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    Needs Assessment for Quality Improvement Paper

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    In your paper, make sure to include a description of the improved process and a "To Be" flow chart. Determine what items need to be measured to substantiate the improved process, the data required to measure improvement, and the upper and lower control limits. Select the best total quality tool to ensure continuous monitoring so that the process is in control. Present your data using your selected total quality tool.

    Please cite references.

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    Solution Preview

    Quality is a never ending quest and Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) is a never ending effort to discover and eliminate the main causes of problems. It accomplishes this by using small-steps improvements, rather than implementing one huge improvement. The Japanese have a term for this called "kaizen" which involves everyone, from the hourly workers to top-management.

    CPI means making things better. It is NOT fighting fires. Its goal is NOT to blame people for problems or failures...it is simply a way of looking at how we can do our work better. When we take a problem solving approach, we often never get to the root causes because our main goal is to put out the fire. But when we engage in process improvement, we seek to learn what causes things to happen and then use this knowledge to:
    Reduce variation.
    Remove activities that have no value to the organization.
    Improve customer satisfaction.

    Process improvement is important as it has often been said that process account for 80% of all problems while people account for the remaining 20%.

    Analysis Phase - Identify areas of opportunity and target specific problems. These areas and problems are based on team brain-storming sessions, process definition sessions, recommendations forwarded to the team by organizational members, and other various analysis techniques.
    Design Phase - Generate solutions through brain-storming sessions. Identify the required resources to implement the chosen solution and identify baselines to measure.
    Development Phase - Formulate a detailed procedure for implementing the approved solution.
    Implementation Phase - Execute the solution.
    Evaluation Phase - Build measurement tools, monitor implementation, and evaluate measurements to baseline. Please note that this phase is performed throughout the entire process.
    Often, new insights become apparent when you see how tasks relate to a series of events. Building a task and event relationship is called Process Definition. A process is a planned series of actions that advances a material or procedure from one stage of completion to the next. It includes the steps and decisions involved in the way work is accomplished. Being able to understand and define the process has several advantages:

    You can better understand how individual and group efforts affect other groups and individuals.
    You can discover barriers that exist between work groups. These barriers are obstacles that get in the way of cooperation and performance.
    Work is accomplished through processes and we improve performance by improving processes. Examining a process can highlight a glaring problem that could easily be fixed.

    The first step of process definition is to identify the boundaries. This is where the process begins and ends. The beginning of a process starts with a trigger that causes a specific action to be taken by a person, another process, or work group. The ending occurs when the results get passed on to another person, process, or work group.
    The beginning trigger starts when someone performs an action on an input that they receive from a supplier (another work group, vendor, or person). The input can be physical, such as raw material, parts, a person to be interviewed, etc.; or information, such as a computer printout, request form, etc. The ending trigger is when the results of the process is passed on to the customer (another work group, person, or outside customer). The output can be physical, such as a television set, new hire, etc.; or information, such as a typed letter, grant, etc.

    Once you have firmly identified the problem, you can then design a plan or counter-measure to get rid of the problem and keep it from reoccurring. During this phase, two products will be developed - The Process Performance Objectives and a measurement tool with baselines.

    Process Performance Objectives
    Process Performance Objectives are brief and concise plans that contain an action statement. They include:
    Direction - e.g. reduce, increase
    Measurement - e.g. hours, cycle time
    Process - e.g. receive shipments, build widget
    Solution - e.g. by implementing, changing
    Target - a number or goal to aim for (targets should always be reviewed with the organization's leadership to see if they concur with their goals)

    The development phase builds on the Process Performance Objectives and measurement tool constructed in the design phase. The ...

    Solution Summary

    This solution discusses continuous process improvement (CPI), assessing current processes and problems, using Pareto, flow and control charts, and why total quality management was selected as the appropriate tool with a discussion on the methodology for succeeding with TQM. A flow chart is provided in an attached Word document. This solution is structured in 2784 words with online references.