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Total Quality Management and Poka Yoke

1.) From The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer July 5, 2001, Section F, page 1

"Ford Motor Company, under pressure to reduce defects in its cars and trucks, said its Six Sigma program will save $300 million in costs this year while improving quality...."

Ford said Six Sigma, though similar to other quality improvement programs, emphasizes quality not for its own sake but as a means to increase profits.

Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. produce high quality vehicles with out Six Sigma, said Sean McAlinden, director of the economics and business group of the Center for Automotive research in Ann Arbor, Mich. 'They're laughing at us,' he said."

Should TQM efforts be based on cost savings or on some other criteria?

2.) It's been noted that if there is more than one way a job can be done invariably the wrong way will be chosen occasionally. For example, if a piece of steel needs to be placed in a machine in a certain position for a good part to be made but the steel can also be placed in the machine in such a way as to turn it into scrap occasionally an operator will put the steel in the wrong way. This has led to the concept of Poka Yoke (mistake proofing). Poka yoke means making sure there's only one way to do a given job. Anyone know of any poka yoke devices being used where you work or anywhere else for that matter?

3.) Over the past 10 years or so there has been emphasis placed on a quality approach called Six-Sigma. What is Six-Sigma and why does it seem to be effective while earlier versions of TQM were, for the most part, failures?

4.) From its introduction in the early 1990's, Reengineering has been synonomous with reducing the size of the work force. Why is this? Is it a true observation about Reengineering?

Solution Preview

1.) Total quality management should be based upon criteria other than cost savings, due to the fact that the overall focus of total quality management should be the increase in the degree of customer satisfaction with the product, and or services that an organization produces. By increasing the cost savings that an organization has in respect to its production of given products and services, the benefit seems to be for the producer organization, and that these cost savings are transferred to the customers as well, but the transference of cost savings to customers would not necessarily increase their satisfaction with the quality of the goods or services that they receive from an organization. It is only by ensuring that the product that the customers receives is of the highest quality possible, and meets or exceeds the expectations of the customers, that customer satisfaction will be at the appropriate level. In essence, cost savings can be a part of the criteria that total quality management is based upon, but the overwhelming criteria should be the resulting level of customer satisfaction with the product and services, which largely determines the profitability of an organization in the long run.

2.) Poka yoka devices are currently ...