Table of Contents (TOC)
History of the quality management evolution
The history of quality management goes back to the middle ages when skilled workers inspected and evaluated work done by employees to ensure that they met quality standards and customer needs. In the 1920s, the statistical theory started being applied to quality management by Shewhart. Later, Shewhart, Deming, Dodge and Romig applied statistical theory into quality control coming up with the theory of statistical process control.
Later in 1950s, the Japanese industrial system started applying quality management practices and quality control management became a major theme in the management philosophy. This was followed by a major success by the Japanese industrial system prompting the West to introduce quality programs and initiatives to increase production in 1980s. This development led to recognition of the International Standardization Organization (ISO) 9000 as a standard for quality management systems. Total quality management is now widely used to address organizational performance and recognize the importance of quality (Seaver, 2003).
Why it is needed
Best Buy is an organization in the department store industry that offers a wide range of consumer goods including furniture, home products, apparel and shoes, appliances, among other goods.
Quality management is needed in any business as it ensures organizations are able to implement quality management programs to improve on weaknesses, faults and strengths leading to superiority in products and services, as well as internal processes. Quality management is needed to improve the organization’s product in terms of performance, reliability and quality of the products and services. With quality management programs, a department store’s activities, products and services will be able to meet the set standards in the industry.
Department stores interact with a large number of consumers on a daily basis and having customer surveys in the quality management program will enable an organization to understand what features are most important to customers. The information provides an insight on why customers chose competitor’s products and services and this can enable the organization to provide features that customers desire. The quality management programs enable an organization to identify areas of improvement and in so doing, improve productivity by doing away with unnecessary tasks. Quality management will also help an organization to identify the necessary strategies needed spend less and produce more quality services leading to increased revenues (Seaver, 2003).
The Role of Leadership
Why it is a strategic issue
The role of leadership in quality management is essential in today’s business environment. The involvement of managers and employees at all organizational levels is important in the management of quality. In department store industry, organizational leaders have the role of creating and designing systems that influence how products and service are produced. Leaders have the duty to structure behaviors that enhance the adoption of programs that enhance quality management practices. Leaders also ensure that there is continuous improvement of processes that lead to enhance delivery of products and services.
Management as a role model
Management is all about commitment and leadership in planning, organizing and controlling the activities of an organization in order to meet set goals and objectives. Effective management practices involve the development of a mission statement, strategies and action plans for an organization. Management ensures that an organization is able to adopt a strategic view in quality management and improvement in weaknesses and faults. In organizations like department stores, all leaders and managers show their commitment to management by communicating business principles and strategies and this is the same way quality management practices are communicated and implemented (Seaver, 2003).
New kinds of metrics
Quality management is an approach that involves improving the effectiveness, competitiveness and performance of an organization for all stakeholders including employees, customers and other shareholders. Organizational leadership play a key role in quality management and in so doing, new kind of metrics are used. One of the metrics is customer satisfaction so as to understand how well the organization is serving the customers. Another metric is employee satisfaction which gauges employee mood in implementing the quality management programs. Productivity is another metric and is used to measure the success of quality management by measuring sales against expenses. Cash flow metric enables the management top identify the number of days the organization is able to pay it vendors or creditors and collect their accounts receivables (Christopher, 2005).
General Quality Strategies and Tools
Establishing customer expectations
Customers have various expectations when they walk into a business and the organization that adopts quality management practices will be able to identify these expectations and meet them. Quality management enables organizations to identify customer expectations by asking them what they need and analyzing their shopping trends. Establishing customer expectations enables an organization to meet customer needs hence enhanced quality management.
When it comes to designing quality in quality management, the organizations should be able to define organizational goals, map the key processes, define roles and improve the system. Defining organizational goals will enable an organization to establish priorities and make decisions based on values. Mapping the key processes involve understanding operational activities and how the achieve desired outcomes as well as documenting the quality manual. Roles ensure that each individual has duties to perform in order to achieve the desired results.
Defining metrics enable an organization to ask the necessary questions regarding the processes they have put in place to ensure quality. Metrics are defined to ensure that the implementation of any quality process does not have any gaps. The metrics may include measures of supply chain performance, employee performance, or even customer satisfaction. Defining metrics will enable an organization to keep track of their quality management processes and improve on areas that need improvement (Seaver, 2003).
Mistake-proofing involves the steps taken in order to reduce to reduce human error or making it possible to identify an error once it has occurred. Mistake proofing can be done by creating a flow chart of the quality management process and identifying the potential errors, suggesting ways of detecting the error and reducing its impacts. Mistake proofing provides a tool of identifying and correcting human errors in the service process.
Kaizen refers to continuous improvement in quality management and involves a way of thinking and working based on organizational values. Kaizen involves improving every aspect of an organization on a regular basis. It ensures that an organization is profitable, innovative and sustainable. Kaizen also means that an organization is able to minimize the waste of time and resources in order to increase productivity and performance.
Six Sigma is a measure of quality that eliminates defects to achieve six standard deviations within the mean performance. A six sigma defect is when products, services or performance are outside customer specifications. Six sigma approach enables an organization to focus on process improvement and ensuring that specifications are met. This quality management tool enables organizations to define, measure, design, analyze and verify processes in an improvement system (Seaver, 2003).
Quality Tactics and the Logistics and Supply Chain Functions
What tools are applicable internally
A logistic and supply chain system can only work in an organization with a properly designed quality system. Designing quality is important in logistics and supply chain as it enables an organization to quantify and procure the right products in line with organizational goals and key processes. In order to ensure quality, the procurement documents should be able to have detailed product specifications before and after procurement to ensure quality.
Defining metrics ensures that there are set standards to assess how the procurement process is being done. Customers relate quality to performance measures and feature based measures and so the metrics defined by the organizations should ensure that organizational objectives are met. Defining metrics supports business objectives and goals because it clearly defines performance as a measurable entity and the organizations to measure performance on a regular basis.
Kaizen can be applied in logistics and supply chain functions to improve the processes. Routine monitoring and evaluation of the logistics and supply chain activities enables an organization understand its performance and the areas for improvement. Kaizen enables an organization to improve these areas in order to achieve enhanced performance and productivity (Christopher, 2005).
What tools are applicable externally with vendors
One activity of logistics and supply chain functions is to meet customer expectations. Logistics deals with selecting, procuring, and distributing products and services in order to meet customer expectations. Every activity in logistics and supply chain contributes to meeting customer expectations. Even after customers have received the products, it is important to monitor the quality of the products so that customers receive products they want and when they need them.
Six sigma involves identifying customer specifications in order to meet them. In logistics and supply functions, six sigma enables an organization to serve the needs of the end customer. In the department store industry, employees provide customer service while serving customers. Six sigma enables the logistics and supply chain department to avoid any assumptions in meeting customer needs and ensure that priorities are met.
Mistake proofing is important in logistics and supply chain functions particularly when it comes to procurement. Once a supply plan has been identified, products ar procured from vendors and suppliers. Mistake proofing ensures that are minimal mistakes in procuring from the suppliers and that the set procedures are met. This will ensure that there an open and transparent process that enhances quality in logistics and supply management (Christopher, 2005).