The term ‘Zero Defects’ is coined by Philip Crosby and has been extensively discussed in the field of Quality Management. As its name implies, the concept of Zero Defects aims to minimize waste and reduce defects from processes in order to improve quality in manufacturing organizations. Philip Crosby suggests that companies are better off by ‘doing it right the first time’ and argues that good quality management is central to success.

Four Major Principles of Quality Management

1. Quality is conformance to requirements

Every product or service should have its own requirements set according to the customer expectations in order to achieve quality standards

2. Quality prevention is preferable to quality inspection

The idea here is that preventing quality issues is preferable to inspecting quality of finished products and having to correct issues at a later stage

3. The Quality standard is Zero Defects

In other words, any product or service that does not meet its standards will not be well accepted from customers.

4. Quality is measured in monetary terms – The price of non-conformance

This implies that every defect is a hidden cost. This might be inspection time, rework, wasted material, and customer dissatisfaction. All costs of non-conformance need to be identified and addressed.

Crosby’s 14 Steps to Quality Improvement

1. Management Commitment

Management is committed to quality improvement and this culture should be communicated clearly to every single person in the organization.

2. Quality improvement teams

Devise quality improvement teams with representatives from all departments to oversee quality improvement

3. Quality measurement

Measure processes according to Key Performance Indicators to determine quality issues and monitor improvement

4. Cost of Quality evaluation

Estimate the cost of quality in order to assess in which areas improvement would be profitable

5. Quality awareness

Employees need to be fully aware of the importance of quality improvement and the costs that come along with non-conformance.

6. Corrective action

Take action to address any quality issues identified in the previous steps.

7. Establish an ad-hoc committee for the ‘Zero Defects’ program

8. Supervisor training

Establish a training program for all levels of management in order to educate them in terms of their part for quality improvement.

9. Zero Defects Day

Hold a Zero Defect day in order to inform employees that new standards are in place.

10. Goal setting

Encourage employees to establish quality improvement goals for themselves and their teams

11. Error cause removal

In the case that problems are hindering the implementation of quality improvement, employees should speak up to their management.

12. Recognition

Recognize those who put effort to meet their goals

13. Quality councils

Assign a team of quality professionals and team leaders to meet on a regular basis to discuss their problems and share their ideas.

14. Do it all over again –It is a repetitive process that does not end