Quality Circle: Definition & Process

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  • 0:01 Quality Circle Definition
  • 0:45 Quality Circle Structure
  • 1:15 Team Member Responsiblities
  • 3:26 How to Conduct Quality Circles
  • 4:52 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Lombardo
Employees are one of the key resources to help make recommendations for improvements. In this lesson, you will learn about quality circles, their structure and steps and the responsibility of their members.

Quality Circle Definition

Amanda, Jim, Kim, Julia, Aaron and Angelia all work for Yummy Cupcakes Company. They meet every day for lunch to discuss their families and vacation plans and exchange jokes. In addition, the six employees also meet once a week as part of a quality circle, which involves a group of employees who work in the same position or department meeting to discuss, analyze and find solutions for problems related to improving work performance.

In this lesson, we will take a look at the Yummy Cupcakes example to gain an understanding of the structure of the quality circle, the responsibility of its members and how to conduct quality circle meetings.

Quality Circle Structure

The six employees were excited to take part in a corporate quality circle. When management established the group, they came up with some key requirements to ensure the success of the quality circle. Here is the structure they established:

  • Members must volunteer for the positions
  • The group should consist of 6-12 members
  • Circle members should be employees from the same work area or participating in the same type of work
  • Members should agree to meet at a regularly planned time
  • The purpose of the quality circle should be to improve total performance and quality of work life

Team Member Responsibilities

When the quality circle was established at Yummy Cupcakes, team member responsibilities were also created. First of all, Yummy Cupcakes' top management began the implementation by asking for volunteers and explaining the overall process.

The next important part of the quality circle development was the steering committees, which are usually made up of middle management and help prioritize issues. For example, Yummy Cupcakes' steering committee recently tasked the quality circle with making recommendations on improving working conditions. The result was better air supply and a new air conditioner to help the employees be more comfortable on the bakery production floor.

Coordinators are also important. They organize and direct the quality circle activities and ensure that the recommendations are implemented to match operations capabilities. Angelia acts as the coordinator for Yummy Cupcakes' quality circle. She was nominated by management and helps guide the rest of the members through circle activities. In the last meeting, the members kept getting confused about how to make their recommendations for green cleaning products for the factory. Angelia was able to explain the proper request process to change supplies for the cleaning crew.

Like every other group, the quality circle has a leader, which is a person chosen by the members among themselves to provide direction and control over the group. Unlike many other companies, the quality circle members of Yummy Cupcakes have decided to rotate the leader role every six months. Currently the leader is Jim, and he helps run the meetings and assigns tasks.

Members of the quality circle at Yummy Cupcakes are the six employees (Amanda, Jim, Kim, Julia, Aaron and Angelia). The members are responsible for identifying problems and finding solutions. Any non-members of the group can still offer recommendations to the quality circle, but do not take part in weekly meetings. Now that quality circle members' basic responsibilities have been identified, we will discuss the specific tasks that occur at the meetings.

How to Conduct Quality Circles

The six members of Yummy Cupcakes' quality circle follow a specific problem-solving method in order to identify problems and provide effective solutions. The quality circle team's first objective is to identify a problem facing the work team. In today's meeting, the quality circle team, based on Julia's observations, uncovered a potential problem regarding a piece of equipment in production.

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