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Quality Control & Quality Assurance at Marks And Spencer's.

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Introduction

Quality Control & Quality Assurance at Marks And Spencer's Whilst Quality Control (QC) and Quality Assurance (QA) may sound similar they aren't the same. Quality control was originally defined as the maintaining of specific standards by inspecting, sampling, and testing the product at various points along the production of the product. Quality assurance, however, is making the quality of the product the responsibility of everyone and is designing the product to be a quality product (this goes down to details like choosing good suppliers etc). There are a number of different types of quality assurance systems in use by different companies. Total Quality Management (TQM): This is an organisational culture committed to improving quality on a continuous basis within every function and every department. Everyone that works for the company must be looking to improve the quality of their work and the product. In these organisations the customer is always put first by, for example, having systems in place to provide effective customer service, and by conducting market research to find out what features the public wants. Marks and Spencer's achieve this through their EPOS system, here they can find out what sizes are available and can suggest to the customer what to buy. ...read more.

Middle

We can see that they use the TQM system from such things as the fact that the all products are made for the customers needs, with various sizes available. They do not make the products without first finding out what exactly the customer wants. They achieve this through surveys and questionnaires. This is an example of 'the customer always comes first'. We can also see that the Self Checking assurance system is in use from the way that the workers on the production line are trained. They are trained to check and make sure each item is cleared for despatch to the shops. They are also trained to always be trying to improve quality and are offered incentives like money if they come up with an idea that will improve quality. This is yet another example of the Total Quality Management system. There are numerous benefits in using these systems. The TQM system puts the customer first and is always striving to make the customer happier. This is going to build a very large, satisfied customer base who will in turn recommend others to the company which will increase sales. It also means that the quality of the finished product is higher as there is emphasis on making a quality product for the customer and not cutting corners. ...read more.

Conclusion

The good thing about the two extra quality control and assurance methods I've outlined above are that they require very little change to the current system. Setting up quality circles would maybe require a little reorganising of the rotas if even that. The workers may decide to simply stay at work an extra 30 minutes to hold a quality circle meeting. The studying of the Pareto analysis could be done by a few of the staff, possibly those who were in a quality circle so that they can pass on information easily. The implementation of these systems will reduce the amount of errors and faults in the products probably below M&S current targets. This will mean that they will have to make their targets and objectives even harder to achieve to keep pushing themselves so that they are always striving to be best. The objectives for the amount of errors may drop again till the amount of errors targeted each month is very low or even nothing. Whilst M&S have adequate and functional quality assurance methods in place, they could expand on these by adding in more techniques side by side with the current systems. These would prevent even more wastage, and cut costs even more, whilst also cutting down on the number of problems in the finished cars as well as befitting the workers by involving them more in the operation of the company. ...read more.

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