Munro, Bruce (1987, ASQC) Argyle Associates, Inc., New Canaan, CT
Contemporary American management has addressed several approaches towards attaining high quality products and services, such as Statistical Process Control (SPC), Quality Circles, Diagnostic Engineering and Total Quality Control. Regardless of the approach, or combination of approaches, many companies have encountered great difficulty in "making it happen". This paper examines the problems with implementing "quality and statistical thinking" and discusses the necessity of quality planning to successfully implement quality improvements. The need for quality planning is thoroughly examined and illustrated.
It is proposed that a Strategic Quality Planning process take place within a company's overall business strategy planning. The Strategic Quality Planning is to be accomplished at the same level as financial, production, placement, materials management and human resources planning. Integrating quality objectives with these other plans can have a direct impact on the effectiveness of marketing strategies as well as the company's financial well-being. The quality planning cycle includes a second, grass-roots level, termed "Tactical Quality Planning", which addresses the specific quality planning at the shop-floor level. The linkage between strategic and tactical planning results in a closed-loop quality planning process that identifies, tracks and measures performance of quality projects, such as SPC implementation.
By testing quality planning at these two levels, quality objectives having a major impact on the business operation and planning strategies are identified. The tactical-level quality planning identifies specific quality actions on product characteristics or process parameters by using a Product/Process Control Plan. The identification of quality objectives and action priorities is significantly enhanced.
The closed-loop strategic-tactical quality planning process results in an overall company Quality Plan. This plan can be impetus needed to develop the necessary fertile quality environment to support implementation of quality improvement projects and, most importantly, the management device to coordinate quality actions and measure performance on a continuous basis. This paper addresses the specifics of how to build the Quality Plan using SPC implementation as an example and shows how it serves to assist in managing "never-ending improvement" in processes.