November 23, 2012


The main objective of the Quality, Reliability & Maintenance module was to make the students understand the importance and the difference between quality, reliability & maintenance and its implementation in the various organizations leading towards their success. The lectures gave a brief idea about the different quality management techniques such as QFD, TQM, EFQM, Deming’s philosophy, Six Sigma, ISO standards, SPC. It also explained the importance of maintenance and reliability within an organization. The lectures had a combination of theoretical data and videos, which made the concepts much more clear in our brains.

These lectures were followed by the group problem solving exercises that involved applications of these techniques in order to judge the level of understanding in the students. The Greenway, Rainbow Textiles and the Unflyable plane case study helped to reflect on real life scenarios and we, students as consultants to come out with solutions and analysis which focused on the main aspects of quality, reliability and maintenance. Successful brainstorming and the use of techniques such as Ishikawa’s fishbone diagrams, the process flow charts and the control charts helped us to emerge as winners in finding out solutions to the case studies. In the group work we also witnessed the importance of techniques such as TPM, QFD, Design for six sigma.

We also had to do a mini project during the entire course of the module and our topic was to compare Deming’s philosophy and Six-sigma process and to state their similarities and differences. The lecture notes and the case studies proved to be a great help and gave us better understanding of concepts in order to proceed with a case study. Both these methodologies were focused on adopting total quality within an organization thereby ensuring their growth and success. The Deming’s fourteen principles explained the importance of adopting quality within an organization to ensure continuous improvement in the products and services. Six Sigma implemented tools such as SPC, design of experiments, process mapping, data display and analysis, problem solving, and root cause analysis in order to create a business strategy to focus on continuous improvement. Both the principles are compatible to each other as they focus on Improvement process within an organization, which involves both the upper management and workers. However Deming followed a philosophical approach, which evolved with each case in which it is applied whereas six sigma follows the scientific DMAIC. Deming believed that people should be trained within an organization so that they understand the process better and deal with the demands of the customer in a better manner. Training is also an essential element of six sigma where the workers are trained at different levels like green belts, black belts etc. which indicates different levels of expertise and responsibilities to be fulfilled by them in order to implement the six sigma method. Deming focuses on general improvement of the organization while six sigma goes through improvement through problem solving. Implementation of six sigma is difficult and requires a longer time for implementation. Due to the strict goals set by six sigma, a hostile environment is created due to the pressure to deliver while Deming focuses on creating a friendly environment. Six sigma implements multiple improvements simultaneously while Deming advocated small improvements over a short periods of time.

Thus we were able to conclude that Deming is a philosophy based on organizational level, which focused on continuous improvement. Six sigma is target based scientific approach that focuses on achieving the targets of the projects in a more streamlined manner with the implementation of the lean techniques. However both the methodology are equally good and can be implemented within an organization based on their needs and requirements. Also the presentations of other groups gave us a better understanding of concepts like TQM, EFQM and various other quality management techniques.

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