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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

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

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

Started in 1962 in Japan
Kaoru Ishikawa is the creator of Quality
Movement in Japan is coordinated by
Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers
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
Components & other services related to

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

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
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


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
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 websitefacilitates exchange of experiences &
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