Principles and a Framework of Quality Management

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Principles of Quality Management in the Mike Ilitch School of Business

The importance of quality management consists of two main aspects. The first aspect is the improvement of an organizations performance and achievement of the targeted results; the second aspect is the customers satisfaction. The success and the competitive strength of any organization are based on these two pillars. When these aspects are met, the organization demonstrates high results in performance and attracts loyal customers who will always return to use its services or goods.

The quality management as a management tool can be subdivided into smaller categories. According to the quality management theory, there exist at least eight quality management principles. Each of these principles is oriented on the improvement of a certain field in the organization. For example, the focus on the customers indicates customers satisfaction and loyalty, while leadership principle is aimed at increasing motivation among employees and making them work harder. The importance of quality management theory consists in the accurate information about every essential aspect of the organizations performance. In this way, the organization receives the detailed plan of actions that is necessary to adopt in order to achieve the targeted objectives, increase the quality performance, and win loyal customers.

W. Edwards Deming is considered to be the major contributor of the quality management theory (Bhat and Navya 115). His methods and theories were first used by Japan after WWII to help the country recover after the war. Only 30 years later, the Demings ideas were adopted in the United States when they started experience difficulties competing with Japanese business (Bhat and Navya 115). Apart from Deming, a significant contribution to the development of the quality management theory was made by Joseph M. Juran, Philip B. Crosby, James Champy, and Armand V. Feigenbaum among others.

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The role of quality management in an organization is to provide all required tools and techniques that will help the organization demonstrate the best performance and achieve all set objectives.

Principles of Quality Management

The entire theory of quality management can be subdivided into categories which are closely interconnected. As a rule, researchers outline eight main principles of quality management (Bhat and Navya 115). Each of these principles introduces a specific aspect of the organizations performance and success. Despite the fact that they are all interrelated and a successful implementation of these principles is necessary for the organizations wellbeing, each aspect represents a very specific filed of the organizations performance.

For an organization, it is very important to implement all these aspects on the high level in order to achieve the targeted goals to the full extent. Nevertheless, depending on the organizations priorities and the available resources, it is possible that some of the quality principles can be presented more intensive than the other (Bhat and Navya 115). However, there are some essential quality principles that cannot be ignored without distinction in terms of the organizations resources or purposes. Among them, one can outline leadership, customer focus, and continual improvement (Watson and Howarth 248). All other aspects are very important, but the inability to introduce them will not cause such severe damage to the organizations wellbeing as the absence of the above-mentioned underlying principles.

The Customer Focus Principle

The focus on the customers is the first and probably the main principle of quality management. This principle includes such aspects as customers needs and customer-oriented service. The main idea of the principle indicates that it is crucial to understand customers needs and adequately satisfy them, but it is better if a business is able even to exceed the customers expectations (Singhal and Singhal 68). That is why businesses should know current requirements of their clients and try to foresee those which will appear in the future.

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For an organization, customer-oriented approach means an increase in revenue and market share due to fast responses to market opportunities. Moreover, the organization receives loyal customers, since it has the required resources to fulfill the customers expectations. One can research and measure the level of customers satisfaction and make decisions in accordance with the received results (Singhal and Singhal 69). This principle enables to achieve the balance between these results and other parties such as owners, suppliers, local communities, or employees.

In my opinion, the customer-focus principle is necessary to include in the unifying theory of quality management, because it ensures that the organizations objectives are tightly connected with the customers needs and expectations (Singhal and Singhal 69). In addition, it improves the relationships between organizations and customers, since an organization clearly understands and works toward what exactly its customers want.

The Leadership Principle

The second principle is leadership. An organization cannot thrive and prosper without strong and effective leadership. It is required to set clear goals and objectives and to motivate employees to achieve the organizations targets more effectively. In addition, leadership creates the chain between employees, organizations, and customers. To satisfy the customers needs, an organization has to increase the motivation of employees by establishing leadership principles and techniques (Bhat and Navya 115). This method guarantees creating of special environment which motivates employees to demonstrate better achievements and, as a result, bring high revenue to the organization.

The organization that implements leadership principles receives a strong team of employees which acts, cooperates, and communicates to achieve the common objectives. Each member of such team is motivated enough to perform his/her duties well in order to bring the results expected by the organization. Effective leadership also establishes good communication among all employees as well as between employees and customers and reduces possible misunderstandings (Bhat and Navya 115).

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The necessity of leadership cannot be underestimated. Leadership promotes values, principles, and ideas that are shared by all member s of the organization. In fact, it plays a role of an ethical model at all levels of the organization. In addition, effective leadership predetermines that every employee possesses the necessary tools and skills to do the required work well (Bhat and Navya 115). Without leadership, the company cannot demonstrate competitive results and become a leader in the market. That is why it is necessary to include it in the quality management theory as one of the basic aspects.

The People Involvement Principle

The third principle is people involvement. It indicates the techniques the company uses to attract new people and motivate the already hired employees all those who work in office, part time, or at home to receive maximal benefits and achieve the targeted goals (Mandal 176).

Due to this principle, people understand the importance of their contribution and their role in the organization. Employees can clearly identify hindrances to their performance, learn how to tackle the problems that have arisen, and become more responsible for their own solutions (Mandal 176). People place the quality of their performance higher than personal objectives and goals. Employees constantly search the opportunities that can improve their knowledge, skills, and competence (Mandal 177). An organization receives a team that can openly discuss problems and issues, share knowledge and experience how to solve them, and work in one direction for the mutual benefit.

This principle is necessary to include in the theory of quality management, because it makes people be responsible for their own performance. The people involvement principle leads to the development of the environment where each member of the team understands his/her role in the organization and knows how to contribute best to improve the performance of the team and the entire organization where he/she works.

The Process Approach Principle

The process approach principle is necessary to improve the efficiency and the effectiveness of the organizations performance. The main idea of this principle is that a well-organized working process increases the speed of all activities within the organization (The Importance of Quality Management). Besides, the process approach principle leads to a decrease in costs; it also betters consistency and promotes the required improvements.

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As far as the organization is concerned, this principle is necessary to measure the capability of key activities. The organization uses this principle to evaluate the possible risks and their consequences for the organization itself as well as its employees and customers (The Importance of Quality Management). The principle also provides regular defining of the activities to ensure that they correspond to the required results. It identifies the interconnection among the key functions to improve the general performance of the organization.

The process approach principle should be included in the theory of quality management for the fact its main focus and priority are the opportunities for improvement. Thus, the organization requires mechanism which can identify opportunities, analyze these, and implement them effectively in the organizations performance.

The System Approach to Management Principle

The system approach to management principle identifies how the managing processes is interrelated and how it contributes to the organizations effectiveness. This principle also defines how the specific activities within a system should operate to bring the maximal benefits (Charantimath 47). The system approach to management principle provides a better understanding of the role of each employee and defines the employees responsibilities more accurately in order to achieve the common objectives and minimize the cross-functional barrier.

The importance of this principle for an organization consists in the confidence that this principle provides to all the parties involved. Employees, managers, and partners get a possibility to work in a harmonized environment where all processes and resources are integrated (Charantimath 49). This principle explains the interdependence of all processes within the system and how they can be used to improve the performance of the entire organization.

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The system approach to management principle is a crucial aspect of the quality management theory, since its main priority is the improvement of the system through constant measurements and evaluation (Charantimath 49). This principle helps to define the relation that exists among all activities within the organization and how each of the activity can be used to improve another one.

Continual Improvement Principle

Continual improvement principle predetermines the actions that the organization takes to improve the quality of activities at all levels. It affects the overall performance of the organization, and due to its flexibility, the organization is able to quickly react to any opportunities or threats (Pojidaeff 103).

The principle of continual improvement means the constant growth and development for an organization. Improvements offered due to this principle are necessary for the search of the solutions for complex situations and providing new suggestions for products or service modification (Pojidaeff 104). To always remain competitive, the company should offer something new; it must be aware of the latest demands in the market and be able to adjust to the organizations measures to fully satisfy these needs.

This principle is an inalienable part of quality management. The terms quality and improvement are two sides of one coin. Quality cannot be achieved without continual improvement, while improvements are always caused by the demand for quality (Pojidaeff 104). For this reason, the quality management system is directly connected with the level of constant improvements that the organization takes to bring its services or products on a new level.

The Factual Approach Principle

The next principle is the factual approach to the decision-making process. In the context of quality management, this principle means the effectiveness of the gathered information and data in order to find the most appropriate solutions for the urgent problems. In addition, this principle increases the organizations abilities to review and change opinions depending on the circumstances (Pyzdek and Keller 137). In other words, the organization becomes more flexible and can change its decisions and direction if it is required without serious damage to its performance.

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The importance of this principle for the organization lies in the ability to use the previous experience for factual needs that exist today. Owing to this principle, the organization receives tools that increase its ability to review and change the already made decisions (Pyzdek and Keller 139). What is more, it makes data available for all who may need it, and in this way, increases the effectiveness of their actions and the general improvement of the organizations performance.

This principle is necessary to include in the unifying theory of quality management, because its main priority is providing realizable and sufficient data information. Without updated information, the decision-making process of the organization could not satisfy the real demands that the organization currently faces (Pyzdek and Keller 139). Hence, the organization receives techniques and tools that can fully correspond to the modern demands, and, as a result, it becomes competitive in the market and well informed about the latest shifts in the customers preferences.

Mutually Beneficial Supplier Relationships Principle

The mutual beneficial supplier relationships principle means the opportunity for mutual benefits that an organization and suppliers receive due to their cooperation. This principle predetermines clear and open communication between both sides and the introduction of activities that will enable the improvement of the relationships between suppliers and organization (Pyzdek and Keller 143).

For an organization, it is important to have reliable suppliers who can be trusted and who can offer durable cooperation. Such loyalty can be achieved only in case of benefits that suppliers receive because of the work with the organization. However, the organization cannot cooperate with suppliers if this cooperation is beneficial only for one side (Pyzdek and Keller 143). Under these circumstances, there always exists a risk that a supplier can find another partner who will offer better conditions. That is why it is necessary to ensure that the cooperation with the organization is as important for the supplier as it is important for the organization itself.

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The mutual beneficial supplier relationships principle is an essential aspect of the quality management theory as it helps to identify and select the key suppliers for long-term cooperation. The major object of this principle is to find suppliers who will be able to satisfy the organizations needs for quality, loyalty, and durable cooperation (Pyzdek and Keller 144). The reliable partners are the key to the successful performance of the organization and satisfied customers.

A Framework for Quality Management

Three pillars of quality management are leadership, customer focus, and continual improvements. In general, they briefly reflect the main directions of quality management which are necessary to obey, so the organization could achieve the targeted goals. According to this framework, leadership principle receives the main position compared to the two other core aspects. The reason for that is the role of leadership in every organization (Watson and Howarth 256). Despite the objectives and resources that the organization has, its first step toward the quality management will always be the establishment of effective leadership. It presents a system of actions that the organization must adopt to achieve the goals. Basically, leadership does not offer any specific solutions but defines what is necessary to motivate employees to do the required work well.

Apart from the leadership, the organization has two other important aspects which are customer focus and continual improvement. Both principles offer specific solutions for goal achievement. Customer focus is targeted on the relations with the customers. The main aim of this principle is to increase the customers loyalty and attract more clients (Watson and Howarth 249). Its importance is hard to underestimate, since customers are the financial support of every organization. The organization cannot exist without a constant and strong flow of customers.

Continual improvement is the driver that stimulates organizations searches for the new methods, approaches, and techniques that will help to improve the already existed mechanism of performance. Continual improvements as well as customer focus are very closely connected with leadership; they depend on the effectiveness of the chosen leadership style.

The further hierarchy consists of three approaches that are connected with each other and are directly affected by the continual improvement principle. Process approach, system approach, and factual approach have the same goal, although they operate in different fields (Charantimath 65). Their initial priority is the improvement of the organizations specific aspect. In general, the absence of one of these approaches will not critically affect the performance of the entire organization, but it is better to implement them all for the better performance.

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On the left side of this framework, there is the involvement of people principle. This principle is directly affected by leadership and is closely connected with the customer focus (Charantimath 66). The success of the people involvement principle depends on the effectiveness of the chosen leadership style. In addition, this principle affects the customer focus principle, since the choice of the right of employees predetermines how well the organization can treat its customers.

On the bottom of this framework is the mutual benefits principle. However, it does not mean that this principle is less significant than any other. The mutual benefits principle is interrelated with leadership and continual improvement (Charantimath 70). This principle depends on the modification that the organization provides in order to attract suppliers and the effective leadership style to increase loyalty among suppliers.

Conclusion

The successful operation of any organization depends on the effectiveness of its performance. Without distinction of the organizations targets or priorities, each organization strives for quality. Overall, quality means that the organization is able to solve any organizational or managerial issues and can provide high results in serving its customers or producing goods. The quality management theory outlines eight principles of quality. Each of these principles guarantees significant improvement in a certain aspect. Among all principles, one can outline three of them which have the biggest impact on the organizations quality, and namely: leadership, customer focus, and continual improvement. All other principles depend on the effective implementation of these three pillars.

If the organization needs to demonstrate the highest quality of performance, it should implement all principles presented in the framework. Nevertheless, if the organization does not have enough resources to do that, then it can implement leadership, customer focus, and continual improvement. The absence of other principles can bring some challenges, but they will not be so critical, so the organization could demonstrate high level of quality.

Reflections

Due to this research I have learnt much about the necessity of quality and how it can be introduced on the different levels. Earlier I imagined the hierarchy of quality in another way. I viewed it as something common that refers to all aspects. I thought that the implementation of quality meant that it would be directed at all aspects. Now, I see that quality is subdivided into principles, and each principle represents a specific aspect of the organization performance. Hence, if the organization needs the improvement in a certain filed, it can adopt some measures concerning only this specific field.

Moreover, I realized that there are some principles that cannot be ignored. These principles create the basis of quality and trigger the emergence of other quality principles which are less significant and have smaller effect on the organizations performance. This research helps me to evaluate, compare, and define the strong and weak points of the quality principles and their role in an organizations wellbeing.

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