Quality Control

Research shows that poor quality is generally related to product failure or rejection and by improving quality failure or rejection should be eliminated by prevention. B & D Patterns should base quality on how well their finished products fit their original design specification (Schaffer, R, 2008).

W E Deming, an American statistician was a pioneer in quality control theory. He used statistics to examine production processes and believed that product quality improvement depended upon increased cooperation between management and labour as well as improved production and design processes (Aguayo, R, 1991).Just in time seeks to reduce process inventory and all related costs and research shows that Just in time is a capability arising from improvements within a business operation, rather than a cause of improvement itself. Kanbans, as discussed earlier, are the drivers in Just in time production as they decide when it is necessary to make the next part in the production line. Ford Motor Company was the first organisation to employ the Just in time method of managing the supply chain.

With their “dock to factory floor” concept, materials are not even kept in storage but go directly into production. A dominant feature of JIT manufacturing is the emphasis on quality. This emphasis on quality was also a central feature of Ford’s MTPS. Ford recognized that high volume production was dependent on having component parts which were truly interchangeable which B ; D Patterns should consider if they were seeking to use Just in time manufacturing processes as, without having interchangeable parts, mass production would be both difficult and costly.Since Just in time seeks to reduce stock levels to zero this leaves no room for error and research shows that commitment to quality and efficiency from an organisation is needed otherwise the costs and implications will outweigh the savings made by reduction in excess stock.

Although some organisations like to hold a lot of stock to act as a safety net, Just in time does not allow for this (Cheng et al, 1996). That said there are numerous advantages of using Just in time including waste reduction and high competitive advantage due to having the ability to produce at a higher quality (Wilson, J 1995).ERP focuses on the entire organisation being connected together rather than materials or processes and requires that organisation to sacrifice most of what it once knew and implement software that covers all aspects of its business (Adam et al, 2004). Caruso (2011) found through his research for Microsoft that ERP systems can provide a powerful opportunity for many manufacturers to gain competitive advantage by taking them beyond simply managing internal business processes and managing the entire supply chain.ERP is much like MRP used by B ; D Patterns MRP.

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However the functions of MRP are incorporated within ERP which centralises the operational processes, ie. production, sales, HR, finance and materials. Its advantage is its ability to gather data from all areas of a business and apply it to analyse trends, predict future orders, discover problem areas, and improve completion times. As the key issue for B ; D Patterns was the maintenance of a large number of bills of materials, MRP is better suited as it was designed for that focus (Proud, J, 2007).TQM seeks to manage people and business processes to ensure complete customer satisfaction at every stage, internally and externally by continuous improvement. It uses a wide range of tools and techniques to identify processes surrounding quality, then measures and prioritises those processes unlike the aforesaid JIT system which surrounds resource and cost reduction (Businessballs.

co. uk, 2011).The focus of TQM is on collaboration among various departments within an organisation for improving quality or maintaining existing quality by requiring that everyone who is involved within the creation or consumption of the products produced by an organisation are responsible for the quality of the product and the processes needed to produce that product. In other words, TQM provides maximum benefit to organisations that involve management, suppliers, work force and customers in order to meet expectations (Jacowski, T, 2007).Kaizen is a core principle of TQM and is a philosophy that enables humans within an organisation to feel empowered by owning responsibilities and providing knowledge within teams to improve quality and performance (Businessballs. co.

uk, 2011). Quality Circles are a form of quality tool that are similar to Kaizen teams in that they play an integral role to any continuous improvement system such as TQM. Quality Circles are made up of knowledgeable humans that can review practices and suggest improvements.

B ; D Patterns would benefit from the use of quality circles within its organisation in order to share knowledge and limit error (Businessballs. co. uk, 2011). The Taguchi method is a structured approach for determining the best combination of inputs to produce a product. Developed by Genich Taguchi, this method encompasses robust quality design in that products should be designed to be of high quality and defect free. (University of Notre Dame, 2011).

Using statistical data its focus is on the success or failure of quality control using a quality loss function rather than on processes or inventory. B ; D Patterns could simply define their quality control procedures and how to assume success or failure at the outset for input into MRP without using complicated statistical formulae so that quality loss can be taken into account (Businessballs. co. uk, 2011). Following discussion of supply chain management and quality management methods, another important consideration is the Forrester Effect, also known as the Bullwhip Effect.

This is where small fluctuations in end customer demand result in the amplification of demand upstream. The term Bullwhip stems from a scenario whereby a small flick of the wrist at the handle will create a large crack of the whip at its tip. Excess inventory and excess stock is created by the Forrester Effect. Jay Forrester found the time between orders along the supply chain and lack of visibility of orders causes inaccurate decisions about orders (Mangan et al, 2008).The bullwhip effect usually flows up the supply chain, starting with the retailer, wholesaler, distributor, manufacturer and then the raw materials supplier. This effect can be observed through most supply chains across several industries; it occurs because the demand for goods is based on demand forecasts from companies, rather than actual consumer demand. As previously discussed, B ; D Patterns use MRP which focuses on lean manufacturing as with Just in time.

All three methods use sales forecasts to determine demand for a product or service.If B ; D Patterns were to start to manufacture a new product then they would estimate demand of that product based on the current condition of the appropriate market. If the demand did not match the forecast and demand was lower than anticipated then the extra inventories would begin to increase causing companies closest to the consumer, in this instance Rolls Royce (AA) Aerospace, to decrease inventory which amplifies the extra inventory of each company up the supply chain, thus creating the Forrester Effect (Vitez, O, 2011).To minimise this risk, B ; D Patterns would need to manage the variation in consumer demand by using a JIT system alongside their MRP system. Toyota found this to be the case and instead of using the traditional MRP push system singularly, they felt a Kanban pull system working alongside the MRP system would be more beneficial to their operations (Bizcovering.

com, 2008).An alternative would be for B ; D Patterns to disregard the MRP and opt for a JIT system which is focused on inventories and implement a point of sale system. This would manage the fluctuations in consumer demand by allowing each company in the supply chain to process the information regarding products electronically. Consumer demand could then be analysed based on information provided by the point of sale system allowing operations managers to order more materials if required (Vitez, O, 2011).

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