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Total Quality Management

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Running head: QUALITY IMPROVEMENT

Needs Assessment for Quality Improvement

XXXX

November 20, 2006

Abstract

Corporate process improvement is a major factor towards improved efficiency and customer service. The financial accrual process is used at XXX Incorporated, and this process is reviewed, a needs assessment conducted to determine possible process improvements. An 'As-Is' flow chart of the accrual process is supplied, the relationship to the organization's strategic plan is discussed, the internal and external customers are identified, while potential impact on these customers is noted. The most appropriate Quality Management tool is used to collect and present data for process improvement changes; improvement opportunities are identified, and the level of value to the organization is assessed. The simulation 'Quality Management and Productivity' introduced a number of Quality concepts that are also discussed in relation to the company's process improvement.

Needs Assessment for Quality Improvement

The goal of a Total Quality Management organization is to strive for success and excellence in everything they do beginning with the strategic plan. "Companies clearly have a competitive advantage when they can develop and effective strategic plan" (London, C. 2002). Total Quality Management (TQM) consists of an integrated approach to define and document principles, processes, production, and best practices that provide the organizational framework of excellence. Corporate process improvement is a major factor towards improved efficiency and customer service, and this review looks at the possibility of improving a financial process.

The financial accrual process is used at XXX Incorporated, and this process is reviewed for the purpose of conducting a needs assessment leading to possible process improvements. An 'As-Is' flow chart of the accrual process is analyzed, and the relationship to the organization's strategic plan is reviewed, and the internal and external customers are identified and potential impact on these customers is noted. The most appropriate Quality Management tool is selected to collect, present data for process improvement changes; improvement opportunities are identified, and the level of value to the organization is assessed. The simulation 'Quality Management and Productivity' introduced a number of Quality concepts that are also discussed in relation to the process improvement.

Identified Process

One of the many financial processes that has the potential to cause setbacks in system downloads is the monthly accrual process. The accrual process consists of identifying, approving, and posting in SAP the company's expenditures which must be accrued at fiscal month-end in order to recognize the expenditures in the appropriate accounting period. This process applies to all base operations, maintenance, and administration (OM&A), project OM&A, and capital and minor fixed assets. If the accruals are not processed in a timely manner, then significant variances in various project and financial reports are likely.

The second part of the process which has the potential to interfere with the accuracy of project and financial reports are the reversal of the above mentioned accruals post month-end procedures.

One reason for untimely accruals may be the lack of a defined process explaining the system requirements and timelines available for users to process necessary accruals. Business process modeling is used to document the existing process in place to identify the current workflow or tasks involved in the work procedure and are best visualized in detail in the following As-Is process flowchart.

As-Is Process

The information-gathering phase follows the process identification. Information is gathered from the individuals that perform the work and a process profile worksheet is developed. This worksheet identifies the process owners, because it is their buy-in that is paramount to the success of any process change, any trigger events such as inputs and outflows, key controls, and measures of success. The overall process can be described by way of a flowchart for greater visual appeal and ease of understanding accruals. The process starts with a need for monthly accrual at the fiscal month-end, and ends with the required accruals being posted correctly in SAP. The as-is process flowchart defines what documents, forms, emails, reports, timeframes, or approvals are involved in the process, where the work is being done and by who, where much of the process time exists, where decisions are being made, and where the controls are in place.

Monthly Accrual Process

Figure 1. As-Is Flowchart of Monthly Accrual Process.

Relationship to Organization's Strategic Plan

The organization's strategic plan covers the entire organization to help everyone move in the same direction of the goal. Some sections of the corporation may need to fine-tune these directions in order for them to be more relevant to the business unit, but overall the company is working towards the same goals. Alignment of the organizational processes that encompass a variety of departments within the company is an effective way towards goal achievement, which will be achieved by reviewing the accrual process.

The corporate accrual process is related to both the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and the organizational strategy. The GAAP defines the guideline for proper financial reporting practices, where the organizational strategy refers to effective cost management within its goals of "improving generating asset performance through production efficiencies and increased liability; increasing its generating capacity; achieving excellence in corporate governance, safety, social responsibility, corporate citizenship, and environmental stewardship; and effectively managing its costs" (Opg, 2006). Developing clear and effective strategies goes a long way towards identifying the need for efficiencies within the corporate processes. The next step in reviewing the accrual process is to identify the internal and external customers and to identify

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