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Web-base Quality Management Systems

Chapter 1 Introduction

1.1 Defining Quality, History and Achieving International Quality Standards

Quality is a perceptual, conditional and somewhat subjective attribute and may be understood differently by different people in different spheres of life. It is a degree or grade of excellence or worth, a characteristic property that defines the apparent individual nature of something or totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs.

In recent years, many organisations have adopted quality management systems to improve the quality of both goods and services through the application of efficient quality management methods and principles (Feigenbaum, 2000). The reason why so many organisations have started on the journey is either because of customer pressure for ISO 9000 certification or because the firms themselves have realised the strategic advantage of having this certificate, i.e. it would give them an edge over their competitors. Most of the firms which started out on the journey to ISO 9000 still may not have completed that journey. In general, it takes 2 years, and obtaining this coveted certificate is only a first step towards the ultimate goal: total quality management (TQM).

Reaching this goal may take at least 5 years. In the next sections of the dissertation we will take a closer look at the characteristics of the different quality management systems. In this section, we concentrate on the concept of quality itself. We start with the two types of quality, namely:

  • Objective quality, which is simply the product’s total number of quality attributes.
  • Subjective quality, which is a result of the consumer’s experience of the product’s objective attributes.

Subjective quality is thus defined as ‘the degree of fulfillment of consumers’ expectations’ (Feigenbaum, 2000). Beyond the customer’s desirable expectations, there are always the customer’s latent expectations. Manufacturers and the service providers must therefore find the hidden expectations in order to keep the customer satisfied. It is subjective quality which matters to the company, and it is this definition which Deming used in his renowned eight-day quality seminars for Japanese top managers in 1950. Deming’s message to them was simple but powerful: ‘The consumer is the most important part of the production line’.

The idea that customers should be seen as a part of the production line was in itself a revolutionary one at that time. A logical conclusion is that quality production is only possible if it is systematically and continuously based on customer desires and needs. It is simple in theory but difficult in practice because there are many obstacles to overcome along the way. Deming’s 14 points, which we have taken the liberty of calling ‘stations along the way’, are among the most important means of overcoming these obstacles.

You may ask this important question: Why have the Japanese been better at understanding Deming’s message than the Western world? There are many reasons for this, but one of the most intriguing reasons may be found in the Japanese language, and thus in Japanese culture. In the Japanese language, quality management can be translated as ‘quality is equal to the attributes of the “things” (i.e. what peoples talk about)’.

This interpretation results in the following definition of quality management: ‘Control of the attributes of a product which consumers talk about’. To understand why consumers talk about a product’s attributes, we will delve into motivation theory. Herzberg has divided motivation into two factors:

  • Factors which create satisfaction (satisfiers).
  • Factors which create dissatisfaction (dissatisfiers).

Similarly, many objective attributes of a product or service can be categorised. We may talk about the basic attributes that the consumer expects when he/she buys the product. If these are not present in sufficient quantities, the consumer experiences dissatisfaction. If the expected attributes are present, naturally the consumer is satisfied, but the interesting and crucial thing is that the degree of satisfaction will not necessarily be particularly high. The experience will be more or less neutral.

Apart from the attributes which the customer expects to find, it is always possible to build attributes into the product or service which the customer does not expect to find, i.e. attributes which will delight or satisfy him/her. The more of these attributes that are present in the product or services, the greater the satisfaction, and this satisfaction will, in many cases, increase significantly. We call these attributes value-added quality. However, in Japan they use the term ‘charming quality’, whereas in the US they interpret this as ‘exciting quality’. We believe that value-added quality covers both.

One example of expected quality in air travel is safety. Korean Air lost its reputation as a quality airline in the wake of the tragic incident of a passenger airline being shot down over Soviet territory. Prior to this incident, Korean Air was rated as one of the top quality airlines in the world. Afterwards, Korean Air’s quality ratings dropped significantly. In our view, the only thing which can adequately explain this is that Korean Air had failed to deliver the customer’s expected quality.

As an example of value-added quality, let us consider the added service offered by ISS Laundry Service, a subsidiary of International Service Systems (ISS). This company which, among other activities, changes bed-linen in hotel rooms, suddenly had an idea. As they were there to change the sheets, they might as well see if anything else needed doing, e.g. small repairs, changing light-bulbs, etc., and report this to the hotel management. This unexpected service, which hardly costs ISS anything, created an enormous amount of goodwill for the company among its customers.

The understanding behind Deming’s assertion, that the consumer is the most important aspect of the production line, lies precisely in the subjective definition of quality, which we will be discussing in this dissertation.

The introduction of quality management theory towards the end of the 1980s led to the development of a new concept called ‘total quality’. This concept was defined as follows (Kanji, 2002):

  • Quality–is to satisfy customers’ requirements continuously.
  • Total quality–is to achieve quality at low cost.
  • Total quality management–is to obtain total quality by involving everyone’s daily commitment.

These definitions will become clearer as we proceed through the dissertation. The objective of TQM is to improve continuously each and every activity in the company focusing on the customer. Every product has some deficiency, i.e. risks for making customers dissatisfied. These deficiencies must be continually eliminated and, at the same time, the firm must ensure that its product or service always incorporate the quality attributes which satisfy its customers.

1.2 Total quality management

The concept of TQM is a logical development of total quality control (TQC), a concept first introduced by A. V. Feigenbaum in 2000 in a book of the same name. Though Feigenbaum had other things in mind with TQC, it only really caught on in engineering circles, and thus never achieved the total acceptance in British companies that was intended. TQC was a ‘hit’ in Japan, on the other hand, where the first quality circles were set up in 1962, which later developed into what the Japanese themselves call company-wide quality control (CWQC). this is identical to what people in the West today call TQM.

One of the main reasons for the failure of TQC in British companies was a management misconception that responsibility for implementing TQC could be delegated to a central quality department. In doing so, management overlooked one of the most important points in TQC, namely management’s wholehearted commitment to quality improvements. The aim of the new concept, TQM, is to ensure that history does not repeat itself. Thus, management have been directly included in the definition of the concept, making it impossible for them to avoid their responsibility. To include the word ‘management’ here sends an unmistakable signal straight into executive offices that this is a job for top management, including the board of directors. TQM will be further discussed in following chapters.

Chapter 2 Quality Perspectives
The inadequacy of traditional management in UK & Japan

Traditional British forms of management are based on a philosophy which divides responsibility for decisions into strategic, tactical and operational levels, i.e. the so-called management pyramid. We now know that this management conception is totally inadequate for modern, complex companies, since it does not give the connection between top management and the main processes at the bottom responsible for customer satisfaction. As a result, the management is ignorant of the real problems on the operational level, and do not provide the support and backing that the operation level needs for the creation of customer satisfaction (Feigenbaum, 2000).

The decisions which cascade down from top management are often exclusively budgetary in nature, containing instructions which are forced on lower levels without due consideration of their problems. Many local branches of a bank have similar experiences. A typical example of this was noted after some Danish bank mergers took place at the, end of the 1980s. Branch managers of these banks received orders by internal post to cut staff numbers by a certain figure with no indication of how this could be achieved without drastically reducing the quality of products and services offered to their customers. Hiromoto (2002) describes this as management by terrorism.

In discussing British and Japanese management philosophy, Konosuke Matsushita, founder of one of the world’s biggest companies, Matsushita Electric (Panasonic, National, Technics, etc.), said: We are going to win and the industrial West is going to lose out: there’s nothing much you can do about it, because the reasons for your failure are within yourselves. Your firms are built on the Taylor model; even worse, so are your heads. With your bosses doing the thinking while the workers wield the screwdrivers, you’re convinced deep down that this is the right way to run a business. For you, the essence of management is getting the ideas out of the heads of the bosses into the hands of labour. (p).

Hoinville (2002) feels that the emphasis of management’s commitment has its origin in the system, the reason for quality defects. It has been estimated that 85% of all defects are caused by system errors, i.e. errors which only management has the authority to change.

Management must show by its actions that it has understood the message. It must constantly strive to reduce system errors by setting up quality goals, drawing up quality policies and quality plans, and participating actively in the follow-up auditing phase. Finally, management must concede its own lack of knowledge in the quality field and take the lead in acquiring new knowledge. If management does all this, it will have created a firm foundation on which future quality can be built. Conversely, there would be little point in building quality on a shaky foundation.

We have already pointed out that the customer is the most important part of the production line. Deming (2002) introduced this idea to top Japanese managers in 1950 by means of a basic outline of an arbitrary production system, or part of a production system. This outline, which must today be considered traditional, shows that both customer and supplier are part of the production system, and that information for improving this comes from two sources: consumer research and process tests. Since this outline also applies to an arbitrary sub-system, it shows that customer and supplier concepts embrace much more than just external customers and suppliers. Internal customers and suppliers, i.e. employees, are at least as important as the external ones. Any person, or process, which forms part of the production system must recognise that it serves a number of internal customers, and the quality of the output delivered to these customers is crucial to the end result, i.e. the quality of the output delivered to the external customer.

Deming (2002) himself concedes that, in 1950, this was a formidable challenge for the Japanese top managers, but they accepted the challenge, and the result is there for us all to see today. In Deming’s words: A new economic age had begun.

Today it is difficult to understand that such a simple message presented the Japanese with such a difficult challenge. Our experience of top managers is that they accept the message without question. However, this does not lessen the difficulty of the challenge, because it implies that firms’ traditional information systems are totally inadequate. A culture must be established to ensure that internal customer research functions just as well as external. Here, it is important to point out that internal analysis is based on entirely different principles from external analysis. Communication and team-building are the key words here. Obviously, the participation of top management is necessary in building up this culture.

It can be seen that the ‘Focus on the customer and the employee’ is much more comprehensive than just the ‘focus on the customer’, which is the norm in service management. The latter refers solely to external customers. The former, while including these, also stresses the internal customer/supplier relationship. This relationship is one of the most important innovations which TQM has introduced.

Quality Management In Today’s Era

As we have discussed above that how the management of quality is vital to the output product of any organization it has made clear that without an excellent quality management system an organization can not implement total quality management. In todays era new ways of quality management have been introduced that can make quality management a much easier and effective job for the management body.

Technology has been quiet advance in todays world and every organization is trying to get its hand on the most advance technology that can take it to a much higher level from its competitiors. A new emerging technology for managing quality in well established organizations is the use of Web-Based Quality Management Systems.

Why this technology is vital today is beacuse of organizations expanding their businesses worldwide or operating at different geoghraphical locations. It is much easier to manage the quality in an organization that is operating at one location but if it has its operations going on at different locations it is much harder to implement and manage total quality management. But these new systems have overcome this gap by providing a centralized hub to manage the quality. No matter how scattered the operations of the organizations are and how many stake holders are involved, by implementing these systems organizations need not to worry about the distance and communication gap.

Competition and cost consciousness on the one side an increasing demand for quality and reliability on the other side are contrary requirements in present production engineering. This must be considered also from the point of view of the international standards about quality management and quality assurance. The origins of quality management and quality assurance in a modern sense began in manufacturing organizations at about the beginning of the twentieth century [1],

and many of the tools for quality analysis and improvement were developed for manufacturing problems. Through the 1980s, this manufacturing emphasis dominated the profession. In the late 1980s and into the 1990s, business began to recognise the importance of quality service in achieving customer satisfaction and competing in the global marketplace. In the late 1990s also the public domain and governmental departments became aware of the general importance of quality issues. In a very important sense, this recognition has expanded the definition and concept of quality to include nearly any organisational improvement such as the reduction of manufacturing cycle time and improved worker skills. And also the public sector is now starting to take care of quality management within its structures.

In addition to industrial organisations and the manufacturing industry also service organisations build up quality systems. Ancillary services in manufacturing companies as well as “stand-alone” service organisations such as hospitals and banks are beginning to realise the benefits of a focus on quality.

A number of different industries are successively doing business around the globe and the quality systems that are availaible in the market does not mostly cater a specific industry and all of them provide different features, tools and options, so it is a complex decision to choose the best availaible solution from a wide range of variety. In this dissertation different availaible web-based quality management systems are reviewed and their shortnesses are pointed out and a model is proposed in the end that covers all gaps in the currently availaible systems.
Chapter 2: Literature Review

In this chapter literature review is carried out and analyzed that which tools and schemes are imperative for the management of quality and how they cooperate in the quality management. This will enable to know how different branches of an organization can be indulged with quality by using what sort of tools and how these tools can benifit any organization. “The approach to quality most extensively adopted by Western companies in recent years has been the application of national and international (ISO 9000 or equivalent) quality management standards. This approach is following firmly along the quality assurance path. It is more proactive than reliance on detection/inspection and allows for the use of quality tools primarily to stop non-conforming products being produced or non-conforming services being delivered in the first place. Hence there is a switch implied from detection to prevention via quality systems, procedures and a quality manual.” [18]

2.1 Quality Management Tools & Techniques

Numerous definitions and methodologies have been created to assist in managing the quality-affecting aspects of business operations. Many different techniques and concepts have evolved to improve product or service quality. Tools and techniques like charts, graphs, histograms and complex tools like Statistical Process Control, Quality Function Deployment, Failure Mode and Effect Analysis and Design of Experiments have been used for quality management for a number of years. All of these tools are very effective for quality evaluation and implementation when applied rightly and at correct situation. Juan Jose Tari and Vicente Sabater {Quality management tools} in their research on “Quality tools and Techniques” has outlined few important tools and techniques that can be luminously helping in managing and increasing organizations quality standards. The very basic tools, the management tools for quality and techniques for quality management are outlined in the table below:

Basic Quality Management Tools

Management Tools


Cause & Effect Diagram

Affinity Diagram


Check Sheet

Arrow Diagram

Design of Experiments

Control chart

Matrix Diagram



Matrix Data Analysis

Fault Tree Analysis


Process Decision

Poka Yoke

Pareto Diagram

Program Chart

Quality Costing

Scatter Diagram

Relations Diagram


Statistical Process Control

Table 1 Quality Management Tools and Techniques

Each indivisual tool has its own speciality and benifits the organization in its own manner. The implementation and benifits of few of these tools are discussed in the next section.

2.2 Quality Control, Assurance and Improvement

The scholars of quality assume that the computer is only the linking force and they put less emphasis on it, and frequently do not consider at all, the modern practices linked to quality management such as employee involvement or continuous quality improvement. Indeed, they concentrate their attention on the computer integration/automation model.” But for quality control, quality assurance and quality improvement insists on involving all these aspects. {Good one}

Quality control is defined as operational with activities aimed both at monitoring a process and eliminating causes of unsatisfactory performance for relevant stages of the quality loop to achieve economic effectiveness. Quality control is a technique to achieve, maintain and improve the quality standard of products and service. Defects or failures in constructed facilities or products can result in very large costs. {500} the emphasis on quality control is clear to achieve complete quality management and for this quality control tools are vital to be implemented. Quality improvement requires improvement of processes in process based quality improvement approach. To improve the quality hence several inspection tools can be applied to access the processes and find the ways to improve it to get better and better results. Also the basic goal of using quality control techniques is to streamline the manufacturing system by minimizing the occurrence of quality related problems. Most of the time, problems related to quality of products have many controllable sources, be it the vendors of raw materials, equipment used to process such materials, methods used for processing, the personnel involved or any other specific source as identified by the organization. {800} has suggested following significant tools for the quality management in respect of each quality component:

Quality Control

Quality Assurance

Quality Improvement

Statistical process control


Process capability analysis,

Rule-based reasoning (Expert Systems)

Factor analysis

Pareto analysis


reasoning and case-based


Cause and effect


Process mapping, design of


Failure Mode and Effect Analysis

Quality function deployment

Design of Experiments

Design of experiments

Analysis of variance

Table 1

Above mentioned tools when used in combinations as best suitable for the processes and enterprise could produce massive increase in overall performance of the organization. Few of these tools and their significance in quality managemet is illustrated below:

2.3 Statistical Process Control

The appearance of computers on the shop floor has enhanced the increased adoption of SPC. Computers have greatly reduced the efforts required by production personnel to collect and analyze data.{very good journal} “High quality products and services, far from being random or probabilistic events, are actually anticipated and managed outcomes that can contribute to organizational survival in the marketplace. This realization has encouraged organizations to embrace and implement numerous approaches, some novel and some re-discovered, aimed at achieving the objective of continuous quality improvement. One popular and widespread implementation in the name of quality management is that of statistical process control, or SPC. [19] Statistical Process Control or SPC can be used in a organization for the quality control purpose. It when applied to a process gives the stability of that process which can eventually help in identifing the root causes and take corrective actions.“The basic goal of using quality control techniques is to streamline the manufacturing system by minimizing the occurrence of quality related problems. Most of the time, problems related to quality of products have many controllable sources, be it the vendors of raw materials, equipment used to process such materials, methods used for processing, the personnel involved or any other specific source as identified by the organization.”[20]

SPC is an effective tool for controlling quality of a manufacturing process rather it can be applied to most of the processes in any organization and can aid in controlling the quality as per requirements. It identifies the sources that affects the quality of the process outputs and hence can be eradicated as identified. But there lies a problem with the use of it that is interpreting the results of SPC which can be only well understood by quality control specialists. This can create communication gaps and a lot of other misconceptions about its use. But still SPC is being used to control quality from a number of years and it has proved itself to be giving enormously positive results to the organizations.

“The popularity of SPC as a quality management practice has been fostered, in part, by a wealth of publications ascribing quality and cost benefits to it. The literature is dominated by anecdotal “success” stories, attributing higher market share, lower failure costs, higher product quality, and higher productivity to the implementation and practice of SPC (Dondero, 1991). Reports of SPC failures, on the contrary, have been few and, again, case-oriented (Dale & Shaw, 1991; Lightburn & Dale, 1992).”[22] Evans and Lindsay (1989, pp. 313-3 14), define SPC to be a methodology using control charts for assisting operators, supervisors, and managers to monitor quality of conformance and to eliminate special causes of variability of a process a technique to control quality using probability and statistics to determine and maintain the state of statistical control.[23 Hence the advantages and effectiveness can well be understood from the above discussion and its can be concluded that SPC can play a major role in controling any process and eliminating any cause that disturbs the process as its main idea is to enable the quality of conformance to be monitored and special causes of process variability to be eliminated.

2.4 Failure Mode and Effect Analysis

Failure Mode and Effect Analysis is tool that can be used to analyse the failures that can occur in the near future or after the implementation of the system and identify the effects that it would cause to the system. “Failure Modes and Effect Analysis (FMEA) is known to be a systematic procedure for the analysis of a system to identify the potential failure modes, their causes and effects on system performance. The analysis is successfully performed preferably early in the development cycle so that removal or mitigation of the failure mode is most cost effective. This analysis can be initiated as soon as the system is defined: FMEA timing is essential.” [24] 1 below shows some random forms as an example of FMEA version 1, 2 & 3 charts.

For FMEA to be effective its is very important to use this tool in the early development phase as catching errors and fixing them in earlier stages is more effectual and less costly. FMEA can be implemented to the highest level of block diagram to the functions of the of the discrete components. Also FMEA can be used again and again as the design is developed. “The FMEA is an iterative process that is updated as the design develops. Design changes will require that relevant parts of the FMEA be reviewed and updated.” [24] Hence FMEA could play an imperative role in going for the process changing for improvement. The change planned for the process for improving it can be verified by the application of this technique.

2.5 Quality Function Deployment (QFD)

QFD has been used along with the integration of other effective tools to achieve quality in processes and products, reducing cycle times and improving performance. {600} found out that in the span of the first seven years, between 1977 and 1984, the Toyota Auto body plant employed QFD and claimed that with its use:

  • Manufacturing startup and pre-production costs were reduced by 60%.
  • The product development cycle (that is, time to market) was reduced by 33% with a corresponding improvement in quality because of the reduction in the number of engineering changes.

Quality function deployment QFD is based on the concept of companywide quality control. The company wide quality control philosophy is characterised by customer orientation, cross functional management and process rather than product orientation. Also the roots of Japanese companywide quality control are the same concepts of statistical quality control and total quality control as originated in the USA.

2.6 Quality Improvement A Need or A Neccessity

In the technological advanced manufacturing industry today, organziations are trying their level best to imorove their quality standards yet reducing their cycle times and time to reach the market. This pushes them to adopt the latest availaible technologies to manage and inject quality into their products and processes, so that the production time is not effected by increasing concern of quality management. Nowadays there is a tough competition in every . Aberdeen Group has done an extensive research on Enterprise Manufacturing Intelligence and it says that the best in class organzaitions are “ensuring that continuois improvement programs yeild the expected results help to unlock hidden capabilities as well as allows for greater flexibility in altering schedule to meet shifting demands. It is essential that executives are provided visibility across plants, product lines and demand when making decisions on delivery, discounts and staffing. Many companies can manufacture the same product in mutiple facilities and are continually evaluating the most cost effective loaction to manufacture based on a mutitude of factors. Finally, establishing key performance indicators mapped to corporate goals allows shop floor process across different plants to be standardized and alligned to the goals of senior management.” [27] The focus is on ensuring continuous improvement programs and establishing key performance indicating targets that eventually supports corporate goals. Also what is part of best in class manufaturers strategic goals is to provide visibility across the plants, production lines and demands, This would help the exectives of the organzaition to understand monitor the performanc of ongoing processes. In the survey carried out by aberdeen group following percentage was calculated of the best in class organizations of the top three strategic actions taken by them:

The above research indication shows the top three strategic actions of the Best-In-Class organizations and all of these actions are quality related. This very well proves that for the organizations that wants to be included in the best in class list or that wants to stay in best in class list must improve their quality standards as per the market and industries requirements. Hence quality improvement could be termed as the necessity of today’s era and to survive in today’s market an organization needs to update it quality management systems. All the indicators from research above points towards the advancements in quality management and that lead us to the topic of quality management systems of today that is Web-based quality management.


Quality Management Systems

From time to time quality gurus and scholars have only been focusing and trying to develope appropriate control charts for processes, but now due to the advancements in technology and shifting towards real time quality management

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