Dictionary defines quality as the standard of something as compared to other things of a similar nature (Oxford Dictionaries, 2014, online), but quality is a subjective term to be used in practical levels.
Three major elements of quality can be specified as quality planning, quality assurance and quality control and it is important for the Company to deal with each of these elements appropriately.
Quality planning relates to identification of quality standards that needs to be adhered. Quality planning is engaged in before the process of manufacturing. Quality assurance, on the other hand, is associated with the measures and procedures that ensure adherence to standard quality and these measures and procedures are applied during the process of operations. Quality control refers to initiatives to be used to improve the quality of products and services.
Quality-related tools and methods can be divided into two broad categories: quality enabling tools and quality measurement tools. Elements of both categories can be integrated in specific approaches or philosophies towards quality management.
Total Quality Management (TQM) and Six Sigma are the most popular approaches to quality management. TQM stresses the importance of total commitment to quality throughout the organisation and its main principles include customer-orientation, leadership, strategic planning, continuous improvement, application of statistical methods, training and development and co-operation.
Six Sigma is an alternative quality-related philosophy and it adopts a data-based approach to eliminate defects. General Electric defines Six Sigma as a vision for quality that is equal to only 3.4 defects per one million opportunities.
Adoption of Six Sigma approach can offer a set of significant advantages such as significant improvement of quality, cost savings through elimination of wastes and reduction in manufacturing process cycle time, as well as uniting all members of operations workforce around the idea of quality priority.
It is crucially important for Company operations management not to compromise on quality when increasing the amount of output in order to meet demands associated with new online sales channel. Therefore, the Company needs to implement the principles of Six Sigma in order to be able to adopt quality as its competitive advantage at the same time when engaging in revenue maximisation through online sales.
Specifically, DMAIC approach for Six Sigma needs to be followed when implementing this philosophy in the Company, where the acronym stands for define, measure, analyse, improve and control.
The rationale behind the adoption of Six Sigma relates to the willingness not to compromise on the quality of specialist power garden tools and other products manufactured by the Company at the same time when expanding the amount of output to provide for online sales.
In other words, Six Sigma is intended to serve as an indicator to identify the extent at which the output can be further expanded without any negative implications on quality, and once the level of output reaches its maximum capacity in this sense provisions can be made to increase production capabilities.
Quality (2014) Oxford Dictionaries, Available at: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/quality