The Answer to Crisis Management: Using a Quality Assurance Program as a Key to Managing Change


Hamilton, Joan K.; Duhan, Daniel M.   (1987, ASQC)   Westinghouse Electric Corp., Baltimore, MD

41st Annual Quality Congress, May 1987, Minneapolis, MN    Vol. 41    No. 0
QICID: 3310    May 1987    pp. 304-309
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Article Abstract

This paper addresses the current dilemma facing many U.S. corporations who find themselves thrust into constant crisis management. At present, American industry is undergoing rapid change resulting from increased production requirements, organizational restructuring, reduced product life cycle, stronger competition, environmental pressures and government regulations. Studies have shown that visits to defense contractors by auditors from the government and the private sector have increased one hundred twelve percent in the last five years. In post-award audits alone, there has been a two hundred and fifity percent increase. This increased visibility for industry, particularly the Defense Industry, in addition to the need to produce more at a lower quality and unit cost, creates situations in which managers cling to the status quo in an attempt to meet short term goals and objectives. The result is a series of "stop-gap" crisis decisions that offer only a temporary solution to the problems. Thus, the modus operandi soon becomes "solve the crisis and plan later."This paper presents a blueprint for strategic planning and a proposal to use quality techniques such as root cause analysis, design of experiments, modeling, and statistical process control as a transitional tool during the change process. Change theory will be addressed with particular emphasis on the characteristics of the organization in change, particularly the transition state, and techniques to enable the work force to stay productive while transitioning into a more stable environment. Crisis management is - In the context of quality - a proven failure. In this regard, the role of quality is to provide a foundation for stability ultimately leading to enhanced productivity, profit and organizational effectiveness. This paper provides management with the tools to understand and prepare for change and thereby prevent panic.



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