Title: Innovative quality circle: a technique for coupling innovation and quality through employee participation

Authors: S. Thirugnanam, S. Vinodh, S.R. Devadasan

Addresses: Department of Mechanical Engineering, Kumaraguru College of Technology, Coimbatore-641 006, India. ' Department of Mechanical Engineering, PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore-641 004, India. ' Department of Production Engineering, PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore-641 004, TamilNadu, India

Abstract: One of the techniques that have been dominating the Total Quality Management (TQM) era is Quality Circle Programme (QCP). Several benefits of QCP have been reported in the literature. In particular, QCPs| problem-solving ability is highly appreciated. Today|s intense competition demands innovation rather than mere solving of problems. This situation envisages the integration of innovation management principles with QCP. In order to fulfil this imperative, a technique named innovative Quality Circle (innovative QC) has been proposed in this paper. After describing its framework, the implementation features of innovative QC is presented with the help of a case study. Since it is foreseen that innovative QC|s sustainability will be ensured by making use of the Decision Support System (DSS) concept, a DSS named Innovative Quality Circle Programme (IQCP) is presented. The article concludes by citing the need for conducting practical case studies on innovative QC to improve its practical compatibility.

Keywords: quality circles; innovation management; problem-solving approach; decision support systems; DSS; employee participation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSOM.2007.013467

International Journal of Services and Operations Management, 2007 Vol.3 No.4, pp.478 - 495

Published online: 30 Apr 2007 *

Full-text access for editors Full-text access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article