Continuous Improvement in Automotive Business – Richard Shamoon
The supervisor Richard Shamoon working in a profitable company today will tell you how important quality is to its bottom line. It is a simple fact that without a high level of quality, the company’s days are numbered. Manufacturing plants and service organizations, large or small, throughout the country and world have embraced a quality-minded philosophy. Competitive, world-class organizations are committed to producing high-quality products and providing high-quality services. Top management recognizes the critical need for the merger of a sound quality philosophy with the production of goods and services. Globalization, foreign competition, and rising prices of raw materials due to diminishing natural resources combine to make quality one of the foremost goals in modern industry. The level of quality directly impacts the amount of waste and rework a company experiences. Waste and rework increase costs and thus consume profits. Eliminating waste also has a positive effect on our environment. It takes less energy and material when quality rises. Quality is every employee’s responsibility.
While management may implement quality management programs, it is not always committed to them. Management shows signs of its commitment through its slogans, its talk throughout the organization about quality principles, the training it provides supervisors and employees, its continuous improvement teams (CITs), and other efforts. Yet, in some organizations, managers may say they value quality, but their behavior says something quite different. When management behaves incongruently in this fashion, employees will believe the behaviors and not the slogans and words. Managers who say one thing and do another are bound to fail. Let us consider a story that illustrates clearly what can happen when managers try to fool their employees into thinking they value something when they really don’t.
Quality is not just the responsibility of one person or one department in the organization as it once was. Today, everyone from the CEO to the production worker or service provider is directly responsible for quality. Supervisors play a key role in the success of any quality initiative. They serve the vital communications link between management and the employee. They must understand both the challenges of the workers and expectations of top management. The quality philosophy is set into motion by the workers under the leadership and guidance of their supervisor. Often, supervisors must coordinate and schedule regular in-service training sessions for their direct reports. It is imperative for supervisors to demonstrate a positive attitude toward training by encouraging all employees to take part. Training to gain skills in quality control must be a top priority for the supervisor. Their attitude and commitment to quality serves as the role model for all employees. Employees are the fundamental asset of any company. They should be knowledgeable of all expectations placed on them. They must know exactly what is expected of them when it comes to quality. A clear idea of these expectations will create an environment where workers will take pride in their work, feel more secure, have high morale, and produce high levels of productivity. Very few employees desire to go to work and produce substandard products or provide substandard services. Having pride in one’s work is highly motivating. Workers must be trained in all aspects of quality improvement. Supervisors are often in the best position to champion training programs offered in and out of the company. They might be expected to train their employees. Supervisors directly help management create a climate for innovation and continuous improvement.