Quality Capsule 2 - Suresh Lulla

I believe: Quality is a top-down discipline.

How often have you observed that the operations department is blamed for product failures? It is so frequent that they have learned to accept the blame without resistance. They move on till the next time they are blamed.

The reality is that only 30% of failures have their root causes in operations. Over 50% failures have their root causes in supplier and service support Quality. And almost 20% failures are traceable to distributors and customers.

So why blame operations?

Here is an insight:

  • We are organized in vertical silos. These silos have functional names such as, operations, purchasing, marketing, finance.
  • Silos have owners with financial targets for performance.
  • As fresh recruits we enter at the base of the silo and aspire to rise to the top of the silo.
  • Where is the customer? The customer is outside the organization and receives outputs from work that flows horizontally across the silos.
  • This horizontal cross-functional work is called a process.
  • Processes do not have owners and performance targets.
  • Promotions are vertical.

My recommendation: Processes must have owners, and enjoy the same stature as function owners.

So, how do you manage a process? In other words, how do you manage for Quality?

Managing for Quality is accomplished by using the Juran Trilogy:

  • Quality planning
  • Quality control
  • Quality improvement.

Quality Planning:

This is a managerial process to set the standards for products / services and processes to meet the needs of customers.

  1. Who are the current and potential customers?
  2. What are the needs of these customers?
  3. Translate the customer needs into product / service features
  4. Develop processes that are able to produce the product / service features
  5. Transfer the plans to operations.

Quality planning is the responsibility of top management.

Quality planning is capital intensive.

Quality Control:

This managerial process is the means to maintain the standard.

  1. Measure actual Quality performance
  2. Compare actual performance with Quality goals
  3. Act on the difference.

Quality control is delegable, through self-control on capable processes.

Quality Improvement:

This managerial process is the means to challenge the standard.

  1. Top management should establish the infrastructure required for continuous Quality improvement
  2. Top management must select the improvement projects
  3. Top management must select the project teams and articulate clear responsibility for delivering breakthrough results
  4. Top management must provide the project teams with resources, time and training for:
    – Diagnosing the cause
    – Establishing a remedy
    – Locking the improvements.

Quality improvement is not fully delegable.

Quality improvement is not capital intensive. It can deliver 1000% ROI on investment in improvement.

Now, refer to the question I had asked in Quality Capsule 1: Where should we start on our Road to World-Class Quality? My qualified response is, if we are an organization in existence for at least a few years, I would start with focussing on freedom from deficiencies. This will improve the efficiency of processes, as well as reduce wasteful costs.

My question to you this week is: How should we start on our Road to World-Class Quality?

My third Quality Capsule, on Wednesday 22 July, will be on: Quality Improvement.

7 thoughts on “HOW TO MANAGE FOR QUALITY?”

  • I would say ‘ Retrospective Analysis’ . Every Project deserve this …n Should be reviewed by top management. The fact remains sincerely we are not focusing on Lessons learned…
    We repeat the failures..React to failures…Fire people for failures.
    Lessons learned is significantly better approach for Quality improvement projects…the way forward for World class Quality.

  • “Managing for quality” beautifully elaborated in this capsule. Will wait for blog on “Quality of Management”

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