0115 966 7955 Today's Opening Times 10:30 - 17:00 (BST)

Web-base Quality Management Systems

Disclaimer: This dissertation has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional dissertation writers. You can view samples of our professional work here.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UK Essays.

Chapter 1 Introduction

1.1 Defining Quality, History and Achieving International Quality Standards

Quality is a perceptual, conditional and somewhat subjective attribute and may be understood differently by different people in different spheres of life. It is a degree or grade of excellence or worth, a characteristic property that defines the apparent individual nature of something or totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs.

In recent years, many organisations have adopted quality management systems to improve the quality of both goods and services through the application of efficient quality management methods and principles (Feigenbaum, 2000). The reason why so many organisations have started on the journey is either because of customer pressure for ISO 9000 certification or because the firms themselves have realised the strategic advantage of having this certificate, i.e. it would give them an edge over their competitors. Most of the firms which started out on the journey to ISO 9000 still may not have completed that journey. In general, it takes 2 years, and obtaining this coveted certificate is only a first step towards the ultimate goal: total quality management (TQM).

Reaching this goal may take at least 5 years. In the next sections of the dissertation we will take a closer look at the characteristics of the different quality management systems. In this section, we concentrate on the concept of quality itself. We start with the two types of quality, namely:

  • Objective quality, which is simply the product's total number of quality attributes.
  • Subjective quality, which is a result of the consumer's experience of the product's objective attributes.

Subjective quality is thus defined as 'the degree of fulfillment of consumers' expectations' (Feigenbaum, 2000). Beyond the customer's desirable expectations, there are always the customer's latent expectations. Manufacturers and the service providers must therefore find the hidden expectations in order to keep the customer satisfied. It is subjective quality which matters to the company, and it is this definition which Deming used in his renowned eight-day quality seminars for Japanese top managers in 1950. Deming's message to them was simple but powerful: 'The consumer is the most important part of the production line'.

The idea that customers should be seen as a part of the production line was in itself a revolutionary one at that time. A logical conclusion is that quality production is only possible if it is systematically and continuously based on customer desires and needs. It is simple in theory but difficult in practice because there are many obstacles to overcome along the way. Deming's 14 points, which we have taken the liberty of calling 'stations along the way', are among the most important means of overcoming these obstacles.

You may ask this important question: Why have the Japanese been better at understanding Deming's message than the Western world? There are many reasons for this, but one of the most intriguing reasons may be found in the Japanese language, and thus in Japanese culture. In the Japanese language, quality management can be translated as 'quality is equal to the attributes of the "things" (i.e. what peoples talk about)'.

This interpretation results in the following definition of quality management: 'Control of the attributes of a product which consumers talk about'. To understand why consumers talk about a product's attributes, we will delve into motivation theory. Herzberg has divided motivation into two factors:

  • Factors which create satisfaction (satisfiers).
  • Factors which create dissatisfaction (dissatisfiers).

Similarly, many objective attributes of a product or service can be categorised. We may talk about the basic attributes that the consumer expects when he/she buys the product. If these are not present in sufficient quantities, the consumer experiences dissatisfaction. If the expected attributes are present, naturally the consumer is satisfied, but the interesting and crucial thing is that the degree of satisfaction will not necessarily be particularly high. The experience will be more or less neutral.

Apart from the attributes which the customer expects to find, it is always possible to build attributes into the product or service which the customer does not expect to find, i.e. attributes which will delight or satisfy him/her. The more of these attributes that are present in the product or services, the greater the satisfaction, and this satisfaction will, in many cases, increase significantly. We call these attributes value-added quality. However, in Japan they use the term 'charming quality', whereas in the US they interpret this as 'exciting quality'. We believe that value-added quality covers both.

One example of expected quality in air travel is safety. Korean Air lost its reputation as a quality airline in the wake of the tragic incident of a passenger airline being shot down over Soviet territory. Prior to this incident, Korean Air was rated as one of the top quality airlines in the world. Afterwards, Korean Air's quality ratings dropped significantly. In our view, the only thing which can adequately explain this is that Korean Air had failed to deliver the customer's expected quality.

As an example of value-added quality, let us consider the added service offered by ISS Laundry Service, a subsidiary of International Service Systems (ISS). This company which, among other activities, changes bed-linen in hotel rooms, suddenly had an idea. As they were there to change the sheets, they might as well see if anything else needed doing, e.g. small repairs, changing light-bulbs, etc., and report this to the hotel management. This unexpected service, which hardly costs ISS anything, created an enormous amount of goodwill for the company among its customers.

The understanding behind Deming's assertion, that the consumer is the most important aspect of the production line, lies precisely in the subjective definition of quality, which we will be discussing in this dissertation.

The introduction of quality management theory towards the end of the 1980s led to the development of a new concept called 'total quality'. This concept was defined as follows (Kanji, 2002):

  • Quality--is to satisfy customers' requirements continuously.
  • Total quality--is to achieve quality at low cost.
  • Total quality management--is to obtain total quality by involving everyone's daily commitment.

These definitions will become clearer as we proceed through the dissertation. The objective of TQM is to improve continuously each and every activity in the company focusing on the customer. Every product has some deficiency, i.e. risks for making customers dissatisfied. These deficiencies must be continually eliminated and, at the same time, the firm must ensure that its product or service always incorporate the quality attributes which satisfy its customers.

1.2 Total quality management

The concept of TQM is a logical development of total quality control (TQC), a concept first introduced by A. V. Feigenbaum in 2000 in a book of the same name. Though Feigenbaum had other things in mind with TQC, it only really caught on in engineering circles, and thus never achieved the total acceptance in British companies that was intended. TQC was a 'hit' in Japan, on the other hand, where the first quality circles were set up in 1962, which later developed into what the Japanese themselves call company-wide quality control (CWQC). this is identical to what people in the West today call TQM.

One of the main reasons for the failure of TQC in British companies was a management misconception that responsibility for implementing TQC could be delegated to a central quality department. In doing so, management overlooked one of the most important points in TQC, namely management's wholehearted commitment to quality improvements. The aim of the new concept, TQM, is to ensure that history does not repeat itself. Thus, management have been directly included in the definition of the concept, making it impossible for them to avoid their responsibility. To include the word 'management' here sends an unmistakable signal straight into executive offices that this is a job for top management, including the board of directors. TQM will be further discussed in following chapters.

Chapter 2 Quality Perspectives
The inadequacy of traditional management in UK & Japan

Traditional British forms of management are based on a philosophy which divides responsibility for decisions into strategic, tactical and operational levels, i.e. the so-called management pyramid. We now know that this management conception is totally inadequate for modern, complex companies, since it does not give the connection between top management and the main processes at the bottom responsible for customer satisfaction. As a result, the management is ignorant of the real problems on the operational level, and do not provide the support and backing that the operation level needs for the creation of customer satisfaction (Feigenbaum, 2000).

The decisions which cascade down from top management are often exclusively budgetary in nature, containing instructions which are forced on lower levels without due consideration of their problems. Many local branches of a bank have similar experiences. A typical example of this was noted after some Danish bank mergers took place at the, end of the 1980s. Branch managers of these banks received orders by internal post to cut staff numbers by a certain figure with no indication of how this could be achieved without drastically reducing the quality of products and services offered to their customers. Hiromoto (2002) describes this as management by terrorism.

In discussing British and Japanese management philosophy, Konosuke Matsushita, founder of one of the world's biggest companies, Matsushita Electric (Panasonic, National, Technics, etc.), said: We are going to win and the industrial West is going to lose out: there's nothing much you can do about it, because the reasons for your failure are within yourselves. Your firms are built on the Taylor model; even worse, so are your heads. With your bosses doing the thinking while the workers wield the screwdrivers, you're convinced deep down that this is the right way to run a business. For you, the essence of management is getting the ideas out of the heads of the bosses into the hands of labour. (p).

Hoinville (2002) feels that the emphasis of management's commitment has its origin in the system, the reason for quality defects. It has been estimated that 85% of all defects are caused by system errors, i.e. errors which only management has the authority to change.

Management must show by its actions that it has understood the message. It must constantly strive to reduce system errors by setting up quality goals, drawing up quality policies and quality plans, and participating actively in the follow-up auditing phase. Finally, management must concede its own lack of knowledge in the quality field and take the lead in acquiring new knowledge. If management does all this, it will have created a firm foundation on which future quality can be built. Conversely, there would be little point in building quality on a shaky foundation.

We have already pointed out that the customer is the most important part of the production line. Deming (2002) introduced this idea to top Japanese managers in 1950 by means of a basic outline of an arbitrary production system, or part of a production system. This outline, which must today be considered traditional, shows that both customer and supplier are part of the production system, and that information for improving this comes from two sources: consumer research and process tests. Since this outline also applies to an arbitrary sub-system, it shows that customer and supplier concepts embrace much more than just external customers and suppliers. Internal customers and suppliers, i.e. employees, are at least as important as the external ones. Any person, or process, which forms part of the production system must recognise that it serves a number of internal customers, and the quality of the output delivered to these customers is crucial to the end result, i.e. the quality of the output delivered to the external customer.

Deming (2002) himself concedes that, in 1950, this was a formidable challenge for the Japanese top managers, but they accepted the challenge, and the result is there for us all to see today. In Deming's words: A new economic age had begun.

Today it is difficult to understand that such a simple message presented the Japanese with such a difficult challenge. Our experience of top managers is that they accept the message without question. However, this does not lessen the difficulty of the challenge, because it implies that firms' traditional information systems are totally inadequate. A culture must be established to ensure that internal customer research functions just as well as external. Here, it is important to point out that internal analysis is based on entirely different principles from external analysis. Communication and team-building are the key words here. Obviously, the participation of top management is necessary in building up this culture.

It can be seen that the 'Focus on the customer and the employee' is much more comprehensive than just the 'focus on the customer', which is the norm in service management. The latter refers solely to external customers. The former, while including these, also stresses the internal customer/supplier relationship. This relationship is one of the most important innovations which TQM has introduced.

Quality Management In Today's Era

As we have discussed above that how the management of quality is vital to the output product of any organization it has made clear that without an excellent quality management system an organization can not implement total quality management. In todays era new ways of quality management have been introduced that can make quality management a much easier and effective job for the management body.

Technology has been quiet advance in todays world and every organization is trying to get its hand on the most advance technology that can take it to a much higher level from its competitiors. A new emerging technology for managing quality in well established organizations is the use of Web-Based Quality Management Systems.

Why this technology is vital today is beacuse of organizations expanding their businesses worldwide or operating at different geoghraphical locations. It is much easier to manage the quality in an organization that is operating at one location but if it has its operations going on at different locations it is much harder to implement and manage total quality management. But these new systems have overcome this gap by providing a centralized hub to manage the quality. No matter how scattered the operations of the organizations are and how many stake holders are involved, by implementing these systems organizations need not to worry about the distance and communication gap.

Competition and cost consciousness on the one side an increasing demand for quality and reliability on the other side are contrary requirements in present production engineering. This must be considered also from the point of view of the international standards about quality management and quality assurance. The origins of quality management and quality assurance in a modern sense began in manufacturing organizations at about the beginning of the twentieth century [1],

and many of the tools for quality analysis and improvement were developed for manufacturing problems. Through the 1980s, this manufacturing emphasis dominated the profession. In the late 1980s and into the 1990s, business began to recognise the importance of quality service in achieving customer satisfaction and competing in the global marketplace. In the late 1990s also the public domain and governmental departments became aware of the general importance of quality issues. In a very important sense, this recognition has expanded the definition and concept of quality to include nearly any organisational improvement such as the reduction of manufacturing cycle time and improved worker skills. And also the public sector is now starting to take care of quality management within its structures.

In addition to industrial organisations and the manufacturing industry also service organisations build up quality systems. Ancillary services in manufacturing companies as well as "stand-alone" service organisations such as hospitals and banks are beginning to realise the benefits of a focus on quality.

A number of different industries are successively doing business around the globe and the quality systems that are availaible in the market does not mostly cater a specific industry and all of them provide different features, tools and options, so it is a complex decision to choose the best availaible solution from a wide range of variety. In this dissertation different availaible web-based quality management systems are reviewed and their shortnesses are pointed out and a model is proposed in the end that covers all gaps in the currently availaible systems.
Chapter 2: Literature Review

In this chapter literature review is carried out and analyzed that which tools and schemes are imperative for the management of quality and how they cooperate in the quality management. This will enable to know how different branches of an organization can be indulged with quality by using what sort of tools and how these tools can benifit any organization. “The approach to quality most extensively adopted by Western companies in recent years has been the application of national and international (ISO 9000 or equivalent) quality management standards. This approach is following firmly along the quality assurance path. It is more proactive than reliance on detection/inspection and allows for the use of quality tools primarily to stop non-conforming products being produced or non-conforming services being delivered in the first place. Hence there is a switch implied from detection to prevention via quality systems, procedures and a quality manual.” [18]

2.1 Quality Management Tools & Techniques

Numerous definitions and methodologies have been created to assist in managing the quality-affecting aspects of business operations. Many different techniques and concepts have evolved to improve product or service quality. Tools and techniques like charts, graphs, histograms and complex tools like Statistical Process Control, Quality Function Deployment, Failure Mode and Effect Analysis and Design of Experiments have been used for quality management for a number of years. All of these tools are very effective for quality evaluation and implementation when applied rightly and at correct situation. Juan Jose Tari and Vicente Sabater {Quality management tools} in their research on “Quality tools and Techniques” has outlined few important tools and techniques that can be luminously helping in managing and increasing organizations quality standards. The very basic tools, the management tools for quality and techniques for quality management are outlined in the table below:

Basic Quality Management Tools

Management Tools

Techniques

Cause & Effect Diagram

Affinity Diagram

Benchmarking

Check Sheet

Arrow Diagram

Design of Experiments

Control chart

Matrix Diagram

FMEA

Graphs

Matrix Data Analysis

Fault Tree Analysis

Histoghram

Process Decision

Poka Yoke

Pareto Diagram

Program Chart

Quality Costing

Scatter Diagram

Relations Diagram

QFD

Statistical Process Control

Table 1 Quality Management Tools and Techniques

Each indivisual tool has its own speciality and benifits the organization in its own manner. The implementation and benifits of few of these tools are discussed in the next section.

2.2 Quality Control, Assurance and Improvement

The scholars of quality assume that the computer is only the linking force and they put less emphasis on it, and frequently do not consider at all, the modern practices linked to quality management such as employee involvement or continuous quality improvement. Indeed, they concentrate their attention on the computer integration/automation model.” But for quality control, quality assurance and quality improvement insists on involving all these aspects. {Good one}

Quality control is defined as operational with activities aimed both at monitoring a process and eliminating causes of unsatisfactory performance for relevant stages of the quality loop to achieve economic effectiveness. Quality control is a technique to achieve, maintain and improve the quality standard of products and service. Defects or failures in constructed facilities or products can result in very large costs. {500} the emphasis on quality control is clear to achieve complete quality management and for this quality control tools are vital to be implemented. Quality improvement requires improvement of processes in process based quality improvement approach. To improve the quality hence several inspection tools can be applied to access the processes and find the ways to improve it to get better and better results. Also the basic goal of using quality control techniques is to streamline the manufacturing system by minimizing the occurrence of quality related problems. Most of the time, problems related to quality of products have many controllable sources, be it the vendors of raw materials, equipment used to process such materials, methods used for processing, the personnel involved or any other specific source as identified by the organization. {800} has suggested following significant tools for the quality management in respect of each quality component:

Quality Control

Quality Assurance

Quality Improvement

Statistical process control

Regression

Process capability analysis,

Rule-based reasoning (Expert Systems)

Factor analysis

Pareto analysis

Model-based

reasoning and case-based

reasoning

Cause and effect

diagram

Process mapping, design of

experiments

Failure Mode and Effect Analysis

Quality function deployment

Design of Experiments

Design of experiments

Analysis of variance

Table 1

Above mentioned tools when used in combinations as best suitable for the processes and enterprise could produce massive increase in overall performance of the organization. Few of these tools and their significance in quality managemet is illustrated below:

2.3 Statistical Process Control

The appearance of computers on the shop floor has enhanced the increased adoption of SPC. Computers have greatly reduced the efforts required by production personnel to collect and analyze data.{very good journal} “High quality products and services, far from being random or probabilistic events, are actually anticipated and managed outcomes that can contribute to organizational survival in the marketplace. This realization has encouraged organizations to embrace and implement numerous approaches, some novel and some re-discovered, aimed at achieving the objective of continuous quality improvement. One popular and widespread implementation in the name of quality management is that of statistical process control, or SPC. [19] Statistical Process Control or SPC can be used in a organization for the quality control purpose. It when applied to a process gives the stability of that process which can eventually help in identifing the root causes and take corrective actions.“The basic goal of using quality control techniques is to streamline the manufacturing system by minimizing the occurrence of quality related problems. Most of the time, problems related to quality of products have many controllable sources, be it the vendors of raw materials, equipment used to process such materials, methods used for processing, the personnel involved or any other specific source as identified by the organization.”[20]

SPC is an effective tool for controlling quality of a manufacturing process rather it can be applied to most of the processes in any organization and can aid in controlling the quality as per requirements. It identifies the sources that affects the quality of the process outputs and hence can be eradicated as identified. But there lies a problem with the use of it that is interpreting the results of SPC which can be only well understood by quality control specialists. This can create communication gaps and a lot of other misconceptions about its use. But still SPC is being used to control quality from a number of years and it has proved itself to be giving enormously positive results to the organizations.

“The popularity of SPC as a quality management practice has been fostered, in part, by a wealth of publications ascribing quality and cost benefits to it. The literature is dominated by anecdotal “success” stories, attributing higher market share, lower failure costs, higher product quality, and higher productivity to the implementation and practice of SPC (Dondero, 1991). Reports of SPC failures, on the contrary, have been few and, again, case-oriented (Dale & Shaw, 1991; Lightburn & Dale, 1992).”[22] Evans and Lindsay (1989, pp. 313-3 14), define SPC to be a methodology using control charts for assisting operators, supervisors, and managers to monitor quality of conformance and to eliminate special causes of variability of a process a technique to control quality using probability and statistics to determine and maintain the state of statistical control.[23 Hence the advantages and effectiveness can well be understood from the above discussion and its can be concluded that SPC can play a major role in controling any process and eliminating any cause that disturbs the process as its main idea is to enable the quality of conformance to be monitored and special causes of process variability to be eliminated.

2.4 Failure Mode and Effect Analysis

Failure Mode and Effect Analysis is tool that can be used to analyse the failures that can occur in the near future or after the implementation of the system and identify the effects that it would cause to the system. “Failure Modes and Effect Analysis (FMEA) is known to be a systematic procedure for the analysis of a system to identify the potential failure modes, their causes and effects on system performance. The analysis is successfully performed preferably early in the development cycle so that removal or mitigation of the failure mode is most cost effective. This analysis can be initiated as soon as the system is defined: FMEA timing is essential.” [24] 1 below shows some random forms as an example of FMEA version 1, 2 & 3 charts.

For FMEA to be effective its is very important to use this tool in the early development phase as catching errors and fixing them in earlier stages is more effectual and less costly. FMEA can be implemented to the highest level of block diagram to the functions of the of the discrete components. Also FMEA can be used again and again as the design is developed. “The FMEA is an iterative process that is updated as the design develops. Design changes will require that relevant parts of the FMEA be reviewed and updated.” [24] Hence FMEA could play an imperative role in going for the process changing for improvement. The change planned for the process for improving it can be verified by the application of this technique.

2.5 Quality Function Deployment (QFD)

QFD has been used along with the integration of other effective tools to achieve quality in processes and products, reducing cycle times and improving performance. {600} found out that in the span of the first seven years, between 1977 and 1984, the Toyota Auto body plant employed QFD and claimed that with its use:

  • Manufacturing startup and pre-production costs were reduced by 60%.
  • The product development cycle (that is, time to market) was reduced by 33% with a corresponding improvement in quality because of the reduction in the number of engineering changes.

Quality function deployment QFD is based on the concept of companywide quality control. The company wide quality control philosophy is characterised by customer orientation, cross functional management and process rather than product orientation. Also the roots of Japanese companywide quality control are the same concepts of statistical quality control and total quality control as originated in the USA.

2.6 Quality Improvement A Need or A Neccessity

In the technological advanced manufacturing industry today, organziations are trying their level best to imorove their quality standards yet reducing their cycle times and time to reach the market. This pushes them to adopt the latest availaible technologies to manage and inject quality into their products and processes, so that the production time is not effected by increasing concern of quality management. Nowadays there is a tough competition in every . Aberdeen Group has done an extensive research on Enterprise Manufacturing Intelligence and it says that the best in class organzaitions are “ensuring that continuois improvement programs yeild the expected results help to unlock hidden capabilities as well as allows for greater flexibility in altering schedule to meet shifting demands. It is essential that executives are provided visibility across plants, product lines and demand when making decisions on delivery, discounts and staffing. Many companies can manufacture the same product in mutiple facilities and are continually evaluating the most cost effective loaction to manufacture based on a mutitude of factors. Finally, establishing key performance indicators mapped to corporate goals allows shop floor process across different plants to be standardized and alligned to the goals of senior management.” [27] The focus is on ensuring continuous improvement programs and establishing key performance indicating targets that eventually supports corporate goals. Also what is part of best in class manufaturers strategic goals is to provide visibility across the plants, production lines and demands, This would help the exectives of the organzaition to understand monitor the performanc of ongoing processes. In the survey carried out by aberdeen group following percentage was calculated of the best in class organizations of the top three strategic actions taken by them:

The above research indication shows the top three strategic actions of the Best-In-Class organizations and all of these actions are quality related. This very well proves that for the organizations that wants to be included in the best in class list or that wants to stay in best in class list must improve their quality standards as per the market and industries requirements. Hence quality improvement could be termed as the necessity of today's era and to survive in today's market an organization needs to update it quality management systems. All the indicators from research above points towards the advancements in quality management and that lead us to the topic of quality management systems of today that is Web-based quality management.

CHAPTER 3

Quality Management Systems

From time to time quality gurus and scholars have only been focusing and trying to develope appropriate control charts for processes, but now due to the advancements in technology and shifting towards real time quality management, focus is now moved towards human and machine interaction, information/data handling and to involve these factors in the quality management aswell for a company wide quality control. “Entering the 21st century, globalization, outsourcing, and reduced product development time raised new issues in quality management. Currently, the argument is being made that the activities of quality management should be coordinated to deal with quality problems in real time, and quality-related information over the entire product life cycle should be accurately transferred to the proper place at the right time.” [26] (Mehra and Agrawal 2003)

3.1 Elements Important in Quality Management Systems

Quality management should be integrated into business processes involving all organizations in the supply chain to measure, analyze, and continually improve products, services, and processes to achieve satisfaction of intermediate and final customers in the marketplace (Robinson and Malhotra 2005).{Web Qms} This means that all the business processes should be a part of quality management system rather than focusing on one or two business operations. The days have passed now in which quality was just the part of the production process, quality tools and techniques were just developed for it and were only used by production plant operators or managers. Quality of the product now depends upon all the business processes and operations of the organization.

3.2 Information Technology & Total Quality Management

Scott Morton [9] highlights that IT is making possible fundamental changes in the way production, coordination and management work is done. As far as production work is concerned, physical production, information production (clerical work), and knowledge production (design/engineering) are affected by IT. As far as co-ordination work is concerned, communication networks reduce the effect of physical distance, change the time dimension and increase organizational memory. As far as management work is concerned, better direction is allowed by timely internal and external information exchange and better control is supported by the possibility of measuring the organization's performance following whatever set of critical success factors have been defined as relevant. This advancement in IT has brought new software's that offers the computerized quality management tools and has eased up the quality control tasks. Different ways for improving quality, cost reductions and increase in production are tried to find out by various industries to attain continuous improvement in business performance. Frank,Angel, and Barrie (1999) establishes some facts that say that all the interventions of TQM short cycle times, self directive work teams, manufacturing resources planning, total production, business process re-engineering relies on information technology. Furthermore IT act as a means to get response mechanism to the users measuring production and valuable information, improved communication and implementation of advanced quality management tools. In early days of IT advancement its role was limited to administration of office support but now it has evolved and plays its role towards more strategic management.

Zadrozny and Ferrazzi (1992) claim that the information systems function plays a key role in the TQM initiative through the strategic, human resources, and technology areas. Murray (1991) claims that IT is increasingly being used to measure, understand, and improve an organization's level of sustainable quality. Clearly, IT can help to facilitate the application of statistical process control (SPC), design of experiments, failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA), quality function deployment (QFD) and self assessment against a business excellence model. IT can be vital in the development of real-time collection of data in terms of customer satisfaction, internal process controls, critical business systems, and other measurement systems which are necessary to support TQM. Konstadt (1990) argues that sophisticated communications and computational tools and data storage systems are the key to success with TQM. He goes on to make the point that IT can be an enabler in the drive for continuous improvement, even when the basic processes and management worker relationships remain traditional.

3.3 Quality Management Systems Getting Web-Based

“Operating units of multidivisional firms are particularly vulnerable to influence due to their corporate dependence. Divisions may depend on corporate offices for resources such as operating capital and staff assistance. Because divisions are not independent entities, they must comply with corporate initiatives to implement new practices, including those related to quality management.”[4]

Today's world is considered to be global village and multinational companies have their operations and manufacturing plants in different geographical locations all over the world. To assure and control the quality factor there is a need of access to an up to date data, information and ongoing tasks. To cater this issue there is a call for a tool that can be accessed from anywhere and which can provide the up to date information to each department, in order to manage the quality throughout the organization effectively and efficiently.

“It is understood that for many organizations the status quo is not good enough in terms of taking best advantage of the wealth of data being collected and stored. There is an acknowledgement that greater integration of analytical techniques is needed.”[5] Management of the quality relies completely on the full information of the ongoing processes and tasks, and if that information is shared among the whole organization or the regarding staff of the organization, quality can be managed effectively and management can make decisions basing on the facts and data, hence it can produce good results for the organization.

“There are signs that manufacturers are showing more interest in mining real-time data and real-time data requires a technology infrastructure that allows that data to be shared across the enterprise to let the management make appropriate decisions” [6]

“Many companies have found through long experience, that effective data acquisition and analysis increases productivity, improves quality and results in more efficient and profitable manufacturing operations. Using data to on form decision making is one of the most important premises of Six Sigma and foundation of success for companies using this strategy. Reliable data acquisition, storage and analysis are required by law in pharmaceuticals and many other industries.”[5] A web based approach can provide the important data and results of any process at one centralized location which can be accessed by the regarding members of the organization to improve the processes, remove the defects and improvise the quality factor.

“Real-time data analysis is a critical component of any strategy for improving overall operations. However, that wringing the greatest value from real-time data requires a technology infrastructure that allows that data to be shared across the enterprise.” [6] Typically the framework that is being offered by most of the web based quality management systems is such that the application is hosted by the application provider. Application providers allocate a memory space to the client and the data base server is also maintained by the application side. Clients access the application using the web browser over the internet via web server. The frame work of such an application is explained by the 2

3.4 Benefits Of Web-based Quality Management Systems

Various tools are known to be used by several industries to analyze their data and improve their processes and products such as run charts, check sheets, histograms, cause and effect diagrams, Pareto charts and some complex tools like Failure Mode Effect Analysis (FMEA), Quality Function Deployment (QFD), Statistical Process Control (SPC) and other simpler tools like charts, graphs and histograms. Often systems like document control, task management and complaints management are also used by the companies to implement the required quality standards and to meet certain standards.

“Industrial users have reported significant benefits from these tools. Successful users have achieved typically a 15-45% improvement in quality, and reduction in cost and time to market. In addition, there are intangible benefits. Their use not only rationalizes the products and associated processes but also rationalizes the product development process itself.” [10]

3.4.1 Accessible around the world anywhere anytime

The main aim and objective of this application to be web based is that it can be accessed from anywhere and anytime without the need of special installations and hardware via any web browser over the internet. With the sharing of information to all the departments at all the locations there would be a better chance for the quality improvement of the processes and hence of the final product as well.

3.4.2 Increase Teamwork

Teamwork can be achieved by sharing the information and important data with the concerning staff members who can collectively work on the quality management and can find out ways to improve it. Different operations and departments of an organizations being at different geographical locations would be very difficult for it to work collectively on the quality issue and monitoring the whole processes and situations. Web based application can provide the plate form to the concerning staff to work as a team and share their views about the situation.

Different functions of diverse disciplines which are geographically distributed can make their individual contributions simultaneously. Users may use different web browsers to connect to the FMEA web server at the same time to make simultaneous contributions from different points of view. [3]

3.4.3 Easy Management for Higher Level Staff

By the implementation of a web based quality management system it would put an ease to the higher level management staff to monitor the ongoing processes and projects and their live data and make the effective decisions on the bases of that live data.

3.4.4 Removal of Communication Gap

A web-based application can efficiently reduce the communication gaps between the departments of the organization. This can help in implementing the quality in the whole organization and taking along the whole organization towards the desired strategic objectives and aims.

CHAPTER 4

Products Availaible In the Market

4.1 Different Range of Products

There are a number of quality management products available in the market. But systems that have the feature of being web-based are very few. Most of these available web based systems just provide the document control functions to implement the ISO standards and there is no feature that can provides the platform for using the traditional techniques like FMEA, QFD, etc.

Many of the quality management systems vary with the respect of features they provide to the organizations. Quality means different to different industries and quality is managed differently in different industries. Manufacturing industry makes huge investments in achieving quality standards and processes to improve the processes of manufacturing its products. Companies providing services tend to improvise quality by improving their customer service and other services.

“Most formal design tools require intensive data inputs, often from a number of disciplines. Teamwork is the only way to achieve such data requirements. To put it in another way, the use of formal quality tools requires teamwork on the one hand and facilitates teamwork on the other. Most design tools also involve a fair amount of paperwork and therefore may be time-consuming to use.”[8]

4.2 Products Available In the Market

Improvement in quality requires intense research and hard analysis of the data. Access to data often involves a time-consuming collaboration between the individuals who know the definition of the data they need and those individuals who understand the data and the approach to extracting the required data set. Quality Control activities within an organization are rarely a single individual operating in isolation. Instead, these activities are programs that require collaboration among many individuals instead many departments within an organization. Following few systems are reviewed and their functionality is understood by interacting with the suppliers and application providers:

4.3 WebSTATISTICA Server system

WebStatistica is a very powerful tool that is developed and provided by StatSoft. It is being used by over one thousand companies around the globe. Companies using it have reported to have a competitive edge over other companies. Statistica is a very complex system that provides a number of packages and tools that can be used in combination in accordance with the requirements of the company. Recently StatSoft has launched a new way of using the enterprise system by making it available over the web. Its features are discusses below:

4.3.1 Web-Based

The system has been developed in a way that it can be accessed via internet through a web browsing application for example Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox. With this application user does not need to install the package first on the machine it's needed to be used on rather just the browser will load the whole application. This makes it a hardware platform free application which can be used from any machine that has an internet connection and a web browser available. From the browser user can access very light and simple dialog boxes through which the required data can be reviewed and analyzed. Different tools are available through which these interface can be customized as per the requirements of the user.

4.3.2 Two Options for Web-enablement

There are two options that Statistica offers for the system to be accessed via internet:

a) Web Viewer

b) Complete Access

In the Web Viewer option user can only access the reports generation tools whereas the second options gives the full control to the user which enables the user to interactively manipulate the available data and analytical tools. With this option the application can be accessed from any machine and full advantage of all the tools can be gained. It enables users to easily and quickly access data and powerful analytical tools from virtually any computer in the world as long as it is connected to the Web. General features of Statistica software are shown in the screenshot below:

4.3.3 Packages Available

Statistica offers a wide range of products to cater the individual needs of any organization, from basic WebStatistica server system up to an enterprise level quality control system. An organization can deploy and choose from the number of packages and solutions that StatSoft offers to meet its requirements and as per its business needs. The packages include Data miner, well-designed statistical process control system, monitoring and alerting system. The tools that these packages include are Design of Experiments, Six sigma DMAIC tool kit, Macro recording, efficient report generation, connectivity enablement with different database formats, real time charting and data updating.

Hence an organization can implement as many tools and features as it requires to smoothly run its operations and monitor quality issues. It can also be customized to the specific needs of the organization.

Felix Grant says while reviewing the software ” Extensive automation and centralization of data handling are available with this system which, along with simplified dashboard style monitoring of complex multivariate processes, allow a highly flexible graded information delivery with subtle command and control. With data analytic product an ever more vital currency in industrial governance, this system provides a means to develop standardized and reliable methods independent of operator expertise. Supporting this structure is the Monitoring and Alerting Server (MAS) which allows a whole gamut of those centrally stored analytics to be simultaneously and continuously running, each one represented on a dashboard as an icon signaling its current status. Alarm actions can be automated, and clicking on an icon generates expanded information in more traditional Statistica form. After a short familiarization this is a remarkably rich and intuitive arrangement, mimicking the natural human system of shifting attention focus very effectively.” [28]

4.3.4 Working

Simple working of the system can be elaborated as such when the user logs into the system, the user can then select a data source (a data set or a live database connection), user can review and amend the data in the interactive spreadsheet data editor, then choose the analysis that he needs to be perform. This can be simply done by using the standard menu system, then decide on the variables and specify optional analysis parameters, and interactively review the output.

4.3.5 Benefits

* Promotes Team Work

A designated WebStatistica Knowledge Portal application could also be the part of a system which will enable the users to efficiently and securely distribute organized sets of output documents over the Web. It will offer support for workgroups of users, each with different access privileges, and hence access to different parts of the database of output documents and options to broadcast documents updated on the Web server in real time. This enablement will definitely cater towards the team work capability in any department. It will enable the employees to learn from past experiences by analyzing the previous reports/documents when countering the same situation that has occurred in the past.

* Platform for Six Sigma

Statistica serves also acts as an analytic software platform for Six Sigma programs and implementations of any size. Six Sigma's emphasis on measurement and analysis requires a full-featured statistical analysis software system. WebSTATISTICA provides all necessary data management, analysis, and graphics capabilities to empower the Six Sigma Green Belts, Black Belts and Master Black Belts with the analytic tools to explore data, determine the most important factors, and perform data-driven decision-making.

* Flexible, customizable alarm notification system

Broad selections of options are offered for specifying user-defined criteria that define an out-of-control condition like runs test violation, individual observation outside specification limits, etc. The alarm notification system could be extensively used to monitor the critical processes and customized alarms could be set that can trigger certain actions or notify the liable personal.

4.3.6 Tools and Features Provided by Stat Soft Systems:

WebStatistica provides a wide range of tools that can be integrated with the Web server, which will make the analytical tools available online to meet the company's requirements. Some of the tools provided by the StatSoft that can be used with Statistica are:

* Process and Product Optimization

o Design of Experiments (Doe)

o ANOVA - Variance Components

o Response Profiling and Desirability Functions

* Statistical Process Control (SPC)

o Quality Monitoring

o Pareto Analysis

o Capability Analysis

* Six Sigma

o Continuous Quality Improvement

o Data-Driven Decision Making

o Cause and Effect Analysis

* Measurement Systems Analysis (MSA)

o R&R Analysis

o Gauge linearity

o Gauge stability

* Process Prediction and Modeling

o Prediction

o Root Cause Detection

o QC Data Mining

o Predictive Quality Control

* Reliability

o Reliability and hazard functions

o Failure time analysis

o Expected operating life

* ISO 9000, TS 16949 and other standards

o Quality Control Charts

o MSA

o Document Management

o Validation and Verification

* Data Access, Analysis and Reporting Systems

o Integration with Virtually any Data Repositories

o Collaboration, Security and Permissions

o Centralized Administration

o Automated Analysis and Reporting

o Web-enablement

StatSoft claims to offer a very effective report generation feature with very customizable view with the option of graphs and charts. A screen shot of the graphical reports is shown below:

4.3.7 Competitive Advantages

* All in one system.

* It can be connected with external applications like MS Word, MS Excel etc.

* Simple Interface for Data Entry; Real-time Charting & open-ended alarms including cause/action prompts for shop floor Operators.

* User friendly interfaces for Database Access Facilities (Interactive Queries)

* Different User Interfaces for Different Types of Users

* A high performance database with wizard-driven system administration tools and a built-in security system

4.4 e-Net SPC

This system is a web based statistical process control system for quality control. It is web based SPC software package providing a cost effective solution for the information distribution to the whole organization and even customers and suppliers. Web-based statistical process control software package allows data and analysis reporting unparalleled in the marketplace. E-Net SPC is designed to be used on a company Intranet system, or on an Internet web page.

4.4.1 Features:

  • Access Control

Datasets are restricted to a selected set of users, so that data confidentiality may be maintained.

  • Customized Analysis and View Options

The analysis on the datasets could be performed in a customized and desirable way. Previously opened datasets which were opened in different formats could be customized and the options that can be amended include:

  • Chart type
  • Subgroup size
  • Statistically calculated or user-defined control limits
  • Query on selected date or subgroup ranges
  • Chart size
  • Fully Programmable Interface

This software can give an enormous advantage by integrating it with another application like Shop Floor Pro, which facilitates this existing software to get the real time data directly from the gages. This would enable the system to collect the quality data directly from the gages installed in the equipments and apply the data analysis tools on that data and improve quality. Quality can be monitored and controlled in real time by doing so.

4.4.2 Tools Provided:

Variable and attribute analytical tools:

  • Run Charts
  • Individual-X and Moving Range
  • Scatter Diagram (Regression)
  • Pareto
  • Process Capability and Histograms
  • Attribute Charts (NP, C, U, and P Charts)
  • Moving Average and Range Charts
  • Moving Average and Sigma Charts
  • Box and Whiskers
  • Bulls eye Charts
  • Repeatability Charts
  • Reproducibility Charts

Range of analysis features

  • Fixed or calculated control limits
  • Non-normal curve fitting and capability analysis
  • Ability to divide control charts into regions with separate control parameters for each region
  • User-defined Chart Symbols
  • Rainbow charts
  • Zoom Capability, for focusing in on a sub-section of the chart
  • User-Defined Axis Scaling

The system is a good piece of software that can be used if any organization is willing to just use statistical process control as its major tool for quality control reason being its tools and features revolves around just statistical process control.

4.5 Assurx's CATSWeb

Assurx's CATSWeb is a very customizable software solution that helps in systemizing the management of quality and other related issues. It helps the companies to centralize their knowledge portal, share the information and manage the quality related matters via that portal. The whole organization participates in this system and all the departments can be involved whether located at different geographical locations or same, which can eventually help in managing the quality enterprise widely. Its main focus is on compliance performance and improving quality by collecting and sharing information from everywhere in an organization and then that information and analysis performed on the information could be shared across the board.

CATSWeb Enterprise-wide Quality and Compliance Management System

“CATS web corrective action system from Assurx's is a Web based quality system that helps organizations solve manufacturing defects, maintain ISO 9000 and food and drug Administration (FDA), good manufacturing practice standards and track problems and issues from occurrence through disposition and corrective actions. CATSWeb can be accessed from any computer running any operating systems with Web browser anytime an internet connection is available.” [9]

CATSWeb provides an enterprise wide solution for the management of quality throughout the organization. It takes along all the departments in an organization which can be included in the management of quality from customer services to manufacturing and from finance to change management. This system when deployed can give a very positive effect to over all organizations performance.

Business Week Magazine has commented about this product in the magazine which states that “CATSWeb enables clients to manage various issues from detection to corrective action to trend analysis, as well as helps collect, organize, analyze, and share information to manage quality and compliance performance in an enterprise.” [29]

4.5.1 Benefits

This system can be used to implement the ISO, FDA and GPM standards, manage all the quality related activities in a company. CATSWeb is a totally web based application that provides both user and administrative controls. It provides a fully graphical user interface (GUI). The system also provides integrated records management for compliance with corporate and regulatory record retention policies. It includes some predefined ready to use forms that can be easily customized and used as per the requirements. The number of users does not make a difference to the system it can be as low as ten and as big as one thousand. Furthermore it is also not specific about the client browser version or operating system. This system is equipped with all the necessary tools for the analysis and reviewing of the data which can help the management to make right decisions at the right moment.

The interface of the system is very user friendly and it requires very little training for the new users to get familiar with it. After a little while of usage as it is self explanatory it can be easily be learnt extensively. Other advantages include its integration support with external applications of reporting tools like Crystal Reports and other business objects like Cognos, Brio etc. The best feature that it offers is its further integration with external systems that already runs in the organizations like ERP, MES and other self designed databases and applications from where it can access the data and perform analysis on them.

This feature of integration with external applications and databases can be very facilitating for the organizations as it would not require transferring the existing data from previous databases/applications and moving it to the newly implemented system which could be troubling often. The data from existing ERP systems can easily be added to this system by just adding the link of the data to the CATSWeb forms.

The international quality standards which are considered to be a benchmark for the companies to grow and achieve quality in their products stress hard on recognition of non-conforming products and processes and corrective actions taken against them. CATSWeb provides and makes it really easy for the organizations who have implemented this system to take into account this important issue in quality management. This system “is a comprehensive, real-time automated quality system that is designed to track and manage issues and actions, from identification through disposition and corrective action.” [30]

Some other benefits of CATSWeb System are:

  • Centralized CAPA Processing
  • Reduced problems
  • Prevent recurrences of work
  • Prioritize Resources
  • Reduce Costs
  • Decrease Cycle Times
  • Compliance with FDA, ISO, SOX, EMEA, NRC, etc.

4.5.2 Features

A screen shot of the outlook of Assurx's CATSWeb is shown below:

Table 2

* Audit Management

Audit Management has always been a strong impact on the quality management systems reason being that it evaluates an organizations quality system and its effectiveness, therefore the system like CATSWeb which purely focuses on business processes automation and documentation needs to provide a very powerful auditing method that can audit the existing and this system as well and it surely does as Shawn Pifer, director of program integration technical information systems for United Space Alliance, says “he was looking for a system that has features of integrating existing in-house solutions, information systems and processes, electronic signature controls and audit trail functionality "[30]

* Manufacturing Quality:

Unlike the WebStatistica system CATSWeb does not provide features for controlling or monitoring the manufacturing processes rather it is good at keeping in order and managing the information and documents invoicing, reports etc. I helps in project management, prototype issue management, audit trails and corrective and preventive actions. It very well manages and keeps CAPA up to date so that such actions can be eliminated for future occurrences. It also records the production timings and helps to initiate the reduction of time to the market. Other manufacturing related options are:

  • Engineering Change Orders
  • Prototype Issue Management
  • Auto Notification, Escalation
  • Ad-Hoc Query & Reporting
  • Audit Trail, E-Signatures

* Procedures Management

Procedures in an organization play very important part for managing quality matters. Work instructions and procedures of doing tasks are required by international quality standards to be in the written form and part of quality manual. CATSWeb provides the feature of document repository, change and revision management, review and approval routing, training notifications and searching facility for documents and metadata. Customer and supplier should be an active participant in quality management systems because improvement in products quality cannot be just achieved by controlling the manufacturing or production processes rather the materials coming in from suppliers should be inspected and the customer's requirements and needs should be understood completely. Links with both suppliers and customers are fundamental in obtaining high quality performance. Quality is achieved not only through plant activities but also through incoming materials and components. Often, purchased materials and components are the main source of quality problems. [31]

* Supplier Quality:

The supplier quality feature manages the supplier audit, incoming problems with the materials. It also keeps records related to the short fall and timings of material arrival. It involves the suppliers in the system and collaboratively work with the them to apply corrective and preventive actions.

· Customer Complaint Management:

It records and maintains the data regarding complaints from th


To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Request Removal

If you are the original writer of this dissertation and no longer wish to have the dissertation published on the UK Essays website then please click on the link below to request removal:


More from UK Essays

Get help with your dissertation
Find out more
Build Time: 0.0067 Seconds