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Friday, 24 February 2012

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Dankotuwa Porcelain holds quality circle convention

Dankotuwa Porcelain which was the pioneer in implementing the Japanese style small group activity Quality Circles will hold its convention on February 25 at the factory premises. Quality Circles were first introduced to Dankotuwa in 1990 and has been a significant element in their employee involvement programme, which has tapped the knowledge and creativity of their entire workforce. Dankotuwa Quality Circles have participated in international conventions in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Taiwan. Dankotuwa was the second company in Sri Lanka to hold a company Quality Circle convention as far back as 1993.

Quality Circles originated in Japan in the 1960s and is credited with having made an important contribution to the Nation's drive to improve quality of all its products and services, and also make use of the talents and knowledge of its highly educated workforce. Soon after World War 2 when Japan introduced American methods of management, they were seen to create many problems as they were dysfunctional in the Japanese culture.

Quality Circles commenced when Japan realised that the concept of "you are paid to use your hands and should carry out instructions to the letter without any change by you, and you should keep your lunch box and your brains in the locker before entering the factory," did not work in the Japanese workplace. The educated Japanese worker was very keen to be involved in the way work was designed. Therefore workers were trained in problem identification, in problem solving tools and other graphical techniques and were encouraged to voluntarily get together and follow a systematic procedure to solve quality related problems. Quality Circles are essentially formed of non-executive employees, and select problems on their own. The solution is presented to management and if accepted will be implemented.

Since 1984 Dankotuwa Porcelain has been very passionate about quality. Dankotuwa is well-known for the quality of its products which is accepted by international buyers as some of the best in the world. Dankotuwa is well-known for its manual interventions to produce perfect blemish free products and for the high skill in surface decorations. International buyers have regarded Dankotuwa as a very reliable source of high quality products. All these have been possible due to the passion for quality of the workforce at Dankotuwa Porcelain. This passion has been a result of many Japanese techniques such as Quality Circles, 5S, Kaizen suggestions etc. where Dankotuwa Porcelain was a pioneer.

"We had our ups and downs in the enthusiasm for quality circles" said Chairman Sunil Wijesinha, adding further, "Enthusiasm declined when the workers got older and were more focused on their grown up children doing their O/Ls and A/Ls. However the more recently recruited younger workers have taken this up with great enthusiasm and would sustain the programme for the future." The Company says that younger workers need more than money to sustain their enthusiasm and Quality Circles is one of the best methods for this, as it provides skill variety, task identity, task significance and feedback.

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