The Quality Function

The quality function is the entire collection of activities through which we achieve customer satisfaction and loyalty, no matter where these activities are performed (Gryna, et al 2007).

The role of the quality function may include:

  • Quality Control (QC) - providing techniques and performing activities that focus on controlling or regulating processes and materials to fulfill requirements for quality. The focus is on preventing defective productsor services from being passed on.
  • Quality Assurance (QA) - planned and systematic activities necessary to provide adequate confidence that the product or service will meet the given requirements.
  • Quality Management System (QMS) - defining the structure, responsibilities, procedures, processes and resources for implementing and coordinating the QMS.
  • Metrology - ensuring that the measurements used in controlling quality are meaningful and accurate. Ensuring that measurement equipment is calibrated and traceable to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
  • Inspection - managing or overseeing the inspection activities.
  • Training - providing training and/or training subject matter that supports employee skills training and education in quality-related topics. May also include training for suppliers and for customers.
  • Auditing - managing or overseeing the activities involved with auditing products, processes, and the QMS to ensure that the organization's strategies, principles, goals, objectives, policies, and procedures relative to quality are followed.
  • Reliability Engineering - working with design and production functions, determining the probability of a product performing adequately for a specified length of time under stated conditions with an aim of lowering total cost of ownership of the product and satisfying customers.
  • Initiate and/or Participate on Problem Solving-Teams - working where needed to apply expertise, such as the tools of quality control and root cause analysis.
  • Supplier Quality - managing or overseeing the activities that ensure that high-quality suppliers are selected and that incoming purchased parts and materials are acceptable in grade, timeliness, and other characteristics.
  • Product/Service Design - working with sales, design, and other functions to ensure quality in products under development.
Each job encompass three roles for the job holder:
Customer - receives inputs Process Owner - converts inputs Supplier - delivers results
Agree on and document my requirements with my supplier Return defective inputs to my supplier promptly and tactfully Feed back input quality data to my supplier Learn and apply the tools of quality – teach others Continuously improve my process – reduce defects, cycle time and know benchmarks Document and display my process, defect levels, and CI projects Understand my customer requirements and agree on and document my deliverables
Reduce defects and variations in my output
Measure my output quality from my customer’s perspective

References

  • Gryna, Chua, et al (2007), Juran's Quality Planning and Analysis, 5th Edition.
  • Westcott (2006), The Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence Handbook, 3rd Edition. ASQ Press.