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Introduction to Quality Part 2

Who owns quality -  Quality is Everybody business

Throughout the years of interacting with over 100 companies in  computer  or electronic base component industry,  more than 80% of them  told me that quality department owns the quality of the product.    I am sure you will give the same answer that personnel in the quality department is accountable for a product is quality useless you are already an experience quality practitioner or are  certified quality engineer.

The correct answer would be everyone in the organization who is involved in bringing the product to the end consumer is responsible for product quality.  Top management, designers and planners,  operators in the  manufacturing line  play a role in overall product creation owns quality. 

This is because quality has to be designed in, planned  in and built in and it is not achieved through inspection.  Most of the organization has the misconception that inspection process create quality product and inspection function is the main function of the quality department.  Therefore when customer complain of poor quality,  the counter measure by such organization would always include more inspections.  Thus,  inspection is always attach to quality department and everybody thought that quality department is accountable for product quality.  Poor quality department are always blamed if there is customer complaint of poor quality when every product creation process contribute to the product quality!!

How do we measure quality?

Consumer (end user) and producer (product manufacturer or supplier) measure quality differently.  As the end user is the pay master therefore every producer must understand how consumer measure quality of the product in order to produce parts which is able to satisfy consumers requirement and “specs”.   Unfortunately not many producer esp top management  is able to appreciate this point and able to drive this point across the organization.  Organizations that are able to measure their product from the consumers' perspective  usually enjoy higher rate of success which resulted in higher sales.

What consumers measure are very subjective and  each consumer perceived quality differently therefore in order to objectively measure quality,  producer or product/part supplier must be able to identify  a few key measurable characteristics of product which represent general consumer measurement. 

An example below shows how  an important measurable characteristic an electric fan can be identified thru the use of critical to quality tree per below. Critical to quality tree is used to translate the customer's requirements into  measurable metrics and  align to the customer requirement. It is used in six sigma methodology to determine which  key parameters of a product should be measured and controlled.  Through critical to quality to tree analysis,  we have identified 4 parameters which need monitoring -  motor torque, fan blade size,  appearance cosmetic check, motor speed.  During the manufacturing process of the electrical fan,  manufacturer need to ensure the 4 key parameters are being monitored and controlled.  

The  key critical to quality characteristic are then measured/tested  using calibrated measuring/testing equipment  or inspected by inspection equipment or human inspector (applicable appearance that is not possible to be measured). 


Figure 2 Critical to Quality Tree for an electric fan


















In summary  we can measure quality once we have identified the key parameters which are important to customer and quality.  

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