Quality Measurement - How to Corner a Greased Pig

Article

Sedam, Scott M.   (1988, ASQC)   Organizational Dynamics, Inc., Deerfield, IL

Annual Quality Congress, Dallas TX    Vol. 42    No. 0
QICID: 3512    May 1988    pp. 749-757
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Article Abstract

This paper examines the measurement of Total Quality as a major departure from the traditional QA/QC approach that industry has relied upon. Total Quality is presented as a complex subject that cannot be avoided or treated lightly. The problems of Quality Measurement are reviewed in several basic industries and tend to become even more complicated in service businesses. Three key conclusions reached from empirical observation lead to a seeming paradox about Quality Measurement. It is too complex for a simplistic methodology, yet only a simple approach holds any promise for providing a practical solution.

According to the author, in each organization, the first step required for measurement is agreement on a definition of Total Quality. Several are reviewed and one simple but thorough definition is provided from Westinghouse Corporation. To a large degree, the expanded definition of Total Quality as compared to the narrow scope of QA/QC explains the difficulty of measurement. Other major obstacles to comprehensive Quality Measurement are discussed under the headings of "DATA DEFICIENCIES" and "ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE AND POLITICS." Concerns around the abuse of statistics and the implications of weighting of factors are also illuminated. The "Miagi Factor" is explained.

The author presents a simple framework for understanding and addressing Quality Measurement under the categories of Hard Measures, Employee Perception, Customer Perception and Key Process Indicators. The paper concludes with his three "maxims" on quality measurement and some guidelines from a leading consultant in the Quality field. Most of the points made by the author are supported in the paper by examples in industry from his personal experience.

Keywords

Human resources (HR)


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