Crosby’s 14 steps to Quality Improvement

Table of Contents:-

  • Crosby’s 14 steps
  • Philp B. Crosby
  • Crosby’s Contributions to Quality
  • Crosby’s Quality Vaccine

Crosby’s 14 steps

Philip Bayard Crosby offered a 14-step program that can guide companies in pursuing quality improvement. These Crosby’s 14 steps are given as follows:

1) Management Commitment

Top management must become convinced of the need for quality improvement and make its commitment clear to the company. This should be accompanied by a written quality policy stating that each person is expected to “perform exactly as required or cause the requirement to be officially changed to meet the needs of both us and the customers.”

2) Quality Improvement Team

Management must form a team of department heads or those people who can speak for their departments to manage quality improvement. The team’s role is to see needed actions occur in its departments and the company.

3) Quality Measurement

Quality measures appropriate to every activity must be established to identify improvement areas. For example, in accounting, one measure might be the percentage of late reports; in engineering, the accuracy of drawings; in purchasing, rejections due to incomplete descriptions; and in plant engineering, time lost because of equipment failure.

4) Cost of Quality Evaluation

The controller’s office should estimate the cost of quality to identify areas where quality improvements would be profitable.

5) Quality Awareness

It must be increased among employees. They must understand the significance of product conformance and the costs of non-conformance. These messages should be conveyed by supervisors (after training) and through media such as booklets, films, and posters.

6) Corrective Action

Opportunities for correction arise from measuring quality, evaluating the cost of quality, and discussing among employees. If possible, these ideas should be brought to the supervisory level and resolved there. They should be escalated further up the chain of command if necessary to prompt action.

7) Zero Defects Planning

An ad hoc zero defects committee should be formed from quality improvement team members. This committee should begin planning a zero defects program suitable for the company and its culture.

8) Supervisor Training

Early in the process, all levels of management must receive training to implement their part of the quality improvement program.

9) Zero Defects Day

It should be scheduled to signal to employees that the company has set a new performance standard.

10) Goal Setting

To turn commitment into action, individuals must establish improvement goals for themselves and their groups. Supervisors should meet with their team members and encourage them to set specific and measurable goals. Goal markers should be posted in each area, and regular meetings should be held to discuss progress.

11) Error Cause Removal

Employees should be encouraged to inform management of any problems that prevent them from performing error-free work. Employees need not do anything about these problems themselves; they should report them. Management, within 24 hours, must then acknowledge reported issues.

12) Recognition

Public, non-financial appreciation should be given to those who meet their quality goals or perform outstandingly.

13) Quality Councils

Quality professionals and team chairpersons should meet regularly to share experiences, address problems, and exchange ideas.

14) Do it All over Again

The program (Steps 1-13) must be repeated to emphasise the never-ending quality improvement process. This renews the commitment of existing employees and involves new ones in the process.

Philp B. Crosby

Like Juran, Philip Crosby (1979, 1989) has been a prolific writer on quality. However, unlike Juran, who utilizes many quantitative and statistical techniques, Crosby focuses on quality philosophy, particularly about management. Crosby’s dynamic speaking style and stimulating writing have garnered him a large following.

Crosby is perhaps best known for his four absolutes of quality, his phrase “quality is free,” his 14-point plan (which differs from Deming’s 14 points), and his common-sense approach to a wide range of quality topics.

Philip B. Crosby was born in Wheeling, West Virginia, in 1926. After graduating high school, he joined the Navy and became a hospital corpsman. 1946, Crosby enrolled at the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine in Cleveland. Following graduation, he returned to Wheeling and practised podiatry with his father. He was recalled to military service during the Korean conflict, where he served as a Marine Medical Corpsman.

Crosby’s Contributions to Quality

Philip Bayard Crosby’s contributions to quality and service are known throughout the global quality community, and his influence has spanned the world at the level of international business leaders. The various contributions made by Crosby to quality are as follows:

Crosby’s Four Absolutes

Phillip B. Crosby, a corporate vice-president and director of quality at ITT for 14 years, garnered significant attention when he published his book “Quality is Free” in 1979. The central concept of this book, elucidating his overarching philosophy, is that quality comes at no cost. It is not a bestowed gift but inherently free. What incurs expenses are the consequences of poor quality, encompassing all actions that entail failure to execute tasks correctly the first time. Quality bears no cost; it serves as a genuine profit generator. Every penny saved from avoiding mistakes, rework, or replacements translates directly to half a penny added to the bottom line.

This is a book about making quality certain. Crosby contends that doing the job right the first time is always cheaper than re-working, scraping, servicing defective products, etc., and because of the cost of re-working. scraping, or servicing them is so high (up to 25% of gross revenues is not unusual) by installing systems that ensure that things are done right the first time, the cost of quality is zero it is free. It pays great dividends. i.e., Quality is free means a quality program can save a company more money than it costs to implement, profitability is best accomplished by reducing the cost of poor quality and preventing defects and cost savings include prevention, appraisal, and failure costs.

Quality is Free: The New Paradigm in Business

A prevailing theme in today’s business environment is that “quality is free.” The belief is that if quality is built into the product, the resulting benefits in customer satisfaction, reduced re-work and warranty costs, and other important factors far outweigh the costs of improving quality. Cost-benefit analyses are no longer the primary focus in improving quality. Instead, the focus is on improving quality with the understanding that quality is free in the long run.

Those who subscribe to the quality is free concept believe that zero defects are the only acceptable goal. The production process should be continuously improved. Quality will improve, customers will be increasingly satisfied, and the cost of improving quality will pay for itself through increased sales and lower costs (providing for increased profit margins).

Although both cost of quality and quality are free concepts that strive for improved quality, the cost of quality approach assumes a cost-benefit trade-off when spending money on quality improvement. The quality-is-free approach believes that the long-run benefits will always outweigh the costs of improving quality. One thing is sure: quality is essential to the success of every company.

Crosby believes that if management adheres to these “four absolutes of quality,” they will succeed in decreasing the costs as quality improves, leading him to state that “quality is free but not a gift”.

The concept of Quality is free is built around four Absolutes of Quality Management:

1) The Definition of Quality as Conformance to Requirements

This precise definition of quality leaves little room for ambiguity, aligning with Crosby’s likely intention. According to Crosby, once the requirements are specified, quality is solely judged based on whether they are met, disregarding aesthetics or subjective feelings. It then becomes the responsibility of management to specify these requirements, articulating what they desire clearly. Crosby believes this is a significant shortcoming of management. If management fails to determine the requirements, operators will inevitably be forced to make those decisions for the company.

2) System of Quality is Prevention

Prevention is better than detection or appraisal. This is very much in line with the principles behind SPC:

  • Understand the process.
  • Look at what can go wrong.
  • Take preventative actions before the process begins to deal with customers.

3) The Performance Standard is Zero Defects

The performance standard is zero defects, or ‘ZD,’ as Crosby refers. Crosby asserts that nothing less than perfect quality should be the objective. Setting targets below 100% initiates a downward spiral. Traditional quality management has often deemed zero defects uneconomical, advocating for a trade-off between prevention and failure costs. However, Crosby’s perspective is now supported by a growing belief that prevention costs, especially in “total quality,” do not necessarily increase significantly as we approach zero defects. They may increase no more than the decrease in failure costs.

4) Measurement of Quality is the Price of Non-Conformance

Similar to Juran, Crosby emphasizes the importance of costing quality as a critical motivator for management. Here, Crosby’s renowned phrase “quality is free” is apt. He states, “It’s not a gift, but free.” In other words, if you invest effort in improving quality, it will more than compensate for itself through enhanced productivity, reduced rework and claims, and improved customer satisfaction.

Crosby has classified costs into:

i) PONC: The price of non-conformance, encompassing all the costs involved in not getting the product or service right.

ii) POC: The price of conformance, representing what it costs to do things right, including prevention, detection, etc.

Crosby’s Quality Vaccine

The main ingredients of the Crosby vaccination serum are based on integrity and dedication to customer satisfaction, and on a company-wide system of policies and operations designed to achieve and communicate quality improvements.

1) Integrity

The major part of the vaccine should be integrity an honest effort on the part of the senior executives so that hassle and bureaucracy are avoided, management performance is always improving and customer requirements are always satisfied in the most effective way (Right first time). Quality should be at the forefront of any policy and operation regarding the system of education, management, finance and cost evaluation, with an emphasis on defect prevention and learning from experience.

2) Communication

Communicating information about identified errors, opportunities for improvements, quality progress and recognition is also of paramount importance for the quality vaccine to be effective. The communication should extend to suppliers, who should be supported and educated so that an atmosphere of trust and cooperation is developed, which will guarantee prompt delivery of quality incoming materials.

3) Systems and Operations

The third component of Quality Vaccine consists of elements namely systems and operations which are designed to maintain the firm’s new quality environment.

For example, other similarities are in Deming’s obsession with quality and with an education system based on the scientific approach, and also his dislike of performance appraisals, viewed by both men as counterproductive and demotivating. Crosby believes that, in the majority of cases, performance reviews are not truthful, usually painting a better picture than people deserve; something that shows a lack of integrity, an important ingredient of the quality vaccine. However, the main principle shared by Crosby and Deming is the responsibility of management.

Crosby believes that the administration of the quality serum requires three distinct management actions or attitudes, as follows:

1) Determination: Awareness that the management needs to take the lead in the new economic age. The times of cheap energy, low labour rates, captive markets and inexpensive materials are gone.

2) Education: For the managers, who should themselves become educators and modern leaders, rather than mere supervisors.

3) Implementation: Concentrating on the effort of creating a hassle-free and motivating working environment, providing adequate guidance on the never-ending road to quality improvement, and involving everybody.

The similarities of Crosby’s principles to those of Deming’s 14 Points, and indeed to those of a Total Quality Management culture, give rise to another quality triangle, this time concerning Crosby’s quality ingredients. Crosby’s triangle is shown in the image.

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