What are quality circles?

A quality circle is a group of workers who do similar types of work and meet regularly to attempt to identify and solve work-related issues. In most cases this is a volunteer group of people who meet during work hours. While each company can have them set up differently, the quality circle will typically be led by either a supervisor or a manager, and work to identify ways that they can improve their job. One of the biggest focuses is going to be on waste reduction and improvement in process standardization.

History of Quality Circles

Quality circles really got their start back in the 1950’s. W. Edwards Deming is considered the originator of the concept. It was formalized in japan in 1962, and then expanded over the years as more and more businesses began adopting it. Today, companies from around the world use quality circles to push forward improvement in the workplace. Today quality circles use a variety of different quality improvement tools and concepts to help to accomplish their goals.

Benefits of Quality Circles

Since the groups of people do the same or similar work, they will be able to better identify problems. The quality control circle will also be the ideal group of people to propose solutions. With the leadership of a good supervisor or manager, the quality circle can propose process improvements, and even run simple tests to confirm that they are beneficial. When they have a good idea that can be used to eliminate waste and improve efficiency, they will present it to the management team for implementation.

There have been studies that looked at the benefits of quality circles in a variety of different industries. These studies have shown that they are a very effective way to improve the way work is done within a facility. In general, situations where a manager initiates the quality circle, and front-line employees join it, are able to produce the best results.


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