Quality Circle

Quality Circle

Quality Circle

Quality Circle is a small group of employees in the same work-area or doing a similar types of works who voluntarily meet regularly for about an hour every week to identify, analyze and resolve works – related problems, leading to improvement in their total performance and enrichment of their work-life.

The above definition reveals, the following features of Quality Circles :

  1. Small group of employees : Experience has shown that the optimum number of members in quality circles is about 8 to 10. The philosophy behind small groups is it should allow every member to actively participate and that fairly grade number ‘minimize of employees should be present for the meetings.

  2. In the same work-area or doing similar type of works : Quality circle is a homogeneous group and not the inter-departmental group. Designation of members need not necessarily be equal but the work in which they all are engaged should be common.

  3. Voluntarily : (Quality circle is not adopted practice but voluntary in nature. Employees join Quality Circles on their own.

  4. Meet regularly for about in hour every week : Normally, Quality Circles should meet for about an hour every weeks which would help the members to identify and resolve problems as and when they occur.

  5. To identify, analyze and resolve work-related problems : The accepted theory is Unit the worker/employees who do the works day after day better know the problems limiting the excellence. The problems are identified by the members themselves by brainstorming and also on the request from management and other departments. The problems are then arranged priority wise to tackle them in a systematic manner.

  6. Leading to improvement in their total performance : As the Quality Circle resolves the problem relating to quality, cost-reduction, safety etc. the total performance of the work-area goes up.

  7. Enrichment of their work-life : Quality Circle enriches the quality of work-life. It also helps employees change attitudes and learn team culture.

    The concept of Quality Circle is primarily based upon recognition of the value of the worker as a human being, as someone who willingly activises on his job, his wisdom, intelligence, experience, attitude and feelings. It is based upon the human resource management considered as one of the key factors in the improvement of product quality & productivity. Quality Circle concept has three major attributes:
    a. Quality Circle is a form of participation management.
    b. Quality Circle is a human resource development technique.
    c. Quality Circle is a problem solving technique.

    Quality circle.. Its Composition?
    – It’s a small group comprising of 6 to 12 employees doing similar work
    – They meet together voluntarily on a regular basis for identifying improvements in their respective work areas.
    – Their aim to achieve and so also to sustain excellence towards mutual upliftment of employees as well as the organization.

    Undercurrent of Quality Circle:-
    The objectives of Quality Circles are multi-faced.
    a) Change in Attitude.
    – From “I don’t care” to “I do care”
    – Continuous improvement in quality of work life through humanization of work.
    b) Self Development
    – Bring out ‘Hidden Potential’ of people
    – People get to learn additional skills.

    c) Development of Team Spirit
    – Individual Vs Team – “I could not do but we did it”
    – Eliminate inter departmental conflicts.
    d) Improved Organizational Culture
    – Positive working environment.
    – Total involvement of people at all levels.
    – Higher motivational level.

    History of Quality Circle

    Quality circles were originally associated with Japanese management and manu facturing techniques. The introduction of quality circles in Japan in the postwar years was inspired by the lectures of W. Edwards Deming (1900-1993), a statistician for the U.S. government. Deming based his proposals on the experience of U.S. firms operating under wartime industrial standards. Noting that American management had typically given line managers and engineers about 85 percent of the responsibility for quality control and line workers only about 15 percent, Deming argued that these shares should be reversed. He suggested redesigning production processes to more fully account for quality control, and continuously educating all employees in a firm—from the top down—in quality control techniques and statistical control technologies. Quality circles were the means by which this continuous education was to take place for production workers.

Objectives of Quality Circle

  1. Promote job involvement
  2. Create problem solving capability
  3. Improve communication
  4. Promote leadership qualities
  5. Promote personal development
  6. Develop a greater awareness for cleanliness
  7. Develop greater awareness for safety
  8. Improve morale through closer identity of employee objectives with organization’s objectives
  9. Reduce errors.
  10. Enhance quality
  11. Inspire more effective team work
  12. Build an attitude of problem prevention
  13. Promote cost reduction
  14. Develop harmonious manager, supervisor and worker relationship
  15. Improve productivity
  16. Reduce downtime of machines and equipment
  17. Increase employee motivation

Pitfalls And Problems In Quality Circle

  1. Lack of faith in and support to Quality Circle activities among management personnel
  2. Lack of interest or incompetence of leaders/facilitator
  3. Apathy, fear and misunderstanding among middle level executives
  4. Delay or non-implementation of Circle recommendations
  5. Irregularity of Quality Circle activities
  6. Non-application of simple techniques for problem solving
  7. Lack of or non-participation by some members in the Circle activities
  8. Circles running out of problems
  9. Antagonism of non-members towards Quality Circle operations
  10. Inadequate visibility of management support
  11. Complexity of problems taken up
  12. Non-maintenance of Quality Circle records
  13. Too much facilitation or too little
  14. Language difficulty in communication
  15. Communication gap between Circles and departmental head
  16. Change of management
  17. Confusing Quality Circle for another technique
  18. Resistance from trade unions

Characteristics of Quality Circle

  1. Small group of employees – optimum of 8-10 members
  2. Members are from same work area or doing similar type of job
  3. Membership is voluntary
  4. Meet regularly for an hour every week
  5. They meet to identify, analyze, and resolve work related problems
  6. Resolve work related problems, leading improvement in their total performance.
  7. Quality circle enrich the work life of the employees.

Impact of Quality Circle

  1. Improvement of human relations and workplace morale
  2. Promotion of work culture
  3. Enhancement of job interest
  4. Effective team work
  5. Reducing defects and improving quality
  6. Improvement of productivity
  7. Enhancing problem solving capacity
  8. Improving communication & interaction
  9. Catalyzing attitude change
  10. Promotion of personal & leadership development

Examples of Quality Circle Movements in India

  1. BHEL -1980 –Mr.S.R.Udapa (GM Operations) 1st Indian to start quality circle
  2. Hero honda motors “Sunrise Quality circle”
  3. Lucas TVS, Chennai “honey bee quality circle”
  4. Tata Refactories (located in orissa) “Niharika quality circle” (saved Rs.4000 p.a)
  5. Kudhremukh –Iron Ore Plant (located in Karnataka) “Soorthy Quality Circle”