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Producing and deliver high quality goods or service is a must for any businesses. No consumers would buy poor quality goods or pay to experience poor quality service. However most consumers have a difficult time defining quality. For examples every consumers have different opinion on the quality of the sports outfit of Nike. Some may said Nike quality is better than Reebok and others may disagree. So till today quality does not have any single universal definition (Reid & Sanders, 2005). Some may view quality as performance to standards while others view it as meeting the customer’s needs or satisfying the customer (Reid & Sanders, 2005). In common, there are a series of characteristic to define quality which are (1) conformance to specifications, (2) fitness for use, (3) value for price paid, (4) support services and (5) psychological criteria (Reid & Sanders, 2005).
Conformance to specifications
Measures how well the product or service meets the targets and tolerances determined by its designers.
Fitness for use
Focuses on how well the product can be performs its intended function or use.
Value for price paid
Is a definition of quality that consumers often use for product or service usefulness? This is the only definition that combines economics with consumer criteria; it assumes that the definition of quality is price sensitive.
Support services provided
Are often how the quality of a product or service is judged. Quality does not apply only to the product or service itself but also applies to the people, processes, and organizational environment associated with it.
Is a subjective definition that focuses on the judgmental evaluation of what constitutes product or service quality. Different factors contribute to the evaluation, such as the atmosphere of the environment or the perceived reputation of the product.
Quality management defines as an act of overseeing all activities and tasks needed to maintain a desired level of excellence. This includes creating and implementing quality planning and assurance, as well as quality control and quality improvement (Investopedia, 2012). In general customers always want guarantees about the quality of the products and services that they intent to pay for. Companies are always searching for options to gain a market advantage over competitors (Rijn, 2004). Improving the quality of their products is one option they explore to gain confidence of potential buyers (Rijn, 2004).
Figure 1: Four Main Components of Quality Management (Downing, 2012)
Determines which quality standards are necessary and provides guidance to stakeholders on how quality management will be performed on the project.
Quality reviews are a key tool for quality assurance but could also be used for quality control. The way they will be conducted will be set out in the Quality Plan.
Quality control consists of inspection, testing and quality measurement verifies that the projects deliverables conform to specification, is fit for purpose and meet stakeholder’s expectations.
There may be opportunities to improve management processes during the life of the project or information that assists the management of future projects.
Quality Control Cycle
Figure 2: Quality Control Cycle (JEM, 2011; Reid & Sanders, 2005)
Plan – First step, managers must evaluate the current process and make plans based on any problems they finding order to plan how to do to next job.
Do – The next step in the cycle is to do the job. During the implementation process managers should document all changes made and collect data for evaluation.
Check – The third step is to check the output (product or service). The output is checked to see whether the meet the features and functions established in the plan stage.
Act – The last phase of the cycle is to act to adjust or rectify if needed. The best way to accomplish this is to communicate the results to other members in the company and then implement the new procedure if it has been successful. The next step is to plan again and continue evaluating the process, planning, and repeating the cycle again.
What are the types of quality control? (Loremate, 2012; Naidu et al, 2006)
Is the most common method of attaining standardization, uniformity and quality of workmanship. It helps to control quality, reduces manufacturing costs, eliminate scrap losses and assignable causes of defective work. The purpose of inspection to distinguish good pieces from bad pieces and rate quality of product.
Statistical Quality Control
A Quality control system performs inspection, testing and analysis to conclude whether the quality of each product is as per laid quality standard or not to control quality or to solve quality control problem.
Quality of Conformance
Reflect the needs of fitness for use, and products must confirm to the design. Higher quality of conformance can be attained with an accompanying reduction in cost.
What Are the Benefits of a Quality Control? (Loremate, 2012)
Builds an information system for improving quality and reducing the cost.
Reduction in scrap materials and products.
Promotes quality consciousness.
Increased production under the finest conditions.
Reduce customer complaints.
NIKE’s Quality Control Involvement
Nike is widely recognized as the market leader in the sports apparel industry (Stonehouse & Minocha, 2008). Being one of the world’s leading sport apparel suppliers of athletic shoes and apparels, Nike pay a lot of attention in its quality. Nike is using worker empowerment and supplier monitoring strategy to ensure its quality (Locke, 2002).
Nike’s Assembly Line
High Quality Products
Quality inspection, conducted by Nike’s before enter assembly line
– Skills and Abilities
– Quality Improvement
High quality Nike products being produced
Figure 3: Quality Control Process of Nike. (Locke, 2002; Nike, 2012)
Nike has pushed its suppliers to obey standards through increased monitoring and inspection efforts in order to improve its quality (Locke, 2002). For instant all potential Nike suppliers must undergo a quality inspection, conducted by Nike’s own production staff to see if the suppliers meet Nike’s standards (Locke, 2002). Besides that, Nike’s strategy in worker empowerment is giving factory workers the skills and abilities needed to manage production and immediately address issues as they take place, such as quality or process improvements in assembly line (Nike, 2012). These changes put decisions closer to the worker, and require a high level of support to ensure they have the skills and confidence to consistently produce quality products. Nike believes suppliers inspection and worker empowerment will provide opportunities for workers to increase their skills and contribute to continuous quality improvement (Nike 2012).
Recommendation for Nike’s Quality Control
In this assignment I would like to recommend that Nike shall have a more comprehensive quality control process in their assembly line. The quality control that Nike’s established such as suppliers inspection and worker empowerment are not complete. Figure 4 below shows a clearer picture of how a quality control cycle shall take place.
Goods and Material From Suppliers
Adopted Statistical Quality Control Method in Production.
Using Quality of Conformance to test fitness and products confirm to design
QUALITY CONTROL PLANNING
Plan and reevaluate the quality control cycle to improve every stages of the process.
Received from customer for quality improvement
QUALITY CONTROL CYCLE FOR NIKE
Figure 4: Recommended Quality Control Cycle to Nike
Step 1: Quality Control Planning
Is the first step of every quality control cycle. Nike shall plan and decide the quality stages, methods and tools shall be including in the quality control cycles.
Step 2: Goods and Materials from Suppliers-
Shall be inspected using a quality inspection method before entering the assembly line.
Step 3: Assembly Line
Is the crucial place to produce a quality product. It is recommended to adopt a good quality approach such as Statistical Quality Control to further conduct inspection, testing and analysis quality of each product and reject the defected one.
Step 4: Finished Goods
Shall undergo Quality of Conformance to test the fitness of use and products must confirm to initial design before deliver to customers.
Step5: Customer Feedback
About the quality is important to further improve the quality of the product. Then Nike shall plan again and continue evaluating the quality control cycle for better quality.
As the market leader in the sports apparel industry, Nike has the consumer pressure to ensure goods quality products as consumers’ expectation are high towards the leader. Practice quality control and continuously improving quality able to gain a market advantage and gain confidence of potential buyers. Although quality is important but Nike shall not forgo other management approach such as brand management and customer satisfaction. Having good quality is not good enough to sell a product but a good branding and customer service would give further gain in market advantage to Nike. In short, continuous improving quality and listen to your customers and developing a good branding strategy would be the best key combination to bring Nike for a greater success.
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