Quality Circle – Features, Organizational Structure and Phases

Developing a Quality Circle

Usually, a QC system in an organisation is developed by going through the following phases:

1.Start-up Phase
QC requires an attempt just like an organisational change programme. An organisational change programme can be made successful when people are convinced about the utility of the change. Therefore, the first thing that should be done in developing QC is to publicize the concept of QC in the organisation. People should understand the implication of QC. This is necessary because participation in QC is voluntary. Initial training to some personnel should be provided to operate QC system in the organisation.

2.Constitution of QC
QCs may be constituted at different workplaces in the organisation. Members of a QC are from the same work area or doing similar type of work .They are drawn voluntarily. Once a QC is formed, they remain as permanent members of the Circle unless they leave the work area.
Besides QCs at various workplaces. there may be steering committee: facilitator, and coordinator. Steering committee is an apex body at the highest level of the unit/division which oversees the functioning of QCs in the unit/division and serves as advisory body. Facilitator is usually a manager of the shop/department/section and is responsible for guiding and directing the activities of the QCs in his area, enthuses other executives to get involved in supporting QC activities. The basic responsibility of coordinator is to coordinate the activities of QCs on behalf of the management and to carry out such activities as would make the operation of QCs smooth,effective, and self-sustained.

3.Initial Problem Solving
Once people in the Circle are trained and officially sanctioned, they turn to problem solving. This involves three stages: data collection. data analysis, and problem solving. Data collection is carried on through various ways like past records. contacting employees and self-suggestions. Data analysis tries to establish the basic reasons for a particular problem or problems on hand. Problem solving at the initial stage involves participation of various members of the QC on regular basis. Methods used for solving the problems may be brainstorming. Various suggestions put forward by members are analyzed subsequently and final decisions are taken through consensus.

4. Presentation and Approval of Suggestions
When the QC members get ready to show their solution of a problem, they present it before the management. Presentation to management maybe in the form of oral presentation by the members, preparation of the project report or group assignments in project presentation. Presentation to management helps to improve the communication between management and workers, demonstrates management’s involvement and interest to QC members and fosters good working relationship among all the people. It also offers opportunity to recognize the QC members efforts.

4.Implementation
The final phase is implementation of suggestions. For this purpose, relevant groups may be assigned activities depending on the nature of suggestions. If the suggestion involves only one workplace without affecting others, the implementation can be
undertaken directly at that workplace. However, if it involves others also, it may be assigned to a group.

Once this process is over, QCs may be organized for other departments. Thus, through this process, entire organization can have QCs.

Advantages of Quality Circles

1.The main advantage of quality circles is that they help in the generation of creative ideas as the happy contribute towards something innovative.
2.Effective quality circles will definitely improve the productivity of any organisation.
3.The effective and vibrant organisational culture helps making effective,harmonious and cohesive groups.
4.Quality circles bring cool and soothing effect in the organisation as there is someone who is trying to identify, analyse and solve the problems in the organisation.
5.All these factors automatically inculcate motivation in the employees and it is well understood that motivated employee is an asset to the organization.

Limitations of Quality Circles

1.Quality circles may feel helpless and frustrated when there are operational problems in the organisation and unnecessary delays are there due to carelessness or ingenuine reasons. This all ultimately fails the process of quality circles.
2.Quality circles may fail if there is no enthusiastic participation of all the employees in the process.
3.Quality circles may fail if the employees grouped in quality circles are not well educated and are not well-versed with the required concepts.
4.To make quality circles successful it is necessary to have positive approach and look at every aspect with positivity. Quality circles is nothing but a process of continuous improvement in quality and such types of objectives cannot be achieved with negative approach.

Quality Circle – Features, Organizational Structure and Phases

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