Quality Council

In order to build quality into the culture, a quality council is established to provide overall direction. It is the driver for the TQM engine.

In a typical organization the council is composed of the chief executive officer (CEO); the senior managers of the functional areas, such as design, marketing, finance, production, and quality; and a coordinator or consultant. If there is a union, consideration should be given to having a representative on the council.

A coordinator is necessary to assume some of the added duties that a quality improvement activity requires. The individual selected for the coordinator’s position should be a bright young person with executive potential. That person will report to the CEO.

The responsibility of the coordinator is to build two-way trust, propose team needs to the council, share council expectations with the team, and brief the council on team progress. In addition, the coordinator will ensure that the teams are empowered and know their responsibilities. The coordinator’s activities are to assist the team leaders, share lessons learned among teams, and have regular leader’s meetings.

In smaller organizations where managers may be responsible for more than one functional area, the number of members will be smaller. Also, a consultant would most likely be employed rather than a coordinator.

In general, the duties of the quality council are to:

  1. Develop, with input from all personnel, the core values, vision statement, mission statement, and quality policy statement.
  2. Develop the strategic long-term plan with goals and the annual quality improvement program with objectives.
  3. Create the total education and training plan.
  4. Determine and continually monitor the cost of poor quality.
  5. Determine the performance measures for the organization, approve those for the functional area, and monitor them.
  6. Continually determine those projects that improve the processes, particularly those that affect external and internal customer satisfaction.
  7. Establish multifunctional project and departmental or work group teams and monitor their progress.
  8. Establish or revise the recognition and reward system to account for the new way of doing business.

In large organizations, quality councils are also established at lower levels of the corporation. Their duties are similar but relate to that particular level in the organization. Initially these activities will require additional work by council members; however, in the long term, their jobs will be easier. These councils are the instruments for perpetuating the idea of never-ending quality improvement.

Once the TQM program is well established, a typical meeting agenda might have the following items:

  • Progress report on teams
  • Customer satisfaction report.
  • Progress on meeting goals
  • New project teams
  • Recognition dinner
  • Benchmarking report

Eventually, within three to five years, the quality council activities will become so ingrained in the culture of the organization that they will become a regular part of the executive meetings. When this state is achieved, a separate quality council is no longer needed. Quality becomes the first item on the executive meeting agenda.

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