Best practices in ensuring quality, speed, and flexibility in organization Essay Sample


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In order for an organization to be successful one must have a plan in place to ensure total quality in the goods they produce, in the service that’s provided, and in the support that’s given to its consumer’s. And to make sure that the company’s information is protected one must establish a system that can manage the information as an asset. In this paper researched five articles detailing best practices in ensuring quality, speed, and flexibility in organization. Those practices are: Total quality management, mass customization, theory of constraints, kaizen (continuous improvement), and reengineering. I also researched five articles detailing best practices in managing information as an asset. Those practices are: knowledge management, innovation management, risk management, record management training, and document management. Along with providing a brief summary of each practice, I will be identify an organization using each practice, and I will then evaluate my own organization based on these practices and offer recommendations for converting my organization’s existing practices to one or more of the practices found in the research.

Part A

Total quality management (TQM)

Total quality management (TQM) is the holistic approach that covers all aspects of an organization’s activities. TQM strategy is defined as ‘a set of quality management actions or critical factors that practiced by an organization for the achievement of excellent organizational performance. The quality of a product or service is dependent on all activities in the organization’s supply chain. With TQM, the goal at each stage in the operational supply chain is to define and meet customer requirements in order to maximize customer satisfaction while maintaining cost control. TQM reorients managers toward involving people across departments in improving all aspects of the business.

Higher productivity, increased morale, reduced costs, and greater customer commitment are the most frequent advantages of TQM. These are mostly long-term. Short-term there are fewer, because it requires initial training. Eliminating errors and doing things right the first time saves time and resources. The savings may then be used for expansion of services or made available to employees in their efforts to increase service quality. TQM gives employees the experience of problem solving and using their knowledge and experiences in a collaborative effort.

TQM may limit an organization’s flexibility. At some point the TQM long-term plan may become a goal in itself. The organization may reach a stable point and stagnate. An organization must react quickly to changes in the community and not be restricted by its management style. TQM critics also argue that TQM does not demand radical organizational reform whereas real quality improvement requires radical structural change, such as flattening organizational structures. Another critic of TQM is that it may eliminate employee creativity, which may stop motivation.

Mass customization

In today’s society organizations are trying to produce both high-volume and high-variety products at the same time, known as mass customization. Mass customization is becoming more prevalent among leading firms. The world’s premier user of mass customization is Dell Computer. Lenscrafters is another well-known company that has customized products to individual customers at a cost comparable to mass-produced goods. Each Lenscrafters store maintains a production facility to avoid the costs and delays of sending prescriptions to labs that use batch production techniques. The result is a prescription lens quickly delivered to an individual customer.

Mass customization allows maximizing customer satisfaction from the product purchased and thus it may help to achieved competitive advantage in a given market. Some advantages to mass customization are cost reduction, building customer loyalty, and higher incomes for the employees. Some disadvantages to mass customization are risk of failure, longer delivery periods for the customers, and possible expensive investments in the IT department.

Theory of Constraints

style="text-align: justify;">The Theory of Constraints (TOC) developed by Goldratt and Cox (1986) is

a production-flow management system. In every system there is one process, known as the constraint, which has the least capacity (or slowest production rate). Output for the entire system is determined by the production rate of this constraint, or bottleneck. Theory of Constraints is a pull system much like Toyota’s manufacturing system. However, TOC is based on identifying and optimizing the bottleneck. Because the system cannot produce faster than the bottleneck production rate, the constraint should be fully utilized. A disadvantage to TOC is that it results in higher constraint utilization and greater throughput levels.

TOC also improves flow and reduces excess work-in-process inventory by releasing materials only for those products that are sold. The advantage of TOC over the Toyota system is that when a non-constraint process is down, the constraint can keep working and rebuild the safety stock. Thus, the non-constraint process that temporarily is down can catch up with the constraint because it has excess capacity.

Continuous Improvement (Kaizen)

Continuous improvement, often known as Kaizen, is essentially a small step improvement strategy. It is based on a belief that continual improvement can be brought about by a continuing series of small changes. Even if there is a culture of big innovative changes it is argued that these will still need to be supplemented by continuing small step changes. If used correctly it does not cause any large scale internal organizational upheaval. It can become part of an organization’s culture where all employees can feel they are making a contribution to any improvements. It is inclusive in its operation. Change then becomes a way of organizational life. Its downside is that it does not provide for innovative leaps that may otherwise be possible. However if used correctly both continuous improvement and innovative leaps could be seen to complement each other. If innovative leaps are to have a long lasting effect they need to be followed up by continuous improvement activity. Kaizen or continuous improvement is an integral part of Japanese operations strategy. Motorola is one company that takes on the kaizen approach.


In order to focus on customer needs, organizations have embraced the notion of reengineering. The principle idea of reengineering is to revolutionize key organizational systems and processes. Business process reengineering efforts should: reduce workload, identify other work to be outsourced, and streamline the work which remains. Processes such as product development, order fulfillment, customer service, inventory management, billing, and production are redesigned from scratch just as if the organization were brand new and just starting out.

In the reengineering process one would prepare the organization, specify the organization’s strategy and objectives, fundamentally rethink the way work gets done, and restructure the organization around the new business processes. Some characteristics to reengineered organizations are: work units change from functional departments to process teams; jobs change from simple tasks to multidimensional work; manager’s change from supervisors to coaches and executives change from scorekeepers to leaders. Procter & Gamble is an example of an organization that went through the reengineering process. As a result of reengineering, work is organized horizontally (such as in a team) rather than vertically. The team is responsible for a process such as order fulfillment.

Evaluation of current organization

In my current organization we could use a lot of improvement in the area of quality. By incorporating the TQM we would have better scores of our monthly audits and we could also receive more funding from the state. I believe that we need to apply a more systems thinking approach when making decisions about the different processes of notating the system and writing court reports. If my organization can come to a consensus about how to right these reports, the quality of our work would be at the level that the state expects it to be. TQM can help us reach that level.

Part B

Knowledge Management

Knowledge management (KM) is often conceived as a generic process through which organizations generate value from knowledge. Enabling knowledge management takes some planning, and if done in a proper way, it can really reap enormous benefits for the company and people that work for it. The most common mistakes in knowledge management that companies make are: lack of awareness, lack of definition, lack of coordination, and improper use of tools. Managing knowledge assets can be a challenge, especially in the construction industry, where short-term working contracts and temporary coalitions of individuals can inhibit knowledge sharing. The research revealed that conventional technologies, such as the telephone, are used more frequently to manage knowledge, than more radical IT (information technology), such as Groupware or video-conferencing. One major difficulty confronting organizations involved in various KM activities lies in the need to improve innovation strategy continuously to make the most efficient use of knowledge to create better, faster and more cost-effective innovations so as to remain competitive.

Innovation Management

Innovation management (IM) is a field of discipline that deals primarily with issues relating to how the innovation process could be managed effectively. IM has increasingly become an integral function of organizations. A company with high innovation tends to have high quality management, high logistics, and better marketing. General innovation tools are change management, benchmarking, brainstorming, and reengineering.

Risk Management

The primary objective of risk management is to preserve the operating effectiveness of the organization. The focus is to ensure that the organization is not prevented from achieving its objectives of earning a profit and maximizing the wealth of the stockholders. The use of enterprise risk management is useful to asset management firms. Asset management firms may be involved in a broad range of investing activities in various economic and business segments.

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