Assessing the Quality Status of Research Organizations

Article

Endres, Al   (2000, ASQ)  

Quality Progress    Vol. 33    No. 4
QICID: 13930    April 2000    pp. 51-56
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Article Abstract

For quality assessment purposes, it is important to distinguish between research and development functions in an organization. Research is usually the responsibility of a single department or function that contains a number of key processes. According to the Industrial Research Institute, there are three categories of research: basic or fundamental, directed basic or exploratory, and applied. The chief products of research organizations are information, knowledge, and technology. Research quality involves the features or characteristics of product design that meet customer needs and freedom from deficiencies in the actual product provided to the customer. Quality assessment uses broad measures to evaluate four performance areas: customer priorities and satisfaction with the organization's ability to meet those priorities, costs of quality, efficacy of the current quality system, and cultural perspectives and support for quality. Customer surveys are used to identify, prioritize, and develop performance measures for critical customer requirements. Cost of quality studies examine the costs of prevention, internal failure, external failure, and appraisal. Cost of quality task forces identify and focus on costs associated with core laboratory functions. Most organizations find quality costs concentrated in internal or external failure costs or in appraisal costs associated with poorly controlled processes. Baldrige-based assessments are used to improve quality systems at research organizations. Initial assessments result in the development of baselines and the prioritizing of opportunities for quality system improvement. Quality culture is driven in part by the effectiveness of the strategies, processes, and tools selected by organization leaders to manage for quality.

Keywords

Assessment,Case study,Cost of quality (COQ),Research and development (R&D),Quality management (QM),Quality tools,Quality analysis


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