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Quality Control Circle: how RMG sector can be benefited

The ’80s was the era when Bangladesh Garments sector started booming, then in the year 2000, this sector started offering superior products with improved quality concern and characteristics.

23rd National Annual Quality Convention 2019
Figure: Md. Zahid Hossain (right) along with colleagues at 23rd National Annual Quality Convention-2019 at BIAM auditorium.

Imposing strict quality control at production factories, benefited us in two ways:  firstly, our factories started getting customer confidence and could make ourselves a reliable source and secondly, our rate of rejection got lower, making us more efficient in production.

Now the time has come to adopt another concept, this one originated in Japan, practiced in almost all industry, and its benefits are immense. Imagine a portion of your workers, say 6 to 7 in number, led by their supervisor, one morning, approached you with a proposal of system improvement, with which company gets a little leap in efficiency. The first expression in our mind blows out, wow! This is called Quality Control Circle.

Structure of QCC

STRUCTURE OF QCC

Not necessarily they come from your quality department, they can be from any department, who, by discussion with their team leader, feel the necessity of improving workplace, maybe in the case of line layout, or use of coordinated way, which will improve their work result and as a result company will be benefitted.

Definition

A Quality Circle is a volunteer group composed of workers, usually under the leadership of their supervisor, who are trained to identify, analyze and solve work-related problems and present their solutions to management in order to improve the performance of the organization and motivate and enrich the work of employees.

When matured, true quality circles become self-managing, having gained the confidence of management.

Flow chart of QCC activities:

QUALITY CIRCLE’S ACTIVITIES FLOW CHART

Why Quality Circle?

Participative management technique always helps the company. Within the framework of a manufacturing system in which small teams of (usually 6 to 12) employees voluntarily form to define and solve a quality or performance related problem. In Japan (where this practice originated) Quality Circle is an integral part of enterprise management and are called quality control circles.

Typical topics may be improving product design, improvement in the work design and manufacturing processes, occupational safety & health, line layout, line balancing idea, cutting marker efficiency, snap attaching better idea, etc.,

These are related especially to the quality of output or services in order to improve the performance of the organization/department and motivate and enrich the work of employees.

The members receive training in problem-solving, statistical quality control and group processes.

Quality Circle generally recommends solutions for quality and services which may be implemented by the management. Thus, Quality Circle is not merely a suggestion system or a quality control group but extends beyond that because its activities are more comprehensive. Furthermore, it is not a task force because it can be made a permanent feature of the organization or a department.

History
Pioneered by Japanese.

  • Japanese nomenclature: Quality Control Circles (QCC), generally now known as Quality Circles (QC) or some call it as Small Group Activity (SGA).
  • 1962: First Quality Circles was registered with Quality Circles Head Quarters in Japan.
  • 1974: Lockheed Company, USA started Quality Circle movement.
  • 1977: International Association of Quality Circles (IACC) was formed in the USA.
  • 1980: BHEL, Hyderabad first in India to start Quality Circles.
  • 1982: Quality Circle Forum of India (Quality Circles) was founded.
  • Bangladesh also has got Quality Circles activities; it is organized here by Bangladesh Total Quality Management system organization. Each year, a good number of participants from across the industries participate in Quality Circles competition. This year 2019, a total of 74 participants celebrated the Quality Circles festival.
  • ‘Chorei’ is a common morning meeting ritual in Japanese organizations. Each workday begins with a meeting where employees stand in a circle and share their day’s work agenda or project status. Chorei is a cultural export in the expanding global economy. Practitioners of Chorei believe this type of meeting technique can help improve communication resulting in better productivity.

Objectives of quality circle

The perception of Quality Circles today is appropriate for use and the tactic implemented is to avert imperfections in services rather than verification and elimination. Hence the attitudes of employees influence the quality. It encourages employee participation as well as promotes teamwork. Thus, it motivates people to contribute towards organizational effectiveness through group processes. The following could be grouped as broad intentions of a Quality Circle:

  • To contribute towards the improvement and development of the organization or a department.
  • To overcome the barriers that may exist within the prevailing organizational structure so as to foster an open exchange of ideas.
  • To develop a positive attitude and feel a sense of involvement in the decision-making processes of the services offered.
  • To respect humanity and to build a happy workplace worthwhile to work.
  • To display human capabilities totally and in the long run to draw out the infinite possibilities.
  • To improve the quality of products and services.
  • To improve competence, which is one of the goals of all organizations.
  • To reduce cost and redundant efforts in the long run.
  • With improved efficiency, the lead time on convene of information and its subassemblies is reduced, resulting in an improvement in meeting customers due dates.
  • Customer satisfaction is the fundamental goal of any library. It will ultimately be achieved by Quality Circle and will also help to be competitive for a long time.

PDCA for QCC

PDCA for Quality Control Circle

Benefits of quality circles 

By practicing Quality Circles in the organization, the company may be benefitted in multiple ways, including there may be an immense financial benefit as well. The other benefit may be-

  • Self-development: Quality Circle’s assist the self-development of members by improving self-confidence, attitudinal change, and a sense of accomplishment.
  • Social development: Quality Circles is a consultative and participative program where every member cooperates with others. This interaction assists in developing harmony.
  • Opportunity to attain knowledge: Quality Circles members have a chance for attaining new knowledge by sharing opinions, thoughts, and experience.
  • Potential Leader: Every member gets a chance to build up his leadership potential, in view of the fact that any member can become a leader.
  • Enhanced communication skills: The mutual problem solving and presentation before the management assists the members to develop their communication skills.
  • Job-satisfaction: Quality Circle’s promote creativity by tapping the undeveloped intellectual skills of the individual. Individuals, in addition, execute activities diverse from regular work, which enhances their self-confidence and gives them huge job satisfaction.
  • Healthy work environment: Quality Circle’s creates a tension-free atmosphere, which each individual like, understands, and co-operates with others.
  • Organizational benefits: The individual benefits create a synergistic effect, leading to cost-effectiveness, reduction in waste, better quality, and higher productivity.

Problem-solving tools used by QCC

Problem solving tools used by QCC

Quality Circle Report presentation

I recently ran across an example of a QC Circle presentation which was held at BIAM auditorium in this year 2019. This was one of the national level competitions among 74 participants which were across the various industry, like pharmaceuticals, RMG, Cosmetics, Battery, Testing Lab, etc.,

QC Circles used the basic method of report presentation. Typically, the QC Circle reports include but are not limited to:

  • Title
  • Member Introduction
  • Background and Context
  • Reasons for Selection
  • Current Situation
  • Goal for the Project
  • Analysis of the Problem
  • Countermeasures
  • Plan for Implementation
  • Results and Confirmation of Effect
  • Remaining Steps and Standardization
  • Reflection Points
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