This chapter provides the theoretical background, which is essential in order to be able to answer the research questions. Thereby, “Deviations in production processes” represents the foundation to answer research question one. Research question two is answered through the knowledge basis of “The development of QM” and “Quality methods to control and reduce deviations”. To investigate research question three the theory “Intelligent Quality Management” is of key importance.
The evolution of Quality Management
The term quality has been used throughout history, but its meaning and importance has changed significantly over the years (Lu, 2001). Weckenmann et al. (2015) provide a good overview on the historical development of QM, which is summarized and visualized in the following figure, based on Weckenmann et al. (2015).
According to Weckenmann et al. (2015) the first ideas of QM can be identified in the beginning of the 20th century where the mass production has been developed. During that period of time, quality activities were focused on the inspection with the goal of delivering manufactured products without known disfunctions and defects (Schmitt & Pfeifer, 2010). Hence, inspection was added as a first quality activity to the end of the production line (Juran, 2003).
Although fewer defective products went out the door, the inspections resulted in some negative outcomes such as higher costs for detection and repair as well as higher wastages (Qiu, 2014). Furthermore, excessive time was allocated for the additional step of inspection at the end of the production process. These implications led to an evolution of quality practices. The focus moved from a product quality perspective towards process quality, which meant that parameters such as quality, costs and time became of interest. This change of perspective was based on the idea, that mere detection of defects is not as efficient as identification and elimination of the source of the defects (Schmitt Pfeifer, 2010). Here, the next step of QM can be identified as progression from inspection to control (Juran, 2003). According to Juran (2003) the Second World War was a trigger for this progress in the history of quality movement. This was due to significantly low quality during shortages, which were directly connected to the impacts of the war. Furthermore, tools like the “Deming Cycle” and the “Statistical Process Control” were developed and used in order to control process quality and eliminate the defects more efficiently (Qiu, 2014).
In the following years, the quality movement continued to grow. The idea was to not just control and react according to the product and process quality, but also to include preventive actions by recognizing potential risks, which should be dealt with before they turn into actual problems (Schmitt & Pfeifer, 2010). Thereby, methods for preventive analysis like the well -known “Failure Mode and Effects Analysis” (FMEA) were introduced to the industries (Schmitt & Pfeifer, 2010). Juran (2003) describes this trend by mentioning the “Japanese Revolution”, where Japan began emerging as the frontrunners of the quality movement in the 1960´s and 1970´s. During that period the Japanese manufacturers significantly increased their influence on the American market due to “superior quality” (Juran, 2003). The western countries reacted by adopting the Japanese practices, where various tools and methods were implemented in their operations (Juran, 2003). Some of these tools or methods are still used to a certain extent in many companies, for example the “Fishbone Diagram” by Kaoru Ishikawa or the “Quality Function Deployment” by Yoji Akao and Shigeru Mizuno. In addition, the so-called “systems thinking” was added to the QM practices by widening the application of the product and process perspective even further. From then on, a system-wide perspective along the “value-creation process” was adopted, which also takes the interdependencies between the different processes into consideration (Weckenmann, et al., 2015).
In general, it can be said, that after the Second World War the modern QM has begun to develop and progress. That is also the reason why QM became more complex and crowded with different methods and tools incorporating a systems perspective. Especially between the different companies it was difficult to have a mutual trust regarding quality activities and their documentation (Weckenmann, et al., 2015). Therefore, it was a logical consequence, that quality standards and definitions were introduced. The ISO 9000, ISO 9001 as well as ISO 9004 met the existing need and also created the possibility of “certification”, which granted the standardization between suppliers and customers to build trust on levels of performance (Weckenmann, et al., 2015).
According to ISO 9000 (2015) the definition of “quality” can be described as “The quality of an organization’s products and services is determined by the ability to satisfy customers and the intended and unintended impact on relevant interested parties (p.10)
Currently, there exist a number of different definitions of quality, which need to be considered in the context of QM. The definition above is just one example, among many others. Juran & Godfrey (1999) define quality as “ features of products which meet customer needs and thereby provide customer satisfaction” (section 2.1).
In addition, these authors outline quality as “freedom from errors that require doing work over again (rework) or that result in field failures, customer dissatisfaction, customer claims, and so on.” (section 2.2)
According to Crosby (1979) quality is the “conformance to requirements”, where requirements imply both product and customer perspective (Crosby, 1979).
Dean & Bowen (1994) also provide fundamental definitions and categorizations of QM in order to be able to differentiate between the existing terminologies. Dean & Bowen (1994) focus on Total Quality and its meaning as well as its relation to other terms in QM. As mentioned within the earlier chapter, Dean & Bowen (1994) describe Total Quality as a comprehensive philosophy, characterized by its principles, practices and techniques”.
Figure 2, which based on Dean & Bowen (1994) provides an overview of essential principles, practices and techniques within QM. By understanding the definitions and the terminologies within QM, misconceptions regarding the use of quality terms can be avoided when dealing with those principles, practices and techniques within QM, which is necessary for the following chapters of this study.
Quality Management Principles
Seven QM principles are identified as the foundation of QM practices and techniques. These fundamental principles are explicitly outlined within ISO 9000 (2015), as follows:
According to ISO 9000 (2015) the main focus of QM is to fulfill customer needs and to strive for even surpassing customer expectations. Thereby, it is important for a company to keep a sustainable relation to customers, which facilitates the mutual trust. Therefore, it is crucial to understand current and future needs of customers, in order to sustain the success for the company.
Top Management Commitment:
ISO 9000 (2015) outlines, that management commitment facilitates the engagement of employees, who are consequently focusing on achieving the company´s quality goals.
ISO 9000 (2015) emphasizes the involvement of employees, who are vital to improve the company´s operational capabilities. In this connection, it is important to respect and involve all employees at all levels.
According to ISO 9000 (2015) every successful company must follow the principle of continuous improvement, which is essential to be able to maintain current levels of performance, react to changes and to generate new opportunities.
Through the understanding of how outcomes are created by the system, a company is enabled to optimize the system and its performance (ISO 9000, 2015).
Fact-Based Decision Making:
According to ISO 9000 (2015) decisions based on analysis and evaluation of data are more likely to create the wanted results. Guesses and making assumptions always lead to subjectivity, whereas using facts and analysis of data results in a greater objectivity and certainty in decision-making.
ISO 9000 (2015) also underlines relationship management as an important principle for a company to adopt. Relationships to suppliers and other external partners have a significant impact on the performance of a company. Therefore, it is vital to efficiently manage these relationships.
Quality Management Practices
Total Quality Management:
One of the most popular developments in QM is outlined in various literature as Total Quality Management (TQM). According to Patyal & Maddulety (2015) TQM is a common practice in companies. Dale (1999) outlines that TQM incorporates various elements which are supported by quality philosophers such as Deming, Juran and Crosby. TQM follows an understanding of delivering high quality products and services, which are no longer dependent on the market pressure as a driving force (Weckenmann, et al., 2015). TQM also focuses on the commitment of employees as well as their relationship to leadership by following a more holistic approach (Dahlgaard, et al., 1998). There are many quality techniques, which are used within the framework of TQM (Dale, 1999). But according to Melsa (2009) there is no one best suited for all applications. The use of techniques is strongly dependent on several factors such as resources, purpose and company´s culture (Melsa, 2009). Hellsten & Klefsjö (2000) also emphasize the importance of aligning the QM practices and techniques with the company´s culture, based on corporate values. The main principles of TQM are top management commitment, continuous improvement, customer focus and employee involvement, which have been outlined in the previous section. According to Patyal & Maddulety (2015), top management commitment is the foundation of TQM and directly affects the main principles of TQM by adopting a top-down approach. Tari et al. (2007) mention that top management commitment is a main driver of TQM because strong involvement of top management enables leaders to create shared goals within the company. Hence, employee involvement becomes easier due to transparent goals (Patyal & Maddulety, 2015). Moreover, Patyal & Maddulety (2015) outline, that shared goals and employee involvement facilitate continuous improvement, which affects the product and process quality as well as customer satisfaction. Thereby, the essential value of customer focus adds a market perspective and selling prepositions to the operational thinking.
Pyzdek (2003) describes Six Sigma as a practice involving a highly-effective set of QM principles and techniques, which incorporates many elements from the work of various quality practitioners. Six Sigma strives for an error free operational performance by improving quality, productivity and bottom-line financial performance (Franchetti, 2015). The Greek letter Sigma (σ) is used by statisticians in order to measure the variability in processes (Patyal & Maddulety, 2015). Generally, the performance of a company can be evaluated on the sigma level of their business processes and companies traditionally accept a sigma level of three or four as the norm (Pyzdek, 2003).
In a production context, Six Sigma can also be defined as an improvement program for reducing deviations, following the purpose of satisfying the customer (Patyal & Maddulety, 2015). According to Linderman et al. (2003) the name of Six Sigma emphasizes a goal of 3.4 defects per million opportunities, which represents the accuracy of the sixth sigma level. But Linderman et al. (2003) also outline, that not all processes should aim for the sixth sigma level because there is an essential dependency on the strategic importance of the process as well as on the cost of improvement regarding to the benefit. Figure 4, which is based on Lindermann et al. (2003), illustrates this fundamental interrelation for the sigma levels.
1.2 PURPOSE AND RESEARCH QUESTIONS
2 Theoretical background
2.1 THE EVOLUTION OF QUALITY MANAGEMENT
2.2 DEVIATIONS IN PRODUCTION PROCESSES
2.3 QUALITY MANAGEMENT APPROACHES TO CONTROL AND REDUCE DEVIATIONS
2.4 INTELLIGENT QUALITY MANAGEMENT
3 Method and Implementation
3.1 RESEARCH APPROACH – CASE STUDY
3.2 RESEARCH TECHNIQUES
3.3 VALIDITY, GENERALIZABILITY AND RELIABILITY
3.4 RESEARCH PROCESS
4.1 FINDINGS FROM OBSERVATIONS
4.2 FINDINGS FROM DOCUMENT STUDY
4.3 FINDINGS FROM INTERVIEWS
6.1 WHAT ARE THE REASONS FOR DEVIATIONS WITHIN PRODUCTION PROCESSES?
6.2 HOW CAN DEVIATIONS IN PRODUCTION PROCESSES BE REDUCED AND CONTROLLED?
6.3 WHAT ROLE DOES THE CONCEPT OF INTELLIGENT QUALITY MANAGEMENT PLAY IN HANDLING AND REDUCING DEVIATIONS IN PRODUCTION PROCESSES?
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT
Control and Reduction of Deviations in Production Processes ”An Intelligent Quality Management approach”