Business Finance
Grantham Application of Quality Tools for Process Improvement Paper

Grantham University

Question Description

In the week two assignment we discussed the application of Deming’s quality concepts to local government. In the week three assignment we research how the tools and techniques of process improvement and control can be applied in local government. Tools and techniques provide organizations with the methods of creatively designing, controlling, and improving quality processes (Evans, 2017, pg. 107). When considering quality control of processes, those same processes need to be repeatable and measurable. The timeframe of the process may be long or short depending on the individual company. The quality tool chosen should be applied to bring the process under control and allow the process to be measured.

Review the article: Case Study: Implementation of TQM and lean six sigma tools in local government and a case study (Furterer & Eishennawy, 2005).

Directions for obtaining the file: Access the Grantham University library by clicking on the Resources tab from the main page in GLife or from the Library Resource Center under My Organizations in Blackboard. You will then click on the EBSCOHost icon. Once you have accessed the database, simply copy and paste the title of the article and press enter to search and you should now have the file accessible to review.

Through research from sources provided in the course and from academic and scholarly resources outside of the course, evaluate and discuss the following elements:

  • Analyze one of the 7 basic tools of quality used in the article and determine how the tool is used in the design of quality management best practices.
  • Discuss if this tool is used effectively and did it contribute to quality improvement and performance excellence as described in week one of this course?
  • Create a new basic tool of quality by combining two of the tools discussed in the article and how this new tool could be applied to bring the process under control and allow the process to be measured.

The paper should contain the following APA formatted elements:

  1. Title Page.
  2. Abstract.
  3. Body of the essay (Your researched response).
  4. Conclusion.
  5. References Section.

The requirements below must be met for your paper to be accepted and graded:

  1. Write a response between 750 – 1000 words for the body of the essay (The title page, abstract, conclusion and References section are not counted toward the word requirement.) (approximately 4-6¬ pages) using Microsoft Word in APA style.
  2. Address all three elements fully.
  3. Use font size 12 and 1” margins.
  4. Use at least three references from outside the course material (You may use the academic resources included in the Week 8 Bibliography.) one reference must be from EBSCOhost. The course textbook and lectures can be used, but are not counted toward the five reference requirement.
  5. References must come from sources such as, academic and scholarly journals and essays found in EBSCOhost, CNN, online newspapers such as, The Wall Street Journal, government websites, etc. Sources such as, Wikis, Yahoo Answers, eHow, blogs, etc. are not acceptable for academic writing.
  6. Cite all reference material (data, dates, graphs, quotes, paraphrased words, values, etc.) in the paper and list on a reference page in APA style. Provide citations everywhere information from the sources is used for foundational support and for validation of opinions.
  7. Use the third person narrative and avoid the use of the first and second person narrative and terms such as; I, me, myself, you, your, yourself, we or us (or related form such as let’s (let us) or we’ll, we’ve (we will / we have) among others). This will prevent the author or other parties from becoming the subject matter and will maintain the focus of the paper on the central theme and subject matter found in the elements.
  8. Be informational and avoid being conversational.

A detailed explanation of how to cite a source using APA can be found here (

Grading Criteria AssignmentsMaximum Points
Meets or exceeds established assignment criteria40
Demonstrates an understanding of lesson concepts20
Clearly presents well-reasoned ideas and concepts30
Uses proper mechanics, punctuation, sentence structure, and spelling10

Unformatted Attachment Preview

Total Quality Management Vol. 16, No. 10, 1179 –1191, December 2005 Implementation of TQM and Lean Six Sigma Tools in Local Government: a Framework and a Case Study SANDRA FURTERER & AHMAD K. ELSHENNAWY Department of Industrial Engineering & Management Systems, University of Central Florida, USA ABSTRACT While TQM is an organization-wide approach, aimed at improving the quality of products and services and mainly focused on continuous improvement, Lean Six Sigma is an approach focused on improving quality, reducing variation and eliminating waste in an organization. The concept of combining the principles and tools of Lean Enterprise and Six Sigma in a more synergistic manner has occurred in the literature over the last several years. The majority of TQM and Lean Six Sigma applications have been in private industry, focusing mostly on manufacturing applications. The literature has not provided cases of Lean Six Sigma programmes applied to local government. This paper presents some efforts of implementing TQM tools in local government and a case study of applying Lean and Six Sigma tools and principles to improving the quality and timeliness of providing local governmental services. KEY WORDS : Six Sigma, Lean Six Sigma, process improvement, quality management, Total Quality Management Introduction Lean Six Sigma is an approach focused on improving quality, reducing variation and eliminating waste in an organization. It is based on the concept of combining two improvement programmes, Six Sigma and Lean Enterprise. Six Sigma is both a quality management philosophy and a methodology that focuses on reducing variation, measuring defects and improving the quality of products, processes and services. The concept of Six Sigma was developed in the early 1980s at Motorola Corporation. Six Sigma was popularized in the late 1990s by General Electric Corporation and their former CEO Jack Welch. Lean Enterprise is a methodology that focuses on reducing cycle time and waste in processes. Lean Enterprise originated from the Toyota Motor Corporation as the Toyota Production System and increased in popularity after the 1973 energy crisis. The term ‘Lean Thinking’ was coined by James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones in Correspondence Address: Sandra Furterer, Department of Industrial Engineering &Management Systems, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida 32816-2450, USA. Email: 1478-3363 Print=1478-3371 Online=05=101179–13 # 2005 Taylor & Francis DOI: 10.1080=14783360500236379 1180 S. Furterer & A. K. Elshennawy their book, Lean Thinking (Womack & Jones, 1996). The term ‘Lean Enterprise’ is used to broaden the scope of a Lean programme from manufacturing to embrace the enterprise or entire organization (Alukal, 2003). Six Sigma uses the DMAIC problem solving approach, and a wide array of quality problem solving tools. Use of the tools varies based on the type of process studied and the problems that are encountered. There are many tools in the Lean tool set that help to eliminate waste, organize, and simplify the work processes. Lean Six Sigma Applications in Private Industry The concept of combining Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma principles began in the middle to late 1990s, and quickly took hold. There are many examples of manufacturing companies implementing a combined effort of Lean and Six Sigma. An early example, starting in 1997, was by an aircraft-engine-controls firm, BAE Systems Controls, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. They blended Lean-manufacturing principles with Six Sigma quality tools (Sheridan, 2000). Another early innovator combining Lean and Six Sigma was Maytag Corporation. It implemented Lean Sigma in 1999. They designed a new production line using the concepts of Lean and Six Sigma (Dubai Quality Group, 2003). Lean Six Sigma has been implemented at Northrop Grumman, an Aerospace Company. They had already begun to implement Lean Thinking when they embarked upon their Six Sigma program. They integrated the Workout events (a problem-solving process developed at GE) with the Lean Thinking methods and Kaizen events (McIlroy &Silverstein, 2002). Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems reduced costs, improved competitiveness, customer satisfaction and the first-time quality of all its manufactured goods. They had separate Lean and Six Sigma projects, depending on the objective of the project and the problem that needed to be solved (Kandebo, 1999). Lean Six Sigma Applications in the Public Sector The majority of the applications of Lean Six Sigma in the literature have been in the private sector, mostly in the manufacturing industry and typically in larger companies. Many experts in Lean and Six Sigma suggest that the tools can be used in non-manufacturing settings including: software development, service industries such as customer service call centres, education, in administrative functions such as accounting and order processing, material procurement, and new product development (Bossert & Grayson, 2002). From a review of the literature, there was no evidence found of local governmental entities using a combined approach of Lean Enterprise and Six Sigma. There are some examples of local governmental entities applying Six Sigma principles and tools. An example of a city government applying Six Sigma principles to improve customer service and increase the effectiveness of their services is the City of Fort Wayne, Indiana (City of Fort Wayne, 2002). The City of Coral Springs, Florida won the Florida Governor’s Sterling Award in 1997 and again in 2003, being the first repeat winner of the award. The Florida Governor’s Sterling Award is based on the Malcolm Baldrige criteria of leadership, strategic planning, TQM and Lean Six Sigma Tools in Local Government 1181 customer and market focus, information and analysis, human resource focus, process management and business results. The Malcolm Baldrige criteria are nationally recognized as standards of organizational excellence (City of Coral Springs, 2003). The City of Kingsport Tennessee received a Good Works Initiative grant from the American Society for Quality (ASQ). The goal of the Good Works Initiative is to transfer Quality knowledge to not-for-profit, community-based organizations. A grant was provided to the City of Kingsport to reduce costs and improve the service reliability of trash collection (American Society for Quality, 2002) Although the literature does not provide cases of Lean Six Sigma programmes in local governments, there is evidence in the literature of applications of quality principles and tools in the public sector. Boyne &Walker (2002) studied how TQM was used in private and public organizations and whether TQM helped to improve performance in these organizations. A study by Hellein and Bowman investigated the impact of the implementation of quality management in four Florida state government agencies. Although only four agencies were studied, the research demonstrated that even though it may be difficult to deploy quality management in public organizations, it is possible (Hellein &Bowman, 2002). A study in the UK investigated the use of quality management in the public sector and in the private service sector. Quality management efforts in the public sector in the UK appear to be widespread within the public organizations that they surveyed (Redman et al., 1995). There are few long-term examples in the literature of mature quality programmes and the application of quality principles and tools in the governmental sector. Surveys indicate that large numbers of agencies at all levels of government have adopted quality programmes, but it is not clear whether many of them have moved beyond the initial stages with a strong commitment to making quality a way of life on an on-going basis (Poister & Harris, 2000; Hyde, 1997). Lean Six Sigma Application in a Local Government: a Case Study Lean Six Sigma can improve the efficiency of processes, improve the quality of service delivery to citizens, and reduce the costs of providing these services. The authors applied Lean Six Sigma tools and principles to the financial administration processes in a local governmental entity. These tools streamlined the processes and reduced the time to complete the financial processes. The financial processes include payroll, purchasing and accounts payable, accounts receivable, and monthly reconciliation, in a 7000-citizen municipality. The Finance Clerk generates paycheques every two weeks for the city employees. The processing also includes pension matching, making pension payments and reporting. The payroll department also processes income tax payments, garnishments, child support and other withholdings to the appropriate agencies. The customers of the payroll process are internal city employees and external agencies that receive withholding payments and reports. The initial or current processes are inefficient, error-prone, lengthy, and have an extensive number of non-value added steps. The entire payroll, pension reporting, and withholding payment process takes between 13 to 70 employee hours per pay period, depending on whether processing problems occur. 1182 S. Furterer & A. K. Elshennawy The purchasing and accounts payable processes enable the city personnel to purchase materials, products, and services to run the city. Purchase requisitions are generated by personnel, the Finance Clerk generates the purchase order, which is then approved by the City Manager, the Finance Director, and city council, and if necessary. Invoices are received by the Finance Director and processed by the Finance Clerk, with the appropriate approvals and signatures. The current state purchasing and accounts payable processes are inefficient, error-prone, lengthy, and have an extensive number of non-value added steps. Payments to vendors are frequently late. Multiple invoices for the same payment are frequently received and must be reviewed to determine if they have been paid. The up front purchasing process takes approximately seven to ten days to generate and approve the purchase orders after the approved purchase requisition is received. The purchase orders are then filed until the invoices are received. The entire accounts payable process takes approximately two weeks to process a batch from initial invoice receipt to vendor payment. The Finance Clerk records revenue receipts and deposits revenue cheques into the bank. In the current process there is a lag between when the revenue cheques are received in the Finance Department and when they are entered into the financial system and deposited into the bank, due to process inefficiencies, and workload capacity issues. The Finance Clerk is responsible for reconciling the financial records on a monthly basis. Reconciliation includes comparing the bank statements for the payroll account, a general account, and several investment accounts to the financial system entries. Due mainly to either process inefficiencies or workload capacity issues, or both, monthly reconciliation currently is rarely performed in a timely manner. Sometimes the Finance Director reconciles the books, and other times it is outsourced to an accountant. The Six Sigma problem solving approach (DMAIC), along with quality and Lean tools were used to improve the financial processes. A successful implementation of the Lean Six Sigma problem solving approach and quality and Lean tools will be measured by the reduction of process inefficiencies, the reduction of the time it takes to process the financial transactions, and the assignment of appropriate staffing levels to handle the workload. No quantitative or qualitative measures of process or quality characteristics exist for any of the financial processes. DMAIC in Local Government The DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, Control) problem solving methodology from the Six Sigma approach was used to improve the financial processes. Application of each phase in improving the financial processes will be presented in the following sections. Define The goal of the define phase of the DMAIC Six Sigma problem solving process is to define the need for improving the financial processes. The following section will describe the activities performed within each phase of the DMAIC problem solving approach, and the Quality tools applied within each phase. (1) Define process improvement need The Finance Director identified the need to streamline the financial processes, and was the project champion. TQM and Lean Six Sigma Tools in Local Government 1183 Table 1. Team mission, roles and responsibilities Team Mission Document the current financial processes to create desktop procedures and to identify and implement financial process improvements. Role Finance Clerk as Process Owner Finance Director as Project Champion Team Quality Facilitator as Black Belt Process Analyst Consulting Manager Responsibility Provides process knowledge and identifies and implements improvement opportunities Establishes team mission and goals. Provides project team resources and support. Provides team facilitation. Provides technical quality and Lean tool knowledge. Provides best practice for financial processes. Prepares documentation. Collects process data. Identifies improvement opportunities. Provides business knowledge and direction. Manages consultants. (2) Identify department goals, project scope, objectives and project plan The Team Quality Facilitator, the Process Analyst, and the Consulting Manager interviewed the Finance personnel to understand the financial department goals, the project scope and objectives. The team created a project plan with activities, a timeline, and resources. Table 1 identifies the team mission, and team members’ roles and responsibilities. (3) Form process improvement team A process improvement team was formed, consisting of the Finance Director, the Finance Clerk, and a Team Quality Facilitator that performed the role of a Black Belt, a Process Analyst and a Consulting Manager. The Team Quality Facilitator, the Process Analyst and the Consulting Manager were hired from an external consulting firm. Measure The goal of the measure phase of the DMAIC Six Sigma problem solving process is to understand and document the current state of the processes to be improved, and identify the process problems that are causing inefficiencies and errors and their root causes. The activities performed and tools applied during the measure phase are discussed below. (1) Profile current state We used process flow chart analysis to map the current state processes. These flow charts identified the steps involved in the Finance Department activities related to the financial processes. We noted various system functions used to perform these processes within the process flows. We identified the written (of which few existed) and unwritten policies 1184 S. Furterer & A. K. Elshennawy Table 2. Estimated processing times Process Payroll and Pension Reporting Purchasing/Accounts Payable Accounts Receivable Monthly Reconciliation Estimated processing time range Estimated average processing time 13 to 70 hours 30 to 40 hours per batch (only about half of the due invoices are processed every other week). 40 to 80 hours (including delay due to workload capacity issues) 40 to 80 hours (if performed) 60 hours 40 hours 60 hours 60 hours that governed the processes. We identified if any process measures existed, which they did not. The Finance Clerk estimated the average and range of the processing times based on her experience with the processes. The estimated processing times are displayed in Table 2. We profiled the people and cultural state to understand the level of skills and training of the employees, and their resistance or acceptance levels to change. At the start of the project, the Finance Clerk was very resistant to change. As the project progressed, she became very receptive to the improvement ideas because she saw how it would help her get her work done more quickly and with fewer errors. She also enjoyed getting the attention related to the improvement effort. The Finance Director was very receptive to change and the improvement effort. He embraced the vision of improved and streamlined financial processes. We profiled the technology to determine if the financial system was meeting their needs. They had implemented the system about six months prior to the project starting, and there were many training issues related to the software. There were also some inefficient information system flows required by the software applications. Ad-hoc financial reporting capability was difficult, time consuming, and required extensive knowledge of data tables and query ability. (2) Identify problems that contribute to process inefficiencies and errors The project team used the process flow charts and several Lean tools, including waste identification and elimination, standardization of operations to identify and eliminate non-valued added activities, and good housekeeping (part of the 5Ss) to identify process problems, such as, inefficient sorting and filing of purchase orders and invoices. We also used brainstorming to identify problems. (3) Identify root causes of problems We used Cause and Effect analysis to identify root causes related to people (such as lack of training, and skills), methods (lack of standardized procedures), information technology (information system human factors and processing flow was confusing and inefficient), and hardware (broken and inefficient printers). A Cause and Effect diagram is presented in Figure 1. TQM and Lean Six Sigma Tools in Local Government 1185 Figure 1. Cause and effect diagram Analyse The goal of the analyse phase is to analyse the problems and process inefficiencies and define improvement opportunities. Also, part of the analyse phase is to perform a cost– benefit analysis to understand whether the improvements are too costly compared with the estimated benefits to improve productivity and quality. (1) Analyse gaps from best practice We identified gaps comparing the current state processes to best practice financial processes. We used Pareto Analysis to understand the vendor purchase patterns to potentially streamline the number of vendors across city departments. Figure 2 shows the number of vendors by the year-to-date dollar volume. There are over 250 vendors with year-to-date (through August) dollar volume of activity less than $500. We used our understanding of financial processes and the concepts of Lean principles and the process flow charts to identify non-valued added activities, especially related to unnecessary work and rework. We used the concept of implementing improvements that would prevent problems and rework due to printer jams, and inefficient use of the technology to reduce the financial processing time. We performed an analysis of reported financial information system problems using Pareto Analysis and Statistical Process Control Charts to identify employee training and knowledge gaps with respect to the financial and administrative information system. Figure 3 shows the reported information system problems organized Figure 2. Vendors by year-to-date dollar volume 1186 S. Furterer & A. K. Elshennawy Figure 3. Pareto chart of information system problems by resolution category. This chart shows that training problems contributed to 54% of the reported problems. Figure 4 shows the moving range control chart of the time (in hours) that it took the software vendor to resolve reported information system problems. An individual chart was also used, but not shown here. The control charts showed that problems with the system contributed to process inefficiencies. (2) Identify improvement opportunities and develop an improvement plan We identified improvement opportunities that we grouped as Lean categories: standardized proc ...
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Final Answer

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Cause and Effect Diagram Quality Tool


Quality concern and improvement has become an interesting issue in the current world of
business, production and service delivery. Organizations are focused on how they can eliminate
wastes and improve on the quality in their processes as they carry out their obligations. Quality is
a competing strength today. Of notable tools of quality is the cause and effect diagram or the
fishbone diagram or Ishikawa diagram. The cause and effect diagram are a graphical representation
of the probable causes of a problem that exists. The representation helps in brainstorming and
having an insight to the existence of an opportunity by sorting out suggested ideas into useful
groups (Schoenfeldt, 2008).
In the case study, the cause and effect diagram tool are used in identifying the causes of
slow financial processes in the local government. Of notable importance, the tool was applied in
identifying that there was a problem in delivering financial services both to the internal clients and
the external clients in this local government. To best understand the problem, an agreement on the
statement of problem mus...

Thomas574 (18609)
University of Maryland

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