Article

How quality control circles enhance work safety: a case study

The TQM Magazine 04/2007; 19(3):229-244. DOI: 10.1108/09544780710745658

ABSTRACT Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore how quality control circles (QCCs) enhance work safety in a manufacturing firm in a developing country environment of the Middle East. Design/methodology/approach – This paper is an exploratory investigation into the role of QCCs in enhancing work safety based on a case study method. This includes: a comprehensive scrutiny of the relevant literature; and an analysis of a case study of QCCs implementation for enhancing work safety in Direct Reduction Furnace Zone at Qasco, a steel mill in the State of Qatar. Findings – At the outset, the QCC team identified three specific targets for them to achieve in order to ensure a safe work environment for its workers. After having identified the causes of the problems, the team members were able to analyze the problems, generate alternative solutions, and eventually implement the best solutions. Consequently, the members were able to achieve all their targets. Research limitations/implications – There is a need to empirically test and refine the critical factors affecting the successful implementation of QCCs and to explore the most important barriers that might impede the success of their implementation. Practical implications – The findings of this study can be considered as a roadmap for successful implementation of QCCs in all the subsidiaries of Industries Qatar, the parent company of Qasco, and perhaps in all other organizations in the different sectors and industries but with a similar working environment to that of Qasco. Originality/value – Generally, the results of this research should enhance the current practices of QCCs implementation, which mostly follow narrowly-focused approaches. In essence, the results of this research will help management in making crucial decisions and in resource allocations that are required to make the QCCs implementation a success.

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    ABSTRACT: Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to attempt to: explore the problems that the production division of Qatar Steel Company (QASCO) typically encounter in implementing QCs, identify the critical success factors promoting QCs implementation and discern the real benefits of QCs implementation. Design/methodology/approach – Data for this study were collected using a self-administered questionnaire that was distributed to 400 QCs members within the five departments (i.e. Manufacturing, Maintenance, Direct Reduction, Material Control and Technical departments) which comprised the production division of QASCO. Of the 400 questionnaires posted, a total of 197 were returned and used for the analysis. Findings – The results of the study indicated that lack of support from top management was reported as the biggest problem impeding the implementation, and also commitment and support from top management were reported as the most important success factor of QCs implementation in the five departments. More importantly, the findings indicated that QCs implementation has created an atmosphere of cooperation within QASCO and produced many positive results including improving quality, increasing productivity, and improving the management style. Research limitations/implications – The sample is restricted to only a single division, i.e. the production division of QASCO, so it would be strongly recommended that data be gathered from various divisions of QASCO, i.e. replications of this study are required to generalize its findings. Studying the deriving and inhibiting forces to QCs implementation in practice remains a task that requires further attention from researchers, whatever their motivations. Practical implications – The findings are important and relevant to all the departments in QASCO. The study hopes to create more awareness among management and employees of the strategic importance of QCs to operational processes. More importantly, the benefits attained would be a motivating factor for managers to use QCs. Originality/value – The research provides empirical insights to the growing body of knowledge on QCs implementation. Most of QCs research has been done in developed countries. The study presents the successful adoption and implementation of QCs in a manufacturing firm in a developing country of the Middle East where published research results on the successful use of QCs have been rather scarce.
    TQM Journal 01/2009; 21(1):87-100.

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