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Ethics In Quality

Essay by   •  November 11, 2010  •  1,955 Words (8 Pages)  •  1,485 Views

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Abstract

The topic we chose to research is ethics in quality. We will discuss four main topics in this paper. Total quality management vs. ethics quality management is the first where we will talk about two different approaches to quality management methods. Total quality management has a process and customer satisfaction focus while ethics quality management focuses on company image and keeping high ethical standards in production processes. Next, we will discuss an internship experience at United Technologies (UTC). UTC employs a quality system called Achieving Competitive Excellence where it is closely paired with an ethics training system. This must be completed by every employee within the organization yearly. We will provide an example of how ethics plays a large role in the production and development of software. The last subject we will discuss is a consulting company, Ethics Inc, that focuses on implementing ethics programs and standards within other companies. They provide onsite and online courses for improving ethical practices. The paper will provide better insight for the importance of ethics in quality.

Total vs. Ethics Quality Management

Total Quality Management is a method focusing on the optimization of industrial processes under economic aspects. When compared with Ethics Quality Management there are certainly many differences in these two types of methods. Under Total Quality Management customer satisfaction is a central value with absolute priority and assumes that achieving customer satisfaction automatically implies optimal economic results. When breaking down this method there are is a three level approach; total management, quality management, and management (Julliard, 2004).

"Total" management is when all activities of a company are included in the optimization. A procedural approach to continuous development of activities as well as development of new technologies will help to achieve higher customer satisfaction and success. The "quality" management aspect refers to the objective of increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of a company. Quality is considered as a measuring device for the assessment of processes and management techniques with respect to customer satisfaction (Julliard, 2004). A key component to TQM system is to establish a structure in which all persons involved in the process do their job in the best possible way. The task of management is to bring the company in line with customer expectations as well as continuously restructuring the company's procedures by checking for redundancies or inefficient procedures. The TQM strategy moves a company from a product oriented concept to a stakeholder perspective. It also means that a company is regarded as a part of society and therefore provides a starting point for the reflection of social implications of the company's activities.

The general task of the Ethics Quality Management approach is the identification and structured solution of ethical conflicts in the development and application of technical systems (Julliard, 2004). Companies need a minimum acceptability for their products to be saleable. Socially unacceptable products usually bear economic disaster. To be successful, enterprises need acceptance of their technology, users to buy them, and a positive image. Along with this companies need a fixed and stable ethical framework to which customers and manufacturers commit themselves. A lack of security for transactions or sales processes is considered a financial Ð''risk' that leads to higher prices and potentially smaller revenues. Overall, the main idea of EQM is to let companies select certain values to reflect their own corporate culture and commit all members to this set of values.

Internship Experience at United Technologies Corp.

John was an intern at United Technologies Corporation in Hartford, Connecticut for the past two summers where he gained experience with using a quality system which closely integrated ethics. His position was in the corporate application division which had involvement with all different areas of the company.

United Technologies Corporation (UTC) is a $5 billion a year worldwide conglomerate. Their expertise spans across many areas including aerospace, consumer, industrial, and power systems. The company is made up of eight business units: Carrier (air conditioning), Hamilton Sundstrand (aerospace flight systems), Otis Elevator, Pratt & Whitney (jet engines), Sikorsky (helicopters), UTC Fire & Security, UTC Power (fuel cell systems), and the UT Research Center (www.utc.com). They have a presence in almost every major market across the world with strong holds in Europe and Asia for certain businesses.

The name of the quality system that was implemented at United Technologies was called ACE (Achieving Competitive Excellence). This quality system included mandatory ethics training for all UTC employees that was closely integrated with ACE. The mission statement of ACE perfectly sums up what its main goals and objectives are. It can be found all over the company in every manufacturing center, office, and shop floor. Also, it can be found on the desks of several employees for the very reason that achieving competitive excellence starts with you meaning every employee plays a role in the success or failure of ACE. The mission statement says that every day, the customers of UTC and the customers of UTC's competitors, "Ð'...define our competitive excellence when they decide to buy our products and services or those of a competitors.'" (ACE Mission Statement www.utc.com) Another main pillar of ACE drives home the idea of constant improvement. The final line of the mission statement says, "Ð'...our quest for competitive excellence has no end."

ACE is always on the desks, walls, and in the minds of every employee at United Technologies. I know that from the very first day that I went to do my employee initiation as an intern to fill out my human resources paperwork, I was given a presentation and a handbook about ACE. Another very important piece of the program is the constant education for current employees. They have established a training program called Ito University. This provides employees with initial ACE education and requires them to return for continuous education every year. One of the courses that are mandated is an ethics course. The reason that this ethics course is mandated is because of an incident that happened in Europe with Otis. Nine employees were involved in non competitive business practices causing the company to be fined $300 million by the European Union. This caused immeasurable other expenses to the company by the bad press that it received

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