Understanding Basic Quality Concepts (1/2)

In this lesson, you’re expected to learn about:
– quality planning, quality assurance, quality control
– quality imporvement, poka-yoke, kaizen, JIT
Quality Planning

Quality planning focuses on developing products, services, systems, processes, policies, and procedures needed to meet or exceed customer expectations.

Quality planning is a part of the Japanese Hoshin planning method where it involves consensus at all levels as plans are cascaded throughout the organization, resulting in actionable plans and continual monitoring and measurement.

Quality Assurance

Quality assurance focuses on the inputs to a process or product, rather than the traditional controlling mode of inspecting and checking products at the end of operations, after errors are made (i.e., quality control).

Quality Control

Quality control is an evaluation to indicate needed corrective action, the act of guiding, or the state of a process in which the variability is attributable to a constant system of chance causes. It compares and acts on the difference between actual performance and target performance (goal).

Quality control includes the operational techniques and activities used to fulfill requirements for quality. Often, quality assurance and quality control are used interchangeably, referring to the actions performed to ensure the quality of a product, service, or process, but they are different in meaning in terms of timing.

Quality Engineering 

Quality engineering focuses on combining product design engineering methods and statistical concepts to reduce costs and improve quality by optimizing product design and manufacturing processes.

For example, Taguchi’s quality loss function (QLF) is connected with quality engineering.

Quality Audit 

Quality audit is a systematic, independent examination and review to determine whether quality activities and related results comply with planned arrangements and whether these arrangements are implemented effectively and are suitable to achieve the objectives.

Quality planning, quality assurance, and quality engineering focus on the front-end of a process, whereas quality control and quality audit focus on the back-end of a process.

Quality Circles

Quality circles refer to a team of employees (6-12) voluntarily getting together periodically to discuss quality-related problems and issues and to devise strategies and plans to take corrective actions.

Quality circles should be introduced in an evolutionary manner, so employees feel that they can tap their creative potential. Quality circles are a part of employee empowerment. Ishikawa is known as the “Father of Quality Circles.”

Quality Council

Quality council is a prerequisite of implementing a total quality management (TQM) program in the organization. The quality council is similar to an executive steering committee.

Quality Improvement

Quality improvement or continuous improvement is an ongoing activity where problems are diagnosed, root causes are identified, solutions are developed, and controls are established to improve quality.

Plan-Do-Check-Adjust (PDCA) Cycle

Plan-Do-Check-Adjust (PDCA) cycle is related to continuous improvement, where an improvement plan is developed (Plan), implemented (Do), monitored and evaluated (Check), and modified or refined (Adjust).

Deming’s PDCA cycle is a core management tool for problem solving and quality improvement, which can be used for planning and implementing quality improvements.

Just-in-time (JIT)

Just-in-time (JIT) philosophy reduces the cost of quality (COQ) and improves quality.


Jidoka (a Japanese word) means stopping a production line or a process step when a defect or problem is discovered so that it will not cause additional or new problems further down the production line.

Jidoka requires employee training and empowerment to stop the running production line. A production worker and/or a programmed machine can accomplish the jidoka goals.


Kaizen is an ongoing process of unending improvement, that is, establishing and achieving higher goals of improvement all the time. PDCA, JIT, and kaizen are related to quality or continuous improvement.

Journalist tools such as Five Ws and One H can be used to understand a process deeply and to improve a process continuously. These tools include Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How.

Answers to these six questions help guide the problem solving and quality improvement process.


Poka-yoke is an approach for mistake-proofing a production or service process using automatic devices (failsafe methods) to avoid simple human or machine errors in order to improve quality.

It is based on two aspects: prediction and detection of a defect or error. It is a simple, creative, and inexpensive method to implement and in part achieves zero defects as suggested by Crosby.

[Optional] What is Poka Yoke?
Read this article to learn more:
Stakeholder Empowerment

Stakeholder empowerment means involving employees in every step of a production or service process to solicit their input. It is based on the idea that employees who are close to the action would better know the shortcomings of a system, machine, or
process than those who are not. Quality circles are part of employee empowerment.

Similarly, inviting suppliers and customers to participate in a product or service design to improve quality and features is also a part of stakeholder empowerment.

Jim Rohn Sứ mệnh khởi nghiệp