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Hi everyone I'm looking for some help with my upcoming exam, I'm struggling to think of answers relating to quality management..

A question on my previous project management exams goes like so: "Modern quality management requires customer satisfaction, prefers prevention to inspection and recognises management responsibility for quality. Explain, with examples, why each of these is important for quality management. What problems would you expect if these aspects of quality management were ignored?"

What are some examples of why these things are important? And what problems would you expect if these principles were ignored?

I can think of one: Inspection of produced units would take much longer than assuming prevention.

But otherwise, I'm struggling.

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  • For instances, a company dedicated to quality usually provides training for all employees. This example can be applied to all the points you mention. By investing on its employees, the firm shows it recognizes responsibility for quality. Training can be seen as a prevention method and can lead to an increase in customer satisfaction by delivering more, better, faster and/or cheaper. Jun 18, 2019 at 7:19
  • Did your class discuss lean or Toyota manufacturing? These sound like they are pulled right from a lean or six sigma discussion.
    – Daniel
    Jun 18, 2019 at 8:45
  • @Daniel Six sigma is discussed in this class, though only a small amount :)
    – Joel
    Jun 18, 2019 at 9:06

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Probably too late for your use, but this was a fun exercise. You asked:

"Modern quality management requires customer satisfaction, prefers prevention to inspection and recognises management responsibility for quality. Explain, with examples, why each of these is important for quality management. What problems would you expect if these aspects of quality management were ignored?"

Customer satisfaction

Explain, with examples, why this is important for quality management.

If you don't have customer satisfaction, then you will not get any feedback; if nobody wants to use your product, they will not inform you of quality issues.

For example, if you sell a bad quality camera, then people will simply return it without explanation. You won't even discover what they didn't like.

What problems would you expect if these aspects of quality management were ignored?"

You would get no feedback from the field; users will either return the product or stop using it, but not ask for improvements. Your sales will plunge, and your business will suffer.

Prefers prevention to inspection

Explain, with examples, why this is important for quality management.

Finding problems is harder than preventing them. Some quality issues may only be detected after long periods of use or under certain conditions.

For example, if you use low-quality brake pads on a vehicle, inspecting them will not find any problem, unless you drive the vehicle thousands of miles before inspecting them.

What problems would you expect if these aspects of quality management were ignored?"

Your users may find serious quality issues; it may not be a few users but all users who used the product for a long time. Then you'll have to do a worldwide callback or upgrade.

Recognises management responsibility for quality

Explain, with examples, why this is important for quality management.

When management takes responsibility for quality then everybody involved in the production of the product will realize that it's an important aspect of the production process.

For example, when Google's motto is do no evil then the entire company realizes that the Google Search results must be fair and balanced; they know what management expected of them.

What problems would you expect if these aspects of quality management were ignored?"

When management does not take responsibility for quality then - even inadvertently - they will cause quality to be "a corner that can be cut". Once it's not their responsibility, they may pressure the teams to deliver - and ignore the facts that a speedier delivery may come at the expense of quality.

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    "Finding problems is harder than preventing them" is the one part I disagree with. That's not universally true - in-house development, for example, it's often considered a cheaper solution to let the employees find the more obscure bugs than to spend hundreds/thousands of dev/QA hours hardening the product. It is universally true, though, that the customer finding problems is more expensive than the business preventing them.
    – Sarov
    Sep 20, 2019 at 13:36
  • In times of internet I can't believe that "then you will not get any feedback". You will read feedback in any public forum, ranking sites and as comments in every online store. The time you can sell trash without feedback is over for decades!
    – Klaus
    Mar 1, 2021 at 9:50
  • There was a large auto-parts foundry in my city which was simply closed down – and completely removed to a new city – because they could not produce an acceptable number of brake-drum castings which were any good. 🤷‍♂️ The management was "living a good life" on their generous salaries, but they weren't minding the store. The parent company finally decided they couldn't get their act together, so they just pulled the plug on the whole operation, dismantled and relocated it. Wherever the plant is running now, I predict they're doing much better! Mar 1, 2021 at 15:53
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Principles of modern quality management - in the manufacturing context

Let me try to explain these in the context of automobile or similar mass manufacturing:

Modern quality management requires customer satisfaction

In the shopfloor, any discussion of whether a batch of components are of good quality or not is based on the component specs. However, if after making it conforming to specs, you find the customer is not happy, you should listen to that feedback and change the specs, as needed.

prefers prevention to inspection

When you manufacture a batch of components, if there are wide variation in dimensions, some people push for more and closer inspection. This is not enough. You must study whether the underlying process is capable of delivering consistently within spec. This is the way to prevent defects. As Harold F. Dodge said, “You can not inspect quality into a product.”

and recognises management responsibility for quality.

When a batch of components are rejected, the tendency is to blame the operator/first-line-supervisor. Not necessarily. The management is resposible for procuring raw materials of right quality, assigning that job to the right machine, providing the right tools, providing necessary training and so on.

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