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Nissan Case Study: Quality, Process, and Location Essay

The theory of constraints (TOC) can be described as an application designed to “solve business problems in a particularly practical and effective manner” (Introduction to the Theory of Constraints). The TOC is a scientific effort that focuses energy and attention to system constraint. In simple terms, the TOC is the wisdom that restricts or limits any company’s ability to accomplish their goals. There are five steps of the TOC process; the first step within the process is to identify constraints. In this step, it is “strengthening any link of a chain (apart from the weakest) is a waste of time and energy” (The Five Focusing Steps (POOGI)). Second is to develop a plan to overcome the constraint(s) identified in step one. Here the output of the identified constraint governs the output of the entire organiztion, so it is highly important to utilize the constraint instead of getting more. “We should first learn to use the resources that we already have more efficiently” (The Five Focusing Steps (POOGI)).

Step three involves focusing on the resources for accomplishing step two. Also, the orgazation should not produce more than the constraint can handle. Forth is to reduce said effects of the constraint by relieving work or expanding the capability. Finally in step five, once one set of constraints are overcome, you may start back at step one for new constraints. Within the terms of TOC, the market is constantly, or at least tactically a leverage point. Nissan should focus on the quality, meeting and exceeding the market requirements. Found within most markets are “high-quality products are highly competitive products. A focus on quality translates to a focus on throughput” (Newbold, 1998). Manufacturers need to identify and eliminate the bottlenecks to increase producitivity, but as a tool to measure and control the flow of materials.

By targeting a balanced flow, the buffers of excess inventory between each point of the process are removed, making it immediately apparent where and which process is underperforming (The Theory of Constraints Exposed, 2007). By using the improved efforts in the areas where the true constraint(s) existed, could yield performance improvements as well as project acceleration. The concept of total quality management (TQM) rests largely on five main principles; to produce quality work the first time, focus on the customer, have a strategic approach to improvement, improve continuously, and encourage mutual respect and teamwork.

In short TQM is a “customer-focused organization that involves all employees in continual improvement. It uses strategy, data, and effective communications to integrate the quality dicipline into the culture and activities of the organzation” (Total Quality Management (TQM)). In the latest lines of Nissan products the TQM principles and tools used to improve quality could be quality planning, quality control, and quality improvement. Quality planning is preparing in order to meet set goals, also gaining an understanding of the customers needs. Quality control process involves meeting set quality goals during the operations. Last quality improvement is the break through of performance levels.

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