Good Essay On Quality Management And Lean Systems

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Quality, Management, Company, Cost, Innovation, Japan, Concept, Philosophy

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/09/23

For this assignment, I have chosen to analyze cost of quality, an aspect of quality management, and Kaizen, which represents an aspect of lean systems.
In general, cost of quality (COQ) refers to losses incurred by a company due to poor quality management, which results in manufacturing of defect products. On average, the cost of quality is estimated to comprise between 15% to 25% of total turnover (Heizer, & Render, 2008). Despite this fact, surprisingly, many companies do not even bother to assess the cost of quality. Considering the significant portion of total revenue that the cost of quality can comprise, it is not surprising that Dr. William Edwards Deming stated the following: “If you run your company without it (cost of quality), you won’t have a company” (as cited in Sreenivasan, 2005, p. 21). The importance of quality costs gradually increased after World War II, when many countries had their infrastructures almost entirely destroyed. Numerous organizations on a global scale have started to implement quality initiatives after Deming began assisting Japanese companies (Jones, 2014). In many companies, it was discovered that poor quality was the main root of their unsatisfactory economic performance. Concepts of conformance costs and caveats are at the heart of the traditional COQ principles. Conformance costs are incurred by an organization to ensure that delivered services or manufactured goods conform to specifications (Jones, 2014). These costs are comprised of expenses associated with preventing defects, and costs relating to appraise a product or service. Non-conformance costs, consequently, are incurred when a product or service does not correspond to a customer’s requirements, and include internal failure costs, failures occurred before shipment, external failure costs, and costs identified after shipment. Caveats represent trade-offs between conformance and non-conformance costs, which are economically difficult to estimate. Naturally, COQ has some issues when it comes to practical implementation of hypothetical concepts. These issues include lack of specific actions provided in COQ reports and impossibility to calculate all the costs associated with quality (Jones, 2014).
The Kaizen principle is applied in many industries nowadays, and basically states that small but constant changes in the long term bring significant positive outcomes in all organizational processes, from manufacturing to data analysis. In Japanese, Kaizen means “continuous improvement” (Leseure, 2010). The concept of Kaizen itself, however, is more general, and represents a philosophy and approach to improvements implementation rather than just one specific principle. Another of putting it is that when operation managers refer to Kaizen, they usually mean a particular way of working and treating work on all organizational levels. Today, Kaizen is strongly interrelated with the quality management and control. This concept is often considered to have originated solely from the Japanese management style. However, this is not entirely true, as some experts indicated that Kaizen represents a customization of quality management ideas introduced by the U.S. consultants, including Deming, to Japanese companies after World War II, within the work context of Japan (Leseure, 2010). In its essence, Kaizen encompasses step-by-step, small continuous improvements. While major innovations executed through implementation of new expensive technology and/or equipment do bring considerable results, they are generally rare and highly unpredictable. Smaller and regular improvements, however, are easily realizable, acceptable, controllable and predictable (Chary, 2007). Moreover, it is easier to bring cultural, philosophical, and behavioral changes through small and gradual steps rather than by massive radical innovative actions. Therefore, according to the philosophy of Kaizen, employees at all organizational levels within a company’s hierarchy are able and should be motivated to drive changes through execution of small improvements on a regular basis. It is worth mentioning that the Kaizen viewpoint does not belittle the necessity and importance of major innovations. Rather, it states that the innovative process within an organization should be constant, and small and constant innovations mush support the big ones, so that their value does not depreciate significantly in the face of continuously changing environment.
Of course, it is hard to overstate the importance of Deming’s research to the foundation of quality. It largely contributed to creation of a unique blend of Western pragmatic approaches to management and quality control with the Japanese philosophical concepts, which has been implemented into numerous quality management and lean systems concepts, bringing quality management to a completely new level. Ultimately, Deming’s research did not only affect approaches to quality management, but to some extent has changed the perception of management and working processes in general. Luckily, the quality management and lean systems concepts that I have chosen to analyze are easy to implement into the context of everyday life and work. Thanks to better understanding of cost of quality, I will now spend a little more time evaluating my work before finalizing and delivering it, as it is much more effective and less-time consuming than providing a work full of “defects” and flaws, and then spending lots of time to re-do it. On a more general level, I would say that this concept has reminded me that all our decisions in life must be carefully assessed prior to their execution, because otherwise, we will later regret doing things worse than we could have. The concept of Kaizen is even more appealing to me, as it is easily applicable to any aspect of social or professional life. I should strive to get better every single day, rather than just making big plans and doing little to achieve them. The same is true for work – regardless of my role in a company, I can make a small contribution on a regular basis, which in the long run may result in major changes.


Chary, S. N. (2007). Production and Operations Management (8th ed.). New Delhi: Tata McGraw-Hill
Heizer, J. H., & Render, B. (2008). Principles of Operations Management. New Jersey, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall
Jones, E. (2014). Quality Management for Organizations Using Lean Six Sigma Techniques. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
Leseure, M. (2010). Key Concepts in Operations Management. London: Sage Publications
Sreenivasan, N. S. (2005). Managing Quality: Concepts And Tasks. New Delhi: New Age International

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