Continuous quality improvement is a management philosophy used by organisations to better their processes. Continuous quality improvement is basically the idea of improvement of conditions under which individuals live. The major aim of continuous quality improvement is to reduce waste while increasing efficiency and to increase internal and external satisfaction. Its major aim is to improve quality indoor to meet customers’ needs and want more proficiently. It is an ongoing process that evaluates how an organization works and ways to improve its processes. Continuous quality improvement is based on the idea that when problems and difficulties arise it is generally because of poor performance, failed leadership, not the people performing the processes.
Continuous quality improvement stresses the need and importance of team work and with the idea that all employees of a company or an organisation are all valuable and reliable. These employees are urged to evaluate their work and come up with new ideas and suggestions as to how to improve them to the advantage of the company. This helps create a harmonious and dynamic organisation where every employee participates and is valued. This in turn does help in accountability through creating an environment in which all employees feel part and parcel of the organisation. In this way the company might realise profits at the end of the day. Continuous quality improvement does put into emphasis on management technique for engaging employees involvement and commitment in achieving corporate goal. Continuous quality improvement is an everyday activity that ensures improvement of services to customer satisfaction. It becomes very effective when it becomes a natural part of everyday activity in the institution. Generally the main objective of continuous quality improvement is to make a product or service profitable and an organisation sustainable and innovative. It helps eliminate waste of time, money, materials and resources with an effort of increasing productivity.
Core concepts of continuous quality improvement
- Form a team that has knowledge of the system needing improvement. For continous quality improvement to take place there must be a team of employees who engage in improvement of the customer’s needs and wants through team work by coming up with new ideas that will help in improvement of quality
- Define a clear aim. The team should come up with a clear aim of what they want to achieve during the continuous quality improvement. The team should have in mind that the major aim of continuous quality improvement is the improvement of products and services for the good of the organization.
- Understand the needs of the customers. The needs and wants of the customers should come first and be put into consideration in continuous quality improvement. It is always important to understand a process before you control it.
- Identify and define measures of success.
- Brainstorm potential change strategies for producing improvement. Brainstorming involves generating high volumes of ideas on the topic.
- Plan, collect and use data for facilitating effective decision making.
- Apply the scientific method to test and refine changes.
Continuous quality improvement tools and methods
- Brainstorming –core reason is to create bigger and better ideas by generating numerous ideas on the subject of improvement.
- Cause and Effect/ Fishbone Diagram- To identify, explore, and graphically display, in increasing detail, all of the possible causes related to a problem or condition to discover its cause.
- Control charts- To monitor, control, and improve process performance over time by studying variation and its source.
- Flowchart – to identify the flow and sequence of events in process that a product or a service follows.
- Histogram – To summarize data from a process that has been collected over a period of time and graphically presents its frequency distribution in bar form.
- Pareto Chart – To focus efforts on the problems that offer the greatest potential for improvement by showing their relative frequency or size in a descending bar graph.
- Run (Trend) Chart – To study observed data (a performance measure of a process) for trends and patterns over a specified period of time.
- Scatter Diagram – Measuring relationships between variables.
To study and identify the possible relationship between the changes observed in two different sets of variables.
- Storyboard – A communication vehicle to display improvement efforts to alert others of changes being tested or carried out.