The role played by quality circles in transforming the Japanese industry, generally characterised by low quality of the product, to one which excels in quality and low costs has made the quality circles very popular in other countries too.
The quality circle concept took birth in India in 1980 when this concept was introduced in the Hyderabad unit of Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL). The growing popularity of the 4aality circles in India is evident from the increase in the number of Organizations which have quality circles.
Quality circles have become universal. They find applications almost every field of human activity as industry, offices, hospitals, service organizations, family etc.
Quality circle is a small group of employees (8-12) working at one place who come forward voluntarily and discuss their work related problems once in a week for say for one hour.
Workers meet as a group and utilize their inherent ability to think for themselves for identifying the constraints being faced by them and pooling their wisdom for final solution that would improve their work life in general and contribute towards better results for the organization.
Philosophy & Objectives of Quality Circles:
The objectives of quality circles are as follows:
1. Create problem solving capability
2. Build an attitude of problem prevention.
3. Reduce errors and enhance quality and productivity
4. Improve communication in the organization
5. Inspire more effective team work.
6. Promote job involvement and participation
7. Increase employees’ motivation.
8. Develop harmonious manager workers’ relationship
9. Develop greater safety awareness
10. Promote cost reduction
11. Promote personnel and leadership development
12. Catalyse attitudinal changes for greater cohesiveness and teamwork.
Characteristics of Quality Circles:
Features & characteristics of quality circles are as follows:
1. It makes work place meaningful.
2. It shows concern for the total person.
3. It harmonises the work.
4. It removes barrier of mistrust.
5. It is voluntary.
6. It has management’s support.
7. It is participative.
8. It involves task performance.
9. It is not a substitute for joint plant councils or work committees.
10. It is group activity.
11. It is not a forum to discuss demand or grievances.
12. It is not a forum for management to unload all their problems.
13. It is not a panacea for all ills.