Philip B. Crosby: Four Absolutes of Quality Management and 14-Step Quality Improvement Plan

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Mohammad Za
Philip B. Crosby: Four Absolutes of
Quality Management and 14-Step Quality
Improvement Plan

Crosby's views on quality fall in the first category. In his view, quality is conformance
to requirements. For this purpose, he states that it is necessary to translate
requirements into measurable product or service characteristics. With requirements
stated in terms of numerical specifications, one can measure the characteristics of a
product (e.g., diameter of a hole) or service (e.g., customer service response time) to
see if it is high quality.

In essence, this means that each requirement must be clear and unambiguously
stated, and its outcome verifiable, so that it can be determined unequivocally
whether the requirement has been satisfied.

One of Crosby's main contributions to quality was a set of four absolutes of quality
management that provide insight into his quality philosophy. The following summary
of his four absolutes is taken from the American Society for Quality:

1. Quality has to be defined as conformance to requirements, not as goodness
or elegance. Management must establish requirements, supply the
wherewithal, and encourage and help employees to get the job done. The
basis of this policy is "Do it right the first time."

2. The system for assuring quality is prevention, not appraisal. The first step to
defect and error prevention is to understand the process* by which a product
is produced. When a defect occurs, discovery and elimination are top
priorities. Prevention is a knowledge issue for quality-focused workers.

3. The performance standard must be zero defects, not "that's good enough."
The only performance standard that makes sense for "do it right the first time"
is zero defects. Zero defects needs to be a performance standard for
everyone in the company, from top management to workers on the line.

Mohammad Za
4. The measurement of quality is the price of nonconformance, not indices. A
dollar figure can be established for the cost of quality (COQ) by determining
the dif erence between the price of nonconformance and the price of
conformance. The price of nonconformance is the expense of doing things the
wrong way, and can account for 20 to 35% of revenues. Price of conformance
is the cost of doing things right -- typical y 3 to 4%. Managers should spend
time identifying where cost of quality is occurring and address what makes it

Built on top of his four absolutes of quality management is Crosby's 14-step road
map for quality improvement in an organization:

Management Commitment:
Give clearly visible signals that management is commit ed to quality throughout the

Quality Improvement Team:
Set up quality improvement teams with senior representatives from each department
to demonstrate high-level commitment.

Quality Measurement:
Measure processes to determine where current and potential quality problems lie.

Cost of Quality:
Evaluate the cost of quality, and explain its use as a management tool.

Quality Awareness:
Raise the quality awareness and personal concern of every employee.

Corrective Action:
Ensure a system is in place for analyzing defects in the system and applying simple
cause-and-effect analysis to prevent recurrence.

Mohammad Za
Zero Defects Planning:
Look for business activities to which zero defect logic should be applied.

Supervisor Training:
Educate and train supervisors on their roles and responsibilities in the quality
improvement process.

Zero Defects Day:
Hold a Zero Defects Day to show everyone there has been a change, and to reaf irm
management commitment.

Goal Setting:
Encourage individuals to establish improvement goals for themselves and their

Error Cause Removal:
Encourage employees to communicate to management the obstacles they face in
attaining their improvement goals.

Employee Recognition:
Recognize and appreciate individual and team efforts for quality improvement.

Quality Councils:
Establish Quality Councils to discuss quality matters on a regular basis.

Repeat the Cycle of Improvement:
Do it all over again and emphasize that the quality improvement process never ends.

Mohammad Za

For A rticle on Q uality visit my blog http:/ /
Link to Previous A rticles
1. Benefits of Implementing a QMS
3. ISO List
4. Twelve Obstacles to Implementing Quality
5. Quality Control Tools
6. PDCA Cycle
7. Top Quality Gurus
8. Quality management system - Summary of requirements
9. Dif erence between Quality Assurance and Quality Control
10. What is ISO 9000?
11. Quality Glossary - A to Z
12. The Quality Control Audit - By Kaoru Ishikwa
13. The eight principles of quality management
14. Executive Summary of the 14 Toyota Way Principles
15. Toyota Production System

For suggestions & feedback contact me at [email protected]

Document Outline

  • 0TUBenefits of Implementing a QMSU0T
  • 0TUISO List
  • UTwelve Obstacles to Implementing Quality
  • UQuality Control Tools
  • UPDCA Cycle
  • UTop Quality Gurus
  • UQuality management system - Summary of requirements
  • UDifference between Quality Assurance and Quality Control
  • UWhat is ISO 9000?
  • UQuality Glossary A to Z
  • UThe Quality Control Audit - By Kaoru Ishikwa
  • UThe eight principles of quality management
  • UExecutive Summary of the 14 Toyota Way Principles
  • UToyota Production System