The purpose of this essay is to give an overview of the development in management of quality over the last six decades. Today’s business environment is such that management must plan strategically in order to regain market share. An aim of companies is to satisfy the customer’s needs and desires before the competition will do so. Over years the direction and visions in organisations changed, one significant reason is the quality movement. This has a deeply impact of the policies, attitudes, and operations of organisations. However, the essay will discuss the four phases of quality management: Inspection, quality control, quality assurance, and total quality management. Further, there are a number of tools for management in order to reach their objectives of which some will be presented.
In the early 1900s the Jobs of the employees, characterised by Taylorism, were broken down into their fundamental structures in order to increase efficiency and productivity. This division of labour formed repetitive jobs in which the employee has to work and follow the instruction of the management in order to give attention to the maximisation of the output. Only the management were setting the rules and were allowed to change the way of work through the calculation and analysis of job records, instruction cards, etc., and through time and motion studies on the shop floor (Hutchins 1985). The information system was often not standardised and informal. Further, since there was very little conversation, there was very little real recognition that each dealt with aspects of the same difficulty. Furthermore, Beardwell (1994) explained that the work was monotone, demotivating and inhumane because it offers no challenging and satisfying tasks.
In the first stage, the inspection phase of development in quality management, factories determined quality by comparing their manufactured product to some master part. If the produced good did not equal the master entirely, a team of inspectors carried it out. The inspectors took samples of the manufactured parts, but could not inspect all of them. As a result, the quality of inspection was low and not very productive. The quality inspection was technical focused. For example, the mass producer of automobile Ford used a method of industrial management based on assembly line systems and caused in this time a lot of waste and the deterioration in the quality of the products was extremely high. The management reacted to quality problems in a short-term response in order to solve the problems (Feigenbaum 1991).
The next phase of development in quality is called statistical quality control and was intensely influenced by an US expert Deming. In 1950, in order to improve the quality inspection Deming used statistical methods like sampling methods to control manufactured goods, now it was simpler to determine the quality of batches without controlling each one (Neave 1990). Furthermore, Deming created a list of 14 points that focused on quality improvement in regard to reduce costs. This involves “less rework, fewer mistakes, fewer delays and better use of time and material, which results in improved productivity…” (Krajewski and Ritzmann 1996, p.166) His basic thought is that primary the top management is responsible that everybody becomes aware of that quality is valued. For this objective he emphasised that keys are the commitment of leadership of the management, teamwork, and training the work force (Slack, et al. 2001). The increasing awareness of the importance of quality changed the firms’ structure of the organisation. More and more companies established a new department – the quality assurance department. This department became more and more significance. Further, the department was sometimes at the same level as production or marketing and the assurance department manager had the opportunity to share top management conferences. The quality department was the primary which begun “to undertake the prevention mission” (Teboul, 1991, p.14) by managing quality at each step. Since this time, prevention was taken into account and not like in the past that statistical quality control focused on the end product. Changes in the environment changed also the behaviour of the management. Teboul (1991) described that the management recognised its quality responsibility. “This responsibility is the specific domain of management and can never be delegated to a specialized department”. (Teboul, p.14) From this time, the quality assurance department is not the only instance in the organisation, which is involved with the quality problems. Moreover, there is a new awareness and a change of attitude of the management’s level.
The quality assurance phase takes the statistical control into account and furthermore “promoted the aim that quality is everyone’s job” (Feigenbaum, p.158). Krajewski and Ritzmann (1996) explained that Juran a pioneer in the quality management area, like Deming provided a framework that integrated the total organisation in the concept of quality control to improve continuously the quality. Further, Juran focused on the importance of a trilogy of quality planning, control, and improvements. At this stage quality improvement takes into account and companies concentrated not only anymore on the final product but also on the production process. Juran emphasised the fundamental role of management in regard to the continuous improvement process, and further he beliefs that training is essential in order to achieve excellence in quality (Evans 1993). In 1960s, Philip B. Crosby worked on the prevention of cost. Crosby argued that “everyone should do things right the first time” (1979, p.136) in order to avoid additional cost. Further, Crosby (1979) explained that poor quality has hidden costs, however he emphasised the costs and benefits of implementing quality plans and therefore he advocates a goal of zero defects. This means building quality in the product or service from the outset. Moreover, in regard to the cost of poor quality market share, the management of quality influences price and profits. The cost of quality is distinguished into four aspects (Feigenbaum 1991, p.111): 1.Internal failure costs are those when a defect is developed before the product gets to the customer, e.g. cost of scrap or rework. 2. External failure costs are those when the customer notices the defect. Moreover this involves also warranty and repair costs. 3. Appraisal costs are those incurred for inspection to identify defects. 4. Prevention costs are those incurred for activities designed to prevent defects.