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Operation Management (Assignment) - Essay Example

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If you can't measure it, you can't manage it" is a truism that is applied to Total Quality Management (TQM) by all trainers and practitioners in the field. Increasingly one hears the comments, 'I am not interested in what you feel, and can you provide data to support what you say 'or, 'Show me the Data'…
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Operation Management (Assignment)

Download file to see previous pages... The present context narrows our interest lies in focusing to two of the points, these are:
In all industry and services the supervisor has traditionally used some form of measurement to lay down norms or objectives for the workers to attempt to achieve. These objectives were based on arbitrary averages of the past performance and while some workers found it easy to achieve these, some just could not cope. This method put a limit to what could or should be accomplished based on the supervisors perception of what was good or bad for the organization. Deming pointed out that counting and inspection of the end product presumed that there would be defects and mass inspection would only identify the defect that would need to be reworked or the product scrapped. There is no way that identifying a defect or shortage at the end of the process can help in improving quality. Management should instead shift focus to inspection of the systems and processes that go into the production of the article or service.
Numerical quotas or norms or objectives do not assist in identifying the capability of the workers and systems they only measure what exists. Historically management has looked at producing larger volumes under the mistaken impression that more volumes meant lower cost of production per unit. In the push to produce larger quantities quality was lost sight of. The second error that was made was to measure a product or service against preconceived ideas of quality, determined internally, without understanding what the customer wanted. This resulted in the process now producing larger volumes of re-work and scrap and the worst of all, a product that the customer did not want. Cost of poor quality can be 25-30% of sales revenue (Ross, 1999, p167). This leads us to the next mantra of the TQM gurus, 'Don't inspect the product - Inspect the process' but what does 'inspection of the process' imply
Information is the key to understanding any situation or process and any action taken on the basis of such information shall be directly in proportion to the quality of the information, its relevance, authenticity and timeliness. Information needs to be gathered and collated in the form of data that lends itself to easy interpretation, identification of trends and analysis. Data is fact recorded as numbers and no one can argue with numbers. Data instils a sense of confidence and, is the only way to 'change' all that which is blocked by entrenched perceptions (Jurow, 1993, p113-115). Most of all data helps in motivating everyone involved in the process when they see the progress being made enabling them to identify with the change and push to extend their individual capabilities as also of the organization.
'Measurement is just a habit of seeing how we're going along' Philip Crosby, TQM guru (Jurow, ibid, p 115) Measurement also helps in deciding the feasibility of a particular effort. If it is not possible to measure critical elements of the present situation then how will we ever know how well or indifferently we are progressing and how will it ever be possible to know when we arrive at the desired goal. Finding ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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