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TitlePrioritizing quality problems in SMEs: a methodology
Author(s)Teixeira, Humberto N.
Lopes, Isabel da Silva
Sousa, Sérgio
KeywordsQuality management
Continuous improvement
Issue dateJan-2015
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Limited
JournalThe TQM Journal
Abstract(s)Purpose – This article proposes a new methodology to be used by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to characterize their performance in quality, highlighting weaknesses and areas for improvement. The methodology aims to identify the main causes of quality problems and help to prioritize improvement initiatives. This is a self-assessment methodology that intends to be easy to implement by companies with low maturity level in quality. Design/methodology/approach – Based on the literature review a methodology for diagnosing quality problems is proposed. Then two longitudinal case studies are performed to refine and validate the proposed methodology. The methodology is organized in six different steps which include gathering information about predetermined processes and sub-processes of quality management, defined based on Juran’s trilogy, and about predetermined results categories. Findings – The application of the methodology was successful in two case studies and a report was produced on the quality state of each industry, including a prioritization of the causes of poor performance. Research limitations/implications – The methodology may have to be adapted to better suit the needs of companies from different sectors, either by reviewing the processes, by integrating new tools or refining the existing ones. Practical implications – This research provides a new approach for quality self-assessment. Originality/value – Due to its simplicity and comprehensiveness, it is believed that the developed methodology can be applied periodically by companies as self-diagnostic tool, aimed at continuous improvement.
Publisher version
AccessRestricted access (UMinho)
Appears in Collections:CAlg - Artigos em revistas internacionais/Papers in international journals

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