BMG 746: Quality Management and Process Improvement

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BMG 746: Quality Management and Process Improvement 

2023 - 2024

MODULE TITLE Quality Management and Process Improvement


Location Semester Module Co-ordinator Teaching Staff
- - - -

Blended Delivery: 24 hrs (inc. Live Interactive Sessions)
Learning Set: 4 hrs
Independent study (including assessment): 172 hrs

The key to sustained operational excellence is the ability to obsessively stay focused on service quality. This will necessitate continuous improvement to add value and remove wasteful effort. The total quality concept is an approach to operations management and  service delivery that incorporates many elements: notably, an obsession for service quality, the use of statistical data, the control of service time variability and the practice of lean working. To achieve quality outcomes, organisations must think in terms of systems and processes and how they are designed to deliver customer value and satisfaction.

This module aims to facilitate students to acquire knowledge of the tools and techniques of quality control to reduce errors and service time variability and learn lean working techniques to identify and remove process waste so as to minimise flow times.

This module aims to help students develop valuable business improvement skills; in particular, the quantification of service time variation, the identification and quantification of waste, and the application of the improvement cycle.

This module aims to hone a number of attributes that are important for a business improvement professional: notably; the seeking of quantitative data, problem-finding, questioning assumptions and generating ideas.

Successful students will be able to:

  1. Critically evaluate the theories of quality management and lean working, their links to commercially available improvement methods, and their contribution to service delivery and productivity in the context of a familiar organisational setting.
  2. Critically reflect upon the approach to quality management practice in the context of a familiar organisational setting with regard to performance attributes.
  3. Identify the bottleneck areas where flow is interrupted; and use lean tools to identify wasteful tasks and activities that could be removed to achieve better workflow and generate capacity.
  4. Make recommendations for improving the management of quality and workflow.

* The Philosophy of Quality Management
* Understanding the Importance of Performance and Conformance Quality
* Using SPC to Control Process Variation in Quality & Timeliness
* Understanding When SPC is Appropriate
* The Costs of Quality: Control Versus Failure
* Understanding How TSEF Underpins Lean and Six Sigma; How These Improvement Methodologies Can Facilitate TSEF in Practice
* The Philosophy of Lean Working to Smooth Workflow
* Process Kaizen: Identifying and Removing Waste in Processes
* Value Stream Mapping
* Utilizing Kanban Boards to Manage Workflow

Module delivery would normally take place on campus using conventional classroom sessions. This year, due to the social distancing requirements to limit the spread of Covid-19, a blended model of learning and teaching methods will be used. This will incorporate live online virtual classroom sessions for interactive seminars and tutorials as well as in class teaching. To participate in the virtual sessions, participants will study voiced-over PowerPoint lecture presentations, perform directed activities and read specific articles. The three-day core teaching format will be retained. The general structure will be that at the beginning of each virtual day, a virtual classroom meeting will set the agenda of tasks, reading, listening and live virtual classroom sessions for that day. An online live Library induction session will be included on day 2. Learning will be supported by small group online learning sets which will be scheduled two weeks after the core teaching block.

The module will be 100% coursework.

Assessment Implementing TSEF: Managing Quality & Removing Waste
Students are tasked with performing a two-stage operational assessment; firstly, to perform an analysis of quality management / control in a process that they are involved with; and secondly, to map the value stream that the process belongs to. The objectives of this assignment are twofold: (1) for students to understand whether the quality of output(s) is (are) under control, and (2) to understand the current state of the value stream before getting involved in waste elimination activities. The knowledge created will greatly assist the prioritisation of future improvement activities. If it is discovered that quality is not under control, students will begin to appreciate the futility of attempting to remove other waste types until the waste of errors has been controlled. Ideally students will build on their first assignment for Operational Excellence (OE) and use the same process for this assignment.

The OE assignment required students to gather data on average WIP level in process, the average flow rate of output and to calculate flow time through their process; all of this data can be carried directly into this assignment.

Literature Review of Relevant Management Theory
As part of this assignment, students should first prepare a critical literature review of relevant management theory and academic research; notably from the fields of quality management and lean working. The objective of this scholarship is to enable students to perform their operational analysis and to discuss their findings from a considered perspective.

Analysis of Quality Management & Control in the Process
Students should then attempt to quantify the customer / service user requirements of their selected process to identify the performance attributes required of the process. Students should critique whether the process has been designed with these attributes in mind. Key measurements should be in place to control that the process is conforming to the required performance attributes. Quality management is the set of all activities that the organization performs to improve and maintain the quality of its services. Students should perform a critical analysis of their process’ quality management and control activities. The best answers will attempt to quantify the process capability but everyone should at least discuss this issue if data is unavailable. If SPC exists in the selected process, then the associated data can be incorporated into the critical evaluation.

Analysis of the Value Stream
The value stream that the process belongs to should then be critically evaluated and this will involve the creation of a Current State Value Stream Map to highlight where workflow is uneven. This might be due to over-burdening some resources while others wait or it might be the alternating over time between over-burdening and under-utilizing the same resources. Failing to maintain a steady work rhythm is likely to be causing process wastes and students should attempt to classify the wastes  and to quantify them, if possible. Once the current value stream is understood, students will be in the right position to consider the implications for flow of removing non-value-adding (wasteful) activities in one part of the value stream. A first attempt should be made to design an improved value stream and this will involve the creation of a Future State Value Stream Map.

Improvement Priorities & Implementation Implications
Once the analysis of quality and workflow has been completed, students should be in a position to highlight the areas where performance is falling short. Students may recommend the selective use of SPC for particular performance measurements or other quality management techniques. Students may also be motivated to recommend the use of Kanban Boards to enable workflow management; if so, the implications for implementation should be carefully considered. In completing this assignment, students may make discoveries about their selected process and / or value stream that are not commonly recognised in their organisation. If so, this should be discussed. In any event, students should be in a position to prioritise the most critical aspects of improvement. Students should comment if such priorities are in line with existing or pending improvement projects, if applicable.

The word length of the coursework is a maximum of 4,000 words.

Marking Criteria
The criteria upon which marks will be awarded are: (1) knowledge and depth of understanding of key principles and concepts; (2) evidence of detailed application of theory; (3) evidence of reading from a range of sources; (4) evidence of critical evaluation and independent thinking; and (5) logically structured presentation using correct grammar and spelling.

Each of the following elements is worth a percentage of the total marks.

  1. Literature Review of Relevant Management Theory (20%)
  2. Analysis of Quality Management & Control in the Process (20%)
  3. Analysis of the Current State Value Stream (20%)
  4. Discussion of the Future State Value Stream (10%)
  5. Discussion of Improvement Priorities & Implications for Implementation Relative to Quality and Workflow Management (20%)
  6. Presentation (10%)

Feedback on the coursework will be returned electronically in written format by the tutor within two weeks of its submission. Students will have received their feedback prior to commencing their next module. Additional verbal feedback and consultation will be available upon request. Students are encouraged to complete their analysis at least three weeks prior to submission should formative feedback be sought from the Lecturer.


Required Text Books

  • Spath, P. L. and Kelly, D. L. (2017) Applying Quality Management in Healthcare: A Systems Approach, Fourth Edition, Health Administration Press, Chicago
  • Zidel, T. G. (2012) Lean Done Right: Achieve and Maintain Reform in Your Healthcare Organization, Health Administration Press, Chicago

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