Engineering Problem Solving Teams Equal Excellence

Article

Ward, Richard A.   (1986, ASQC)   Xerox Corporation, Rochester, NY

40th Annual Quality Congress, May 1986, Anaheim, CA    Vol. 40    No. 0
QICID: 3186    May 1986    pp. 243-247
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Article Abstract

At Xerox Corporation, Problem Solving Teams (Quality Circles) were introduced and formed in the Engineering environment in 1981. When this initial pilot program was started, few companies had experience working with teams composed entiry of salaried employees, let alone those with technical degrees.The purpose of this paper is to explain the successes and pitfalls encountered when participative problem solving techniques are introduced in an environment where 95% of the participants hold at least an Associates of Science Degree and a few hold doctorates. This will include my experiences of working with teams comprised (composed) of all technicians, all engineers, and combinations of technicians, engineers and managers. Most papers which have been written on the subject of quality circles deal with experiences in production or union environments. I will discuss voluntary participation versus my experiences encountered with mandatory training and/or team participation. This will describe the training provided to these groups along with recommendations on minimum versus optimum training requirements.The Six-Step Problem Solving Process, which has been adopted by our Corporate Leadership Through Quality process will be described. Sample problems and solutions derived using this process, which are non-proprietory, will be discussed. The problems selected will be those which have had an impact on improving the quality of the design, or improving systems which enhance delivery of design to manufacturing in addition to those which have increased our Return On Assets, while improving quality or reliability.Participants of these problem solving teams have found their experiences to be very rewarding, both personally and toward achieving design excellence.

Keywords

Human resources (HR),Quality communications


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