Using the information from earlier activities and the information about the organisation you selected you are now required to develop a communication plan

Activity 3


Using the information from earlier activities and the information about the organisation you selected you are now required to develop a communication plan to enable you to communicate the continuous improvement process you have recommended to your team members.

Your communication plan must include:

  • What you will communicate
  • How you will communicate and
  • When you will communicate

Ensure that change and improvement processes meet sustainability requirements[1]

In order to lead a team to undertake continuous improvement in a workplace it is important to have strategies that ensure that all team embers are actively encouraged to participate in the decision making processes of their role, assume responsibility for their work and exercise initiative when completing tasks.

Mentoring and coaching allow you to ensure that individuals and teams in the workplace are able to implement and support your organisation’s continuous improvement processes.

Workplace systems should be in place to ensure that your organisation’s continuous improvement processes are communicated to all concerned.

In this learner guide, you will learn to:

  • develop strategies to ensure that team members are actively encouraged and supported to participate in decision-making processes
  • establish systems to ensure the organisation’s continuous improvement processes are communicated to all stakeholders
  • develop effective mentoring and coaching processes to ensure that individuals and teams are able to support the organisation’s continuous improvement processes.

As you work through this learning guide you will find a number of activities designed to reinforce your learning. It is recommended that you complete these activities as they are opportunities to practice the skills and apply the knowledge needed to complete the assessments tasks for this unit.

Total quality management philosophy

Total quality management (TQM) incorporates the concepts of product quality, process control, quality assurance and quality improvement. As a result it is the control of all transformation processes of an organisation to better satisfy customer needs in the most economical way.

TQM is based on internal control, which is embedded in each unit of the work system, both technology and people. Pushing problem-solving and decision-making down the organisation allows people who do the work to both measure and take corrective action in order to deliver a product or service that meets the needs of their customers.


Involving everyone and all activities in the organisation


Meeting customer needs


Quality can and must be managed


A process for managing quality – it must be a continuous way of life and a philosophy of perpetual improvement in everything we do

TQM is the foundation for activities that include:

                        meeting customer requirements/needs

                        reducing development cycle times

                        just-in-time or demand flow manufacturing

                        improvement teams

                        reducing product and service costs

TQM is the way of managing for the future, and is far wider in its application than just assuring product or service quality – it is a way of managing people and business processes to ensure complete customer satisfaction at every stage, internally and externally. TQM, combined with effective leadership, results in an organisation doing the right things right, first time.

The core of TQM is the customer-supplierinterfaces, both externally and internally, and at each interfacelie a number of processes. This core must be surrounded by commitmentto quality, communicationofthe quality message, and recognition of the need to change the cultureof the organisation to create totalquality. These are the foundations of TQM, and they are supported by the key management functions ofpeople, processesand systemsin the organisation.

This section discusses each of these elements that, together, can make a total quality organisation. Othersections explain people, processes and systems in greater detail, all having the essential themes ofcommitment, culture and communication running through them.

What is quality?

A frequently used definition of quality is “Delighting the customer by fully meeting their needs and expectations”. These may include performance, appearance, availability, delivery, reliability, maintainability, cost effectiveness and price. It is, therefore, imperative that the organisation knows what these needs and expectations are. In addition, having identified them, the organisation must understand them, and measure its own ability to meet them.

Quality starts with market research – to establish the true requirements for the product or service and the true needs of the customers. However, for an organisation to be really effective, quality must span all functions, all people, all departments and all activities and be a common language for improvement. The cooperation of everyone at every interface is necessary to achieve a total quality organisation, in the same way that the Japanese achieve this with company wide quality control.

Customers and suppliers

There exists in each department, each office, each home, a series of customers, suppliers and customer-supplier interfaces. These are “the quality chains”, and they can be broken at any point by one person or one piece of equipment not meeting the requirements of the customer, internal or external. The failure usually finds its way to the interface between the organisation and its external customer, or in the worst case, actually to the external customer.

Failure to meet the requirements in any part of a quality chain has a way of multiplying, and failure in one part of the system creates problems elsewhere, leading to yet more failure and problems, and so the situation is exacerbated. The ability to meet customers’ (external and internal) requirements is vital. To achieve quality throughout an organisation, every person in the quality chain must be trained to ask the following questions about every customer-supplier interface:

Customers (internal and external)

• Who are my customers?

• What are their true needs and expectations?

• How do, or can, I find out what these are?

• How can I measure my ability to meet their needs and expectations?

• Do I have the capability to meet their needs and expectations?

(If not, what must I do to improve this capability?)

• Do I continually meet their needs and expectations?

(If not, what prevents this from happening when the capability exists?)

• How do I monitor changes in their needs and expectations?

Suppliers (internal and external)

• Who are my internal suppliers?

• What are my true needs and expectations?

• How do I communicate my needs and expectations to my suppliers?

• Do my suppliers have the capability to measure and meet these needs and expectations?

• How do I inform them of changes in my needs and expectations?

As well as being fully aware of customers’ needs and expectations, each person must respect the needs and expectations of their suppliers. The ideal situation is an open partnership style relationship, where both  parties share and benefit.

Poor practices

To be able to become a total quality organisation, some of the bad practices must be recognised and corrected. These may include:

• Leaders not giving clear direction

• Not understanding, or ignoring competitive positioning

• Each department working only for itself

• Trying to control people through systems

• Confusing quality with grade

• Accepting that a level of defects or errors is inevitable

• Firefighting, reactive behaviour

• The “It’s not my problem” attitude

How many of these behaviours do you recognise in your organisation?

The essential components of TQM – commitment & leadership

TQM is an approach to improving the competitiveness, effectiveness and flexibility of an organisation for the benefit of all stakeholders. It is a way of planning, organising and understanding each activity, and of removing all the wasted effort and energy that is routinely spent in organisations. It ensures the leaders adopt a strategic overview of quality and focus on prevention not detection of problems.

Whilst it must involve everyone, to be successful, it must start at the top with the leaders of the organisation.  All senior managers must demonstrate their seriousness and commitment to quality, and middle managers must, as well as demonstrating their commitment, ensure they communicate the principles, strategies and benefits to the people for whom they have responsibility. Only then will the right attitudes spread throughout the organisation.

A fundamental requirement is a sound quality policy, supported by plans and facilities to implement it. Leaders must take responsibility for preparing, reviewing and monitoring the policy, plus take part in regular improvements of it and ensure it is understood at all levels of the organisation.

Effective leadership starts with the development of a mission statement, followed by a strategy, which is translated into action plans down through the organisation. These, combined with a TQM approach, should result in a quality organisation, with satisfied customers and good business results. The 5 requirements for effective leadership are:

• Developing and publishing corporate beliefs, values and objectives, often as a mission statement

• Personal involvement and acting as role models for a culture of total quality

• Developing clear and effective strategies and supporting plans for achieving the mission and objectives

• Reviewing and improving the management system

• Communicating, motivating and supporting people and encouraging effective employee participation

The task of implementing TQM can be daunting. The following is a list of points that leaders should consider; they are a distillation of the various beliefs of some of the quality gurus:

• The organisation needs a long-term commitment to continuous improvement.

• Adopt the philosophy of zero errors/defects to change the culture to right first time

• Train people to understand the customer/supplier relationships

• Do not buy products or services on price alone – look at the total cost

• Recognise that improvement of the systems must be managed

• Adopt modern methods of supervising and training – eliminate fear

• Eliminate barriers between departments by managing the process – improve communications and teamwork

• Eliminate goals without methods, standards based only on numbers, barriers to pride of workmanship and fiction – get facts by studying processes

• Constantly educate and retrain – develop experts in the organisation

• Develop a systematic approach to manage the implementation of TQM

Culture change

The failure to address the culture of an organisation is frequently the reason for many management initiatives either having limited success or failing altogether. Understanding the culture of an organisation, and using that knowledge to successfully map the steps needed to accomplish a successful change, is an important part of the quality journey.

The culture in any organisation is formed by the beliefs, behaviours, norms, dominant values, rules and the “climate”. A culture change, e.g, from one of acceptance of a certain level of errors or defects to one of right first time, every time, needs two key elements:

• Commitment from the leaders

• Involvement of all of the organisation’s people

There is widespread recognition that major change initiatives will not be successful without a culture of good teamwork and cooperation at all levels in an organisation, as discussed in the section on People.

The building blocks of TQM: processes, people, management systems and performance measurement

Everything we do is a Process, which is the transformation of a set of inputs, which can include action, methods and operations, into the desired outputs, which satisfy the customers’ needs and expectations.

In each area or function within an organisation there will be many processes taking place, and each can be analysed by an examination of the inputs and outputs to determine the action necessary to improve quality.

In every organisation there are some very large processes, which are groups of smaller processes, called key or core business processes. These must be carried out well if an organisation is to achieve its mission and objectives. The section on Processes discusses processes and how to improve them, and Implementation covers how to prioritise and select the right process for improvement.

The only point at which true responsibility for performance and quality can lie is with the People who

actually do the job or carry out the process, each of which has one or several suppliers and customers. An efficient and effective way to tackle process or quality improvement is through teamwork. However, people will not engage in improvement activities without commitment and recognition from the organisation’s leaders, a climate for improvement and a strategy that is implemented thoughtfully and effectively. The section on People expands on these issues, covering roles within teams, team selection and development and models for successful teamwork.

An appropriate documented Quality Management System will help an organisation not only achieve

the objectives set out in its policy and strategy, but also, and equally importantly, sustain and build upon them. It is imperative that the leaders take responsibility for the adoption and documentation of an appropriate management system in their organisation if they are serious about the quality journey. The Systems section discusses the benefits of having such a system, how to set one up and successfully implement it.

Once the strategic direction for the organisation’s quality journey has been set, it needs Performance

Measures to monitor and control the journey, and to ensure the desired level of performance is being

achieved and sustained. They can, and should be, established at all levels in the organisation, ideally being cascaded down and most effectively undertaken as team activities and this is discussed in the section on Performance.

Six Sigma

Six Sigma is a process originally developed by Motorola to systematically improve processes by minimizing variation. The term "Six Sigma" refers to the ability of a highly capable process to produce output within specification.


In particular, processes that operate with six sigma quality produce at defect levels below 3.4 defects per million opportunities (DPMO). A defect is defined as nonconformity of a product or service to its specifications.

The key concepts supporting Six Sigma are:

  • Continuous effort to reduce variation in process outputs is key to business success.
  • All processes can be defined, measured, analysed, improved and controlled (DMAIC)
  • Succeeding at achieving sustained quality improvement requires commitment from the entire organization, particularly from top-level management.

Six Sigma is a registered trademark of Motorola, Inc.

LEANSIXSIGMA is a business improvement methodology which combines tools from both Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma.

Lean manufacturing focuses on speed. Six Sigma focuses on quality.

By combining the two, the result is better quality faster.

Lean Six Sigma is a business improvement methodology that maximizes shareholder value by achieving the fastest rate of improvement in safety, customer satisfaction (quality), delivery, cost reduction, process speed, and invested capital.

The combination of Lean and Six Sigma improvement methods is required because:

  • Lean cannot bring a process under statistical control
  • Six Sigma alone cannot dramatically improve process speed or reduce invested capital
  • Both enable the reduction of the cost of complexity

ISO Quality Standards

The ISO 9000 family addresses "Quality management". This means what the organisation does to fulfil:

  • The customer`s quality requirements, and
  • Applicable regulatory requirements, while aiming to
  • Enhance customer satisfaction, and
  • Achieve continual improvement of its performance in pursuit of these objectives 

The ISO 9000 section provides a concise overview of ISO`s best known management system standards and their impact on the world.

ISO 9000 - Quality management

The ISO 9000 family addresses various aspects of quality management and contains some of ISO’s best known standards. The standards provide guidance and tools for companies and organizations who want to ensure that their products and services consistently meet customer’s requirements, and that quality is consistently improved.

Standards in the ISO 9000 family include:

  • ISO 9001:2015 - sets out the requirements of a quality management system
  • ISO 9000:2015 - covers the basic concepts and language
  • ISO 9004:2009 - focuses on how to make a quality management system more efficient and effective
  • ISO 19011:2011 - sets out guidance on internal and external audits of quality management systems.

ISO 9001:2015

ISO 9001:2015 sets out the criteria for a quality management system and is the only standard in the family that can be certified to (although this is not a requirement). It can be used by any organization, large or small, regardless of its field of activity. In fact, there are over one million companies and organizations in over 170 countries certified to ISO 9001.


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