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Quality Circles,HR, MBA, Organization,

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Quality Circle by Midhu S.V - svmidhu@gmail.com

Quality Circle by Midhu S.V - svmidhu@gmail.com

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  • Number of members ranging from 3-12 people. They focus on specific issues to resolve problems. They generally meet weekly to analyze work related problems and propose solutions to Management and where possible implement those solutions. Members also tend to generate a mutual respect and trust as they work on solutions, which is conducive for collaborating as a team.
  • Participation in Quality Circles needs to strictly be voluntary. If members are forced to participate, it does not allow for a conducive team building environment. The members of the Quality Circle set the rules and prioritizes/selects problems that will be approached and discussed by the team. All decisions are made by consensus, encouraging open communication. Organized problem-solving should be utilized, which would include brainstorming and cause-and-effect diagramming. This organized approach also prevents the circles from holding unproductive sessions as well.
  • Ishikawa, when developing this concept always believed that everybody should be properly trained to use the 7 Tools of Quality Control: 1. Pareto Charts 2. Cause and Effect Diagrams 3. Stratification 4. Check Sheets 5. Histograms 6. Scatter Diagrams 7. Control Charts and Graphs He also believed that the circles should be empowered enough to see their recommendations through. Along with empowerment, it is expected to have management support. Many times Circles have collapsed due management lack of interest or interference.
  • Quality Circles can be used in any organization, whether it is Manufacturing, Service, Health Care, Education, etc. They can be used to increase productivity…as an example, members can develop ways to decrease lead times for products. They can be used to help improve quality of services as well as products. If there are issues, members can analyze the process and come up with solutions to make it better. This will improve quality and likely increase productivity as well.
  • A lack of understanding what Quality Circles may cause management to be reluctant to initiate circles, act upon circle suggestions or being eager for quick solutions, may implement too early. Some circles are not given a clear purpose or direction. Without having a clear purpose it is difficult to be a productive team. There are times that members are assigned to circles instead of volunteering. Under circumstances like this, the employee at times is reluctant to be part of the team. Management loss of interest in the project that the circle is working on is also a hindrance in the success of the circle. Without empowerment and support of the management staff, circles will not have the resources provided to them to be successful.
  • Brief History of the origins of Quality Circles.
  • In the 1980’s, the introduction of the new idea of Total Quality Management replaced a lot of the Quality Circles in the United States and was more successful. Circles can be a useful tool as long as the key factors in a successful Circle are maintained: volunteers, management support, and employee empowerment.
  • Hirshfield, selected 8 students for this endeavor and had them study the purpose and operation of Quality Circles and used the methods that they learned to determine the type and frequency of written assignments, the content of lectures and the method to be used for testing. The decisions made by the Circle resulted in change to the course structure and content. Some of the actions were the use of daily outlines , increased student participation in the selection of poetry and films used in class, and urged the use of contemporary analysis to illustrate the use of course material to modern problems. Hirshfield felt that Quality Circles are a valuable academic tool. It provided students with experience in decision making and problem solving as well as an increase in student familiarity with course material.


  • 1. Quality CirclesQuality Circles
  • 2. What is a Quality Circle?What is a Quality Circle?Voluntary groups of employees who work onsimilar tasks or share an area of responsibilityThey agree to meet on a regular basis todiscuss & solve problems related to work.They operate on the principle that employeeparticipation in decision-making and problem-solving improves the quality of work
  • 3. How Do Quality Circles Work?How Do Quality Circles Work?Characteristics◦ Volunteers◦ Set Rules and Priorities◦ Decisions made by Consensus◦ Use of organized approaches to Problem-Solving
  • 4. How Do Quality Circles Work?How Do Quality Circles Work?All members of a Circle need to receivetrainingMembers need to be empoweredMembers need to have the support ofSenior Management
  • 5. How Can They be Used in anHow Can They be Used in anOrganization?Organization?Increase ProductivityImprove QualityBoost Employee Morale
  • 6. Objectives of Quality CirclesObjectives of Quality CirclesPromote job involvementCreate problem solving capabilityImprove communicationPromote leadership qualitiesEnhance qualityInspire more effective team workBuild an attitude of problem preventionPromote cost reductionImprove productivityReduce downtime of machines and equipmentIncrease employee motivation
  • 7. Problems with Quality CirclesProblems with Quality CirclesInadequate TrainingUnsure of PurposeNot truly VoluntaryLack of Management InterestQuality Circles are not really empoweredto make decisions.
  • 8. Summary of History and PracticesSummary of History and PracticesQuality Circles were first seen in theUnited States in the 1950’sCircles were developed by Dr, KaoruIshikawa in Japan in the 1960’sCircles were re-exported to the US inthe early 1970’s
  • 9. Summary of History and PracticesSummary of History and Practices1980’s brought Total QualityManagement and a reduction in the use ofQuality CirclesQuality Circles can be a useful tool ifused properly
  • 10. Quality Circles (India)Quality Circles (India) 1980: BHEL, Hyderabad first in India to start QualityCircles 1982: Quality Circle Forum of India (QCFI) wasfounded 1983: Tata Motors (formerly Telco) started QualityCircles, by 1985 they had more than 400 Circles 1985: BHEL had 1411 Circles covering around 13362members
  • 11. Real World ExampleReal World ExampleThe case of Tata steels Tata Steels, a world leader in the steel industry started itsQC journey way back in 1990 with a negligible number ofQuality Circles. As per the recent statistics, the number of quality circlesoperating in Tata Steel has risen to over 7500. It proudly declares that more than 96% of its employees areinvolved in this quality movement. To their credit Quality Circles have solved 14000 problemsby themselves, which benefited the company not only interms of quality improvement but also in terms ofproductivity, cost, and safety.