How a quality circle works

A quality circle—a kind of innovation workshop—is based on the prior definition of a series of performance indicators.

1. Definition of the problem and description of the current situation

Participants at the workshop describe the current situation according to their points of view in order to establish the first milestones and ensure they are talking about the same thing.
2. Development of key performance indicators (KPIs) or ratios To then measure the success of the result achieved, key performance indicators (KPIs) need to be fixed from the outset. This means that the presentation of the current situation must be based on specific facts and figures, which will serve as the starting point with a view to subsequent verification. Targets must be verifiable: the SMART rule is an ideal instrument for this. Accordingly, the targets should be: specific (S), measurable (M), attainable (A), realistic (R) and timely (T).
 
3. Analysis of the causes of the problem In the context of the workshop, various creativity techniques are used with a view to identifying the causes of the problem.
4. Development of solutions and improvement proposals Just as for the previous step, creativity techniques are most appropriate here too, when innovative proposals and innovations must be discussed within a team. NB: the steps of collection and assessing ideas must take place separately and be taken into consideration independently.
5. Planning measures The solutions provided will then be brought together in a “catalog of measures”, also called an “action list”. The measures in question will be described and defined one by one, and the respective responsibilities fixed.
6. Implementation At this stage, the cause and effect relationship between communication of information and the realization phase is direct. In the best-case scenario, the workshop participants will themselves implement the measures introduced.
7. Control The indicators cited in point 2 (KPIs) are verified. Not only should implementation be controlled, but also the result (analysis of divergences).
8. Continual improvement process (CIP) The results set out in point 7 are carried on in the continual improvement process (CIP). If the discrepancy between the last two steps is too wide, the issue goes back to the workshop to be reconsidered.
Source: "Innovationsmanagement für KMU", Haupt, 2012.

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Last modification 24.10.2018

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