Quality or Quantity ? Recurring Mistakes…

Quality sometimes undermined by productivity. Even in this era, many factories in developing country focused more on the target of production per day rather than its quality. quality was always pitted against productivity, and productivity always won. Managers knew about quality problems and wanted to fix them, but pressure was always on to meet production quotas, and their jobs were measured by that. increasing quality means increasing quality of product and process.


When being asked why it seems that small to medium factories just seems to focus on productivity to meet production quota, many give reasons that the current quality has been satisfying for them. Customers also typically not so skeptical to the defects that they received and thus quality is not really a big issue.

However, this way of thinking reflect they way of Americans Manufacturers in the age of Fordism. In which, on a practical day-to-day level, quality was always pitted against productivity, and productivity always won. In ford era, according to Quality Management Demystified by Sid Kemp,there was no reward for solving quality problems. At best, some time was allowed for QA when the factory wasn’t busy. At worst, workers and managers were pressured to deliver defective products to meet quota, figuring that they could always be fixed later.

It seems still many of factories do not see the fundamental relationship taught by Shewhart and Deming

Improving the quality of the process increased both productivity—quantity of product—and product quality at the same time.

Now it is clear, that whenever we neglect the quality of the process, the harder we will chase our productivity to meet production quota. On the other side, focusing on quality will increase the process that will later improve the quantity of the product that could be produced.



Production Management Goals

There has been known widely that there are several reasons that give rise to the decision of customers and their desirability to buy a certain product from producer. I believe that all of these could be a production management goals. There are:

  1. Price
  2. Quality ( Tangible & Intangible )
  3. Delivery ( Speed & Reliability )
  4. Flexibility ( Volume & Variety )


Lean and Quality Management will be ultimate weapons to bring about all these goals. Both have an effect on all four in different intensity.Lean Management will deal extensively with flexibility while on the other hand, Quality will likely to bring about improvement in quality. Additionally, both have an impact on cost  and delivery in somehow different context.



Lean is Waste Elimination is it ?


I remembered a famous quote b Taiichi Ohno below

“All we are doing is looking at the time line, from the moment the customer gives us an order to the point when we collect the cash. And we are reducing the time line by reducing the non-value adding wastes.” – Taiichi Ohno

Many has mistakenly assume that reducing the non-value adding wastes is what defines lean. But we have to remember that lean means providing value to customer. When we look at the principles of lean coined out in Lean Thinking, we can really straighten up our misunderstanding.


5 Principles of Lean:

  1. Specify value for the customer
  2. Integrate Value Stream
  3. Create Flow
  4. Pull from the customer
  5. Aim for perfection

It is clearly that the 5 principles of lean never intended to set waste elimination as a principle because not one of them state that elimination of wastes in the system is the primary focus. Therefore, to those of you that say Lean is all about waste elimination, I would say that it is fully wrong. I do not mean that in Lean, we should not care about wastes in the system. Rather, elimination of wastes will be one way to reach the goal of Lean which is to provide perfect value to the customer.

ISO 9000 Standards and TQM

Sometimes looking out to advance statistical methods or trying to create a suggestion systems and other detail project will draw us further from the fundamental philosophy of what quality is in general. Thus, I bought a book about Quality Management that is good as an introduction to Quality for those who is just learning about Quality but also a reminder for those who deals with Quality for quite a long time. Because I believe it is true, that someone who works in Quality engineering will sometimes get carried out in their job and forget about the meaning of Quality from bird’s eye view and from customer point of view. I currently read Quality Management Demystified by Sid Kemp that is published by Mc Graw Hill.

As I going through the pages of the book, it reopens knowledge that is long buried and I can refresh my memory and gain new insight. One thing that really catch my attention is the sentence below. 

Meeting ISO 9000 requirements is like doing the first year of Deming’s five year approach to transformation through TQM.

Both ISO 9000 and TQM is different but like TQM, ISO 9000 can only succeeds if it is integrated with organizational management and resolves the conflict between productivity and product quality.


A company that truly wants to transform through quality management would do well to begin with ISO 9000.  In one way, ISO 9000 does move in a direction that is different from TQM. The emphasis on auditing—both internal and external—is greater.  But ISO 9000 is helping a company toward achieving better quality system with less cost compare because the company do not have to reinvent the wheel by starting from zero.

ISO 9000 can certainly be adapted to a TQM company because for a TQM company they have already had a system in place that works. So for example  TQM quality engineer can easily qualify to be an ISO 9000 quality auditor. But for a new company that is not ready with TQM or just want to begin with TQM, ISO 9000 could really help them  begin with their journey to a better quality system just like doing the first year of Deming’s five year approach.


Corporate Culture… ( from the book )

In TQM, the way a culture of quality spreads through a company is through the influence and guidance of leadership. This is supported by high levels of training and by recruitment and indoctrination practices that select people who fit in well with corporate culture and values. As long as people who are committed to the company and to quality are selected, they can be included in the TQM company somewhere,and can move to a job that is a good fit if necessary. This fits very well with Theory Y management.


ISO 9000 is possibly more compatible with Theory X management. It relies more on independent validation proving that good work is being done, and less on influencing each worker to evoke a commitment to quality. It puts more resources into independent checking, and less into training.