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Volume 7 · Issue 1 · January 2002

Contents

Page 13…

Quality Improvement Comes From Systems, Not Programs

Stewart Anderson writes that managers cannot effectively pursue continual improvement of their QMSs if they do not know what the system’s ultimate goal is, where they currently stand in relation to that goal and what change or improvement is necessary to move the system closer to attaining its goal. It is therefore important to adopt a systems approach to improvement. Anderson explores Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints and shows how, under TOC, improvement is obtained by identifying the weakest link in the system and "elevating" or eliminating it until it no longer prevents the system from attaining its goal. He examines the Five Focusing Steps and a set of Thinking Processes that TOC provides, along with measurement concepts, to be used for identifying, managing and "breaking" constraints. Anderson then shows how TOC can be deployed within an ISO 9001:2000-conforming QMS to support continual improvement.