What is Quality Circle? / Use of Quality Circle / Characteristics of Quality Circle


What is Quality Circle? / Use of Quality Circle / Characteristics of Quality Circle

- Concept of Quality Circle is to solve work related problems by using basic problem solving techniques.

- Quality circle is a group of employees doing similar work, who meet regularly under the leadership of their supervisor, to identify and discuss their work related problems

- Quality circle is a 'form of participative management', which assumes that, a group of individuals working together will invariably come up with better solution than one individual working alone.

- Quality circle is a 'problem-solving technique', which assumes that, suggestions for quality improvement should come from those, who have the greatest knowledge about the job.

- Quality circle is 'a human resource development technique', which includes the development of skills, capabilities, confidence and creativity of the people through education, training, work experience and participation.

History of Quality Circle

 - Kaoru Ishikawa is the creator of Quality circle whos started in 1962 in Japan.

 - In India quality circle is promoted by QCFI (Quality Circle Forum of India)

Characteristics of Quality Circle

 - Quality circles are small primary groups of employees/workers. The group must be small (4 to 12 workers) lead by a supervisor, called as facilitator.

 - Members of quality circle should be the workers doing similar work. The workers/employees interested in same area of work for improvement may come together to form a circle.

 - Membership of quality circle is most voluntary. It is not at all made compulsory.

 - The members meet regularly say once a week or according to an agreed and specified schedule.

 - Quality circle members are specially trained in techniques of analysis and problem solving methods, so that, they can work and contribute more effectively, in quality improvement activities.

 - Purpose of Quality Circle: 'To identify and solve work related problems and to improve quality and productivity'.

 - Quality circle enables every member to use his/her hidden talents and creative skills to perform against the challenging tasks. 

 - Quality circle members get the benefit of self development, updates and competence amongst them.

 - Quality circle members work for quality improvement, without affecting regular work. It creates a feeling of job, satisfaction and job security.

 - Their successful contribution in company's goal of quality improvement create a feeling of proudness amongst them.

Functioning of Quality Circle

(a) Problem identification: To identify different problems to be solved related to work area.

(b) Problem selection: To decide the priority of problems on the basis of severity causing poor quality control and select the problem to be solved first.

(c) Problem analysis: Analyze the selected or chosen problem through basic problem solving technique.

(d) Generate alternative solutions: Identify and evaluate causes of problem. Discuss about the problem in the meeting and suggest possible solution to solve problem. Members may generate number of alternative solutions, due to difference in opinions.

functioning of Quality Circle

(e) Select the most appropriate solution: Quality circle members discuss and evaluate all alternative solutions by comparison and select the best solution amongst all.

(f) Prepare plan of action: Quality circle members prepare plan of action to implement the best solution, agreed by all.

(g) Submit solution to management: Quality circle members submit the best solution to management for approval.

(h) Implementation of solution: Management takes the decision on implementation of solution. Initially, the solution is implemented on small scale, called as trial or pilot test. If pilot/trial test is successful in giving better results, then the solution can be implemented on full scale.

Objectives of Quality Circle

1. To improve the quality and productivity and to contribute in development of company.

2. To identify and solve work related problems.

3. To reduce cost of products and services by reduction of waste, effective utilization of resources, avoiding un-necessary errors and defects.

4. To develop and utilize the tremendous potential of workers.

5. To tap 'creative intelligence' of persons working in the organization and to make full use of available or existing human resources.

6. To authorize and allow the employees to develop and use greater amount of 'knowledge and skill'. Motivate them to face a wide range of challenging task.

7. To have 'Proper communication' in the organization.

8. To create 'Job satisfaction' among the workers.

9. To increase 'loyalty and commitment' of employees towards the organization and its desired achievements.

10. To satisfy the human needs of 'recognition', 'achievement' and 'self development'.


Limitations of Quality Circle

1. Employees working as Quality circle members may turn from their routine work to the task of organizing themselves, taking trainings, which sometimes may lead to undue wastage of man hours.

2. Time and money is required for implementation of new concept.

3. Sometimes, over expectations of employees may lead to disappointments.

4. Some employees may show non-willingness and may not co-operate the quality circle members.

5. Changes in existing system with appropriate control is required.

6. Resistance and non-operation of some employees.


Factors Leading to Failure of Quality Circle

1. Lack of interest and support from management.

2. Some members may not contribute to activities of quality circle and remain absent in many periodic meetings of Quality control.

3. Improper selection of team members.

4. The leader (facilitator) chosen may have lack of leadership qualities. It means, appointing him was the wrong decision. 

5. Some members of Employee's Union create problems and feed others with negativity.

6. Lack of training to members.

7. Lack of sufficient awareness and knowledge among workers.

8. Bad practices of politics in organization.

Techniques used in a quality circle

1. Brainstorming

 - This helps to stimulate the idea for decision making and stimulating creativity.

2. Cause and effect diagrams

 - Members identify the cause of the problem and its effect on the problem

3. Sampling and charting method

 - Members observe the events and charts the observations to get a clear idea of the problem.

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