The essence of control is actions which adjust operation’s predetermined standards, and its basis is information in the hands of managers. Usually whenever we think of term control, we imply that we are talking about controls in place in industrial or technical setup. However, control, including quality control, also involves office productivity, such as improved customer service, elimination of bottlenecks and reduction in paperwork mistakes.
Control can focus on events before, during or after a process. For example, a local car dealer can focus on activities before, during or after sales of new cars. Careful inspection of new cars and cautious selection of sales employees are ways to ensure high quality profitable sales even before those sales take place.
Monitoring the way sales people act with customers would be considered control during the sales task. Counting the number new cars sold during the month or telephone buyers about their dissatisfaction with the sale transactions would control after sales have occurred.
Those three types of controls are formally called feedforward, concurrent control and feedback.
Feedforward Control: Control that attempts to identify and prevent deviation before they occur is called feedforward control. Sometimes called preliminary control or preventive control, it focuses on human, material and financial resources that flow into organization.
Its purpose is to ensure that input quality is high enough to prevent problems when the organization performs its tasks. Feedforward controls are evident in the selection and hiring of new employees. Organizations attempt to improve the likelihood that employees will perform up to standards by identifying the necessary skills and using tests and other screening devices to hire people who have those skills.
Another type of feedback control is to identify and manage risks. For example large accounting firms have recognized that they have recognized they can offer value to their clients by looking for risks the clients have knowingly or unknowingly taken on, rather than merely evaluating their financial preforms after the fact.
Concurrent Control: Control that monitors ongoing employee activity to ensure they are consistent with quality standards is called concurrent control. This control can be rightly called as Quality Assurance. Concurrent control assesses current activities, relies on performance standards, and includes rules regulations for guiding employee tasks and behavior. Its intent is to ensure that work activities produce the correct results. It includes self-control, through which individual impose concurrent control on their behaviors.
Many manufacturing operations include devices that measure whether the items being produced meet quality standards. Employees monitor the measurements; if they see that standards are not net me in some area, they make correction themselves or signal the appropriate person that problem is occurring.
Other concurrent controls involve the ways organizations influence employees. An organization’s cultural norms and values influence employee behaviors, as do the norms of an employee’s peer or work group. An organization that adopts a philosophy of total quality management establishes the norms that employee will seek ways to continuously improve the organization’s activities. Employee who accept that norms will look for ways to improve quality, thus contributing to standard of continuous improvement.
Feedback Control: Sometimes called post-action or output control. feedback control focuses on the organization’s outputs–in particular, the quality of an end product or services.
An example of feedback control in a manufacturing department is an intensive final inspection of a car at an assembly plant. At most universities, students provide feedback information on their views of the value and usefulness of every subject that they take. Universities measure students’ perceived quality of lectures and tutors and usefulness of every subject that they take.
Source: Management by Danny Samson and Richard L. Daft