Thursday, November 1, 2012

Motivating Workers Through Quality Costs

After spending a considerable amount of time at an organization with very strict policies in regards to safety and quality, I was better able to understand how costs can be used not only to gauge quality, but it is also a powerful tool to motivate employees.    Costs are everywhere in the process.  There are costs for labor, prevention, costs for equipment failures, costs for raw materials, etc.  This list could go down to the floor, or it could be as simple as two or three costs. I found a direct correlation with these costs and customer quality. I observed that if mistakes were made that directly affected the price that the final product costs to produce, the managers were notified and the problems were pinpointed and corrected.  These costs were a good way to set a standard of quality and monitor the entire system.  If the costs to produce the product and get it out the door outreached the standard cost set up by the management when they signed the contract, this was a considered a quality failure.  
After observing this strict management tactic, it made it more to clear to me that everyone involved in this small-mid-sized company was already aware of the costs and the values of the final product.  If scrap was run, the individual who ran the material was penalized.  On the contrary, if the worker buys into the cost of quality philosophy and builds his/her awareness, he was rewarded with gainsharing based upon quality production rates.  By setting up this golden line of quality throughout the facility, it motivated the employees and gave them the responsibility as both the labor worker as well as a quality inspector.  A great way to reduce labor related wastes.  Being both accountable for customer quality, as well as  consistant production levels allowed these employees to set obtainable goals for themselves.  It made their job more realevent to the big picture.
For the company that I spent my time at, this tactic opened my eyes to the importance of quality, not only to the customer, but to the workers of the organization.  In conclusion, it is important to find these golden standards of quality by getting out to the floor, estimating costs, and interacting with production workers.  Setting this golden standard for cost of quality is ideal for any organization trying to unite its workforce, eliminate wastes, and provide the customer a quality product each and every time.

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