The relationship between quality and continuous improvement

The use of continuous improvement to achieve total quality

Continuous improvement is a process that aims to improve products, services and processes of an organization through a general attitude, which forms the basis to ensure the stabilization of the circuits and a continuous detection of errors or areas of improvement.

Continuous improvement is an effective method to achieve total quality, also called excellence, which is the evolution that the concept of quality has been experiencing. Quality is, therefore, the most evolved stage within the successive transformations that the quality term has suffered over time.

At first, the quality approach was directed almost exclusively to the quality of the product. Little by little, it was directed towards the clients and later also to the groups of interest for the organization: shareholders, staff professionals, suppliers and society in general.

In recent times the concept of quality assurance has been taking a lot of force, which can be defined as a stage that allows guaranteeing the continuous level of the quality of the product or service provided by the organization, which gives greater prominence and importance to the continuous improvement.

The continuous improvement

Total quality and continuous improvement is based on the PDCA cycle or Deming cycle, which was released by Edwards Deming in the 1950s, based on the concepts of the American Walter Shewhart. PDCA means: Plan, Do, Check, Act.

This cycle is one of the main tools for continuous improvement in organizations, widely used by Quality Management Systems with the purpose of allowing companies a comprehensive improvement of competitiveness and the products offered.

It also serves to permanently improve quality, facilitating greater participation in the market, optimization of costs and, of course, better profitability and productivity of the organization.

The models of excellence

The development of total quality and continuous improvement has led to the emergence of models of excellence, which can be defined as non-normative frameworks based on a series of criteria that serve as self-evaluation guides. In this way, organizations can see that they are heading in the right direction to achieve business excellence, by reaching and maintaining the total quality and continuous improvement of all their processes and circuits.

These criteria have to do with issues of leadership, policies and strategies, approach to customers and workers, alliances and resources, processes and results obtained in people, society and key results for the organization.

Continuous improvement is an effective method to achieve total quality.

REDER model and the PDCA cycle

Within the foundations of the models of excellence is a logical scheme, called REDER composed of four fundamental elements: results, focus, deployment and evaluation, and review.

All organizations need to determine the results they intend to achieve as part of the process of developing their policy and strategy. These results must offer coverage to the performance of the organization, both in economic and financial terms as well as operational, as well as the perceptions of all the stakeholders (investors, unions, partners …) with which the organization counts.

Many experts consider the REDER model a variant of the PDCA, which serves as a strong argument for the direct relationship between total quality, continuous improvement and models of excellence. The most important difference is that the REDER model suggests that before planning or focusing on what the company or organization wants to do, it is necessary to determine the results that are to be improved, that is, the goals or objectives.

ISOTools helps you achieve total quality and continuous improvement

The ISOTools Software Technology Platform in all its varieties is based on the continuous improvement cycle, in a way that allows progress towards excellence.

ISOTools Excellence helps organizations achieve their maximum performance thanks to knowledge management and sharing within a general culture of learning, innovation and continuous improvement.

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