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Quality Improvement Case

Managing quality is crucial for all businesses. Quality products help to maintain customer satisfaction and loyalty and reduce the risk and cost of replacing faulty goods. Customers expect to buy quality products. Quality is critical to satisfying customers and retaining loyalty. Quality products make an important contribution to long-term revenue and profitability.

Trading company took orders for hair accessories products. With over 20 quality controllers, the company was still running short of hands during peak seasons due to suppliers being too spread out in different provinces in China with different types of hair accessories. On the contrary, empty hands were seen during slack season. So the company did not want to increase manpower for bottleneck. With increased issues on quality, customers made complaints about sub-standard quality. So something needed to be done to improve the situation.

Upon discussion with the General Manager, findings were that there was no master plan for quality control and 3 supervisors arranged final inspection schedule based on delivery dates.

a) A master plan was devised according to the orders on hand and found peak at August with over 250 orders.

b) Recommended planning inspection by location and assigned inspectors responsibility by factory and by product.
• That means every time when inspector visited the factory, he reviewed the initial, middle and final stage inspection as available rather than only the final.
• Potential quality issues could be found out at an early stage.
• With final and middle stage inspection in place, final inspection needed less time.

c) Developed proper record of claims involved and found out what needed to learn from each instance and avoided same happening in the future.

d) Managed expectations – recommended to put inspectors performance pre- and post- inspection each season ended. Discussed what measures can be put in to control and prevent possible situation arising again, such as implemented monitoring system in advance and no vacation should be planned during that period.

e) Recognition of performance – good performance inspectors with recognition will have better annual increment and opportunity to upgrade to supervisor when opportunity arises.

The company monitored August peak delivery under control, much better than the year before. It was a tight schedule under manageable manner.

The company learned to implement master plan inspection to plan well in advance.

Samantha Lee is currently the Head Consultant of a boutique consultancy. She has over 20 years of management experience. She worked in big brands like Polo Ralph Lauren, DKNY, adidas, as well as thriving SMEs. Her footsteps treaded across Asia, and went as far as Africa. Her expertise brought the lecturing opportunity in a government-funded VTC institute.

(guest post from my earlier blog in 2017)

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