What are Quality Circles?

Continuous Quality Improvement
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Luis cupenala
CEO, South Africa

What are Quality Circles?

In short, a quality circle (QC) is a participatory group of employees, aimed at solving problems related to their own jobs. They are normally found in manufacturing environments.
Definition of quality circle:
In their book Japanese Quality Circles and Productivity, Joel E. Ross and William C. Ross define a quality circle as: "...a small group of employees doing similar or related work who meet regularly to identify, analyze, and solve product-quality and production problems and to improve general operations. The circle is a relatively autonomous unit (ideally about ten workers), usually led by a supervisor or a senior worker and organized as a work unit".
The 2 main strengths of quality circles are:
1. Participating employees can make better suggestions for improving work processes than managers
2. Employees are motivated by their participation
Thus, implemented correctly, quality circles can help reduce costs, increase productivity, and improve employee morale, leading to greater operational efficiency, reduced absenteeism, improved employee health and safety, and an overall better working climate.
Quality circles were first established in Japan in 1962 by Ishikawa at the Nippon Wireless and Telegraph Company. They are based on Deming's PDCA cycle, hence also the name 'quality circles'.
Formation of quality circles:
A quality circle typically starts as a volunteer group of employees under the leadership of the supervisor. Sometimes a team leader is elected. The group is trained to identify, analyze and solve work-related problems and present their solutions to management in order to improve the performance of the organization, and motivate and enrich the work of employees. After some time, true quality circles become self-managing, having gained the confidence of management.
Topics in quality circles:
Typical topics are improving occupational safety and health, improving product design, and improvement in the workplace and manufacturing processes.
Tools used in quality circles:
The main tools used in quality cycles are the Ishikawa Diagram, the Pareto Chart and Brainstorming. Brainstorm can be understood as a quality circle tool whereby members with diversified skills and knowledges from different functional or business areas interact diagnosing problems and provide alternative solutions. Such groups act as innovative teams with a common motivation and synergy that enables an organization to mantain continuously improving the level of quality of goods and services.

  David Jean-Francois
Owner, France
 

Quality Circles Philosophy, Quality Improvement Teams

The background of QC - and a real choice for organizations - is to decide that good decisions can come "bottom-up"; from...

  Md. Shahriar Hussain
Management Consultancy, Bangladesh
 

Quality Circles based on Continuous Improvement

QC encourages creativity of one's thought and intelligence. It is a Japanese management form or style and involves peop...

  Dino
Student (University), United Kingdom
 

Quality Circles should be used more Frequently

In my opinion, many more organisations should implement quality circles. Even if the company does not engage in manufact...

  Bob Strasser
Canada
 

Quality Circles Require Preceeding Training

The biggest mistake a company can make is starting QC's without adequate training. Without training, it is better to p...

  David Jean-Francois
Owner, France
 

Quality Circles Education

@Bob Strasser: You're right. Education about methods is mandatory; otherwise there is a big risk of problem expression w...

  Homer Ferguson
United States
 

Quality Circles Give Bottom-up Synergy

@Dino: you and the other responders are spot on. To what you say I add only the synergy of teamwork. Most people believe...

  Antonio Cacheux
 

Quality Circles and Market, Suppliers and Enviroment

The question is: what kind of impact does the QC produce on the market, not only inside organization? How does the QC af...

  Jack Birnbaum, United States
 

Quality Circles Can Have a Great Impact

My first contact with quality circles was an introduction while attending Chaminade University of Honolulu in 1974-76, w...

  Louis Norman COX
Management Coach, Consultant, Trainer, Mauritius
 

Quality Circles in Hotel Industry

I've been training and developing the QC philosophy and practice since 1979. We have called them: - CTT (Creative Think...

  Jerald
Manager
 

Quality Circles in Education

It was nice to read valuable comments from various industries. I would like to share my experience during an MBA project...

  Allemeersch
Interim Manager, Belgium
 

Quality Circles for Employee Onboarding

Next to all input above, it is also a great tool to integrate new associates joining the company. It enhances the learni...

  Toperesu
Manager, Zimbabwe
 

Quality Circles in NGOs

I found QC being a useful tool that can also be used in improving performance and impact of Non-Governmental Organizatio...

  EFFIONG
Student (MBA), Nigeria
 

A Disadvantage of Quality Circles

The QC is indeed a very important management tool, as it helps the employee to make relevant contributions towards the a...

  iranna
Manager, India
 

Everything about Quality Circles is Here...

Nice details available on this super-site, got detailed advantages of QC circles......

  kwapong
Manager, Ghana
 

Quality Circles Concept in Gold Mining

The concept is a very effective tool for ensuring continuous improvement in product quality and cost of production. It w...

  Douwe Slot
Management Consultant, Netherlands
 

QC Powerful if Tooled Well

Valuable article and discussion! If the QC is used in parallel with production/delivery processtools, the cost effective...

  LIONEL, Burkina Faso
 

The Power of Quality Circles in Companies

Having had the opportunity to participate in quality circles and to implement them, I can guarantee you that the importa...

  Rakhi Mukherjee
Teacher, India
 

More Information on Implementing Quality Circles in School

Dear Sir, I am a School Principal and would want to introduce quality circles in my school. I need concrete examples to ...

 

More on Continuous Quality Improvement:
Summary
Forum
👀What are Quality Circles?
PDCA and ISO 9001 Standard
PDCA + Fayol's Theory + PMBOK
Deming / Shewhart Cycle Works Well
View & Review (PDSA) in Management
🔥Continuous Improvement is a Lifestyle
Investors in People - IiP
Best Practices
Kanban / Kaizen / JIT Manufacturing does not Work in the USA
Risks and Challenges in applying the Deming Cycle
Deming / Nelson Funnel Experiment
Deming Cycle Supports Growth of Organisations
Deming Cycle is a Spiral
How can We Put Deming's PDCA Theory in to Practice?
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