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14 Steps of Crosby

written by: Ronda Bowen • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 10/31/2010

You may have already heard of the 14 Steps of Crosby. Even so, you will want to refer to this helpful article to refresh your memory - or hand this article to the team members on your next quality improvement project. Whatever your reasons, find all of Crosby's fourteen steps listed in this article.

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    What Are the 14 Steps of Crosby?

    The 14 Steps of Crosby Keep Your Quality Improvement Projects on Track The 14 Steps of Crosby - Philip Crosby, not Bing Crosby - formulate a program for Total Quality Management efforts. Crosby's fourteen steps rely on the foundational thought that any money a company spends upon quality improvement is money that is well-spent. In Crosby's theory, he cites four absolutes of quality management:

    1. A company ought to define quality not as something that is "good" or something that is "exquisite" but instead as something that conforms to company, stakeholder, or end-user requirements.
    2. Quality starts with prevention - defects should be prevented rather than found after the fact. By preventing defects and other obstacles to quality, companies save money.
    3. The standard for performance for any company needs to be "zero defects." Otherwise, it just doesn't cut it.
    4. In order to measure quality, rather than relying upon intricate indices, companies need to focus on the Price of Nonconformance. The price of nonconformance, sometimes called the cost of quality, is a measure of the costs associated with producing a product or service of low quality.

    The 14 Steps of Crosby are meant to keep your quality improvement project on track.

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    1. Commitment of Management

    First and foremost, management must be committed to improving the quality in a company. This commitment must also be transparent to all employees so that proper attitudes towards a Zero Defect product or service line are modeled.

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    2. Formulate the Quality Improvement Team

    Forming a quality improvement team is the second step to achieving total quality management. Search for team members who will model quality improvement commitment, and who are not already over-committed to other projects. The quality improvement team should be able to effectively commit themselves to improvement of quality.

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    3. Measure for Quality in Current Practices

    Before you can establish a plan for improving quality, you first have to know exactly where your products and services lie when it comes to conforming to requirements. Thus, the third step on Crosby's list is to measure quality. Determine where there is room for improvement and where potential for imrpovement exists.

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    4. What Will the Cost of Quality Be?

    How much is your cost of nonconformance to standards? What is the cost for quality? By answering these questions, you can demonstrate to all company employees that there is a need for a quality improvement system. Explain how the cost of quality figures into the overall company plan.

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    5. Quality Awareness is Central to Success

    You will need to raise employee awareness to the importance of quality management. By doing this, and making quality a central concern to employees, you will increase the likelihood that your quality improvement efforts will be realized.

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    6. Remember the Quality Problems? Take Corrective Action

    By now, you will have determined what your company's quality problems are. It is now time to take corrective action to eliminate the defects that have been identified. Be sure that you install a system, using causal analysis techniques, to ensure that these problems don't reoccur in the future.

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    7. Plan for Zero Defects

    You need to create a committee to ensure that there are zero defects in your products and services. For Crosby, it's not enough, remember to have "as few as possible" defects. Instead, you really need to have this number at zero - establish a zero-defect tolerance in your company.

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    8. Practice Effective Training for Supervisors

    Ensure that your supervisors can carry out the tasks required of them for maintaining quality. By practicing supervisor training, with quality in mind (and the four absolutes), then you will be more likely to acheive zero-defect status.

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    9. Happy Zero Defects Day!

    Hold a quality event, called a zero defects day, where all employees are made aware of the change that has taken place. By holding a zero defects day in your company when implementing a total quality management project, you can be sure that you are increasing awareness for quality in your workplace.

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    10. Involve Everyone in Goal Setting

    After implementing a change, you will need to ensure that you involve everyone - both employees and supervisors - in the goal setting process. By bringing everyone in the company in on setting goals for improvement, you can ensure greater commitment to achieving zero defects.

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    11. Eliminate Causes of Errors

    Error-cause removal is necessary for the successful implementation of any quality improvement effort. Encourage your employees to come to management with any obstacles or issues that arrise in attempting to meet improvement goals. By having employees communicate obstacles before they become crises, you can avert many of the dampers for quality improvement efforts.

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    12. Implement Recognition for Participants

    The twelfth step of Crosby's 14 Steps is the implementation of employee recognition. By regularly recognizing those who participate in quality improvement efforts, employees will be much more likely to continue to participate.

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    13. Create Quality Councils

    By bringing together specialists and employees, you can create a focused effort towards creating lasting quality improvement implementations. Make sure your quality councils meet on a regular basis.

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    14. Lather...Rinse...REPEAT!!!

    Quality improvement doesn't end because you have run out of the 14 Steps of Crosby! In order to really make improvements in the quality of your products and services, you will need to do it over again...and again...and again. Now go get started on your quality improvement projects!