Business Process Improvement: A Way to Think About Quality

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Business Process


A Way to Think About Quality Series

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Business Process Improvement:

A Way to Think About Quality

2 Business Process Improvement: A Way to Think About Quality Business process improvement is about

continuously improving quality, yet the term “quality” has evolved to mean different things for different people at different times. While there have been many definitions, one particular short one is:

Quality is meeting or exceeding customer expectations.

Quality is often described as “fitness for use.” Both are short, capsulated

definitions and incorporate two dimensions that must be managed:

 Features: In the customers’ eyes, higher quality means providing more of the product and/or service features customers prefer.

If our organization creates the right features to meet the needs of our customers, then our customers will be satisfied. If we can provide these features at the lowest costs, then we could be more competitive. We create features by understanding our customers.

 Freedom from Deficiencies: This is when a product or service functions properly as it was designed. When it does not, it creates customer dissatisfaction and are costly because they must be corrected to reduce or

eliminate the dissatisfaction. If we can lower deficiencies, we will reduce our costs. We also will reduce cycle times in the process.

Cycle time is longer because tasks are done over and over again.

When the two dimensions of quality are placed side by side they impact your organization and customers. To meet customer requirements, we must address both dimensions by identifying the right features and providing them without deficiency. Having the right mix of customer features that are free from deficiencies increases customer satisfaction and decreases their dissatisfaction. This not only elevates the salability of the product or service but it also reduces the likelihood that customers will move to competitors.

Achieving Desired Results

Achieving Six Sigma quality will result in a reduction of waste, costs, and an improvement in quality as seen by the customer. Such transformations are usually achieve by running various business process improvement projects.

 A project is a problem scheduled for solution.

 A project can focus on customer needs to deliver bottom-line results and increase satisfaction.

 A project can focus on improving process capability to better meet customer needs and decrease dissatisfaction.

 A project can be focused projects to create new services and products or reduce deficiencies.

 By completing many business process improvement projects, we can create a habit of


 The methods behind Six Sigma

enables us to understand that a

project sets out to understand

why dissatisfaction exists or how

to satisfy customers.


What is Business Process Improvement?

Business process improvement is a business strategy focused on improving quality of features and deficiencies by driving out waste and defects, driving down cost and time, and improving performance of any business and its processes. Business process

improvement is:

 A high-end strategic initiative.

 A systematic approach to reduce process defects which affect what is critical to the customer.

 Uses tools used to observe process variables and their relationships, as well as manage their characteristics.

The Juran Trilogy


and Business Process Improvement

The Juran Trilogy is useful in business process improvement and provides a means of managing for quality. It consists of three basic managerial processes:

1. Quality Planning: The process for creating or designing and planning for products and services that meet or exceed customer expectations

2. Quality Control: The process for maintaining CTQ goals during operations; and

3. Quality Improvement: The process for breaking-through to unprecedented levels of

performance by eliminating variation, waste, and poor quality.

In the Six Sigma language, the Quality Planning and Quality Improvement processes are called DMADV and DMAIC and are universal processes – they represent the sequences of events to effectively plan, control, and improve quality. These processes have been used widely in all industries around the world for many years.

The use of the Trilogy processes within an organization typically begins with Quality Improvement. This is because the economic costs of poor quality have a significant negative financial impact on an organization when expressed in bottom-line terms. Quality Improvement requires that we identify “projects” for process improvement.

We define the process problem, follow the diagnostic journey to discover root causes, complete the remedial journey to apply remedies, and use the Quality Control process to hold the gains. The Quality Control process is the last step and identifies key process control measures that relate to meeting customer and process requirements.

The Control Plan defines how these measures are monitored and managed.

The Juran Trilogy



Quality Planning

0 20 40


Quality Improvement Original Zone of

Quality Control

Lessons Learned Operations Begin

Sporadic Spike (RCA/SCA)

Quality Control (During Operations)

Cost of Poor Quality Chronic Waste


New Zone of Quality Control

The Juran Trilogy



Quality Planning

0 20 40


Quality Improvement Original Zone of

Quality Control

Lessons Learned Operations Begin

Sporadic Spike (RCA/SCA)

Quality Control (During Operations)

Cost of Poor Quality Chronic Waste


New Zone of Quality Control


4 Business Process Improvement: A Way to Think About Quality In the trilogy, the journey toward quality

leadership is not over until the three components of business process improvement are completely integrated within the organization. This is where many organizations fail in their pursuit of quality leadership. This requires the organization to learn and use the Quality Planning process. Quality Planning is applied to product and service design and development, as well as process design.

The process starts with a design project, to design something new. It then flows from identifying customers and their needs, defining the product/service design features, creating the process designs, and the process control plans.

Poor quality planning is the source of costs of poor quality. If the sources of poor planning are not addressed, the organization will continue to produce quality problems in the future and the goal of quality leadership cannot be recognized.

So whether your organization is at the beginning of its business process improvement quality journey or has only partially integrated the Juran Trilogy of quality processes, it is important to learn about the importance of how these three processes work together so that the benefits of quality leadership can be realized.

Juran Global Assessments

Organization Health Check: With more than 1,000 assessments completed, we can jump start your journey to becoming a world-class organization. The Organization Health Check provides a quick qualitative review or “fitness test” against industry best practices.

COPG Assessment: The cost of poor quality is the difference between the costs of a perfectly performing process and versus the actual costs. The Juran COPQ assessment results in the quantification of the potential dollars that are lost due to ineffective and inefficient processes. This includes understanding the customer needs through the design, development, production, transportation, installation, and servicing of those goods to meet customer needs.

Employee Engagement: We focus on the practices, shared mindset, and ethos of your organization to identify the willingness and ability of

employees to contribute to the

success of the company and the extent to which employees put discretionary effort into their work in the form of extra time, brainpower, and energy.

Quality Management System (ISO): A quality management system allows you to maintain stable internal processes. It enables quick adaptation to new customer demands, all the while delivering superior products and services in an ever-changing market.

To learn more about our assessments, or to take the Organization Health Check, please visit our website at, or contact us at:

Juran Global

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