Custom Search

Popular Posts

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


The emergence of a global economy has stimulated worldwide interest in achieving quality. Companies can no longer be satisfied with producing goods and services that compete only with goods produced within their own country. Consumers can now select from a broad range of products and services produced anywhere in the world. Before examining how information systems can contribute to quality throughout the organization, we must first define the term quality. 

Traditional definitions for quality have focused upon the conformance to specifications (or the absence of variation from those specifications). With this definition, a producer can easily measure the quality of its products. Achieving quality under this definition requires three steps from the manufacturer: First, establish product specifications. Second, measure products as they are produced to determine whether or not they achieve the standards established in the specifications. Third, alter the manufacturing process whenever necessary to bring the products up to standard.  מצא מנעולן שרות 24 שעות

However, achieving quality is not quite that simple and direct. The definition of quality has been changing and broadening in recent years. Defining quality as conformances to specifications view it from a producer’s perspective only. Customers have a different perspective, being more concerned with value for their Rupees. They normally apply three criteria. First, customers are concerned with the quality of the physical product. They want to know if the product is durable, how safe it is, its reliability, its ease of use and installation, its stylishness, and how well the producer supports the product. Second, customers are concerned with the quality of service, by which they mean the accuracy and truthfulness of the advertising, the timeliness and accuracy of the billing process, responsiveness to warranties (implied as well as specified), and ongoing product support. Finally, customer concepts of quality include the psychological aspects: how well do the sales and support staff know their products, the courtesy and sensitivity of the staff, and even their neatness, the reputation of the product. For companies to compete globally, they need to include a customer perspective in any definition of quality. 

Today more and more businesses are turning to an idea known as total quality management. Total Quality Management (TQM) is a concept that makes quality the responsibility of all people within an organization. TQM holds that the achievement of quality control is an end in itself. Everyone is expected to contribute to the overall improvement of quality – the engineer who avoids design errors, the production worker who spots defects, the sales representative who presents the product properly to potential customers, and even the secretary who avoids typing mistakes. Total quality management encompasses all of the functions within an organization. TQM is based on quality management concepts developed by American quality experts. Japanese management adopted the goal of zero defects, focusing on improving their products or services prior to shipment rather than correcting them after they have been delivered. Japanese companies often give the responsibility for quality consistency to the workers who actually make the product or service, as opposed to a quality control department. Studies have repeatedly shown that the earlier in the business cycle a problem is eliminated, the less it costs for the company to eliminate it. Thus the Japanese quality approach not only brought a shift in focus to the workers and an increased respect for product and service quality but also lowered costs. 

How Information Systems Contribute to Total Quality Management?

Information systems can fill a special role in corporate quality programs for a number of reasons. First, IS is deeply involved with the daily work of other departments throughout the organizations. IS analysis usually have taken a leading role in designing, developing, and supporting such varied departmental systems as corporate payrolls, patent research systems, chemical process control systems, logistics systems, and sales support systems. IS professionals also maintain their knowledge of these departments through their participation in departmental information planning. In addition, IS personnel are usually key to the sharing of data between departments because they have unique knowledge of the relationships between various departments. Often, only IS personnel know where certain data originate, how other departments use and store them, and which other functions would benefit from having access to them. With this broad understanding of the functional integration of the corporation, IS personnel can be valuable members of any quality project team. 

The IS staff in effective information systems departments have three skills that are critical to the success of a quality program. First, they are specialists in analyzing and redesigning business processes. Second, many IS technicians are experienced in quantifying and measuring procedures and critical activities in any process. Typically, IS departments have long been involved with measurements of their own manager training has long been a staple of better IS departments; such training includes the use of project management, software. These skills can contribute a great deal to any serious quality program, which will normally be organized as a project and will usually be heavily task-oriented.  

The information systems staff is the source of ideas on the application of technology to quality issues; often they are also the people who can make that technology available to the quality project. For example, with the help of IS departments, statistical analysis software is becoming more widely used in the drive for quality. 

Benchmark: Many companies have been effective in achieving quality by setting strict standards for products, services and other activities, and then measuring performance against those standards. Companies may use external industry standards, standards set by other companies, internally developed high standards, or some combination of the three. 

IS Contributes to these Efforts in Many Ways: IS staff participates in re-engineering projects and helps to design and build the systems that make the quality processes possible. Any study of quality programs shows that information is a top concern to those involved, and IS is often central to the collection of that information. To improve production or sales, for example, management needs data to determine both what is being done right and what is being done wrong. IS is usually the key to making that information available in a timely fashion and in a format useful to those who need it for quality purposes. For instance, manufacturing data have traditionally been supplied to management in summary form at the end of the manufacturing process. In effect it is historical data that at best can be used to reduce future problems. To provide better information for benchmarking, information systems specialists can work with business specialists either to design new systems or to analyze quality-related data found in existing systems. 

Use Customer Demands as a Guide to Improving Products and Services: Improving customer service, making customer service the number one priority, will improve the quality of the product itself. 

Reduce Cycle Time: Experience indicates that the single best way to address quality problems is to reduce the amount of time from the beginning of a process to its end (cycle time). Reducing cycle time usually results in fewer steps, an improvement right there. But reducing cycle time has other advantages. With less time passing between beginning and end, workers will be better aware of what came just before, and so are less likely to make mistakes.

Improve the Quality and Precision of the Design: Quality and precision in design will eliminate many production problems. Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software has made dramatic quality improvements possible in a wide range of businesses from aircraft manufacturing to production of razor blades.

Increase the Precision of Production: For many products, one key way to achieve quality is to tighten production tolerance. CAD software has also made this possible. Most CAD software packages include a facility to translate design specifications into specifications both for production tooling and for the production process itself. In this way, products with more precise designs can also be produced more efficiently.

Include Line Workers in any Quality Process: Experience has shown that involvement of the people who perform the function is critical to achieving quality in that function. Although the information systems could potentially make many more contributions like these, its involvement in corporate quality programs has provoked a great deal of controversy. IS has been criticized for a reluctance to become involved in organization-wide quality programs. Often IS focuses exclusively upon technological capabilities while not reaching out to aid the rest of the company in the ways described above. For example, many IS departments are criticized for failure to use customer demands as a guide to improving their products and services. On the other hand, non-IS departments often fail to consider contributions the IS staff might make to their quality project and so do not reach out to involve them. It is not uncommon for IS to be viewed only as technical support with little to contribute to the planning or content of the quality program.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin