Basic characteristics of quality circles.
i) Membership is voluntary, but usually consisting of a number of shop floor employees and a foreman or supervisor, or may consist of a mixture of skilled and unskilled employees together with one or two shop-floor specialists such as quality engineers and inspectors.
ii) Each circle selects its own leader, and usually the organization concerned provides training for such leaders in appropriate subjects(discussion leading, quality control, etc)
iii) Members are trained in problem solving, in statistical quality control, and in working groups. A facilitator may work with the group but efficiency experts are usually excluded from the team. The team members participate actively in solving work-related problems.
iv) Although initially the groups were trained in the analysis of quality problems, currently other problems, such as cost reduction, workshop facilities improvement, safety problems, employee morale, pollution control and education of employees, are also dealt with.
v) The employees are given the tools, group support, and opportunities to nip problems in the bud.
vi) Each QC is responsible not only for recommending solutions but also for actually implementing and evaluating results.
vii) The QC members present their results, reports and deliberations for consideration by management.
viii) They usually implement proposals accepted by management.