Quality - The Tool To Surviving A Recession


Blieschke, Elizabeth A.; Warner, Geoffrey J.   (1992, ASQC)   South Australian Centre for Manufacturing, Woodville, Australia

Annual Quality Congress, Nashville TN    Vol. 46    No. 0
QICID: 9771    May 1992    pp. 1051-1056
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Member $5.00

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Article Abstract

Facing the effects of economic recession in 1990, the State Bank of South Australia--a quality organization, which had implemented Total Quality Management (TQM) in 1988 -- hired a new management team, and was prepared to eliminate Quality initiatives, in favor of such short-sighted cures as down- sizing, re-structuring, and program cuts. Initially, the bank's TQM initiative successfully fostered teamwork, employee participation, innovation, risk-taking, and a corporate cultural change to a focus on customers first. Following an economic recession, the bank lost many of its leaders, its reputation, and a great deal of money. Early in 1991, however, the first Process Improvement Workshops were held, and subsequently, a 30 percent productivity improvement was realized in support areas of the bank. This created a renewed interest in Quality. The Cost of Quality measurement tool became a new management tool to help focus on waste and preventive action. Focus groups, surveys, and keeping close to the customer were activities once again invoked to create continuous improvement, in addition to team work, better communication, and recognition for productivity improvement. The return to Quality has helped to build a stronger bank. The experience of the bank highlights the notion that quality skills, customer-first awareness, and the knowledge of seeking continuous improvement are life-long skills. Keys to enduring success of a Quality initiative include a well-documented, three to five year quality management function reporting directly to the CEO; regular process audits; and the commitment of people and resources.


Case study,Continuous improvement (CI),Cost of quality (COQ),Total Quality Management (TQM)

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