What is a Quality Circle?

A group of employees who perform similar duties and meet at periodic intervals, often with management, to discuss work-related issues and to offer suggestions and ideas for improvements, as in production methods or quality control, called quality circle.  Therefore quality circle is nothing but a

small group of employees who come together to discuss with the management issues related to either quality control or improvement in production methods form a Quality Control Circle (QCC).

These employees usually work in the same areas, and voluntarily meet on a regular basis to identify, analyze and solve their problems.

Key Characteristics of Quality circle:

  • A circle, usually consisting of 6-8 members, from the same section.
  • Membership of a Quality Circle is voluntary.
  • Circle members should meet regularly, ideally once a week, in a particular place also at a particular time.
  • Circle members select a name for their circle in the first meeting and elect a leader to conduct the meetings.
  • Members are specially trained in problem-solving and analysis techniques in order to play their role effectively.
  • Circle works on a systematic basis to identify and solve work-related problems for improving quality and productivity not just discussing them.
  • The management must ensure that solutions are implemented quickly once they have been accepted.
  • The management must give appropriate and proper recognition of the solution.

How to implement Quality circle:

  • Firstly, the management is informed about the quality control circle process that is being planned.
  • A committee is formed, and key persons such as a coordinator and in-house coach are selected.
  • The scope is defined, and areas of application identified.
  • First-line supervisors in the identified areas are given QCC presentations. It is important to make these
  • Impressive, and valuable tips on the subject are available.
  • This is followed up with extensive training for coordinators and middle management on the process and their roles.
  • Employees are invited to become members of a circle, and trained suitably once they sign up. Thus, a circle is formed and begins work. These may give rise to other circles.
  • Problems are discussed and solved in a systematic manner in the QCCs. It is very important that solutions are implemented as quickly as possible, to maintain the momentum.

Objectives of Quality Circles

  • Promote job involvement
  • Create problem-solving capability
  • Improve communication
  • Promote leadership qualities
  • Promote personal development
  • Develop a greater awareness for cleanliness
  • Develop greater awareness for safety
  • Improve morale through the closer identity of employee objectives with the organization’s objectives
  • Reduce errors.
  • Enhance quality
  • Inspire more effective teamwork
  • Build an attitude of problem prevention
  • Promote cost reduction
  • Develop harmonious manager, supervisor and worker relationship
  • Improve productivity
  • Reduce downtime of machines and equipment
  • Increase employee motivation

How Do Quality Circles Operate?

  • Appointment of a steering committee, facilitator and QC team leaders.
  • Formation of QCs by nomination/voluntary enrolment of QC members.
  • Training of all QC members (by an expert consultant).
  • Training of non-participating employees (by an expert consultant).
  • Problem data bank and identification of problems for QC work.
  • QC problem resolution by QCs through standardized techniques.
  • Presentation of QC solutions to management.
  • Evaluation of award/recognition.

Problem Solving Tools and Techniques Used by Quality Circles:

Given below are the most commonly used tools and techniques. These are called the old QC tools:

Brainstorming

Brainstorming is a tool  where a group of people meet to generate new ideas and solutions around a specific problem  by removing inhibitions. People are able to think more freely and they suggest as many spontaneous new ideas as possible. All the ideas are noted down without criticism and after the brainstorming session the ideas are evaluated.

Pareto analysis

  • Based on “80/20” rule (or ABC analysis)
  • Pareto (v.Pareto, an Italian economist) observed this usual law-eighty% of whatever is attributed to 20% of its reason
  • 80% of wealth is held with the aid of 20% of the population.
  • 80 % of our profits go into 20% of our needs.
  • 80% of road accidents occur on 20% of the road.
  • 80% of the absenteeism in a company is due to 20% of   workmen

Cause and effect diagram (or fish bone diagram or Ishikawa diagram)

  • This diagram (resembles fishbone) helps to split out causes from outcomes and to look trouble in its totality.
  • It’s a systematic arrangement of all feasible reasons, generated through’ brainstorming.
  • Help a person/organization to see complete image.
  • Serve as a recording tool for thoughts generated.
  • Monitor undetected relationships between reasons.
  • Find out the beginning/root reason for a problem.
  • This diagram (resembles fishbone) helps to split out causes from outcomes and to look trouble in its totality
  • It’s a systematic arrangement of all feasible reasons, generated through’ brainstorming.
  • Help a person/organization to see complete image.
  • Serve as a recording tool for thoughts generated.
  • Monitor undetected relationships between reasons.
  • Find out the beginning/root reason for a problem.

Histogram How to Prepare Histogram

  • Gather data
  • Set up all values in ascending order.
  • Divide the entire range of values into a convenient range of agencies each representing the same elegance c language. It’s far commonplace to.
  • Have a variety of companies identical to or less than the rectangular root of the variety of observations. But one ought to now not be too rigid.
  • Approximately this. The cause for this advisory. be aware can be obvious while we see a few examples.
  • Note the variety of observations or frequency in every organization.
  • Draw x-axis and y-axis and decide suitable scales for the groups on the x-axis and the range of observations or the frequency on y-axis.
  • Drawbars representing the frequency for every one of the corporations.
  • Offer an appropriate name to the histogram.
  • Examine the pattern of distribution and draw a conclusion.

Scatter Diagram

  • This diagram (resembles fishbone) helps to split out causes from outcomes and to look trouble in its totality.
  • It’s a systematic arrangement of all feasible reasons, generated through’ brainstorming.

This could be used to:

  • Help a person/organization to see complete image.
  • Serve as a recording tool for thoughts generated.
  • Monitor undetected relationships between reasons.
  • Find out the beginning/root reason for a problem.

Stratification

  • It is a technique used in combination with other data analysis tools. When data from a variety of sources or categories have been grouped together, the meaning of the data can be difficult to see. This data collection and analysis technique separates the data so that patterns can be seen and is considered one of the seven basic quality tools.

WHEN TO USE STRATIFICATION

  • Before collecting data.
  • When data come from several sources or conditions, such as shifts, days of the week, suppliers, or population groups.
  • When data analysis may require separating different sources or conditions.

Control charts and Graphs

  • The control chart is a graph used to study how a process changes over time. Data are plotted in time order. A control chart always has a central line for the average, an upper line for the upper control limit, and a lower line for the lower control limit. These lines are determined from historical data. By comparing current data to these lines, you can draw conclusions about whether the process variation is consistent (in control) or is unpredictable (out of control, affected by special causes of variation). This versatile data collection and analysis tool can be used by a variety of industries and is considered one of the seven basic quality tools.

 

  • Control charts for variable data are used in pairs. The top chart monitors the average, or the centering of the distribution of data from the process. The bottom chart monitors the range, or the width of the distribution. If your data were shots in target practice, the average is where the shots are clustering, and the range is how tightly they are clustered. Control charts for attribute data are used singly.

WHEN TO USE A CONTROL CHART

  • When controlling ongoing processes by finding and correcting problems as they occur
  • When predicting the expected range of outcomes from a process
  • When determining whether a process is stable (in statistical control)
  • When analyzing patterns of process variation from special causes (non-routine events) or common causes (built into the process)
  • When determining whether your quality improvement project should aim to prevent specific problems or to make fundamental changes to the process

Flow chart

  • It is a useful tool to draw information in two way, which can help to detect and analysis between quality and problems.
  • The scatter diagram is used for figuring out the relationships and appearing preliminary analysis of the relationship among any excellent characteristics.
  • Clustering of factors suggest that the two characteristics may be associated.

New QC Tools

Quality circles started using additional seven tools as they started maturing. These are:

  1. Relations diagram.
  2. Affinity diagram.
  3. Systematic diagram or Tree diagram.
  4. Matrix diagram.
  5. Matrix data analysis diagram.
  6. PDPC (Process Decision Program Chart).
  7. Arrow diagram.

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