Module 4 - Background

Quality ManagEment



FROM: George Washburn

SUBJECT: Quality Project

As you know, EMC recently hired a Quality Assurance Manager who is developing a QA Department. How we were able to go for so long without a formal quality department is a mystery and I must accept responsibility for it. But we are on the road to quality and quality assurance. Your next project will be to assist this new manager when she arrives, which will be in about two weeks. The exact assignment will be out in my next email.

Let me know if you have any questions


Learning Wizard

Watch these two videos on Quality (Part 1 and Part 2), by Dr. Jack Elson

Quality, Part 1:

Quality, Part 2:

Definitions of quality

What is quality? What do we mean we say that this or that has quality, or is good or bad, or is excellent, etc.? We are talking about how this particular thing, action, process, or concept, fulfills the intent of its existence. Some things are designed by humans, others occur in nature. Consider what you say is a "good" apple. It grows on trees, but still there is some set of characteristics that we think about when we consider what makes it "good". It is sweet, juicy, fresh, crunchy, has no worms, etc. It is supposed to grow that way. Now consider an object that is designed and produced - say a computer. It starts up quickly, runs software without delays or bugs, performs the tasks it is programmed to do, displays the information with clarity on the screen, etc. This product is designed and built and its characteristics are specified beforehand. How do we think about these specifications of quality?

The nine dimensions & six levels provide a good way of thinking about characteristics of quality. Click Here

Process capability is a fundamental concern of product quality. In manufacturing, the finished product often is assembled from various components. These components must fit together in the right way. Each part is designed with certain target specifications and a small amount of “wiggle room” or tolerances. Processes must produce the part within the range of tolereances. This Wikipedia page has some good background information:

Process Capability (2011). Wikipedia, retrieved from

How can you tell if a process is in control? Once a process has been determined to be capable, you need to have a way to keep track of it, at least for a period of time. Statistical process control and control charts is one way.

Nancy R. Tague, N.R. (2004), Excerpted from The Quality Toolbox, Second Edition, ASQ Quality Press, Retrieved from

What is Total Quality Management (TQM) and creating a culture of quality?

Total Quality Management (n.d.). The Free Management Library: retrieved from

Total Quality Management (n.d.). American Society for Quality (ASQ), retrieved from

Six Sigma is one of the newer quality movements. It is based on process capability and requires that a process be able to operate within +/- six standard deviations (sigma).

This document explaining the revolution of Six Sigma also presents the infrastructure and roles of the MBB, BB and GB.

Pyzdek, Thomas. (2009). The Six Sigma Revolution. iSixSigma. Retrieved from

The Six Sigma methodology is well rooted in statistics and statistical mathematics. Learn why six standard deviations is worthwhile for your organization to measure.

iSixSigma. (2009). Statistical Six Sigma Definition. Retrieved from

Find answers, links and resources to all your basic Six Sigma questions.

iSixSigma. (2009). New To Six Sigma? Retrieved from

Other quality efforts: Baldridge Quality Award and ISO9000

Review the International Organization for Standardization guidelines for a quality program and the eight quality management principles:

Quality Management Principles (n.d.). International Organization for Standardization, Retrieved from

Other resources on the Internet that provide information about ISO9000. Here is one of them.

ISO9000 Quality Standard (n.d.). Free Management Library, retrieved from

Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (n.d.). American Society for Quality (ASQ), Retrieved from

How is Quality in service industries different from manufacturing? Here are two articles from the web that provide some insight.

How Quality Assurances Are Impliments in Service Industry (n.d.). Total Quality Assurance Services, retrieved from

Sharma, S. (n.d.). Services Can Improve by Taking Lead from Manufacuting, iSixSigma, retrieved from

History of quality – The following resources provide some good historical background.

Basic Concepts, The History of Quality - Overivew. (n.d.). American Society for Quality (ASQ). Retrieved from view.html

The Original Quality Gurus. (n.d.). Department of Trade and Industry. Retrieved from ries.pdf