Feigenbaum Total Quality Control Elements, Contributions, Evaluation

Table of Contents:-

  • Feigenbaum Total Quality Control
  • Crucial Elements of Total Quality Control
  • Evaluation of Feigenbaum’s Approach
  • Contributions of Armand V. Feigenbaum
  • Feigenbaum Total Quality Control
  • Definition of Quality Control

Feigenbaum Total Quality Control

Emphasizing that human relations were a fundamental aspect of quality control activities, statistics and preventive measures were only part of the equation. “Quality” satisfies the customer at the right price for both the provider and customer, and a common-sense approach to quality standards, conformity, corrective actions, and planning for improvement is the control needed to achieve that quality.

With his keen ability to see the big picture, he reminds us that statistics and methods should be employed where benefits can be gained and not solely relied upon to provide the controls necessary for total quality. It is not the complete quality control system, and the quality department is not exclusively comprised of quality professionals; it should encompass the entire workforce.

By motivating and empowering everyone in an organization to recognize their responsibilities and potential impact on the quality of a product or service, Feigenbaum emphasized that success requires quality-mindedness at all levels, supported by full top management support. Quality issues should be widely communicated to foster the right growth environment, and commitment should be demonstrated by acknowledging that this is not an overnight or temporary cost-cutting exercise.

He also highlighted the recent shift in customer perceptions of quality and the heightened awareness of variation between products of the same company and its competitors. Stressing that the predictability of a controlled process is crucial to achieving a product with specific reliability is the most significant driver for companies seeking to succeed and grow.

Crucial Elements of Total Quality Control

The elements of total quality control to enable a real customer focus (internal and external) are as follows:

1) Quality is a principle.

2) Quality and cost are the same or similar.

3) Managing quality is managing the business.

4) Quality is an individual and team commitment.

5) Quality and innovation are interrelated and mutually beneficial.

6) Implement quality by involving customers and suppliers in the system.

7) Quality is not a temporary or quick fix but a constant improvement process.

8) Productivity is achieved by cost-effective, demonstrably sound quality investment.

9) Quality is the customers’ perception of quality, different from what a company thinks it is.

Evaluation of Feigenbaum’s Approach

Table: Relative Strengths and Weaknesses of Feigenbaum

Strengths of Approach Weaknesses of Approach
1) Provides a total approach to quality control. Does not discriminate between different kinds of quality contexts.
2) Emphasizes the importance of management.

Does not bring together the different management theories into one coherent whole.

3) Includes socio-technical thinking. The work is systematic but not complementary.
4) Participation by all staff is promoted. The coercive or political context is not addressed.

Contributions of Armand V. Feigenbaum

Feigenbaum is one of the first writers to recognize that quality must be determined from the customer’s perspective rather than the designer’s, engineer’s, or marketing department’s concept of what quality is. He asserts that the best does not necessarily mean outright excellence but refers to what is best for satisfying certain customer conditions. He defines quality in products and services from the customer’s perspective, does not aim for outright best, and takes a financial approach to the cost of quality.

Some essential contributions proposed by Armand V. Feigenbaum include:

  1. Industrial Cycle
  2. Hidden Plant
  3. Feigenbaum’s Total Quality Control
  4. Crucial Elements of Total Quality

Industrial Cycle

Feigenbaum stated that the industrial cycle was an ongoing sequence to bring services or products to the customer. These activities include marketing, purchasing, design, engineering, manufacturing, production, inspection, packaging, delivery, installation, and service. He also maintained that the responsibility for quality was not the sole preserve of the quality professional but was the responsibility of all.

At the core of Feigenbaum’s concepts was a belief that the cycle begins and ends with the customer, and in between were many different requirements to be defined and communicated. In this, he saw the prime role of the quality professional in coordinating it. Warning of the consequences of communication breakdowns resulting in directions other than the design being developed, it was pointed out that the total cost of quality (or cost of non-quality) accumulated throughout the whole process, and it was essential to manage quality throughout to lower the overall cost.

Arguing that it requires a total approach to quality involving all functions to build in quality at an early stage, as opposed to after-the-fact detection, meaning that adequate controls at essential phases of the complete process where product quality could be affected would be more than beneficial.

The two fundamental concepts are:

1) “Quality is everybody’s job”: Operators and management cannot delegate authority and responsibility and still expect a satisfactory product.

2) “Because quality is everybody’s job in a business, it may become nobody’s job.”

This is most effectively exercised by an intermeshed and specialized support area whose sole responsibility is product quality.

Therefore, the two primary responsibilities are:

1) “Provide quality assurance for the business’s products.”

2) “Assist in assuring optimum quality costs for those products.”

Hidden Plant

One of the more well-known concepts developed by Feigenbaum is the “hidden plant”. He maintained that within every company or factory, a proportion of its capacity could have been improved by not getting it right the first time. A figure mooted in the 1950s was 40% wasted capacity and is still reasonably accurate today.

Total direct quality costs and their division between prevention and external failure categories vary considerably from industry to industry and from site to site. A figure for quality-related expenses of less than 10 per cent of sales is seldom quoted when perfection is the goal. This means that an average organization has a “hidden plant” or “hidden operation”, amounting to perhaps one productive capacity. This hidden plant is devoted to producing scrap, re-work, correcting memory, replacing correcting defective goods and services and so on.

Thus, a direct link exists between quality and productivity, and there is no better way to improve productivity than to convert this hidden resource to truly productive use. A systematic approach to controlling the processes provides the only way to accomplish this.

Feigenbaum was the first to introduce the “hidden” plant concept. The idea is that so much extra work is performed in correcting mistakes that there is a hidden plant within any factory or organization. This work motivated Philip Crosby’s application of “zero defects” and Feigenbaum’s cost of poor quality indicator as the business measurement standard to assess non-conformance to customer needs.

The quality control unit can only help to eliminate hidden plant costs if given the following responsibilities:

1) Business Responsibility: The chance to contribute to business planning and implementation activities. Quality is often asked to react to problems only after they occur.

2) System Responsibility: The ability to lead a total quality effort that assures quality and controls quality costs from engineering and marketing through production and service.

3) Technical Responsibility: The authority to control operating and assurance activities in quality engineering, process control engineering, quality information equipment engineering, inspection, testing, and audit.

4) Total Quality Control Responsibility: It involves the engineering, production, and service functions of the firm; thus, quality should not be treated as the specialized activity of a particular group. It should be managed, systems-engineered, and promoted with the same thoroughness with which the product is ordered, engineered, produced, and sold.

Feigenbaum Total Quality Control

Armand V. Feigenbaum originated “total quality control”, often called total quality. He is recognized for his work in raising quality awareness in the U.S.A. He was General Electric’s worldwide Chief of Manufacturing Operations for a decade until the late 1960s. The term total quality management originated from his book Total Quality Control.

Feigenbaum states that complete quality control has an organization-wide impact which involves the managerial and technical implementation of customer-oriented quality activities as a prime responsibility of general management and of the primary line operations of marketing, engineering, production, industrial relations, finance and service as well as of the quality control function itself.

He adds that a quality system is the agreed, company-wide operating work structure, documented in integrated technical and managerial procedures, for guiding the coordinated actions of the machines, the people, and company-wide communication in the most practical ways, focusing on customer quality satisfaction.

Definition of Quality Control

According to Feigenbaum, TQM is “An effective system for integrating the quality-development, quality maintenance, and quality-improvement efforts of the various groups in a firm so as to enable marketing, engineering, production, and service at the most economical levels which allow for full customer satisfaction.”

According to Dale, Feigenbaum’s major contribution to quality was to recognize that the three major categories of cost are; appraisal, prevention and cost of failure.

Feigenbaum states, “the goal of quality improvement is to reduce the total cost of quality from the often quoted 25-30 percent of cost of sales (a huge percent when you think about it) to as low as possible.” Thus he takes a very financial approach to the cost of quality.

Feigenbaum claimed that effective quality management consists of four significant steps, described as follows:

1) Setting quality standards,

2) Appraising conformance to these standards,

3) Acting when standards are not met,

4) Planning for improvement in these standards.

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