The first observation is the willingness of staff and management to change. The staff was willing to make use of cost of quality to change the way they operated. They were willing to improve on quality so that they would increase sales. When change is introduced in other organizations, employees would be hard to adopt the change.
Another positive observation I note is that of having long term projections. The use of The Blue Book was not to victimize and fire any employee but as an indicator of the future directions and the need to improve. They had long term projections of the company. They were not targeting employees.
Another important, positive observation is that there is continuous improvement of the quality improvement process. After the introduction of the COQ and The Blue Book, there have been various improvements suggestions by many managers. The first one is that of adding more content to the quality improvement program itself. It was suggested that other hidden costs be included in the COQ. Although this was not feasible and could not be added because of logistical issues, it was good gestures for the desire to, continually, improve the program.
One negative observation is that there are some quality improvement tasks that are hard to be quantified. An example is that of customer handling by human resource people and secretaries. It is hard to know the cost of a customer who is disgruntled. How do we measure such issues? There are things that can be done in order to improve the quality; these quality items cannot be measured. There is a need to take care of them.
Another negative observation is that most of the improvement suggestions followed a top-down approach. The initiative was made by the top management, and the lower cadre employees were required to adopt. There was a need to get the views of lower-level employees so that their views could be evaluated and known. Lower level has a say in improvement of quality. Their views and suggestions were never sought.
Another weakness that is evident is that there was no initiative that was undertaken that mimicked the strategies that the competition used. The quality improvement plan was created internally. There is no indication that the strategy is used by the competitors. It could be with the technology that the competitors were using. A study of what the competitors were using and their competitive advantage was not undertaken. It is important to have this in mind.
Three things I would do differently
One thing I would do differently is how to come up with quality improvement plan. I would first get the views of the employees about the service and the working conditions of MCC. This would give me an upper hand in coming up with a tailored approach in undertaking the quality improvement program.
Another thing is that I would undertake a SWOT analysis of the competitors and that of MCC. This would give me an idea of where the competitors are beating me and where I need to improve.
Another thing that I would do differently is that I would divide the areas of improvement into two, qualitative and quantitative. There are some things which cannot be quantified. In such cases, I would use questionnaires to get the views of employees and clients.
Why COQ worked at MCC
COQ worked at MCC because it was adopted and put into use by all staff and managers. It was adopted and taken positively by all the concerned parties. It is also because it was continuously improved.