increase of production and avoiding dummy workers.
The company uses cause and effects analysis (fishbone diagrams), where by the company looks at the things that make them not to achieve the set goals and search for their root causes (cause of the problems the company is facing and their effects). It makes the management to work out and get the solution, which results in achieving their mission statement. Any organization comes across with different challenges, therefore management considers analyzing their causes a process that can lead them in making decisions to achieve a solution.
The company is also using Pareto analysis as a tool for quality management. By the mentioned technique, the company analyzes two things at the same time: trying and finding the solution. For example, the company analysis brings out the output level of employees and number of people working per shift, and finds the ways of increasing output by increasing the number of workers or quantity of raw materials.
The Techniques that the Company is not Using Successfully
Some of the techniques that the company is not using successfully are listed below. Flowcharts are usually important in showing the steps taken in a certain process, but the company flow charts were not effectively used. Occasionally some processes are skipped during production, which leads to low performance. Also, the proper steps were not undertaken for solving disputes in the organization, which eventually brought to conflicts. If the flow charts were properly used, there would be a great improvement in the organization.
Benchmarking, as a technique of quality management, is not effectively implemented because junior and subordinate workers are not involved in formulation of policies. It means that there is less participation, as they are not responsible for the actions they take. Moreover, they may not understand the process because there is ineffective communication. Those that plan, are not the ones who train them, hence the produced quality is not satisfactory.
From the analysis above, it is evident that quality management tools and techniques should be used properly in order to achieve the company’s set goals and targets. The vision, mission and objective of the company guide the organization on their day-to-day activities. So, the organization should make sure it is in line to its vision and mission, and quality management tools and techniques will help in achieving it.