How Do I Choose the Best Total Quality Management Software?

Total quality management is based on product quality, and establishes a scientific, rigorous and efficient quality system to provide all activities that meet the needs of users with products or services.

Total quality management is based on product quality, and establishes a scientific, rigorous and efficient quality system to provide all activities that meet the needs of users with products or services.
Chinese name
Total quality management
product quality
Scientific Rigorous and Efficient
Products that meet user needs

Total Quality Management Management Core

Total quality management, or TQM (Total Quality Management), refers to the management approach of an organization that is centered on quality and based on full participation, with the goal of achieving long-term success through customer satisfaction and the benefit of all members of the organization and society. In total quality management, the concept of quality is related to the achievement of all management objectives.

TQM Features

Comprehensiveness: refers to the object of total quality management, which is the entire process of production and operation of an enterprise.
Full staff: It means that total quality management depends on all employees.
Preventive: It means that total quality management should be highly preventive.
Serviceability: Mainly manifested in the company's own products or services to meet user needs and serve users.
Scientific: Quality management must be scientific, and modern science and technology and advanced scientific management methods must be used more consciously.

Disadvantages of Total Quality Management

Publicity, training, and management costs are high.

Meaning of Total Quality Management

Total quality management
* improve product quality
* Improve product design
* Speed up the production process
* Inspire staff morale and enhance quality awareness
* Improve product after-sales service
* Increase market acceptance
* Reduce operating quality costs
* Reduce operating losses
* Reduce field maintenance costs
* Reduce liability accidents
Connotation: A type of organization that achieves long-term success by centering on quality management and based on full participation, with the goal of satisfying customers and benefiting the organization's owners, employees, suppliers, partners, or society. Management approach. [1]

Total Quality Management Scope

The basic difference between the basic principle of total quality management and other concepts is that it emphasizes that in order to achieve real economic benefits, management must begin with identifying the quality requirements of the customer, and finally the customer is satisfied with the product in his hands. Total quality management is to guide the coordination of people, machines, and information to achieve this goal.

Two Pillars of Total Quality Management

The first pillar cost control is timely and comprehensive
Waste is ubiquitous in traditional enterprises: excess production, unnecessary movement of parts, unnecessary actions by operators, waiting for work, substandard quality or rework, inventory, etc., eliminating all activities that cannot add value in the production process, that is, eliminating waste.
Second pillar of continuous improvement automation
Continuous improvement is another brand-new corporate culture that implements total quality management, transforms from a traditional enterprise to a lean enterprise, and enjoys the benefits of lean production. The pillar that runs through it is management automation. This is also one of the eight principles of quality management emphasized by ISO9000: 2000.

Total Quality Management Management Tool

Seven tools for total quality management
The so-called seven tools commonly used in total quality management are the seven commonly used methods for collecting and analyzing quality data, analyzing and determining quality problems, and controlling and improving the quality level in carrying out total quality management activities. These methods are not only scientific, but also practical. As the team leader, they should first learn and master them, and lead the workers to apply them to production.
1. Statistical analysis table method and measure plan table method
Quality management is scientific, and everything depends on data. Therefore, the statistical analysis of the original quality data in the production process is very important. To this end, a corresponding table must be designed according to the working characteristics of the team and the post.
2. Permutation diagram method
The permutation chart method is an effective method to find out the main factors affecting product quality.
Steps to make the arrangement diagram:
1) Collecting data, that is, collecting data on product quality issues in a certain period of time. For example, data on scrap or non-conforming products can be collected over a period of 1 month, 3 months, or half a year.
2) Hierarchical, listed into a data table, the data collected will be processed hierarchically according to different problems, each layer can also be called an item; then count the various problems (or each item) repeatedly The number of occurrences (ie frequency); according to the order of the frequency, the data table is listed in order from the largest to the smallest, as the basic basis for calculation and graphing.
3) Perform calculations, that is, based on the data in column (3), calculate the percentage of each type of problem in the total problem accordingly, count it in column (4), and then calculate the cumulative percentage and count it in column (5) .
4) Make an arrangement diagram. That is, according to the data in the above table. It should be noted that the cumulative percentage should be marked on the right side of each item, and then starting from the origin, the points are connected in a straight line to form a Pareto curve.
3. Causality analysis diagram method
The causal analysis chart is also called the characteristic factor map. According to its shape, some people call it a branch or fishbone diagram. It is an effective tool to find the cause of quality problems.
Cautions for drawing a cause and effect analysis chart:
1) The major reasons that affect product quality are usually analyzed from five major aspects, namely people, machines, raw materials, processing methods and working environment. Each major cause is then subdivided into several medium causes, and the medium causes are subdivided into small causes, the finer the better, until measures can be taken.
2) In the discussion, we should give full play to technical democracy and brainstorm. When others speak, do not interrupt or argue. All opinions must be recorded.
4. Layered method
Hierarchical method, also called classification method, is a method to analyze the reasons that affect quality (or other problems). We know that if many different reasons are mixed together, it will be difficult to figure out. The method is to classify the collected data according to different purposes, and to group the data collected under the same production conditions under the same nature. In this way, the facts reflected in the data can be made more obvious and prominent, and it is easy to find the problem and prescribe the right medicine.
Data processing in enterprises is often classified according to the following principles:
  1. Divided by different time: such as classification by different shifts, different dates.
  2. According to the operator: such as new, old workers, male workers, female workers, different working age classification.
  3. According to the equipment used: such as different machine models, different fixtures and so on.
  4. Divided by operation method: For example, according to different cutting conditions, temperature, pressure and other working conditions.
  5. According to raw materials: For example, according to different feeding units, different feeding time, different material components, and so on.
  6. Classified by different detection methods.
  7. Other classification: such as classification according to different factories, units, conditions of use, climatic conditions, etc.
In short, because our purpose is to distinguish between different problems. It is easy to analyze the problem and find the cause. Therefore, the classification methods are diverse and there are no hard and fast rules.
5. Histogram method
Histogram is short for frequency histogram. It is a graph representing data as a series of rectangles of equal width and height. The width of the rectangle represents the interval of the data range, and the height of the rectangle represents the number of data in a given interval.
6. Control chart method
The control chart method is a commonly used statistical method of quality control in the form of a control chart to judge and predict whether the quality status will fluctuate during the production process. It can directly monitor the process quality dynamics in the production process, and has the functions of stable production, quality assurance and active prevention.
7.Scatter diagram method
The scatter diagram method is an effective method to control the relevant factors that affect product quality by analyzing the relationship between the data of two factors.
In production practice, often some variables are in the same entity, they are related to each other, restrict each other, and transform each other under certain conditions. Some variables have a deterministic relationship. The relationship between them can be expressed by a functional relationship, such as the area of the garden and its radius: S = r2; there are correlations between some variables, that is, these There is a relationship between variables, but the value of one variable cannot be accurately calculated from the value of another variable. List these two kinds of relevant data, use a pip on the graph, and observe the relationship between these two factors. Such a graph is called a scatter graph or a correlation graph.

Total Quality Management Cost Management

Total Quality Cost Management
Total quality cost management provides a monetary measurement tool, expresses the cost and benefits of quality in a communication language that can be understood by the entire company, and establishes a systematic management method to continuously measure and analyze the cost of quality And continuous improvement.
Clear quality and cost concepts and strategic implications
Master the quality cost account structure and accounting methods
Master planning, control, analysis, reporting and improvement skills for quality cost management
Master the methods and skills of establishing a quality cost management system
Content highlights
Basics of Quality Management
Quality cost composition
Quality cost philosophy
Quality cost management
Quality Cost Account Creation
Quality cost data management
Quality cost analysis and reporting
Quality cost planning and control
Quality cost improvement
Establishment of Quality Cost Management System and Common Defects

Basic Views on Total Quality Management

Service perspective
Within the enterprise, the next process that receives the products from the previous process for reproduction is the user of the previous process. "Serving the user" and "The next process is the user" are a basic view of total quality management. Through the quality control of each process, the purpose of improving the quality of the final product is achieved.
Total management perspective
The so-called comprehensive management refers to the management of the entire process, the management of the entire enterprise, and the management of the entire staff.
1.1 Management of the whole process
Total quality management requires comprehensive control of the product manufacturing process.
1.2 Enterprise-wide management
An important feature of enterprise-wide management is that it emphasizes that quality management is not limited to quality management departments, and requires all units and departments affiliated to the enterprise to participate in quality management and jointly take responsibility for product quality.
1.3 Full staff management
Total quality management requires the implementation of quality control work for each employee, so that every employee cares about product quality.
A precautionary perspective
Focusing on prevention means controlling the quality of products in advance, eliminating accidents before they happen, and keeping each process in a controlled state.
The point of speaking with data
Scientific quality management must be based on the correct data and materials for processing, analysis and processing to find out the rules, combined with professional technology and actual conditions, make correct judgments on existing problems and take corrective measures.

Overview of Total Quality Management Principles

1. In the phrase "Quality Control", the word "quality" does not have the general meaning of "best" in the absolute sense. Quality refers to "the most suitable requirements for a certain customer." These requirements are: a. The actual use of the product; b. The selling price of the product.
2. In the phrase "quality control", the term "control" refers to a management approach that includes four steps: a. Formulating quality standards; b. Evaluating the implementation of standards; c. Corrective actions taken when deviations from standards D. Arrange plans to improve standards.
3. The factors that affect product quality can be divided into two categories: a. Technical aspects, that is, machines, materials, and processes; b. Human aspects, that is, operators, team leaders, and other personnel of the company. Of these two types of factors, the human factor is much more important.
4. Total quality management is an important means for providing excellent products with excellent product design, processing methods and serious product maintenance services.
5. The basic principles of quality management are applicable to any manufacturing process. Due to the different industries and scales of enterprises, the use of methods is slightly different, but the basic principles are still the same. The differences in methods can be summarized as follows: in mass production, the focus of quality management is on the product, and in single-piece and small-batch production, the focus is on the control process.
6. Quality management runs through all stages of the industrial production process. The first is to send the product to the user, and to perform installation and field repair services.
7. To effectively control the factors that affect product quality, it must be controlled at all major stages of the production or service process. These controls are called Job of quality control and can be divided into four categories according to their nature: a. New design control; b. Incoming material control; c. Product control; d. Special research.
8. Establishing a quality system is one of the most effective methods and means for carrying out quality management.
9. Quality cost is a means to measure and optimize total quality management activities.
10. In terms of organization, total quality management is a tool of the upper management department, which is used to delegate the authority and responsibility in product quality, so as to avoid the trivial matters of the upper management department and retain the upper management department to ensure that the quality results are satisfactory The purpose of the means.
11. In principle, the general manager should become the "chief designer" of the company's quality management. At the same time, he and other major functional departments of the company should also promote the company's performance in terms of efficiency, modernization, and quality control.
12. From the perspective of interpersonal relationships, a quality management organization includes two aspects: a. Providing product quality information and communication channels for all relevant personnel and departments; b. Providing relevant employees and departments with participation in the overall quality management work means.
13. Quality management must be fully supported by the upper management department. If the support of the upper management department is not enthusiastic enough, then no matter how much it is publicized to others in the company, it is impossible to achieve real results.
14. In total quality management, mathematical statistics methods are used whenever and wherever possible. However, mathematical statistics methods are only one aspect of total quality management, and they do not equal total quality management.
15. Comprehensive quality management activities should be carried out gradually within the scope of the company. It is wise to choose one or two quality issues to solve and succeed, and then implement the quality management plan step by step in this way.
16. An important feature of total quality management is to control quality from the source. For example, promoting and establishing his sense of responsibility and concern for product quality by the operator's own measurement of performance is the positive result of total quality management.

Total Quality Management Quality Control

Four stages of quality control
Quality control is generally divided into four stages:
The first phase is called the planning phase, also known as the P phase (Plan)
The main content of this stage is to find out the user's requirements for product quality through market surveys, user interviews, and national plan instructions, and determine quality policies, quality goals, and quality plans.
The second phase is the execution phase, also known as the D phase (Do)
The third phase is the check phase, also known as the C phase (Check).
The last phase is the processing phase, also known as the A phase (Action).
Mainly based on the inspection results, take corresponding measures.
"Each link requires quality: learning, thinking, analysis, evaluation, improvement. Reliable products: completed in time, uniform quality. Smoother communication channels: listen, ask, and speak up."
Honda Automobile's corporate vision statement.
PDCA is a method to find and solve problems in practice.
1. There are changes in the plan. In this case, the PDCA method can reflect the results, but in the face of many changes, the ability to deal with changes is often weaker.
2. There is no change in the plan, and the plan is executed perfectly. What should I do next? Set higher planning goals? Or continue to follow the original plan?
In fact, the above problems are often encountered in practice.

Total Quality Management Procedures

PDCA management cycle is total quality
Management of the most basic work procedures, that is, plan-do-check-action (plan, do, check, action). This was invented by American statistician Deming (WEDeming), so it is also called Deming cycle. These four stages can be roughly divided into eight steps (see figure below).
Figure PDCA cycle
Features of PDCA cycle management.
1. The four phases of the PDCA cycle work procedure are performed sequentially to form a large circle.
2. Each department and group has its own PDCA cycle, which has become a small cycle in the enterprise's large cycle.
3 Step up and cycle forward.

Total Quality ManagementQuality Management

The name of total quality management was first proposed by the famous American expert Feigenbaum in the early 1960s. It is based on traditional quality management, modern quality management developed with the development of science and technology and the needs of business management, and has now become a very systematic science.
In China, the "Decision" of the Fourth Plenary Session of the 15th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China proposed that "the quality management of the entire process should be improved." "Quality management for all employees and processes" is TQM (Total Quality Management). Since 1978, I
Total quality management
China has been implementing TQM (then called TQC-Total Quality Control at that time), which has been over 30 years. Judging from the effect of in-depth, lasting and healthy implementation of comprehensive quality management for more than 30 years, it is conducive to improving the quality of enterprises and enhancing the market competitiveness of state-owned enterprises.
TQM is a scientific management system that is increasingly valued by leaders and entrepreneurs. From the central to the local, from the government to the enterprise, all walks of life have attached great importance to quality work in response to the opportunities and challenges brought about by the rapid development of economic globalization and "accession to the WTO." Together, joint management, corporate self-discipline, market competition, and government supervision "three-pronged approach", clarifying the responsibility of local governments in product quality work, "ruling the country by law" and other measures to achieve an overall level of product quality improvement. According to the statistics of "proportion of various types of enterprises that passed ISO9000 certification" (see Figure 1), we can see that enterprises attach great importance to quality management.
Figure 1: Proportion of various types of enterprises passing ISO9000 certification

Total Quality Management Concept

Before introducing total quality management, let us first clarify the definition of quality. The national standard (GB / T19000-2008 idt ISO9000: 2005) defines quality as: the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics meets requirements. A more popular and popular definition is to define quality from the perspective of users: Quality is a measure of how satisfied a user is with a product (including related services). Quality is the life of a product or service. Quality is affected by various factors in the production and management activities of an enterprise, and it is a comprehensive reflection of various tasks of the enterprise. To ensure and improve product quality, comprehensive and systematic management of various factors affecting quality must be performed. Total quality management is a systematic management activity in which an enterprise organizes the participation of all employees and relevant departments, comprehensively uses the results of modern science and management technology, controls the entire process and factors that affect product quality, and economically develops, produces, and provides products that satisfy customers.
progression stage
First we need to determine the main body of quality, including:
(1) the quality of products and / or services;
(2) the quality of work;
(3) Design quality and manufacturing quality. The latter two are often easily forgotten by people, but this is indispensable for "big quality" management ideas and management methods.
The development of quality control theory can be summarized into five stages.
(1) Before the 1930s, this was the stage of quality inspection, and the quality of the products could only be checked afterwards. But quality is not checked out, so quality inspection does not improve product quality, only rejection of defective products and waste products.
(2) The Shewhart theory was put forward in 1924, and the quality control developed from the inspection phase to the statistical process control phase, and the Shewhart process quality control chart was used for quality control. Shewhart believes that product quality is not tested but manufactured. The focus of quality control should be on the manufacturing stage, so that quality control can be advanced to the manufacturing stage.
(3) In 1961, Feigenbaum proposed the Total Quality Management Theory (TQM), which extended the quality control to the entire process of the product life cycle, emphasizing that all employees are involved in quality control.
(4) In the 1970s, Dr. Taguchi Genichi proposed the Taguchi quality theory, which includes offline quality engineering (mainly using three-time design technology) and online quality engineering (on-line condition detection and feedback control). Dr. Taguchi believes that product quality is designed first and secondly manufactured. Therefore, the focus of quality control should be on the design stage, so as to advance the quality control from the manufacturing stage to the design stage.
(5) In the 1980s, the use of computers for quality management (CAQ), the quality information system (QIS) appeared in the CIMS environment. With the help of advanced information technology, quality control and management have reached a new level, because information technology can achieve many quality control and management functions that could not be achieved before.
Development and Rise of Total Quality Management
Total quality management is an important part of modern and scientific management of enterprises. It was born in the United States in the 1960s, and gradually spread and developed in Western Europe and Japan. It applies mathematical statistical methods for quality control, enables quality management to be quantified, and changes the post-mortem inspection of product quality into quality control in the production process. Total quality management is similar to Japanese-style total quality control (TQC). First, the meaning of quality is comprehensive, including not only the quality of products and services, but also the quality of work, and the quality of products or services is guaranteed by the quality of work. Secondly, TQC is the quality management of the entire process, not only managing the manufacturing process, but also managing procurement. , The whole process from design to storage, sales and after-sales service.
We must form such a consciousness that good quality is designed and manufactured, not tested; the implementation of quality management requires full participation, and the objective basis of data, the customer as God, and customer needs As the core; in the implementation method, everything must be done in accordance with the PDCA cycle.
1. Why TQM?
The reason why TQM can be widely used and developed worldwide is inseparable from the functions implemented by itself. In general, TQM can bring the following benefits to enterprises:
Shorten the total operating cycle
Costs to reduce quality
Reduce inventory turnaround time
Improve productivity
Pursuit of corporate interests and success
Complete customer satisfaction
Maximize profit
2. TQM
Total quality management is a management philosophy driven by the needs and expectations of customers. TQM is a management method based on quality and based on full participation. Its purpose is to obtain long-term customer satisfaction, the benefits of organizational members and society. ISO8402's definition of TQM is: An organization is centered on quality and based on full participation. The purpose is to achieve long-term successful management by satisfying customers and benefiting all members of the organization and society. Feigenbaum's definition of TQM: "In order to be able to conduct market research, design, manufacturing and after-sales service at the most economical level and take into account the conditions that fully meet customer requirements, maintain the quality of research and development in all departments Quality and quality improvement activities constitute an effective system. " Specifically, TQM implies the following:
Pay close attention to customers. Customers have become the parents of food and clothing. The "customer-centric" management model is receiving increasing attention from companies. Total quality management focuses on customer value, and its leading thinking is "customer satisfaction and identification are the keys to winning the market and creating value for a long time." To this end, total quality management requires that the customer-centric thinking must be penetrated into the management of the company's business processes, that is, all links from market research, product design, trial production, production, inspection, storage, sales, and after-sales service should be Firmly establish the "customer first" thinking, not only to produce quality and cheap products, but also to do a good job of serving customers, and ultimately make customers assured and satisfied.
Keep improving. TQM is a promise that can never be fulfilled. "Very good" is not enough. Quality can always be improved. "There is no best, only better". Under the guidance of this concept, enterprises continuously improve the quality and reliability of products or services to ensure that enterprises gain a competitive advantage that is difficult for their opponents to imitate.
Improve the quality of every job in your organization. TQM uses a broad definition of quality. It is not only related to the final product, but also how the organization delivers, how to respond quickly to customer complaints, and how to provide customers with better after-sales service.
Measure accurately. TQM uses statistical measures to measure each of the key variables in the organization's work, and then compares it with standards and benchmarks to identify problems and track the root cause of the problem, thereby eliminating the problem and improving quality.
Empower employees. TQM recruits workers on the production line to join the improvement process, and extensively adopts the team form as a carrier of authorization, relying on the team to find and solve problems.
3 TQM and competitive advantage
What competitive advantages can TQM bring to the company? In the following figure, we will briefly analyze the changes that TQM can bring to corporate structure, technology, personnel and managers; companies will gain competitive advantage through these related changes. (Figure 2)
Figure 2: TQM drives business change
Discussion on related issues of total quality management
PDCA cycle, also known as Deming cycle (see Figure 3), is a scientific working procedure. Improve the quality of products, services or work through the PDCA cycle. P (plan)-plan; D (do)-implementation; C (check)-check; A (action)-processing.
Figure 3: PDCA cycle diagram
The first phase is called the planning phase, also known as the P phase. The main content of this stage is to find out the user's requirements for product quality through market surveys, user interviews, and national plan instructions, and determine quality policies, quality goals, and quality plans. The second phase is the implementation phase, also known as the D phase. This stage is the implementation of the content specified in the P stage, such as product design, trial production, and testing, including personnel training before the implementation of the plan, according to quality standards. The third phase is the inspection phase, also known as the C phase. This stage is mainly during or after the execution of the plan to check the implementation and whether it meets the expected results of the plan. The fourth stage is the processing stage, also known as the A stage. Mainly based on the inspection results, take corresponding measures. The four phases go back and forth, there is no end point, only the start point. In total quality management, the four phases of the PDCA cycle can usually be further refined into eight steps.
2. American-style Total Quality Management Concept
Figure 4: American-style Total Quality Management
Figure 4 above is an idea of American-style total quality management. The idea is similar to that of Japan's TQC, but the biggest difference is that the TQM activities in the United States are based on the large social network. In other words, the quality management objectives in the United States are shifting, and they are gradually shifting from "pursuing the maximization of corporate benefits" to "embodiing corporate social responsibility".
3 Systematic Thinking of Total Quality Management
Figure 5 below illustrates the systematic correlation between total quality management and total customer satisfaction (Total Customer Satisfaction). The content of customer satisfaction is described in detail below.
Figure 5 Total Quality Management and Customer Satisfaction
Features of Total Quality Management
TQM has many characteristics. Below we will mainly analyze the significant characteristics of TQM:
Broaden the management span and enhance the vertical communication of the organization;
Reduce division of labor and promote cross-functional teamwork;
Implement the policy of combining prevention and inspection with a focus on prevention, emphasizing the measurability and auditability of corporate activities;
Delegating rights and responsibilities to the greatest extent possible to ensure a rapid and continuous response to changes in customer needs;
Optimize the use of resources and reduce the production cost of each link;
Pursue quality and efficiency, implement brand strategy, and gain long-term competitive advantage;
The focus shifted from technical means to organizational management, emphasizing the importance of responsibilities;
Continuously implement training for employees, create a culture of continuous improvement, and shape a culture of continuous learning, improvement, and improvement.
Comparison of Total Quality Management and ISO9000
1. ISO9000 is the same as TQM. First, the management theory and statistical theory of the two are the same. Both believe that product quality is formed in the entire process of the product, and both require the quality system to run through the entire process of quality formation. In terms of implementation methods, both use the PDCA quality loop operation mode. Secondly, both require a systematic management of quality, and both emphasize the "top leader" of quality management. Thirdly, the final purpose of the two is the same, both are to improve product quality and meet the needs of customers. Both emphasize that any process can be continuously improved and improved.
2. The differences between ISO9000 and TQM. First, the period goals are inconsistent. The goal of TQM quality plan management activities is to change the status quo. The operation is limited to only one time. After the goal is achieved, the management activity is over. The next plan management activity is based on the results of the previous plan management activity, but it is never the same operation as the previous one. The goal of ISO9000 quality management activities is to maintain the status quo of standards. Its target value is a fixed value. Its management activity is to repeat the same methods and operations to minimize the deviation between the actual work results and the standard values. Second, the work centers are different. TQM is centered on people, and ISO9000 is centered on standards. Again, the two have different implementation standards and inspection methods. The standards established by the implementation of TQM enterprises are self-restrained management systems formulated by enterprises in accordance with their own characteristics; the inspectors are mainly internal personnel of the enterprise, and the inspection methods are assessments and evaluations (policy and target comment, QC team results release, etc.). ISO9000 series of standards are internationally recognized quality management system standards, and it is a standard for all countries in the world to comply with. The implementation of this standard emphasizes that the quality system is certified by an impartial third party and subject to the supervision and inspection of the certification body.
TQM is an enterprise's "management approach to achieve long-term success", but successful implementation of TQM must meet certain conditions. For most companies, it is difficult to introduce TQM directly. ISO9000 is the basic requirement of quality management. It only requires the enterprise to stabilize the organizational structure, and the elements and modes of the quality system can be implemented. There is no very different boundary between implementing ISO9000 series standards and implementing TQM. We combine the two in order to deepen the development of modern enterprise quality management.
To carry out TQM, enterprises must start from the basic work, carefully integrate the actual situation and needs of the enterprise, and implement the ISO9000 family of standards. It should be said that "certification" is the natural result of the implementation of standards by enterprises. Inviting people to "catch the knife" first, and then gradually implementing the certification, is a sign of putting the cart before the horse. In addition, after implementing the ISO9000 standard and obtaining quality certification, enterprises must not ignore or even discard TQM.
Total Quality Management and Statistical Technology
Statistical technology is the 4.20 element in ISO9000 and contains five major statistical techniques: significance test (hypothesis test), experimental design (experimental design), analysis of variance and regression analysis, control charts, and statistical sampling. This is only a medium statistical technology method in statistical technology. Its application in quality management has only a history of more than 60 years and has gone through two stages: statistical quality control and total quality management. Statistical quality control originated in the United States: In 1924, Dr. Shewhart of Bell Telephone Company in the United States proposed the world's first quality control chart using mathematical statistics. The main idea is to prevent the occurrence of non-conforming products in the production process. Changing post-hoc inspection into pre-prevention to ensure product quality, reduce production costs, and greatly increase productivity; in 1929, the company's Dodge and Romig proposed a change to the traditional full-scale inspection method, which aims to solve the problem of being a product. When full inspection is not possible or not required, how to use sampling inspection to ensure product quality and reduce inspection costs. The main theory of total quality management is that enterprises need to be able to produce products that meet user requirements. It is not enough to rely solely on mathematical statistics to control the production process. It is proposed that quality control should start from product design until the product reaches the user's hands. So far, it includes market research, design, research and development, manufacturing, inspection, packaging, sales, and service. Quality management must be strengthened. Therefore, statistical technology is the core of total quality management and an effective tool to achieve total quality management and control.

Total Quality Management Enterprise Application

Quality plays an important role in modern social and economic development. With the rapid development of science and technology in the world today, market competition is becoming increasingly fierce. In the final analysis, the core of competition is science and technology and quality. Needless to say, science and technology are the primary productive forces, and quality is an important content of social material wealth and a sign of social progress and productive force development. Therefore, quality is not only an economic and technological issue, but it is also related to a country in the international community. Reputation. The cost management, capital management and quality management of Chinese enterprises are the weak links. How should enterprises improve their own quality and survive and develop in the tide of market economy? This is inseparable from the construction of an effective quality system.
Establishment of effective quality system
Establishing a quality system is the core task of total quality management. Without the quality system, total quality management becomes an "air tower." Quality system refers to the organizational structure procedures, processes and resources required to implement quality management. In order to achieve the specified quality policy and quality objectives, enterprises need to decompose the process of product quality formation, set up the necessary organizations, clarify responsibility systems, allocate necessary equipment and personnel, and adopt appropriate control methods to affect product quality. All technical, management and personnel factors are controlled to reduce, eliminate, and especially prevent the occurrence of quality defects. The sum of all these items is the quality system.
To build a good quality system, an enterprise must first ensure that the quality system is established. The steps usually include: analyzing the quality environment, studying the specific organizational structure, forming a document, training all employees, quality system review, and quality system review. step. Second, enterprises must seize the characteristics of the quality system, ensure the rationality of the establishment of the quality system, and make comprehensive quality management work effectively. Finally, we must ensure that the quality system is effectively implemented in actual production.
Strategic plan for total quality management
When we implement TQM, we should first formulate a corresponding strategic plan. Of course, different companies have different plans for different sizes and types. We give an example of one of these strategic plans as follows:
Cultivate quality concepts across the organization
Building partnerships with suppliers
Establish product design quality standards based on customer needs
Implementation of quality management training and education
Establish standardized measurement indicators
Cost of establishing quality standards
When deploying and implementing a quality management strategic plan, managers at all levels are required to assume different responsibilities. First, as the top manager, it should have a sense of responsibility and mission, clarify the value of the company's existence, establish the development goals of the company, establish communication channels inside and outside the organization, and establish a close relationship between quality control and customer requirements for quality and customer expectations Connect and act as a bridge. Secondly, as a middle-level manager, it is necessary to promote the improvement and development of the company in all aspects, shoulder heavy responsibilities, become the pillar of the company's success, bear the responsibility of managing specific projects, be responsible for cross-functional department communication, and ensure internal work Quality meets or exceeds standards.

Total Quality Management Content

The comprehensiveness of the total quality management process determines that the content of total quality management should include the quality management of the four processes including the design process, manufacturing process, auxiliary process, and use process.
Design process quality management content
The quality management of the product design process is the primary link of total quality management. The design process referred to here includes the market survey, product design, process preparation, trial production and appraisal (that is, all the technical preparation process before the product is officially put into production). The main work content includes the formulation of product quality goals based on user requirements, scientific and technological information, and business objectives of the company through market research studies; organizing reviews and verifications involving sales, use, scientific research, design, technology, systems, and quality control. , To determine the appropriate design scheme; to ensure the quality of technical documents; to do a good job of standardized review; to urge compliance with the design trial production process, etc.
Quality Control
Contents of Quality Management in Manufacturing Process
The manufacturing process refers to the process of directly processing the product. It is the basis of product quality formation and the basic link of enterprise quality management. Its basic task is to ensure the manufacturing quality of the product and establish a production system that can stably produce qualified and high-quality products. The main work includes organizing quality inspection work; organizing and promoting civilized production; organizing quality analysis, grasping quality trends; organizing process quality control, establishing management points, and so on.
Contents supporting process quality management
The auxiliary process refers to the process of providing various materials and technical conditions in order to ensure the normal progress of the manufacturing process. It includes materials procurement and supply, power production, equipment maintenance, tool manufacturing, warehouse custody, and transportation services. Its main contents are as follows: do a good job of quality management of material procurement and supply (including preparation for outsourcing), ensure the quality of procurement, strictly check and accept the materials stored in the warehouse, and provide various materials (including (Raw materials, auxiliary materials, fuels, etc.); organize equipment maintenance work, maintain equipment in good technical condition; do a good job of tool manufacturing and supply quality management. On the other hand, the quality management of corporate material procurement will also become increasingly important.
Using content for process quality management
The use process is a process to test the actual quality of the product. It is the continuation of the internal quality management of the enterprise and the starting point and end point of total quality management. The basic task of quality management in this process is to improve service quality (including pre-sales service and after-sales service), ensure the actual use of products, and continuously promote enterprises to research and improve product quality. Its main tasks include: conducting technical service work, dealing with quality problems of products leaving the factory; investigating product use effects and user requirements.

TQM implementation steps

To carry out total quality management, we must do "three completes", namely:
(1) Comprehensiveness of content and methods. Not only focus on the quality of the product, but also the quality of the work that forms the product. Pay attention to the use of multiple methods and technologies, including scientific organization and management, various professional technologies, mathematical statistics methods, cost analysis, and after-sales service.
(2) Full process control. That is, the entire process of market research, research and development, design, production preparation, procurement, manufacturing, packaging, inspection, storage, transportation, sales, service to customers, etc. are all carried out for quality management.
(3) All members. That is to say, all personnel in the enterprise, including leaders, engineering and technical personnel, managers and workers, all participate in quality management and take responsibility for product quality. These are the three main features of TQM.
In the specific implementation process, we can implement it from the following steps:
Through training and education, the company employees firmly establish the "quality first" and "customer first" ideas, create a good corporate culture atmosphere, and take practical actions to change the corporate culture and management form.
Formulate various standards for people, things, things and the environment in order to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of resources in the operation of the enterprise.
Promote the participation of all staff to carry out quality control and management of the entire process. People-oriented, fully mobilize the enthusiasm of personnel at all levels, and promote full participation. Only with the full participation of all employees
Deploy and implement a strategic plan for quality management
Only when their talents bring benefits to the enterprise can they truly realize the quality control and management of the entire process of the enterprise. And to ensure that the company in the implementation of TQM, a systematic approach to management.
Do a good job of measurement. Measurement work includes testing, laboratory analysis, analysis, and testing. It is an important method and means to ensure the accuracy and uniformity of measurement values and to ensure the implementation of technical standards.
Do quality information work. Enterprises should establish corresponding information systems and establish corresponding databases according to their own needs.
Establish a quality responsibility system and set up a special quality management institution. The implementation of total quality management requires strict implementation from top to bottom. Start from the top and gradually implement it; the implementation of TQM must be supported and led by the top of the enterprise, otherwise it will be difficult to implement it for a long time.
  1. Old seven tools
The seven old QC methods refer to: permutation chart, cause and effect chart, histogram, layering method, correlation chart, control chart and statistical analysis table
The old seven tools are the content of this course and the management methods we will vigorously promote. In a sense, the implementation of the seven major methods of QC, to some extent, indicates the advanced level of company management. The success or failure of the application of these methods will become an important aspect of the company's upgrade market: almost all OEM customers will take the application of statistical technology as an important aspect of audit, such as TDI, MOTOROLA, etc.
  1. New seven tools
QC's seven new techniques refer to: relationship diagram method, KJ method, system diagram method, matrix diagram method, matrix data analysis method, PDPC method, network diagram method.
Relatively speaking, the promotion and application of the new seven methods in the world is far worse than the old seven methods, and has never become an important aspect of customer audit.

Total Quality Management Management

Customers are completely satisfied
Before introducing customer satisfaction, let's define customers. There are two defining criteria for customers, one is "people with the ability or potential to consume" and the other is "anyone who accepts our products or services." Customers can be divided into internal customers and external customers. Internal customers refer to internal employees of the enterprise: grass-roots employees, supervisors, managers and even shareholders; external customers are divided into two types: significant and hidden. Significant: have the ability to purchase a certain product and have the ability to purchase it. Knowing the product information and purchasing channels can immediately bring income to the enterprise. Concealed (potential): insufficient budget or no need to purchase the product, lack of information and purchasing channels, may change with the environment, conditions, and needs to become a significant customer.
Customers are most concerned about superior product quality, excellent service, authenticity, and on-time delivery. The value seen by the customer is the benefit derived from the product or service minus the business costs. The benefits mainly include: the utility obtained; practicality, shopping enjoyment, etc .; the costs mainly include: money expenditure; the time, energy, and inconvenience experienced in obtaining information and physical objects to obtain satisfaction. The functions of the products obtained by customers are mainly reflected in product utility, benefits, and implicit personal needs.
"Customer satisfaction" is a "customer-centric" culture. The company puts customers at the center of its operations and allows customer needs to guide the company's decisions. Among those companies that establish a "customer complete satisfaction" management model, companies need to understand customers and their businesses, and understand the purpose, time, method, and cycle of their products; companies need to think from the perspective of customers, that is, "with the eyes of customers See the world".
We can analyze the long-term superiority of establishing "full customer satisfaction" by comparing different competitive advantage acquisition strategies. Different competitive advantage acquisition strategies include the following:
Commodity strategyassume that the company's products and services are basically the same as those of its competitors; compete on high productivity and low cost;
Technology orientation-surpassing competitors in technology and establishing a temporary monopoly position in technology;
Quality Orientation-Pay attention to product quality and promote consumer purchases;
Service-oriented-add value to products by providing services;
Customer OrientationBring the opinions of consumers into the enterprise, and the company will formulate strategies and design products according to consumer needs.
Among them, the "customer-oriented" competitive strategy requires enterprises to comprehensively improve quality awareness and provide quality services. What the company achieves will be a long-term effect: retain customers forever.
The establishment of a "customer full satisfaction" enterprise will have important changes in its organizational structure, as shown below:
Experts' outlook on total quality management
The following is the outlook of world-renowned quality management experts on the theory and practice of quality management in the 21st century:
Well-known quality management expert Dr. Zhu Lan pointed out: The past 20th century was the century of productivity, and the 21st century was the century of quality. Quality is the cause of the whole people, and it is everyone's responsibility. All people must participate in quality activities, and the whole society must monitor quality activities. Revolutionary changes in quality management must be made to pursue world-class quality. Total quality management is everything you need to achieve world-class quality leadership.
Dr. Feigenbaum put forward: Quality is a comprehensive concept, and strategy, quality, price, cost, productivity, service and human resources, energy and environmental science must be considered together, that is, the breadth of quality in the modern economy must be recognized And establish the concept of "mass". Requires the support of total quality management technology for future market competition. They are a way for quality to become a comprehensive discipline that emphasizes the entire company's service to customers-the so-called customer refers to the end user, or the employee at the table and workbench next to you . They make quality a way for companies to achieve full customer satisfaction, human resources, and low cost.
American marketing scientist Philip Collet pointed out that product quality is divided into performance quality and conformity quality. Performance quality is the absolute working quality of the product. It is the quality measured solely by the level of engineering technology contained in the product, without considering the market positioning of the quality. The quality of conformity is determined by the market positioning and is consistent with the needs of the target market. Consistent quality.
Dr. Ishikawa Shin, a well-known Japanese quality management expert, pointed out: Total quality management is a revolution in management thinking and a new management philosophy.
Liu Yuanzhang, an academician of the International Academy of Quality Sciences, pointed out that the best thing in the world is total quality management. His insights on total quality management are:
(1) Total quality management is to improve the quality of employees and the quality of enterprises in order to improve the quality, reduce consumption and increase benefits;
(2) The key to total quality management is the coordination and supervision of quality management work, and only the leader has the right to do it in the end. TQC is the "big QC"; (3) The history of management is from managing people to respecting people.
We firmly believe that TQM will become the focus of quality management innovation in the 21st century.
1. Mao Chunyuan. Total Quality Management and Statistical Technology. Lianyungang: Mathematical Statistics and Management, 2001.
2. Wang Hui, Jiang Chuanfu. Total quality management-the focus of quality management innovation in the 21st century. Beijing: Electronic Standardization and Quality, 2001.
3 Deng Weihua. Quality System Certification and Total Quality Management (TQM). Beijing: Metallurgy Standardization and Quality, 2002.
4 Sun Yin. On the implementation of total quality management in state-owned enterprises. Beijing: Economist, 2001.
The so-called total quality management is "to improve the processes, products, services, and company culture through the participation of all employees, to achieve the production of 100% Liege products, to achieve customer satisfaction, and to gain competitive advantages and long-term success. Quality management does not have a unified set of work models. Due to the different conditions of different countries and enterprises, the methods and effects of implementing TQM are different. As far as Chinese enterprises are concerned, quality improvement is mainly achieved through ISO9000 compliance activities. The ISO9000 series of international quality management standards came out in 1987. This is the product of the development of TQM to a certain stage. ISO9000 reflects the thinking of TQM in many aspects, and it can be regarded as a part of TQM.
The significance of total quality management
* improve product quality
* Improve product design
* Speed up the production process
* Inspire staff morale and enhance quality awareness
* Improve product after-sales service
* Increase market acceptance
* Reduce operating quality costs
* Reduce operating losses
* Reduce field maintenance costs
* Reduce liability accidents
TQM basics
* Systems Engineering and Management (Systems Engineering)
* Perfect technical method (control engineering)
* Effective interpersonal relationships (behavioral engineering)
The evolution of TQM
The evolution of TQM
The predecessor of TQM is quality management. The background of TQM's development into total quality management is the concept of system analysis, which is widely used in enterprise management. It puts quality management as a subsystem in a larger system.
Due to the above-mentioned circumstances, it is obviously difficult to ensure and improve product quality by relying solely on quality inspection and the application of statistical methods. At the same time, it is obviously inappropriate to completely transfer the quality function to professional quality control engineers and technicians. Therefore, since the 1950s, many companies have practiced total quality management.
What TQM does
* Newly designed controls
* Control of incoming materials
* Product control
* Case study
Case: New York City Parks and Entertainment Authority implements "Total Quality Management" technology
The main task of the Park and Entertainment Department of New York City is to be responsible for the cleaning and safety of public venues in the city (including parks, beaches, playgrounds, entertainment facilities, plazas, etc.) and to promote residents' health and leisure interests.
Citizens view entertainment resources as important infrastructure, so the public recognizes the importance of the sector. The department faces management of huge systems and reduced resources. Compared with other cities in the United States, New York City's plan is huge. The department devoted most of its resources to the maintenance and operation of existing facilities, although the budget for the maintenance and operation of facilities was cut by 4.8% from 1994 to 1995.
To cope with budget cuts and to maintain a large and complex park system, the department's strategy includes: a tough behind-the-scenes fight with the Office of Budget and Management to restore some of the reduced budgets; development of corporate partnerships for more resources, etc Wait. In addition to these strategies, the organization has adopted total quality management techniques to "do more with less."
Therefore, the department's strategy is to gradually introduce total quality management into the organization. This training provides the concept of total quality management, methods for selecting quality improvement projects and target teams, strategies for managing quality teams and establishing total quality management organizations. Although problematic, these initiatives have made TQM quite successful in the initial stages of implementation.
The relevant analysis shows the financial and operational benefits of the department's implementation of total quality management. Start-up costs are $ 223,000, with an average of $ 23,000 per project. A total of USD 715,500 was saved, with an average annual savings of USD 71,000 per project. This figure does not include indirect and long-term benefits, but only direct cost savings per project per year.
Five years after the implementation of TQM, the situation has changed.
The department is politically appointed. The previous ** was defeated, and after the new ** took office, the TQM execution plan was stranded. The newly appointed leader sees the TQM technology established by his predecessor as an advantage that his predecessor can ignore. Most members did not fully understand or endorse the TQM philosophy, believing it was just a legacy of his predecessor. However, the new appointment also faces the problem of reduced budget and huge service system, but has not adopted the tools adopted by the predecessor, which uses privatization, performance management and other means.
The main task of The New York Department of Parks and Recreation is to clean and secure urban public venues (including parks, beaches, playgrounds, recreational facilities, plazas, etc.) and to promote residents' Health and recreational interests. The department is facing the issue of how to improve service performance with fewer resources. In the early stage, the department identified "Total Quality Management" (TQM) as an important measure and achieved certain results. But in the later period due to the change of leadership, the tool was abandoned and replaced with another tool. We also use the above theoretical framework for a brief analysis:
First, the Park and Recreation Authority's goal is to maintain a large and complex service system in the face of budget cuts. The problems facing the bureau are reduced budgets and increased customer demand. Citizens view entertainment resources as important infrastructure, so the public recognizes the importance of the sector. However, it is difficult to reach a consensus on how to achieve its mission and how much resources the city should invest to implement its plan. The budget for investment in facilities maintenance and operations was reduced by 4.8% from 1994 to 1995. The goal of the bureau is therefore to achieve the goal with minimal cost.
Secondly, one of the most important policy tools adopted by the Park and Recreation Authority in the early stage is "total quality management". "Total Quality Management" has the following three core concepts:
1. Equipment in the work process must be designed for specific goals;
2. Analyze staff work processes to route organizational operations and reduce process variation;
3 Strengthen contact with customers to understand customer needs and define their definition of service quality.
Practice has proved that "total quality management" is an effective tool. The analysis shows the financial and operational benefits of the bureau's implementation of "total quality management". The start-up cost was $ 223,000, with an average of $ 23,000 per project, saving a total of $ 7.115 million, and saving an average of $ 71,000 per project per year. This figure does not include indirect and long-term benefits, but only direct cost savings per project per year.
Third, the Park and Recreation Authority takes into account the impact of the organizational line when applying "total quality management" technology. It is difficult to produce real organizational change in any environment, and workers will doubt a series of management fashions. The bureau's strategy is therefore to gradually introduce total quality management to the organization. This training provides the concept of total quality management and strategies for establishing a total quality management organization. Although there are some problems, these initiatives have made TQM quite successful in the initial stages of implementation.
Fourth, the Park and Recreation Authority abandoned the "Total Quality Management" tool due to environmental changes at a later stage. "Total Quality Management" emphasizes the role of key leaders, which is a challenge in government departments. Appointed leaders often fail, and successors want to prove that their work has improved over their predecessors, which often causes new managers to abandon their predecessors' management methods. Five years after the implementation of the "Total Quality Management Technology", the situation has changed, and the previous ** was lost. After taking office, he only regarded "total quality management" as a legacy of his predecessor, and most of its members did not fully understand or endorse the TQM philosophy. Although it also faces the problem of reduced budget and huge service system, the bureau has not adopted the tools adopted in the previous period, but adopted "privatization", "performance management" and other means.
In this case, although the tool of "Total Quality Management" is in line with the Bureau's goal of "maintaining a large service system at a lower cost", and when the Bureau uses the new tool of "Total Quality Management" Considering the impact of the organizational line and adopting certain strategies to reduce the resistance to the implementation of the tool, the tool proved to be an effective tool to achieve the goal after a period of trial, but was eventually abandoned due to a change in leadership . It can be seen that the decision-makers' choice of policy tools is not entirely rational. The significance of this case is to show the political pressures on the choice of policy tools.

Total Quality Management Quality Level

12 characteristics of world-class quality
Tom Peters, a well-known management expert in the United States, uses "overriding quality issues" and "long-term being overwhelmingly long" in his famous book "Thriving on Chaos: Handbook for a Management Revolution". Ignored facts: Quality equals profit "," Quality must be evaluated by the customer's feelings "and other statements to describe the diagnosis of the quality of the current situation, and issued his prescription: launch a quality revolution!
He said: "A revolution in quality means never forgetting quality while eating, sleeping and resting." But if it is not sincere and dedicated, even if it is verbally declared that "quality is everything we have" it will not help; it will not take a year In half a year, the so-called "world-class quality" or "high-performance model" will evolve into another routine "this year's plan" and become a stigma-it seems that "sporty" change is not unique to China Yes!
He spent several years reading through all the materials he could find on this subject, and carefully studied the results of quality revolutions by companies such as IBM, Taineng, and Milliken, and summed up the 12 characteristics of world-class quality:
1. Managers are obsessed with quality. Quality starts with emotional attachment, there is no "if", "then" or "but" at all.
2. There is a set of ideologies or methods of thought to guide.
3 Quality is measurable.
4 Quality is rewarded.
5. Every employee should be technically trained to assess quality. As the Japanese say: Quality starts with training and ends with training.
6. Leverage teams that include cross-functional departments or systems. We must shift our management philosophy from hostility to cooperation from the perspective of ideology.
7. The small one is beautiful.
8. Provide constant stimulation. Create an endless "Hawthorne effect"; the quality revolution is a war of trivial detail.
9. Establish a parallel organizational structure dedicated to quality improvement-the "shadow quality organization".
10 Everyone plays a role. Especially suppliers, but sellers and customers must also be part of the quality improvement process.
11. Rising quality leads to cost reduction, and improving quality is the key to reducing costs.
12. Quality improvement is endless! Every product or service gets better or worse every day, but never stagnates.

Total Quality Management Training Objectives

This specialty trains to meet the needs of the socialist market economy and the development of the convention and exhibition industry, possesses both morals and talents, and is proficient in the actual operation of conventions and exhibitions. Senior applied talents for exhibition design.

Total Quality Management Course

Management economics, business management, introduction to international trade, marketing, market research and forecasting, exhibition practice, conference organization and management, display design, computer-aided design, scene production, exhibition equipment management, exhibition etiquette, advertising, public affairs Relations, business negotiations, etc.

Total Quality Management Professional Features

Mainly study the basic theory and basic skills of exhibitions, pay attention to the cultivation of foreign language application ability, especially the spoken language ability, strengthen the teaching of computer application ability, train students to engage in various types of exhibition market research, planning, organization management and operation ability, and exhibition stand design ability.

Total Quality Management Employment Orientation

Graduates can engage in market research, planning, organization management and operation of exhibitions in the exhibition, tourism, advertising, publicity departments, public relations departments and development and development departments of government agencies.

Two Pillars of Total Quality Management

The first pillar cost control is timely and comprehensive
The reason why timely comprehensiveness can play a greater role in total quality management lies in the fully collaborative team work method. In addition, the close cooperation environment outside the enterprise is also a necessary and unique condition. Waste is ubiquitous in traditional enterprises: excess production, unnecessary movement of parts, unnecessary actions by operators, waiting for work, substandard quality or rework, inventory, various other activities that cannot add value, etc., must be lean Change, the basic idea is to eliminate all activities that cannot add value in the production process, that is, to eliminate waste. In lean enterprises, inventory is considered the biggest waste and must be eliminated. A powerful measure to reduce inventory is to change the "batch production, queue supply" into a single-piece production process. In the single-piece production process, basically only one production part flows between the various processes, and the entire production process always flows with the progress of the single-piece production process. Ideally, there is no work in process inventory between adjacent processes.
Second pillar of continuous improvement automation
Continuous improvement is another new corporate culture, not the latest management fashion. With the implementation of total quality management, the transition from a traditional enterprise to a lean enterprise cannot be achieved overnight, at a certain price, and unexpected problems may sometimes arise, making those who are enthusiastic about traditional production methods and skeptical of lean production Can give one reason or another to refute. However, most of those companies that have firmly adhered to the Lean road can recover all the transformation costs within 6 months, and even less than 3 months, and enjoy the benefits brought by Lean Production, and run through them. The backbone is automatic management. All companies that focus on total quality management must use the pillar of continuous improvement to succeed.


Did this article help you? Thanks for the feedback Thanks for the feedback

How can we help? How can we help?