The notion of “quality” as an important feature of the production of goods and the provision of services has led to its being an essential factor in the management of companies and other organizations. The procedures are then divided into quality assurance – the steps which need to be taken to produce goods or provide services of high quality and quality control – the procedures devised to check that the aimed for or promised quality is achieved.
The notion of quality has been introduced to public sectors, with governments promising specific standards in the provision of education and health services. There have also been attempts to redefine all working relationships as being influenced by client satisfaction, with every person in an organization having clients, either internal or external, whose needs they must satisfy and providers, who provide services that enable people to carry out their tasks efficiently.
Various organizations have been set up to establish standards, either general or for a particular activity, and to validate that the standards are being kept. The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) has a series of norms that is applied to service industries, including a range of schools of different kinds. The ISO certification verifies that there are proper procedures for ensuring quality standards and these are consistently applied, but makes no judgment of the quality of the product or service itself. In an educational context, it would verify if there were procedures for observing and assessing the quality of the teaching, but it would not make an assessment of the work in the classroom.
Production environments that use modern quality management methods are dependent upon statistical literacy. The tools used therefore are called the seven quality control tools and techniques as shown below.
Quality Control Tools and Techniques
The function of a check sheet or tally sheet is to showcase information in an efficient and graphical format. This may be achieved with a simple listing of items. The purpose for which the data are collected should always be clear. For example, the check sheet can be used to track events by factors like timeliness (on time, one day late, two days late), reasons for failure (defects like damage in fruit caused by pest, presence of external moisture, size not uniform), the number of customer complaints each day. However, the utility of the check sheet may be drastically enhanced, in some instances, by including a depiction of the system under analysis into the form.
Pareto charts are very handy because they can be used to detect those factors that have the most significant cumulative effect on the system, and thus screen out the less significant ones in an analysis. Ideally, this allows the user to focus more on a few critical factors in a process. They are designed by plotting the cumulative frequencies of the relative frequency data (event count data), in declining order. When this is done, the most important factors for the analysis are graphically apparent, and in an orderly format.
Flowcharts are pictorial representations of a process and by breaking the process down into its constituent steps, flowcharts can be useful in identifying where errors are likely to be found in the system.
Cause and Effect Diagram:
This diagram, also known as the Ishikawa diagram (or fishbone diagram), is used to connect multiple possible causes with a single effect. Thus, given a particular effect, this diagram is designed to analyze and organize possible causes for it. The major branch depicts the effect (the quality characteristic that is meant to be enhanced and controlled) and is usually labeled on the right side of the diagram. Each primary branch of the diagram is linked to a major cause (or a series of causes) that relates directly to the effect. The secondary branches correspond to more detailed causal factors. This type of diagram is helpful in any analysis, as it illustrates the relationship between cause and effect in a rational manner. Ishikawa diagram is product design and quality defect prevention, to identify potential factors causing an overall impact. Every cause or reason for imperfection is a vital source of variation. Causes are usually categorized into major categories to identify these sources of variation.
So, what do you think about these tools and techniques? Efficient or not?