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Quality Circles

By Dr Anjali Bansal


What are Quality Circles? History of Quality Circles Quality Circle Tools Benefits of QCs When QC can be ineffective? Innovation in QCs

Quality circle definition

Quality Circle -is a small group of 6 to 12 employees doing similar work who voluntarily meet together on a regular basis to identify improvements in their respective work areas using proven techniques for analysing and solving work related problems coming in the way of achieving and sustaining excellence leading to mutual upliftment of employees as well as the organisation

Quality Circles

Are a method of continuous quality improvement in an organisation by direct involvement of employees in quality They operate on the basic principle that employee participation in decision making and problem solving improves the quality of work They are:

Voluntary group of persons Meet on regular basis Work on similar tasks Share area of responsibility Solve problems related to work

Characteristics of Quality Circles

Volunteers Set Rules and Priorities Decision made by consensus Organized approach to problem solving Members of a circle need to receive training Support of senior management required Members need to be empowered


Started in 1962 in Japan Kaoru Ishikawa is the creator of Quality Circles Movement in Japan is coordinated by Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers (JUSE) In India Quality Circles is promoted by QCFI (Quality Circle Forum of India)

Basics of Quality Circle

Adopt prevention procedures rather than corrective measures Minimize scrap and downtime Improving quality - increase productivity, theory of Total Quality Control (TQC) QC relies on visual representations: scatter diagrams, flow charts, cause & effect diagram etc

Quality Assurance
Covers all activities from design, development, production, installation, servicing and documentation Includes regulation of quality for:

Raw Material Assemblies Product Components & other services related to production

Three major attributes of QC

Quality Circle is a form of participation management. Quality Circle is a human resource development technique. Quality Circle is a problem solving technique.

Structure of quality circle

A steering committee: This is at the top of the structure. It is headed by a senior executive and includes representatives from the top management personnel and human resources development people. It establishes policy, plans and directs the program and meets usually once in a month. Co-ordinator: He may be a Personnel or Administrative officer who co-ordinates and supervises the work of the facilitators

Structure of quality circle

Facilitator: He may be a senior supervisory officer. He co-ordiates the works of several quality circles through the Circle leaders. Circle leader: Leaders may be from lowest level workers or Supervisors. A Circle leader organises and conducts Circle activities.

Structure of quality circle

Circle members : They may be staff workers. Without circle members the porgramme cannot exist. They are the lifeblood of quality circles.

Basic problem solving techniques

Brain storming Pareto diagrams Cause and effect analysis Data collection Data analysis

The operation of quality circle

Problem selection Problem analysis Generate alternative solutions Select the most appropriate solution Problem identification Prepare plan of action Present solution to management for approval Implementation of solution

Quality Circle Tools

Ishikawa Diagram - shows hierarchies of causes contributing to a problem Pareto Chart - analyses different causes by frequency to illustrate the vital cause PDCA-Deming wheel - Plan, Do, Check, Act, as described by W. Edwards Deming

PDCA wheel

Pareto charts

Benefits of QCs
Increased productivity Improved quality of work life Boost employee morale Enhances creativity Improved teamwork Employee involvement

When QC can be ineffective?

Inadequate training Not entirely voluntary Lack of Top Management interest Unsure of Purpose Decision making does not necessarily take place

Innovation and QCs (IQC)

Cross functional teams, members drawn from different departments IQC communication website- facilitates exchange of experiences & interact Impart new tools & techniques through workshops & courses Members can come from suppliers as well wider scope Leaders or mentor organization helping other organization

Relevance of quality circles

where there is scope for group based solution of work related problems Manufacturing firms Factories Firms Schools Hospitals Universities Banks

Thank you