Problems And Prospects of Quality Control in Manufacturing Firms


Nigerian breweries Plc was incorporated on 16 November 1946 as Nigerian breweries limited.   It started production in June 1949 when the first bottle of star larger beer rolled off the lines in Lagos . this was followed by Aba brewery in 1957, Kaduna Brewery In 1993 Ikmi(1999:238).

Nigerian Breweries plc is one, of the largest capitalized firm in the Nigeria stock exchange. It is also, one of the most nationally well known concerns in Nigeria. The corporate mission of the organization is “to remain the leading beverage company in Nigeria producing high quality brands to meet the needs of identified viable sectors in the market.”(1999:260).

In the bid to achieve its corporate mission  which is to remain the largest beverage company in Nigeria  and also to produce high quality brands, the management of the company has plans to continue to dominate the premium sector of the larger market  where its products are currently positioned. Towards this end, the company has identified that there is a need to strengthen the existing brands by communicating to its customers in clear terms, those qualities which the company claims for its products. The company initiates long-term short-term plans for its products, keeps watching eye on its performance with the future in mind, investigates and proposes ways of exploiting the products’ strength and remedying its weakness and initiates innovation in product presentation.


Nigerian breweries plc has always been a forward planning company. As a result, market conditions are carefully monitored so as to ensure that the  company reacts positively to changing demands and conditions. It is also in keeping with its leadership role in the brewing industry that Nigeria breweries plc pioneered the exportation of Nigerian made beer into other African countries. The company also recognizes the facts that for it to remain the largest brewing company in Nigeria, it must have effective and productive manpower. To  this end the company has therefore made staff training and development one of the major aspects of its policy. The company’s training

And development, cut across the entire spectrum of the staff, from the lowliest to the highest. Virtually every job in the company has some training and development program designed to improve performance.

In  fact, the company believes in the recruitment of quality personnel and subsequently provides such personnel with development opportunities that are useful. Both to them and the company. The company also offers a course which it calls “management induction course’’ to its managers. One of the topics discussed in this course is “quality of products.” The objective of this course is to give the participants a better understanding of the company, its goals, and polices, which include, producing high quality products and remaining the largest in brewing industry.

Nigerian breweries plc also has a research and development center, which was set up to, undertake research into brewing beer and malt drinks from local raw materials and also to study the quality process. This center also carries out research to know whether to improve on the quality of the company’s existing products or to introduce new ones.

Nigerian breweries plc is not ignorant of the ever-changing policies of the government. It knows that at any time, government policy cans so change as to allow imported beer into the Nigerian market. The company is therefore prepared for such an eventuality by ensuring that its premium larger are indeed premium and are perceived by its customers to  be so.



Quality means those features of products or services, which meet customers’ needs and thereby provide customer satisfaction. Quality in this sense is oriented to income. The purpose of such higher quality is to provide greater customer satisfaction and to increase income.

According to juran (2000:2.2), ‘Quality’’ Means freedom from deficiencies-freedom from errors that require doing work over again(rework)or that result in field failures, customer dissatisfaction, customer claims and so on.’’ Here, juran explicitly incorporates customers’ expectations into his definition.


Certo (1994:548).defined ‘quality’’ as the extent to which a product does what it is supposed to do, How closely and reliably it satisfies the specifications to which it is built. in this definition, quality was presented as the degree of excellence on which products or service can be ranked.

‘Quality’’ According to the American society for quality as quoted by longernecker, Moore and petty (1999:430) defined quality as the totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bears on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs’’. The society also states that ‘the operations process establishes a level of quality as a product is produced or a service is provided.

‘Quality describes the degree or superiority of an organizations goods and services’ Boone and Kurtz, (1996:146.) According to these authors, ‘the term quality has a broad meaning that encompasses both the tangible and in tangible characteristics of a good or service. Tangible characteristics in clued such physical traits as durability and reliability. The over all definition of quality also includes the intangible component of customer satisfaction, the concept of good or service pleasing buyers because it meets their emotional needs and quality expectations.

‘Quality in the workplace has gone beyond creating a better-than average product at a good price, and now refers to achieving increasing better products and services at progressively more competitive prices, this includes doing things right the first time rather than  making and correcting mistakes’’ stoner, freeman and guards, jr (1998:10).quality means more than a better than average product or service at a good price. It means focusing on the production of increasingly better products and services at progressively more competitive prices. By focusing and doing things right, organization avoid the high costs associated with rework.

2.3                                           QUALITY ANALYSIS

Quality must be more than a slogan. Owners of manufacturing firms realize that quality management is a serious business and that strong commitment is essential for the realization of quality goals.

The trend in quality has been toward designing and building quality into the product. Stumberger who has studied many Japanese and u.s. factories first hand as quoted by Kreitner (1998). Contends that errors if any should be caught and corrected at the source. This approach he said, is much less costly than fixing and throwing away substandard products.

Juran in his quality trilogy states that there are three basic managerial processes through which quality can be managed. These are:.

  • Quality control
  • Quality planning
  • Quality improvement

Quality control :.

‘Quality control is a universal managerial process for conducting operations so as to provide stability to prevent adverse change and to maintain the status quo’ Juan, (2000:4.2). Juan went further to say that to maintain stability, the quality control process evaluates actual performance, compare performance to goals and bakes action on the difference.

Juran(2000:4.3)says that quality control takes place by use of the feedback loop. The feedback loop is universal and fundamental to any problem in quality control. It applies to all types of operations, whether in services or manufacturing industries. The diagram below shows a feed back loop describing the quality control process.


  1. Choose the control subject:. In choosing a control subjects, each feature of the product (goods or services) or process becomes a control subjects are derived from sources which includes:.
    1. Stated customer needs for product features.
    2. Technological analysis to translate customer needs into product and process features.
  • Process features which directly impacts the product features.
  1. Industry and government standards.
  2. Needs to protect human safety and environment
  3. Needs to avoid side effects such as irritations to employees or offense to the neighboring community.

At the worker level, control subjects consist mainly of product and process features set out in specifications and procedure manuals. At managerial level, the control subjects are broader and increasingly business oriented. Here, emphasis shifts to customers needs and to competition in the market place. This shift in emphasis than demands added, broader control subjects which in turn have an influence on the remaining step of the feedback loop.

  1. Establish measurement:. Having chosen the control subject, the next step is to establish the means or the quality of the goods or services. In the establishment of the measurement, there is a need to clearly specify the means of measurement the frequency of measurement, the way the data to convert it to usable information and who does the measurement.


C  Establish standards of performance:. For each control subject, it is necessary to establish standard for performance- a quality goal, target  or objective. A standard of performance is an animal- at achievement toward which effort is expanded. The processes, which produce products, have two sets of quality goal. The are:.

  1. To produce products which meet customer needs.
  2. To operate in a stable and predicable manner. in the dialect of the quality specialist each processes should be “under control”.

Quality goals may also be established for departments or persons. Performance, against such goals than becomes an input to the company’s reward system.

  1. MEASURE ACTUAL PERFORMANCE: The critical step in quality control is to measure the performance of the product or process. To make this measurement a “sensor” is needed. A sensor is a specialized detecting device designed to recognized presence and convert the resulting data into information than becomes the basic of decision-making.
  2. COMPARE TO STANDARDS: the act of comparing to standards is often seen as the role of an umpire. The umpire may be a human being or a technological device. This umpire is expected to carry out the following activities in comparing to standard:
  1. Compare the actual performance to the quality goal.
  2. Interpret the observed difference. I,e. determine if there is conformance to the goal.
  • Decide on the action to be taken.
  1. Stimulate corrective action.


F.Take action on the difference:- having taken the above mentioned steps, the next step to take is to act on the difference between the desired standards of performance and the actual performance. To do this, an ‘ actor’ is needed. It is a device used in stimulating action to restore conformance.

At the worker level, an actor may be a keyboard for giving orders to an office computer or a calibrated knob for adjusting a machine tool. At the managerial level, it may be a memorandum to subordinates juran, (2000: 4.2-8).


According to Longeneecker, Moore and petty (1999: 435). The use of statistical method can often make controlling products and services easier, less expensive and more effective. Some knowledge of qualified employee or outside consultant must be made available. The statistical method of quality control according to Longeneecker et al (1999: 435), include:-

  1. Acceptance sampling.
  2. Statistical process control.
  3. Control chart.
    1. Acceptance sampling :-This involves taking random samples of products and measuring them against predetermined standards. This size of the sampling affects the discriminating power of a sampling plan. The smaller the sample, the greater the risk of either accepting a detective lot or rejecting a good lot due to sampling errors. A larger sample reduce the risk but increases the cost of inspection.
    2. Statistical Process Control :- This involves applying statistical techniques to control work processes. Items produced in a manufacturing process, are not completely identical. Although, the variations are sometimes very small and the items may seem to be exactly alike. Careful measurement however, can pinpoint differences. The use of statistical analysis make its possible to establish tolerance limits that allow for inherent variations due to chance. When measurements fall outside these tolerance limits however, the quality controller knows that there is a problem and must then search for the cause. This problem, may be caused by the following: –
      1. Variations in raw materials
      2. Machine wear

iii.      changes in employee’s work practices.

  • .control chart :- This graphically shows the limit for the process being controlled. As current data are entered, it is possible to whether a process is under control or not. Control charts may be used for either variables or attributes inspections.


I        Measuring variables and attributes: – Two different types of measurement, by variables and attributes are used in process control. In some situations, we must measure a product characteristic on a continuous scale, such as its length, weight or volume each of which is a variable characteristic.

An attribute characteristics can be measured by a sample rating of good or dad, success or failure, e.t.c Attributes measurements are quicker and easier to make, so they often more economical data gathering and storage. Variable measurements however,  contain more potential information, provide a more useful data, hence more information for controlling the process

  1. variable in out put quality :- No two products are exactly the same. some factors like, environmental factors, may all machine factors, operator and material factors, may all introduce elements of variability in products’ quality .

iii.      control of variable: A process under control will often generate a normal distribution of the feature being measured.  Here, the inspector maybe concerned with an average size and variable from the average.  In this case, the control chart used is the mean (x) chart.  But where the inspector is concerned with the range between the smallest and largest size, the chart to use is the range ® chart.

Iv      control of attributes: Attributes are ‘yes’ or ‘no’ good or bad chrematistics: Here, products are either accepted or rejected.  The product may or may not be measured.  Where measurement is carried out, it is simple to determine if they are acceptable.  Control charts for attributes inspection are based on the proportion of the products rejected by the inspector.


  1. Quality Planning: According to juran (2000.4.10), planning for control is the activity which provides the system the concepts, methodology and tools through which company personnel can keep the operating which processes stable and thereby produce the product features required to meet customer needs.

Planning for quality control helps to bridge the gap between the prevents the responsible to understand the quality control and the customers and a definition of their role in meeting those needs.  Supplying a translation of what customers needs are and defining responsibility for meeting these needs bridge this gap.  In this way, planning for quality includes providing operating personnel with information on customers’ needs and definition of the related control responsibilities of the operating personnel.

Quality planning according to Juan therefore is a structural process for developing products (both good and services) that ensures that customers needs are met by the final result.


  1. Quality Improvement: Quality improvement is the organized creation of beneficial change in the quality of a product. Better quality according to Juan (2000:5.3) is a form of beneficial change. It is applicable to both product features and freedom from deficiencies.

Quality improvement to reduce deficiencies that create chronic waste may consist of such action as:

  1. Increase of the yield of factory processes
  2. Reduction PF error rates in offices
  • Reduction of field failures.


QUALITY ASSURANCE: Quality assurance programmes commonly involve systematic efforts to assess the quality of outputs.  (Certo(1994:460) defined quality assurance as an “operations process involving a broad group of activities that are aimed at achieving the organizations quality objectives”.  Quality assurance according to him is a continuum of activities that start when quality standards are set and end when quality goods and services are delivered to the customers quality assurance is the best, when the management adopts a “no rejects” philosophy.



The concept of total quality management (TQM), is developed in the context of market economies and democratic tradition.  In a market based economy, the identity of the customer can be made clear and the producer is free to use all means to ascertain (and even to influence), the customer needs.  In a centrally planned economy, decision as to who is the customer and what are the customers needs are hidden from view.  The customers being the very foundation stone of TQM, the formerly planned economies seeking to establish TQM will need to restore respectability to market transactions and the word “customer”, and train particularity in market business basics.

A TQM system is bases on the theory that as quality improves, cost fall through lower failure rates and less waste.  TQM involves more than assurance of quality of products or services.  It is a system, which look-at quality in every stage of the process of production, both internally and externally. Appleby, (1994:30-31).

Appleby went further to say that TQM is an organizational strategy, which aims at improving a business effectiveness and flexibility by eliminating waste so that results can be achieved quicker and more cheaply.

Longeneecker, mover and petty (2000:430-431) stated that “TQM implies an all-encompassing quality focused management approach to providing products and services that satisfy customer requirements” According to these people a firm’s quality management efforts should being with a focus on the customers who purchase its products or services.  A concrete customer focus is the driving force behind successful quality program.  Without such a focus, they opined, the quest for quality easily degenerates into an aimless search for some abstract, elusive ideal.

George and Jones (1996:609) defined TQM as an ongoing and constant effort by all of an improve the quality of the organization’s products and services.

TQM means “creating an organizational culture committed to the continuous improvement of skills, team work, processes, product and services quality and customer satisfaction” Kreitner, (1998:557).

TQM is an organization cultural commitment to satisfying customers through the use of an integrated system of tools, techniques and training.  It involves the continuous improvement of organizational processes, resulting in high quality products and services.

TQM approach signals a radical change in the way companies organize their activities.  Once, TQM functions are adopted by an organization, a continuous incremental change takes place and all functions are expected to co-operate with each other to improve quality.

According to Juan (2000:3), TQM is a management approach that strives for the following in any business environment.

  1. Under strong top-management leadership, establish clear mid and long-term vision and strategies.
  2. Properly utilize the concepts values and scientific methods of TQM.
  3. Regard human resources and information as vital organizational infrastructures.
  4. Under an appropriate management system, effectively operate a quality assurance system and other cross-functional management system such as cost delivery environment and safety.
  5. Supported by fundamental organizational powers, such as core technology, speed and vitality ensure sound relationship with customers, employees society, suppliers and stockholders.
  6. Continuously realize corporate objective in the form of achieving an organizations mission, building an organization with a respectable presence and continuously securing profit.



In order to fulfill profitably their business objectives, many organizations are urgently promoting strategies that will result in a more responsive and effective service to customers.  The need to maintain a competitive edge over other providers and to assure consistent quality of provision is reinforces by the requirement to survive.  This provides an exciting conceptual frame work for the corporate inspiration and continuous quality development that has proved to be so rewarding.

In order to attain quality goals, quality standards must be established.  To establish quality standards entails building quality communities with uniform notions of quality values.  There is no universally recommended approach to assuring quality, although some from of quality initiative is required in order to benefit from the pursuit of continuous quality development.

To establish quality standards, and organization must establish its mission statement.  A mission statement according to walk-in (1992:3) “defines the philosophy that underpins a supplier’s business operation.  The statement expresses in the broadest way the philosophy’s objectives, direction and under lying purposes”.

Stated in this mission statement are the organization’s quality goals.  These goals according to walk-in, will focus every employee’s attention on organizational policies and their individual and collective responsibilities in the pursuit of quality standards and in meeting customers needs.

Also needed in the establishment of quality standards is a quality manual.  A quality manual is produced for the use of individual businesses.  The manual belongs to a particular company and it lays down, exclusively, quality policy and practices that are essential to satisfying customer’s requirements.  This quality manual contains continuously updated quality assurance procedures, specifying responsible persons and describing how quality functions will be effected.  It also serves as a reference for quality control systems, quality reviews and audits Walklin (1992:14).

Walklin also stated the following as things contained in the quality manual:

  1. Statement of quality policy
  2. Confirmation of a quality commitment
  3. Brief history of company
  4. Organization chart
  5. Quality objectives
  6. Quality operating procedures
  7. Summary of scope and responsibility for each procedure
  8. Documented work instructions
  9. Record of amendments
  10. Audit and review procedures, frequency and auditor derails.
  11. Printed form and documentation.



Quality control as defined by Bonne and Kurtz (1996:336) involves “measuring goods and services against established standards.  To measure goods and services against established standards, there are techniques used to carry out the measurement.  These techniques include.

  1. Quality circle
  2. Control chart.


QAULITY CIRLE:- According to Boone and Kurtz (1996:172) quality circle is a ‘small group of employees from one work area or department who meet regularly to identify and solve problems.’

Griffen and Ebert (1989:262) defined quality circles as a ‘group of employees  from the same work area who define, analyze and solve quality and other process related problems that they encounter within their area. This group of employees called the quality circle, usually meet from time to time in an organization to identify, analyze and solve quality related problems in their work area, or department. ‘Quality Circle is a technique for maximizing quality of production’… Gtriffen and Ebert (1989:633).

Quality circles organize their own efforts a leader and establish rules for discussion,  within the group, members identify aspects of their jobs that pose problems. The group gathers data to evaluate the severity of the problems and to identify improvement projects. ‘Quality circles’ problem- solving emphasizes brainstorming, group discussions and tools such as process capability studies, inspection, cost analysis, e.t.c. The group makes recommendations to management by identify expected benefits, costs and implementation timetables.


CONTROL  CHART :-  This  is a statically process control method in which result of  sampling of a product are plotted on a diagram that reveals when the process is beginning to depart from normal operating conditions. Control chart graphically shows the limit for the process being controlled under the control chart, there is the control limit, which confirms whether or not a process is under or out of control. Control chart is for both variables and attributes inspections.  Other techniques used in quality control are the statistical techniques which are applied to three major areas in quality control which include ; statistical process control acceptance sampling and traditional statistical techniques. Statistical can be use in statistical process control to monitor critical parameters of processes, with the goal of keeping them operating within desired levels that are known to provide quality results. Statistics may  be applied in acceptance sampling with the goal of screening batches of items that contain an unacceptable number of defective items from acceptable batches. The defective items in the rejected batches are then discarded or reworked so they will not be processed further or sold to customers.



The Importance of quality of producing high quality products in a firm cannot be over emphasized. This is because the result of low or high quality affects every person in the system. Therefore, the responsibility for quality or quality control is not the responsibility for only the top managers or the quality control manager. The responsibility for quality control, should rest with the members of the board of directors, top managers, middle manager to the least of workers in an organization. According to Dilworth (1992:615) ‘ quality is a team sport. Definitely quality is not the responsibility of a single department with a title like ‘ quality control’ or  ‘quality assurance’. Quality must be designed and built into the goods or services step by the step as they are produced and provided. ‘Quality –conscious companies involve employees from finance, production, marketing, and every other business function in understanding and satisfying customer needs and wants. Boone and Kurtz, (1996:146).


In as much as quality control is every ones responsibility, it is the primary duty of the top management to determine whether or not their firms should produce quality goods or services. This is because; every effective quality control program begins with the involvement of top managers who believe that the success of their firm depends on high quality and customer satisfaction.


‘Top managers must take a strategic view of quality : setting priorities, identifying what’s most critical to the success of the enterprise, and focusing improvement efforts on the customer. These are decision that only top management can make’ Boone and Kurtz, (1997: 151). What Boone and Kurtz were saying in other words is that top managers have the responsibility of making quality decisions and polices and communicating same to the Employees so as to get them involved in their pursuit of quality goals.



There are some problems militating against control practice in manufacturing firm from achieving their quality goals and objectives.

These problems include:

  1. Non awareness of techniques
  2. Inability to understand the needs of customers
  3. Cost of application
  4. Non availability of equipment
  5. management attitude


  1. Non- awareness of techniques: a firm could encounter problems in its quality control practice if it is not aware or is ignorant of quality control practice may, not be effective.


2.Inability to understand the needs of customers: where a firm is not able to know what its customers needs or their tastes, it fails to produce quality products that will satisfy its customer, tastes.


  1. Cost of application :sometimes when a firms knows what its customers needs and the available techniques of quality control, the cost of applying the quality control techniques becomes a problem. This is because, applying quality control techniques could be very expensive and where a firm cannot afford the cost, it because a problem.


  1. Non-available of equipment: this could constitute a problem to quality control practice in a firm where the needed equipment for effective quality control is not available due to cost or other reasons.


  1. Management attitude: The attitude of firm’s management can go a long way in affecting the quality control practice in the firm positively or negatively. Where management attitude is negative may be the management does not care about the quality of produce its firm’s produces or is not interested in proving all the necessary equipment, finance and support needed for effective quality

control, then it become a problem.



In the practice of quality control firms have set objectives they want to achievement of these quality goal or not, determines to a large extent, whether a firm will grow not and whether it will survive in the face of  ‘fierce’ competition.


Some of these quality control goal or objective are;-

  1. To meet customer tastes and therefore, create customer’s satisfaction.
  2. To create a good co- operator image.
  3. To grow and increase market share.
  4. To products that will sell anywhere in the world.
  5. To beat competition.
  6. To achieve lower costs.
  7. Higher productivity.


  1. Meeting customers’ tastes and creating customers’ satisfaction: – According to freeman and Gilbert jr. (1998) ‘many early attempts to improve quality systematically failed precisely because mangers become enamored of tool pf quality. If customer need are not the starting point, using tool of quality may result in produces and services that no one want to buy”. Stoner, Freeman and Gilbert, Jr, (1998:225), As a result of the above, firm now try to first of know what customers need before production. It is firm establish customer need that they can produce to satisfy customers


  1. Growth and increase market share: Every firm want to grow and increase it market share and this can only be achieved through lower cost and superior quality of their products.


  1. Creation of a good corporate image: for company to have a good corporate image, it produces high quality good and or services. Substandard or low quality products give firms bad name. Therefore, every firm desires to produce quality produce so as to achieve good corporate image.



  1. Firm also desire to have products that will meet international standard:- As a result of this firms work hard to produce good and serves that will sell in word market.


  1. To competition:- quality objective of any firm is to beat it competition and the responsibility of a single department with a title like ‘quality control’ or ‘quality assurance’’ quality must be designed and built into the good or service s step by step as they are produced and provided . Quality conscious companies involve employee from finance, production marketing, and every other business function in understanding and satisfying customer need and wants. Bonne and Kurtz, (1996:146). In as much as quality control is every ones responsibility, it is the primary duty if the top management to determine whether or not their firm should produce quality good or services. This is because, every effective quality control program begin with the involvement of top manager who believe that the success of their firm depend on high quality and customer satisfaction. Top manger must take a strategic view of quality: setting priorities, identifying what’s most critical to the success of the enterprise, and focusing improvement effort on the customer. these are decision that only top management can make Boone and Kurtz, (1997:151).

What Boone and Kurtz were saying in other words is that top managers have the responsibility of making quality decisions and polices and communicating same to the employees so as to get them involved in their pursuit of quality goals management of any firm knows that to do this, its firm must produce higher quality products. I.e products that are superior in quality than that of their competitors.

  1. To achieve lower costs :- firms desire to achieve lower costs through effective quality control. Lower cost are achieve due to less waste and scrap, fewer delays and efficient use of resources as all a result of effective quality control.
  2. Higher productivity :- this is another quality control objective of firms. To achieve higher productivity, firms must ensure that there is less waste and ensure that there are to ‘reject’ this is because correcting ‘quality’ mistakes will take much time and that would have been used to produce more goals.


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