The earliest information exchanges occurred on the factory fl oor and were called quality circles. Quality circles were developed to encourage workers to share their knowledge in operations to assist in solving problems and in general to recommend improvements in working conditions and productivity. When a proactive leader leads a quality circle team of employees, he or she can accomplish goals in a minimum of time with excellent results.

In 1962, Kaoru Ishikawa from Japan developed the quality circle concept. The quality circle was used to tap the creative potential of workers. A quality circle is a small group of employees, usually 6 to 12, from the same work area who voluntarily, or are directed to meet at regular intervals to identify, analyze, and resolve work – related problems. Quality circles have improved the performance of many organizations in both business and manufacturing, and they have also aided in motivation and enrichment of the daily work life of employees.

In fact, quality circles are alive and well at NACOM, Griffi n, GA, a Division of Yazaki, where a team realized $95,000.00 in savings in 2005 in their department within six months. So if someone tells you the older quality methods do not work any more, ask a Six Sigma Black Belt what quality methods he or she uses to make quality improvements. Also, one can conduct an Internet search for more positive examples of the older methods, doing what they did then, even better now.

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