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North’s First Experience Of Quality Circle Symposium

North’s First Experience Of Quality Circle Symposium
Participants at the Quality Control Circle Symposium in Labasa. Photo: National Training and Productivity Centre
August 11
11:00 2018

Industries and organisations witnessed the first ever Qual­ity Control Circle (QCC) Sym­posium to be held for the northern division in Labasa last month.

Teams made presentations on how they as a group identified, and suc­cessfully resolved problems at their workplace to boost productivity.

The Fiji National University’s, Na­tional Training and Productivity Centre (NTPC) has been organising QCC Symposiums for more than 30 years.

This year as we celebrated the 20th anniversary for Fiji Business Excellence Awards, it was decided to treat the northern organisations with an experience of the ambience and feel of such a symposium.

Labasa QCC Symposium

The Department of Quality Awards of NTPC hosted a Quality Control Circle Symposium for the first time in Labasa.

The purpose of celebrating, shar­ing, benchmarking and recognising outstanding quality circle teams from various industries across all sectors in the northern division.

Such an event promotes the pro­ductivity and quality initiatives across Fiji, assisting and support­ing the industries in North to align towards national prosperity.

This symposium created a plat­form for industries to come to­gether and gain recognition at a national level, learning from vari­ous benchmarking practices and success stories presented during the event.

Five quality circles from different organisations from around Vanua Levu participated in the QC com­petition.

Despite their debut at the QC Symposium, the teams depicted commendable enthusiasm and con­fidence during their presentations.

Some teams presented to public for the first time, and their efforts of hard work, and positive mindset on who they are and the love for what they do, was evident through successful presentations.

The teams maximised the oppor­tunity of being given such a big platform to present at and learn from.

Team Inspire from Energy Fiji Limited were the guest presenters at the day-long symposium.

EFL has been the model organisa­tion at the National Convention on Quality and has participated at the (IETEX) Singapore representing Fiji at the International level.

And it was a marvellous experi­ence for the participating teams to hear from EFL and learn the com­pany’s success journey.

The way forward for the teams

Such initiatives and exposure cre­atively provides a systematic way for gaining reward and recognition of employees and the employers in the North.

Being recognised at the national level has empowered the teams to bring about a culture of excellence within their respective organisa­tions.

Meanwhile, Team Eagle Eye from Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) La­basa was awarded with the Gold Award –has been invited at the 23rd National Convention on Quality.

The Department of Quality Awards will continue its efforts to sustain the teams through consist­ent awareness sessions on produc­tivity and quality methodologies for all industries, and such is ex­pected to boost the number of or­ganisations implementing internal QCs.

Strengthening internal QC teams

n Setting a clear company objec­tives can further empower internal QC teams to boost productivity and quality at workplace.

This includes communicating regularly organisational progress and whether or not organisational goals are being reached.

Doing so keeps the process of reaching goals more vibrant, and also helps in motivating employees.

n Paying attention to employee’s development – Stagnant jobs with limited challenges will diminish the energy employees get from their work.

It is therefore vital that employee’s jobs evolve, for instance by broad­ening the scope of work.

n Creating a shared experience among employees, as they reinforce a feeling of belongingness and con­fidence.

n Finally, involve employees in company-wide decisions.

This helps to ensure support of the decisions, as well as clarity about employee’s thoughts and feel­ings.

Organisational commitment is the bond employees experience with their organisation.

Broadly speaking, employees who are committed to their organisa­tion generally feel a connection with their organisation, feel that they fit in and, feel they understand the goals of the organisation.

The added value of such employ­ees is that they tend to be more determined in their work, show relatively high productivity and are more proactive in offering their support.

Overview of QCCs in Fiji

Quality Control Circles were pop­ularised in Fiji after becoming a member of the Asian Productivity Organization in 1984.

NTPC is the designated National Productivity Organisation (NPO) for Fiji and undertakes the role of promoting productivity in the country.

Since 1984 or some 34 years later, productivity promotion through QCCs have come a long way and helped several private and pub­lic sector organizations including NGOs.

After years of training and promo­tion since 1984, the first National Convention on QCC was convened in 1991.

Today, we have over 220 circles in some 85 organizations in the coun­try.

For many organisations QCC has been one of their first activities to improve their quality and process­es.

The circle activities involves workers who engaged in executing tasks, and so are in the best posi­tion to suggest work improvement by identifying and rectifying work­place problems.

This has meant greater utilisa­tion of the knowledge and wisdom of workers (not just the brawn but their brains too) and this involve­ment of workers in all the QCC sto­ries has clearly seen their morale and motivation rise to unprece­dented levels through participation in QCC activities.

What are Quality Control Circles?

These Circles or teams are formed voluntarily by employees to solve work related problems in any or­ganisation.

Circles are formed by a small group of employees who are pas­sionate about improvements and they meet regularly to solve prob­lems in their work area.

The QCCs are supported by man­agement and it is good to note that over time in Fiji management has understood the benefits of quality control circles and are providing the resources and time needed for circle activities.

There is also the growing realisa­tion that workers in charge of the different work areas know best their work and hence are in a bet­ter position to understand the chal­lenges faced in the work area and suggest best options to deal with the problems at hand and make suggestions for improvements.

Common Lessons from the QCC

Success Stories

There are several common lessons in all the QCC stories.

n Strong leadership – The best re­sults are achieved when the overall initiative, the goals, directions, and strategies of the team, is approved by the executive management.

n The strong foundations of quality help nurture a strong qual­ity culture in each of these organi­sations.

The dynamism of managers, fa­cilitators, leaders and the steering committees have been critical to their success.

n It is very clear that where or­ganisations have recorded great success with QCCs, it was on the strength of effective training and education and with the develop­ment of leadership among the cir­cle members over the years.

This has been the case with all success stories presented at the Na­tional Convention on Quality and 1st QC Symposium 2018.

n Quality is a journey. Others have said quality is a marathon without a finish line.

This journey or marathon contin­ues at the NTPC in its promotion of productivity in the country.

We are delighted to work with all organisations that are implement­ing quality control circles.

We are also proud to have marked a milestone with the success of the first QCC Symposium for the Northern Division, and will be hosting the 23rd National Conven­tion on Quality on October 4-5, 2018.

The Department of Quality Awards under the 2005 Productivity Charter works in close association with its social partners, govern­ment, employers and union rep­resentatives and assist in recom­mending appropriate productivity initiatives to be undertaken.

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

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