There are several quality planning and development tools. A brief description of all the quality Planning and improvement tools is being provided below. The main aim of this study is to provide a brief idea about all the tools and in the later articles more descriptive and perspective outlook will be provided for each of these tools.

1. Quality Function Deployment

Quality Function Deployment (QFD) is a systematic approach which is used to identify and prioritize the customer’s requirement and also by integrating them in the designing of the product. Quality Function Deployment (QFD) basically works on the principle that design teams needs to know what they are specifically designing, and what the end-users will be expecting from it.

The major objective of Quality Function Deployment (QFD) is to translate subjective quality criteria into the objective design specification which can then be quantified and measured and used to design as well as manufacture the product that would delight the customers and also fulfill their unarticulated desires.

2. Concurrent Engineering

Concurrent Engineering (CE) is a rather a systematic and integrated strategy of product development for the faster market response with correct quality and also the value. Concurrent engineering tries to achieve integration of all activities that contribute to the Design Development Production and marketing of products or services.

Basic objectives of concurrent engineering are:

  • To Reduce the lead times for new product development so as to respond to changing customer requirement sooner than the competitors.
  • To Maintain competitive edge by efficient and effective product development. When companies bring new product offers at regular intervals, the customers inclination towards the company increases.
  • To Optimize the utilization of resources in product development by using a cross functional team .The varied skills of the team member helps us in bringing better and more refined products, at the same time in a very lesser time.
  • To make improvement in the quality of product as during product development the cross functional team analyses various aspects of product, For example Manufacturing, consumption and disposal.
  • It also improves the knowledge and skills of the employees. In concurrent engineering (CE), we have members from marketing, engineering, operations, etc where they discuss various aspects of a product. By this the employees become more knowledgeable as they share their ideas and viewpoints on the much discussed subjects.
  •  The Integration of different departments also enhances to encourage team spirit in the   organization.

3. Design of Experiment (DOE)

The Design of Experiment (DOE) has basically three aspects of process that are analysed.

These are: The factors or variable or inputs to the process. Factors can be classified as either controllable or uncontrollable variables. They are the basic inputs and can be the main input for Design of Experiment (DOE) . As the main objective of DOE is to analyse the impact of these inputs on the system or process.

4. Fault Tree Analysis

This is basically a graphical technique which is used to determine in advance the list of undesirable events that design team and must take care that it avoids any failure which can result in an undesirable outcome. These  specified undesirable outcome is referred to as a ‘top event’, and the deductive analysis about the general conclusions and their causes is described as a ‘top down’ approach.

The fault tree diagram generally attempts to interlink the probable causes of failure of an event by the representation of branches of a tree. These branches are linked together by means of gates as in logical circuits.

5. Value Engineering

Value Engineering is a systematic process of improving and maintaining the quality or consistency of a product or service at a lower cost. The general objective of value engineering is to improve the value and lower the cost; the two factors which are perceived to be directly related i.e. one improving value and two require increased costs.

Value engineering is a process to identify and eliminate these unnecessary costs which provides neither use or life nor quality or appearance and also does not offer customer features without compromising on the value of the product or services.

6. Kaizen

Kaizen is a tool for continuous improvement. In Japanese Kai is change and Zen is good. Therefore kaizen means change for the betterment. It is a philosophy that is originated by the famous Masaaki Imai which deals with implementing incremental changes for the continuous improvement. The primary elements of kaizen are as follows:

  • Implements Team work: The Kaizen requires teamwork in the company. The Management, Executives and all other employees are looked upon as a team with a common goal. Kaizen also strides to integrate the efforts of all employees towards a unified goal.
  • Increases personal discipline: According to Kaizen each member should have high morale and discipline in thinking as well as behavior to make the team more effective.
  • Improved Morale: Kaizen believes that high morale among team members is imperative for achieving long term results. The Kaizen process is designed to encourage effective and open communication.
  • Increases Suggestion for Improvement:-Under Kaizen, open and free communication is encouraged and it seeks feedback and suggestions from the employees or people concerned with actual process or problems.
  • Quality Circle: Kaizen foster the culture of quality circle where voluntary groups of employees are   formed in order to discuss quality related issues and also to analyse and implement device solutions which can be presented to the management for committing the required permission and resources for implementation.

 7. Benchmarking

 The quality Improvement tool Benchmarking involves looking outward which usually means (outside a particular business, organisation, industry, region or country) to examine on how others achieve their performance levels and also to understand the processes they use.

This way benchmarking helps in explaining the processes behind excellent performance. When the lessons learnt from a benchmarking exercise are being applied appropriately they help to facilitate improved performances in critical functions within an organisation or in key areas of business environment.

Benefits of Benchmarking

  • Helps improvements in process and product output by adoption of new practices learned from the benchmarked partner.
  • It improves employee skill set through acquaintance with diverse and innovative approaches and processes.
  • Increases competitiveness as the company not only demands to learn and adopt the new concepts, but also to outperform the benchmarked partner.
  • Helps increasing the employee satisfaction as the employees work in a team for the total process and gets appreciated and in the process his skill sets are enhanced.
  • The company’s overall performance gets improved as it continuously follows the benchmarking partner. 

8. Zero defect programmes

ZDO (Zero Defects Programmes) is a philosophy where company pursues to prevent defects by doing it right the very first time and every time.

According to principle of ZDO (Zero Defects Programmes),  If there are zero defects, the there are no costs associated with issues of poor quality and hence the quality becomes free. The Defects have significant costs associated with them and some of the most obvious costs are money, time, resources, and lost reputation. Hence the company should create an awareness among its employees that defects are unacceptable and everyone should do the things right the very first time and every time. 

9. Six Sigma

The  six sigma is a Total Quality Management concept which is used to decrease the number of defects per million opportunities. The Six sigma helps to reduce the process output variations by assuring

that the process is made so much capable that the specifications tolerance is at least 12 times sigma. The higher the sigma level the better will be the quality that is for example:

  • At 3.5 sigma level, the probability of defect per million opportunities is 22700, at a shift of ± 1.5 σ levels.
  • 4.5 sigma levels mean 1350 DPMO (defect per million opportunities) at a shift of ± 1.5 σ levels.
  • 6 sigma levels mean 3.4 DPMO at a shift of ± 1.5 σ levels. 

11. Just In Time (JIT)

The word “Just-in-Time” means making only “what is needed, when it is needed, and in what amount it is needed.”  The concept of “just-in-time or JIT” was originally invented by the famous Person Kiichiro Toyoda, but later it was Ohno who developed it to its fullest potential.

Just –In-Time approach has been originated from the Toyota Production System and this means supplying to each process what is needed at what exact time it is needed and in what quantity. The inconsistencies and unreasonable requirements are omitted for its betterment. This immensely results in improved productivity.

For instance, a vehicle is efficiently built within the shortest possible period by adhering to the following:

  1. When a vehicle order is received, a production instruction must be issued at the beginning of the vehicle production line as soon as possible.
  2. The assembly line must be stocked with small numbers of all required types of parts so that any kind of vehicle ordered can be assembled as soon as possible.
  3. The assembly line must replace the parts used by retrieving the same number of parts from the parts-producing process which is the preceding process.
  4. The preceding process must be stocked well with small numbers of all types of Spare parts and should produce only the numbers of Spare parts that were retrieved by the operator from the next process.

11. Kanban

The Kanban is a simple yet Very effective control system that can be easily introduced and adopted in various production Systems. It is considered to be the most important and specifically the Central Element of the Lean Manufacturing Systems. The word KANBAN is taken from two Japanese words kan Meaning  “card”, and ban meaning  “signal.

The Kanban is the system where visual signals are used to control the movement of materials between different processes and Production Centers. It is also used for initiating the production of new materials and to replenish those materials that are sent downstream to the next work Production centre. The kanban system is also considered as a pull system which is used with the help of the JIT or the Just-In-Time approach.