Kibby and Strand is going through a tough month. Customer complaints are up, and most indicate quality issues with recently shipped orders. The company has managed to keep market share against less expensive foreign textiles because it makes quality products, which loyal customers are willing to pay more for. At last quarter’s production meeting the operations manager expressed concerns that marketing was promising customers delivery dates that were too tight, and it appears quality may have suffered in an effort to meet the short deadlines.
The CEO sends a memo to the Chief of Operations (you), asking what is going on with quality. She is looking at a summary of customer complaints for the past month, and most deal with poor stitching or incorrect sizes on the labels of shirts and shorts. To compound her concerns, the Chief of Marketing just told her that some customers are threatening to cancel future orders before the Christmas season if the quality issues are not resolved ASAP.
In this scenario, the CEO and Chief of Marketing are relying solely on qualitative data obtained from customer service agents. Without a doubt this qualitative data cannot be ignored, because it comes directly from customers, but what percentage of the finished products produced that month were flawed?
In other words, how big of a quality problem are we dealing with?
To really understand the true nature and scope of this problem, Kibby and Strand also need to use quantitative approaches to collect, analyze, and interpret numeric data so that the information generated can be leveraged to formulate lasting solutions which lower outcome variability to within acceptable limits (e.g., statistical process control).
It isn’t possible to eliminate variation in process outcomes, since there exists some level of “natural” variation in all processes. The key is to lower the variation to statistically acceptable levels. When there is too much variation in a process the costs associated with the process will be high due to the operating inefficiency; outcomes will be challenging to predict, which impacts quality; and the bottom line performance associated with the process will be virtually impossible for forecast. Remember, quality control and improvement is focused on strengthening the efficiency and effectiveness of “processes” and that not all problems are appropriately investigated using more sophisticated quantitative methodologies, for example, disciplinary issues with personnel.
Unit Learning Outcomes
- Formulate a plan to manage quality in an organization’s products and services, and incorporate quality improvement. (CLO 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7)
- Prepare a Pareto diagram for evaluating quality improvement measures into an organization. (CLO 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6)
- Identify whether quality management metrics are adequate to ensure organizational goals are met. (CLO 1, 4 and 7)
- Develop a data collection plan that will permit the appropriate application of statistical process control (SPC) to investigate inefficiencies and or ineffective processes. (CLO 3 and 4)
- Calculate critical inventory management metrics such as economic order quantity and economic production quantity. (CLO 2, 4, and 5)
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You are the Production Department manager at Kibby and Strand, and last month there were complaints from customers that the quality of the products shipped to them was lacking. Some shirts were labeled with incorrect sizes and girl’s shorts had weak stitching that did not meet specifications. The Operations Manager tasks you to prepare a plan for conducting a Root Cause Analysis (RCA) to identify the causes of these quality issues.
In addition, he recently read the article 3 Ways to Manage Garment Quality Control (Links to an external site.) and prepare a paper detailing how the quality inspections in the article can be implemented within Kibby and Strand.
The student is to create the RCA plan and paper based on knowledge learned in the scenario, and post it in the discussion. Note: it is not possible to actually conduct the RCA and document findings because the data is not provided in the scenario.
The RCA plan and paper should be prepared in a single Microsoft Word document, and then attached to the unit discussion thread. There is no minimum or maximum in terms of the word count; however, the response should explicitly address all required components of this discussion assignment. The document should be prepared consistent with the APA writing style (6th edition) and reflect higher level cognitive processing (analysis, synthesis and or evaluation).
Instruction Guidance: It would be prudent to consider content covered in chapters 9 and 13 of the textbook; however, there are many other useful resources available on the Internet and in the literature to support the construction of your action plan.
This plan and memo should be prepared in a single Microsoft Word document, and then attached to the unit discussion thread. There is no minimum or maximum in terms of the word count; however, the response should explicitly address all required components of this discussion assignment. The document should be prepared consistent with the APA writing style (6th edition) and reflect higher level cognitive processing (analysis, synthesis and or evaluation).
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