Quality Improvement Tools

Various models and tools for quality improvement are

  • Kaizen – It refers to any improvement, one-time or continuous, large or small
  • PDCA Cycle – Edward Deming’s Plan Do Check Act cycle
  • Lean Manufacturing – It focuses on the elimination of waste or “muda” and includes tools such as Value Stream Mapping, the Five S’s, Kanban, Poka-Yoke
  • JIT– It is Just in Time Business or catering to needs of customer when it occurs.
  • Six Sigma – It is designed to improve processes and eliminate defects; includes the DMAIC and DMADV models inspired by PDCA
  • Pull System – It is the technique for producing parts as per the customer’s demand. Companies need to have a Push System or building products to stock as per sales forecast, without firm customer orders.
  • Kanban – It is a method for maintaining an orderly flow of material. Kanban cards are used to indicate material order points, how much material is needed, from where the material is ordered, and to where it should be delivered.
  • Work Cells – The technique of arranging operations and people in a cell (U-shaped, etc.) instead of a straight assembly line for better utilization of people and improved communication.
  • Total Productive Maintenance – It focuses on proactive and progressive maintenance of equipments by utilizing the knowledge of operators, equipment vendors, engineering and support persons to optimize machine performance thus, drastically reducing breakdowns, unscheduled and scheduled downtime which results in improved utilization, higher throughput, and better product quality.
  • Total Quality Management – It is a management system for continuous improvement in all areas of a company’s operation. It is applicable to every operation of the organization and involves employees. It is organizational management of quality consisting of 14 principles
  • Quick Changeover (or SMED – Single Minute Exchange of Dies) – It is the technique for reducing changeover time to change a process from running a specific product manufacture to another. It enables flexibility in final product offerings and also to address smaller batch sizes.
  • 5S or Workplace Organization – It is a systematic method for organizing and standardizing the workplace and is applicable to every function in an organization.
  • Visual Controls – They provide an immediate understanding (usually thirty seconds) of a condition or situation like what’s happening with regards to production schedule, backlog, workflow, inventory levels, resource utilization, and quality. It includes kanban cards, lights, color-coded tools, lines delineating work areas and product flow, etc.

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