Perceived quality by customers: where expectations compared to perceptions. Expectations > Perceptions (Poor); Expectations = Perceptions (Acceptable); Expectations < Perceptions (Good). Might be due to gaps; ensuring consistency between internal quality specification and the expectations of the customers (resp.. marketing, operations, product/service development); ensuring internal spec meets its intended concept of design (resp.. marketing, ops, product/service dev.); ensuring actual product or service conforms to internally specified quality level (ops), ensuring that promises made to consumers concerning the product or service can really be delivered (marketing).
Quality perceived by customers here is hidden, as demand for some products is very high, customers appear to be reluctant to return goods. Additionally the reporting of returns from shops is hidden so the data from here is missing. However items with bruises and scratches will aide expectations exceed perceptions and as a result quality decreasing.
There are issues with the product development; and the internal specification isn’t conforming to the internally specified quality level (operational); which could be very detrimental for high quality items, as the promises made to consumers about the quality won’t be delivered (marketing). Functionality – Products will have near perfect functionality regardless of the appearance issues, unless consumers purchase the item because of its design and its handmade elegance, where there will be returns. Additionally if the items cannot be used as their durability is weakened; this will affect functionality of the product.
Appearance – Clearly appearance is the biggest issue here with EH; as bruises and cracks are not aesthetically pleasing. Reliability – EH is incredibly unreliable; with no real knowledge of how many items produced are of poor quality; except of the recent sample of 100 items; where approximately 20% were below the quality standard; however this was a very small sample, and there is data missing of returns from shops. Durability – The products with cracks will have reduced durability. Recovery – The recovery with EH is incredibly hard to determine as there appear to be faults with products all along the production line from start to finish.
To minimise these errors it may be necessary for restructure of the production line and to re-evaluate the operational processes within the production. This will be costly in money and time; reducing the recovery element. Contact – The nature of the person-2-person contact within EH is mixed. There are mixed relations as different managers have different targets which prioritise quality differently. Some prioritise quantity of production, whereas others prioritise quality. This can cause friction and tension.
There also doesn’t seem to be much communication between departments other than when ‘things go wrong’. Inspection – finished product inspection, inspection of purchased components, inspection of materials. Sampling (SQC – settin standards for acceptance) Quality Control – Statistical Process Control – performance must retain within boundarys of acceptability. Process Variability needs to be Accurate and Precise. Quality Assurance – Operational procedures, Inspection procedures, aintenance, transport and staorage, management procedures, management structure, traceability.
ISO 9000 Approach – quality systems three levels – company quality manual, procedures manual, work instructions – say what you do, do what you say, audit and improve. Total Quality Management: Meet customer needs and expectations, covers all parts and staff of the organisation, considers all costs related to quality and takes every opp to get things right, develops sstems for quality and improvement and always looking for continuous improvement. Internal Customer Supplier Concept: Between each process, the requirements of the customer process must be understood and met by the supplier process.
There is a Quality Assurance department specifically responsible for quality; deals with customer complaints and is sometimes involved in investigations during production with bought in components. There seems to be lacking inspection of purchased components and materials; and sufficient sampling. There perhaps needs to be more quality assurance on the management procedures and management structure as different managers have different prioritisations for quality and work instructions/company quality manuals could be issued (ISO 9000 Approach).
Also there is no traceability as to when and where the item appears to have received scratches and bruises from. There is always small data capture but little classification and consistency of what constitutes as a poor quality product that is unsuitable for retail. The easiest way to improve quality would be to reduce the frequency of scratches and bruises from early in the production line; saving staff time and costs. The cause of these poor quality items; means that more re-buffering work causing backlogs and delays and extra incurred costs.
Process of work: sketches to central estimating and quotations department; in conjunction with joinery manager calculate costs and prepare quotation, faax and post to customer 2/3 days. On receipt of an order orgiianl sketches and estimating details passed back to joinery manager, who schedules into manufacturing plan, allocating to individual craftsmen. Joiners can do most work. Joinery department; congesed and untidy; verybody believe acceptable and normal for job shops. Now single flow route for material.
Whatever project normal for joiner to select required bulk timber from storage building across yard. Timber then prepared using planer thicknesser machine; variety of processes after that depending on product. – could be machined, or cut using radial arm saw, or form joints, or use a morticing machine and so one. Products finally glued and assembled with screws and nails, sanded, treated with preservatives, stains or varnishes if requested. All large and more expensive floor standing machines grouped together by type – (eg: saws), or were single pieces of quipemtne shaerd by all 10 joiners.
Every joiner owns a complte set of hand tools. Everything resting everything; disorganised. Offcuts and wood shavings scattered around; but not hazardous. Joiners work together to use equipment efficiently ‘working on several part finished items at once’. Varnishing or staining has to be done when its quiet – end of the working day / weekends / outside – to avoid sawdust contamination. Long offcuts stored around workshop; however usually easier to take new length of timber for each job; so offcuts tend to build up over time.
Getting worse as busier – and sales increasing so system more congested. Even though more orders department still unprofitable. Actual times booked by joiners exceeded estimated times by up to 50%. Due to inexperience of newly employed joiners; despite fully trained and qualified still lacking experience needed to complete complx job estimator would expect – but no feedback to and from. However they then put one of these people on doors only and now become enthusiastic door expert, and gets involved in quotations too so always does work within the time estiamtes.
However main time losses caused by congrestion, interference, double handling and rework to rectify inprocess damage. Joiner walked an avg. 5km per day carrying around heavy wood. Descriptions of celluar manufacturing and JIT – idea to get better flow, reducing the times and distances in the process – achieves quicker throughput times. (JIT is normally used for high-volume, repetitive production, where as in this case in EH they are one-off products). However even though a lot of varied staircases are made; the process is similar to make them.
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