Quick Start, Quick Results Total Quality

Many "Total Quality" initiatives have had disappointing results. There have been several reasons for this. First, improvement projects were begun with objectives that were either vague or uninteresting to upper management. Second, deadlines were either unclear or nonexistent. Third, managers were told they had to change their entire approach to management.

Quick Start, Quick Results Total Quality has achieved dramatic results by avoiding these common pitfalls. One key innovation is to set a hard deadline for 15-minute briefings to senior executives 90 days after the start of the projects. Another key innovation is the selection of projects and participants by the executive team using a decision matrix analysis based on diagnostic interviews (the first block in the above figure) with a diagonal slice of the organization. The diagnostic interviews help ensure that the projects address issues that are seen as important by people in all parts of the organization. The decision matrices help ensure a genuine consensus among the executive team, not merely pro forma agreement that may disappear at first sight of one of the organizational crises that often seem to occur in real organizations. The projects are conducted by leading innovators in the organization who receive training on tools for problem analysis and quantitative problem solving "just in time" to be used in the projects. The project teams also receive coaching from external consultants experienced with similar projects in other organizations. The 15-minute limit for presentations force the project teams to be clear and succinct in their thinking and their recommendations. In addition to solid solutions to long-standing and otherwise intractable problems, the organization gets people who are trained in new tools that can be used to attack other problems. The experience gained by participants in these projects increases the overall ability of the organization to solve problems manage its environment more proactively in the future.

For more information, call (408)294-5779, fax: (408)294-2343, or e-mail: sgraves@prodsyse.com and ask for a free copy of "Quick Start, Quick Results Total Quality" by Charles A. Cox, Spencer B. Graves, Susanne Morris, and Alejandro Bolaños (ch. 4 in J. S. Ahluwalia, ed., Total Quality Management, Tata McGraw-Hill, 1997, pp. 35-45).

Other Productive Systems Engineering programs: Product Development, Designed Experiments (Design of Experiments, DoE or DOX), Reliability Experimentation, Tolerancing, Statistical Process Control (SPC); Fiber Optic Communication/Transmission Systems (FOCS or FOTS); Control and Monitoring (RMM); Electronics (Theory & Application); Production Line Assembly for Technicians (Assembly).