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This dissertation describes the design of the overall quality framework and processes for use in
ICL's Ashton Manufacturing plant.
It provides a set of generic processes to address the requirement of achieving and maintaining
high levels of delivered product quality in a typical high throughput / high mix computer
These frameworks are suitably general purpose to be applicable to any similar "world class"
manufacturing situation with little alteration.
The dissertation outlines the two elements of manufacturing quality, namely conformance (no
deviations), and removal of infant mortalities.
It shows how Delivered Quality Audits are a key method of assessing the true level of
conformance of products shipped to customers, and also of gauging the customer's opinion of
total perceived quality.
It emphasises the fact the manufacturing must now be regarded as a "knowledge-based"
business, where knowledge retention is key to the on-going success of the operation. This is
particularly true when viewed against the "fundamental economics of manufacturing", namely
the constant need to contain and reduce overhead costs, and which in a climate of recession
almost invariably leads to the departure of the oldest and most experienced staff, with a
consequent loss of their accumulated knowledge and experiences.
The quality processes themselves are shown as interrelated, and unified within a single overall
generic framework. The framework is considered as one of the vehicles for obtaining
"Loose/Tight fit", where best practice techniques can be prescribed and standardised across the
varied product ranges, yet still allowing "customisation" of the generic frameworks to
accommodate the beneficial differences of 'Plants within a Plant'
The key element of Quality Improvement embodied within the framework is shown to be the
generic "corrective action loop", which is capable of handling any of the varied types of
problem likely to be encountered within a manufacturing environment. The success of this
quality improvement system is critically dependant on the involvement of operations staff and
"correction at source".
The other key element is the recognition that quality processes and systems have inherent limits
to their effectiveness. To be able to exceed these limits, a "breakthrough" or "quantum-leap"
change is necessary. While the "breakthrough" activities are being formulated and undertaken
to create wide-ranging beneficial change, it is important to recognised that the "control"
activities of management are vital to prevent unfavourable changes or reversion to the previous
The final key concept explored is the three dimensions of organisational management
- accountability, responsibility and authority. The importance of organisational design to align
these elements together and match them to the organisational unit boundaries is clear.
Ultimately, organisational structure can have a large influence on the operation and
effectiveness of the overall quality processes.