TQM tools definitions and examples
The following set of tools, which were developed for continuous process improvements, have been used successfully by different companies and organizations. They include techniques for collecting defect data, manipulating and plotting them, prioritizing and identifying defect causes, and removing the most probable ones.
A technique used to get a group to generate the maximum number of ideas on a topic or a problem, brainstorming is useful in opening discussions by involving all group members to generate as many ideas as possible without bias to any single idea.
Brainstorming is a good tool to use for group discussion trying to solve a problem or initiate an action. It has been used extensively in developing and focusing teams of engineers to solve problems or generate ideas for initiating and completing tasks.
The group members should be knowledgeable on the topic to be discussed. Every member should participate in brainstorming. The ideas should be promptly recorded without any arguments and no one person should dominate the discussion.
There are three phases of brainstorming：
1. Idea generation
• Create as many ideas as possible. List these ideas on a flip chart or sticky paper.
• All ideas are permitted; the team should be as freewheeling as possible. One good idea can trigger another.
• The team members should not interrupt each other or analyze ideas presented; there should be no jumping to conclusions. They should only ask questions to clarify issues when ideas are recorded.
• The team should adapt or build on ideas already listed.
• Team facilitator should repeat all items on the list and have every team member agree and understand each idea.
• Remove duplications and add any new ideas.
• Record the list as necessary.
• Narrow down the list by allowing discussions.
• Agree on a final list of ideas acceptable to the group.
It is advisable to use simulated training sessions for brainstorming. A group could attempt to tackle a problem, such as the design of a paper airplane or improving a golf swing or a tennis game，before embarking on brainstorming the problem at hand.