Posted: May 25th, 2022

Product Management Issues 8 pages

Product Management Issues

Quality of Design, Performance, and TQM — As manufacturing design and implementation became even more complex, an integrative approach to the end product became necessary. There are many theoretical rubrics for this, but one of the more stable and robust is that of TQM, or Total Quality Management. TQM, like other theories such as Six Sigma, is based on the idea that the quality of the end product is the responsibility of everyone who touches the process — from the creation to the manufacturing to the distribution. TQM, as noted, is an evolving process, and one that includes design, process management, stakeholder involvement and integration, leadership and management, strategic planning, cross-functional training opportunities, and the ongoing involvement of all employees. It becomes, in fact, the culture of the company. (Peratec, 1995). There are different aspects of TQM that impact the organization in slightly different ways, although the end result is quite similar:

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Quality of Design — In this aspect, quality can be planned, and if the planning is correct, then most of the quality issues that may occur will either be diminished or never occur. This has become even more sophisticated with new computer modeling — for example pharmaceuticals or aircraft/automobile parts that can be tested virtually prior to manufacture.

Quality of Conformance — Because quality is perceptual and somewhat subjective depending on the stakeholder, there is a difference between specification quality (how it compares to other similar products) and quality of conformance. Quality of conformance is the degree that the product or service was produced correctly from design through manufacturing.

Quality of Performance — This is an indication that ensures that the service or product performs as expected, advertised, and/or designed. This measure is high on the stakeholder and competitive index and has the ability to increase or decrease the competitive nature of the product (QHy Quality in Service, 2012; Juran, 2010).

This does assume, however, that there is a new approach to the management / employee paradigm. This approach is best exemplified in the idea of psychological ownership in the product or service, and is done through a managerial emphasis on empowerment (Daft, 2008, 262-5.) This empowerment mentality would require not only strategic vision but shared vision to meet the new needs and expectations of hiring and retaining employees. Employees are no longer content to work in an environment of adversity and autocracy. Modern stakeholders know that empowerment, change, respect, and actualization are powerful tools that will not only benefit employees, but increase productivity and profits for owners and managers. Empowerment theory is tied up in Total Quality Management and the new models of Strategic Human Resource Management. Both TQM and SHRM move from simply the tactical to the strategic, looking at long-term results, development of employees, retention as a strategy, and utilizing the human element as part of the overall business planning cycle (Wilkinson 1998). Empowerment theory allows the organization as a whole to participate in the planning and execution process of the company. It allows non-managerial staff members to take ownership, feel part of a larger whole, and increase their own performance as well as that of their departments and co-workers. Using empowerment theory, absences decrease, job satisfaction increases, and almost all stakeholders report a more positive working experience and environment ( 2011).

Part 2 — Flowchart — In the example of Ford, the TQM approach changes fundamentally both the responsibility and the task of ensuring that all the products that are available for the assembly line have been tested and meet a minimum level of standardization. The workers assembling the vehicles would rightly then assume that all the parts they use had passed inspection at an earlier stage of manufacturing, and that any rejects or inoperative parts or materials would be pulled prior to allowing them on the assembly line. In the modern organizational environment, sometimes issues are so complex that a small change in design, manufacturing, or control can impact the organization dramatically:

Flowchart example:

Note that while each phase may seem independent, the power of the process is the logical flow and relationship that one part has to the others; then finally making the full product.

Part 3 — A process is a combination of tools, materials, methods, and human resources that product something as a measurable output. Process capability is the capacity of a process and the way it meets its specific purpose as defined by the organization. There are at least two statistical ways that process capability may be managed:

Process capability index — a ratio or statistical measure of the capability of a process to produce output and have several statistical elements that account for upper, lower, or near targets.

Process performance index — the statistical estimate of the capability of a process during its initial set-up or testing phase, before it is brought into acceptable levels.

The output of both of these measurements are statistical calculations that predict how many parts will be produced based on specifications, often illustrated by a histogram (What is Process Capability, 2009).

For most organizations, process performance measurements could be a strategic goal of reducing the time it takes for each vehicle to be painted, dried, and coated. The matrix would be reducing errors and down time to 100% accuracy over time. Measurements would be done with every nth vehicle, determined by management and current benchmarking, as well as feedback from stakeholders.

Part 4 — Key objectives




Complete MBA in 2013

Grades (A, B average) and completion

Completion of degree with high grades and ability to use degree for promotion at work and self-esteem

Currently an Electrical technician — goal to be in management by end of 2013

Promotion and new title

Official promotion and new responsibilities in management

Set up and International Labor Hire company

Incorporation and clientele by 2013, increase of 10-15% in 2014

Currently researching all regulations and setting up a web site

Part 5 — Change concepts — Change is a fact of life in most any organization. Change does not always lead to improvement, but in general, all improvement requires some change. A change concept is an approach to change that uses specific ideas to foster improvement. Change concepts may be different for different organizations, but in general: eliminate waste, improve work flow, optimize inventory, change the work environment, increase positive customer relationships (stakeholders), manage time, focus on the product or service, and ensure quality by making the process error free (Using Change Concepts, 2012). These, of course, are goals, and there are many paths towards these goals. The contemporary business environment is rapidly evolving. This has resulted in a dramatically different business environment in which the modern business, in order to survive and prosper, is forced to evolve and regularly revise their internal and external business processes. Typically, aggressive and rapid change management systems germinate within the private sector — only after trial and error, testing, and numerous permutations did they become standard within the public sector organization. However, in the late 1990s, largely due to globalization and stakeholder expectations, change became more entrepreneurial and robust (Fairfield, 2001). The PDSA cycle is a tool within change management to document and organize change. The focus is developing a PLAN to change; carrying out this change (DO), observing and learning from what was done (STUDY), and modifying and improving the plan (ACT) (Using Change). Change management within an organization involves a number of variables: internal and external theory management, change planning and specific strategic and tactical methodologies that will ensure the likelihood of long-term success (Culp, 2001). The type of theory or combination thereof, is dependent upon the organization culture and executive direction, and is as unique as the organization it represents. It is important to note, though, that the combination of globalization and technology have profound effects upon any organization, particularly those that depend on selling to both business and private sectors

Part 6 — Trend control pattern — A trend control chart is a quality control chart that displays the deviation of the group’s average (or the item) from the expected trend in the entire process. Trend control patterns are used to evaluate the stability of the entire process, particularly over time. The purpose of the TCC is to use a visual method to identify common and special variation. There are different standards for different trends and sometimes these issues are more easily recognizable through the use of a statistical graph — particularly when looking at relationships between products, or product performance over time (Trend and Control, 2009). Trend control is statistically necessary to measure variation over time. Simply calibrating a machine or process does not ensure that it will perform at those levels because of machine variation, materials, handling, and operation. Continual measurement will keep the process within the tolerance range, thus ensuring quality control and acceptable products.

Part 7 – Mild chaos and taking actions — In science, the method of measurement and explanation focuses on order and predictability. However, many things in science, and in production, do not always operate that way. Instead, there are degrees of unpredictability that we can call “chaos theory.” Essentially, chaos theory is a systems theory that sees systems that are apparently disorganized (that is unpredictable because of the large amount of variables) as systems that do have order, it is just complex and we need to find it. Some call it the butterfly effect due to that the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in China might have an effect on Peru’s weather. Even the most sophisticated computers cannot analyze the number of variables that are needed to predict climate or weather. Thus, our task is to uncover more robust data and analysis systems that can take variables like industrialization, automobiles, large fields of grain, large herds of cattle, etc. And plug into a model that makes sense (Chaos Theory, 2010).

Mild chaos is a variation on the theory that allows for anomalies in the predictions of formulas that help to explain variation from specifications (the norm or advantage). Planning to use incoming or intermediary materials can shift variation because of the nature of new variations entering into the process. The reason the “chaos” is mild is due to it not completely changing the entire paradigm of the process or quality, but instead, disrupting the normal curve for a time (Gitlow,, 2004, p. 536).

Part 8 — SDSA/PDSA cycle explanation – Strategically, Ford’s marketing department has used accounting data, combined with more sophisticated marketing data to change its approach to the market. Prior to these changes, Ford based its accountancy / marketing strategies more on production costs and return on investment than the intricacies of price point relationships, price analysis, and consumer trends. . The overall changes in the marketplace, however, required that costing information be combined with alternative data to make better decisions.




How to plan the process? The process uses competitive pricing and strategic information from data mining, customer loyalty cards, market research, and research with field personnel.


First, do the research, compile the information, analyze, and produce new features, benefits, story lines, collateral, and even features incorporated on future models based on “The New Customer”


What did we learn? We learned that consumers want more on the base model car that is now considered standard rather than luxury (e.g. Bluetooth, gps, electronic mirrors, heated seats, etc.). Consumers want convenience, and are driven more by price, then brand loyalty.


Implement more inclusive competitive and marketing intelligence feature based on real-time data. Use field-central-field approach to consistently having access to important data.




Standardize consumer demands so that Ford can find efficiencies in scale; Define and maintain a “standard” model for the next 5 years.


Will putting more features into basic models harm the mid-range? What selling points are offered to “sell” up to the customer?


Measure — measure fiscal results, customer satisfaction research, general quality, employee morale, fiscal performance.

Potential New Changes

What did we learn that is impractical from a longer point-of-view? How can we make the customer experience more pleasant, as well as time within the dealer ship, to find experts in certain aspects of product performance?

Operational Management Questions






Ford Thunderbird







1.Using the project planning data from the FPDS, develop a plan that shows what car projects will be happening during the first week of January each year. Assume that the launch date for new models is the first week of August (week 33) each year. Also, assume that the division operates only 50 weeks each year (the division is idle during Christmas and New Year’s each


Wk 1 Year

2004 Model

2005 Model

2006 Model

2007 Model

2008 Model





















2 How are these data useful to the Thunderbird team? The data is useful for staffing and inventory planning. For instance, in 2004 there are four models in progress on Week 1, while in 2006 there are 3. This will mean that certain inventory items need to be ordered prior to the Holiday break, vacations and schedules need to be adjusted so there is adequate manpower for those years.

3 What additional data would be useful to the team? How would these data be used?

Data from inventory management would be useful as well as hours broken down over the week average. For instance a certain task in CC might be billed as a week, but might only need 32 hours, those human resources could help other tasks. Clear inventory should be back dated so that it arrives PRIOR to the previous year’s holiday and can be counted, QCd for defects and ready to go on January 1.

4 Given the very dynamic nature of the luxury automobile market, and the complex engineering and design issues associated with building new cars, what would you consider the most important features of a product development system for the Thunderbird product planning group.

It is difficult to get ahead of the consumer curve on items or enhancements they expect. For instance, we can see that the launch of the 2008 model began in 2003, five years previous. We all know how technology changes and becomes less expensive, so if a GPS device planned for the 2008 model had an original cost of $500 installed, by the time it was ready for production, that cost might be $200. For product development to work, engineers and planners need to be far ahead of consumer demands, so items can be ordered from sub-contractors, etc. On a cost-effective basis for installation into a new model. In addition, it is likely that a new model can only be rolled out with certain features every few years, else there would be a manufacturing bottleneck.


Chaos Theory: A Brief Introduction. (2010) IMHO. Retrieved from:

Trend and Control Chart Interpretation. (2009). Success Through Quality. Retrieved from:

Using Change Concepts for Improvement. (March 30, 2012). Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Retrieved from: / Changes/UsingChangeConceptsforImprovement.aspx

What is Process Capability? (2009). Engineering Statistics Handbook. Retrieved from:

Why Quality in Service. (2012). ASQ. Retrieved from: (2011), Employee Empowerment, Retrieved from: / articles/employee-empowerment.html

Daft, R. (2008). Organization Theory and Design. Mason, OH: South Western Cenage Learning.

Fairfield, J. (2001). Corporate Culture and the Quality Organization. New York: Quorum


Gitlow, H., (2004). Quality Management. New York: McGraw Hill.

Juran, J., Defeo, J. (2010). Juran’s Quality Handbook: The Complete Guide to Performance, 6th ed. New York: McGraw Hill.

Peratec. (1995). Total Quality Management: The Key to Business Improvement. London: Chapman and Hall.

Wilkinson, A. (1998) Empowerment Theory and Practice, Peronnel Review, vol 27, no. 1,

pp. 40-56.

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