The aim of the assignment is to study the importance of total quality management or TQM and Six Sigma in business corporations. Total quality management refers to management of total operations to bring about improvement in the performance of the organisation as a whole. Technology plays an important role in this field. The use of six sigma includes the use of high quality technology. The use of technology has innumerable amount of benefits and the six sigma is highly dependent on the advanced technology. The application of TQM is widely accepted in companies, especially multinational companies industries all over the world. Some of the companies using TQM are Unilever from fast moving consumer goods industry, Volkswagen from the automobile industry and Apple from electronics industry.
Six Sigma refers to collection of techniques, tools and procedures to improve manufacturing methods. The multinational corporations perceive Six Sigma as a technological aspect, which involves installation of multitasking machinery. The use of high level of Sigma refers to the cutting down of huge costs. There was a condition were the company used the four-sigma level and it would be producing products at the rate of 6,200 defectives for every million they produce in such case. The technology has adverse effects. It is costly and sometimes it suffers from technical glitch which results in inappropriate functioning. It is impossible for many companies to afford as it is costly and it requires a well structured system to apply the same. Motorola from telecommunication industry and Amazon, the ecommerce giant are some of the companies using Six Sigma.
The past two decades have witnessed an enormous growth of interest and concern with predicting and controlling the social impact of technology both anticipating new technologies and their social and environmental implications and it results in the consequences of the ever-lasting scale of application of older technologies. On contrast to that the deployment of technology turns out to be more extensive and the technology sometimes it grows more complicated. It might require the need of one`s basic knowledge which is related to the use of technology. The purpose of the study is to analyse the six sigma strategy and the application of six sigma. The report further concentrates on the difficulty of using the six sigma and the reason why most of the companies cannot afford the six sigma. The report further concentrates on the role of technology in the use of six sigma and the difficulties which is the contrasting qualities that are related to the use of six sigma.
The following are the 14 points of TQM that Edward Deming proposed:
According to Pyzdek and Keller (2014), Six Sigma requires manufacturing companies to bring about radical improvements in their production process like installation of advanced multitasking machinery using less fuel. The companies usually initiate pilot projects to facilitate these technological up gradations. These projects also necessitate employment of more skilled employees, making of new plans and allocation of resources. These processes require huge initial mobilization of resources, which small firms cannot afford. These limitations of resources, which small firms encounter, prevent them from adopting Six Sigma (Corrigan, 2015).
According to Pyzdek and Keller (2014), technology occupies a pivotal role in Six Sigma. This is because adoption of Six Sigma requires the manufacturing companies upgrade their manufacturing processes to minimise errors due to technical faults. The production processes traditionally consisted of producing goods for sale in the market and earning profits. The producers were not concerned about use of technology and the production processes led to wastage of materials. The modern production processes in comparison to their predecessors involve use of more high-end technology, which facilitates complete scanning of the production process. The diagram below shows that companies use Six Sigma to monitor the production using flowcharts and graphs to minimise defects in production to ensure that the finished products are of high quality. The companies as pointed out have to start pilot projects to adopt Six Sigma and technology plays key in management of these projects. However, technology is not the only important factor in Six Sigma applications. The companies have to train their employees to operate these modern plants and machineries to succeed in application of Six Sigma. Thus, this analysis shows that in contrast to the notion that technology is the most important component of Six Sigma, factors like skills and competencies of the staff members operating machinery play important roles as well.
Figure 1. Diagram showing Six Sigma
(Source: sixsigmadaily.com, 2017)
Six Sigma demands huge mobilisation of resources, which requires immense investments from the companies, which makes it difficult for these companies to adopt it. Six Sigma, just like TQM, requires companies to invest huge amount of money towards adoption of technology, mapping the entire production process to locate and remove any shortfall. The companies require taking steps to rectify these shortfalls by adopting ways like training the employees. An analysis of the companies using Six Sigma shows that most of the companies following the system are multinational companies who can mobilise this immense amount of resources. This analysis shows that the small companies usually do not have access to the huge resources which application of Six Sigma requires. This makes application of the process difficult especially in small firms with limited market and resources.
Applications of Six Sigma and TQM have deep impacts on the supply chains of business organisations. This is because the new modern machinery require raw materials which are capable of being processed by those machinery. This requires the firms to acquire higher quality raw materials (Albliwi et al., 2014). This opting of higher quality raw materials result in the firms restructuring their supply chains to be able to hire suppliers supplying high quality materials. This analysis shows that applying Six Sigma and TQM results in firms revamping their supply chains. This often leads to removal of suppliers providing low quality materials and additions of suppliers providing superior quality raw materials (Ellis et al., 2014).
Gap analysis involves business organisations to compare between their present standards of performance against the performance they seek to achieve. The main aim of gap analysis is to optimise resource allocation and integration of inputs at all levels of an organisations like top management level and middle management level. As shown in the figure below, the project managers in the firms conduct an analysis of the present level of performances to locate the faults and shortcomings in areas like allocation of resources and level of technology. The managers who monitor the allocation and project flows document them in special charts as shown in the diagram to analyse the gaps or faults in them. The production managers then form strategies to rectify the areas of shortfall to minimise the gap between the target performance and the actual performance achieved (van Ittersum et al., 2013). An analysis of the practices of the multinational companies reveals that they seek to upgrade their levels of performances by taking action plan like installing machinery, restructuring their human resources and adopting cost effective methods of operations. This evaluation shows that the companies use Six Sigma and TQM to bridge the performance gaps.
1. To be filled by the project managers
To be filled by the project managers
To be filled by the project managers
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2. To be filled by the project managers
To be filled by the project managers
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To be filled by the project managers
Figure 2. A Gap analysis chart
The following flow chart shows that steps managers can take to analyse the gaps in performances of organisations:
Figure 3. Flowchart showing Gap analysis
The figure above shows four steps to analyse the gaps in performance of the employees. The first step consists of planning to measure the performance present in the organisations like supervising the tasks performances and mistakes of the subordinates. The next steps consist of identification of the level of performance the apex management expects employees to achieve as per industry standards. The managers in the third steps measure the actual level of performance of the employees by analysis of productivity charts and mistakes they monitor in the first step (Ellis et al., 2014). The managers then compare between the target and actual levels of which is the gap. They then take steps to bridge or at least minimise the gap by applying employee performance development methods like training.
True quality in products can be defined as attributes which these products superior to their counterparts. Experts perceive true quality as the outcome of technological expertise the companies gain by installation of new manufacturing plants. The customers perceive products manufactured using advanced technology superior. This perception has led the manufacturing companies upgrade their production technology to manufacture products of superior qualities (Flanagin et al, 2014). The traditional production processes stressed on the production concept where the manufacturer offered goods without considering consumer preferences. Quality was essentially an attribute in the products, which the producer infused to create utility for the user. The modern production process in comparison to traditional process views quality as the ability in the products to create and maximise customer satisfaction (Ellis et al., 2014). This results in revenue generation and the company can earn high market position. This analysis shows that true quality are the attributes present within products which creates customer satisfaction and generate high revenue for the manufacturing companies.
Global quality refers to the uniform high quality, which the multinational companies maintain in all their products through the market. The concept of global quality compared to true quality, is essentially pertinent only for the transnational corporation, which manufacture an array of products and sell them globally. These companies maintain a high quality for their products to ensure application of TQM and Six Sigma (Netland & Sanchez, 2014). These companies maintain a uniform quality standard for all their products as per the parameters set by their central quality control department. They apply global quality even during acquiring the raw materials for their finished goods (Brettel et al., 2014). This analysis shows that global quality enables the multinational companies to maintain high quality of their products in all their markets.
Functional quality refers to the process of the manufacturing companies to incorporate the expectations of the consumers in their production processes to maximise their level of satisfaction. The production managers incorporate the consumer preferences in the production charts and plans. The process involves collaboration of various departments like production and marketing in the production process (Baily & Bosworth, 2014). The production department gains information regarding the customer preferences from the marketing department while finance department allocates funds to acquire the materials according to the customer expectations. Thus, functional quality involves collaboration of multiple departments like, marketing and production to ensure production of high quality goods (Bi, Da Xu and Wang, 2014).
The following are the steps to identify and recognise the errors in flowchart:
The production manager should define the target performance, which the department wants to achieve for a particular period. They should define a set of criteria, which every product has to satisfy to pass the quality tests. The quality parameters as pointed out above, should emphasise on the benefits which the consumers can derive upon consumption of the products.
The production managers after defining the quality parameters should define the path the production process should follow. They should manage the steps of production towards the path.
The production manager should measure the actual flow of the production process. They should take steps to rectify the diversion of the path taken for the predetermined plan.
The errors or mistakes in the production process can take in three areas namely, technological, human and design. Technological error refers to incidences like machine breakdown, which intervenes smooth production. The human error refers to wrong operations or decision making by the operators or managers respectively (Brettel et al., 2014). Design errors refers to faulty design of the products which minimises the utility the products cause to the customers like extra heavy weight which prevents the customers from carrying the products with ease (Flanagin et al, 2014).
The decision tree refers to the flowchart which points out the possible paths which the managers can follow to manufacture their products. For example, in the below diagram, the raw materials can pass through three ways. The first way can lead to machine breakdown while the second way is smooth. These two ways are cost effective but lead to manufacture of grade 2 products. The way 3 is expensive but leads to production of high quality products. The manager should take decision regarding the path the production process is to follow.
Figure 4. Decision tree
(Source: qualitydigest.com, 2017)
As discussed, business organisations must seek to manufacture high quality products to maximise customer satisfaction. The organisations should make strategies to deal with six main quality issues namely, duplicate products, incomplete data about products that hinders smooth production, products with faulty designs not following the demands of the customers, raw materials difficult to acquire, system up gradation and loss or theft of data related to product design (Baily & Bosworth, 2014).
The manufacturing companies should apply TQM and Six Sigma to reduce their cost of production. This will help them manufacture high quality products which they could sell to a huge consumer base and earn high revenue. They can distribute the costs over a huge body of revenue (Frias?Aceituno, Rodríguez?Ariza & Garcia?Sánchez, 2014).
The necessary issues refer to issues, which do not relate to production but the processes that come after production. The issues like after sales issue and service issues fall in this category.
The following recommendations can be made in the light of the above discussion:
Therefore considering the above discussion this can be stated that the manufacturing organisations should apply TQM and Six Sigma to improve their production processes as it is technologically advanced and the use of it is innovative. It further helps in the reduction of the cost and hence for the companies to use it. They must maintain superior quality of their finished goods to maximise the benefit of the consumers. The multinational companies should align their manufacturing processes with the consumer needs. These companies should assist the smaller companies in adoption of Six Sigma and TQM in their operations as well.
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