The lectures gave us an inside view of how quality reliability and maintenance form an important aspect in the working of any organisation.
Various quality measurement and improvement tools such as TQM, SPC, EFQM, ISO, Six Sigma etc. were introduced during lectures. They all had the same motive of negating the concept that a better quality product will increase cost. Instead throughout the week we realised that by maintaining quality, the organisation can achieve maximum customer satisfaction and in fact reduce cost.
The aim of the seminars was to give us an idea of how quality, reliability and maintenance are an integral part of any business.
We worked in groups to identify and study a business proposal as consultant’s to study the feasibility of taking over a garage (Greenways) and refurbishing it to make it a quality orientated business with makes profit and focuses on customer satisfaction (Triangle ltd). We used a lot of brainstorming in this exercise
We also studied the various possibilities of a defect in a clothing company using tools such as brainstorming, process flow diagram, Fishbone analysis, Ishikawa diagram etc. to study the process in much detail to narrow down on the possibilities of the failure. This involved focusing on the problem and asking the right questions to get the right information.
We also studied the possibilities of failure for an airplane which had disastrous consequences. Similar tools were used to identify the problem and the importance of quality, reliability and maintenance was stressed in the design and manufacturing departments.
The mini project of our group was to reflect on the principles of six sigma and the EFQM model and compare the similarities and differences.
The group decided on the structure of the presentation and went about finding relevant information about the topics. Once everyone had an idea about both the models we realised that they are based on the same principles prescribed by Deming and the only difference was that the six sigma process was more results oriented where the results could be monitored and analysed. The EFQM model dealt with the change in mind-set of the top management and the forward thinking trickled down from the top to bottom. Six sigma is a process to reduce waste and hence save on cost. Both the models had Quality as the main objective.
We also realised that six sigma as a quality initiative was expensive and very time consuming to implement. On the other hand an EFQM model was easier to implement and was less time consuming though they were both expensive to implement. We also realised that six sigma was a farfetched idea to perfect though the aim was the good intention to get as close to the target as possible.
With respect to the question arised during the presentation with regards to the EFQM model being used as a comparative tool to gauge performance against competitors we realised that though there were result oriented components in the EFQM model, it was more of an self-assessing tool as the comparison could only be made if the companies were having the same vision and working techniques.
During the working of the presentation we realised the importance of teamwork and having good communication within the team so that everyone was on the same page regarding the concepts on both these models. It involved extensive research with respect to the case studies and summarising it to a great deal to make it feasible to explain it in the presentation. We gained a lot from the analytical thinking during this module.