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Quality Management Challenges: A Case Study on Greasex

Market Pressure and Safety Concerns

F.    From Marketing – The introduction of Greasex had been rushed to beat competitors to market and a major promotional / advertising campaign was now underway to increase consumer awareness. A deluge of orders is swamping the order-taking department and putting Greasex high on the back-order list. Production “had to turn the stuff out.” Even a little off spec was tolerable because “it would be better to have it on the shelf than not there at all. Who cares if the label is a little crooked or the stuff comes out with a little too much pressure? We need market share now in that high-tech segment.” 

What bothered Bob the most was the safety issue of the high-pressure in the cans. He had no way of knowing how much of a hazard the high pressure was or if Matt had vented them enough to effectively reduce the hazard. The data from the can manufacturer which Rob had showed him indicated that the high pressure which the inspector had found was not in the danger area; but then again the inspector had only used a sample testing procedure to reject the eight cases. Even if he could morally accept that there was no product safety hazard, could he make sure that this never happened again?
Bob, skipping lunch, sat in his office and thought about the morning’s events. Last week’s seminar had talked about “the role of quality”, “productivity and quality”, “creating a new attitude”, and the “quality challenge”, but where had they told him what to do when this happens? He had left a very good job to come here because he thought the company was serious about the importance or quality, and he wanted a challenge. Bob demanded and received salary equal to the manufacturing, marketing and R&D directors’ and reported directly to the General Manager. Yet he still did not know exactly what he should or should not do or even what he could or could not do.

Provocative questions to help get you started
1.    What is wrong with the way quality is managed in this company? 

2.    What should be done to improve quality management?

3.    What should Bob Skillful do?

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