Grantham Crosby’s Principles: Quality Comes to City Hall Case Study Case Study: Quality Comes to City Hall While there are many notable philosophers and th

Grantham Crosby’s Principles: Quality Comes to City Hall Case Study Case Study: Quality Comes to City Hall
While there are many notable philosophers and theorists in the field of quality management, their philosophies and theories remain just that without practical application. While the quality management gurus and criteria we have studied in Week 2 have been applied to multi-level, complex quality related issues in many industries, in quality improvement for performance excellence needs to address the culture as well as the quality issue.
This case study involves the application of total quality management based on Deming’s theories and practices by the municipal government of Madison, Wisconsin. It is a story of quality, innovation, operating excellence, and renewal, but above all, this is a story of the impact that Deming’s total quality management theories can have on external and internal stakeholders when the concept of service is installed in government.
Review the case study: Quality Comes to City Hall. (Sensenbrenner, 1991) located in EBSCOhost in Business Source Complete.
Citation: Sensenbrenner, J. (1991). Quality comes to city hall. Nation’s Business, 79(10), 60.
Through research from sources provided in the course and from academic and scholarly resources outside of the course, determine, analyze and evaluate the following elements:
1.Determine how the quality management philosophies of Deming, Juran, and Crosby were applied to the Madison, Wisconsin’s city government practices.
2.Analyze the impact of Deming’s quality management concept on the external and internal stakeholder cultures of Madison, Wisconsin’s city government.
3.Evaluate how Crosby’s Zero Defects Theory of quality management could improve the services provided by government agencies.
Directions for obtaining the file: Access the Grantham University library by clicking on the Resources tab from the main page in GLife or from the Library Resource Center under My Organizations in Blackboard. You will then click on the EBSCOHost icon. Once you have accessed the database, simply copy and paste the title of the article and press enter to search and you should now have the file accessible to review.
The paper should contain the following APA formatted elements:
1.Title Page.
3.Body of the essay (Your researched response.).
5.References Section.
The requirements below must be met for your paper to be accepted and graded:
1.Write a response between 750 – 1000 words for the body of the essay (The title page, abstract, conclusion and References section are not counted toward the word requirement.) (approximately 4-6¬ pages) using Microsoft Word in APA style,
2.Address all three elements fully.
3.Use font size 12 and 1” margins.
4.Use at least three references from outside the course material (You may use the academic resources included in the Week 8 Bibliography.) one reference must be from EBSCOhost. The course textbook and lectures can be used, but are not counted toward the five reference requirement.
5.References must come from sources such as, academic and scholarly journals and essays found in EBSCOhost, CNN, online newspapers such as, The Wall Street Journal, government websites, etc. Sources such as, Wikis, Yahoo Answers, eHow, blogs, etc. are not acceptable for academic writing.
6.Cite all reference material (data, dates, graphs, quotes, paraphrased words, values, etc.) in the paper and list on a reference page in APA style. Provide citations everywhere information from the sources is used for foundational support and for validation of opinions.
7.Use the third person narrative and avoid the use of the first and second person narrative and terms such as; I, me, myself, you, your, yourself, we or us (or related form such as let’s (let us) or we’ll, we’ve (we will / we have) among others). This will prevent the author or other parties from becoming the subject matter and will maintain the focus of the paper on the central theme and subject matter found in the elements.
8.Be informational and avoid being conversational.
A detailed explanation of how to cite a source using APA can be found here (
Grading Criteria Assignments Maximum Points
Meets or exceeds established assignment criteria 40
Demonstrates an understanding of lesson concepts 20
Clearly presents well-reasoned ideas and concepts 30
Uses proper mechanics, punctuation, sentence structure, and spelling 10
Total 100 I
First Person
Firsthand lessons from experienced managers
How in the world, I wondered,
do we get bureaucrats to strive for
“continuous improvement^”
They invented the status quo!
Quality Comes to City Haii
by Joseph Sensenbrenner
Government may be the biggest
and the oldest industry in the world,
but tbe statement “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you” is
universally considered a bad joke.
Increasingly, people don’t believe
that government knows how to belp
or wants to bother. They find concepts like “total quality,” “customerdriven,” and “continuous improvement” foreign to everything they
know about what government does
and how it works. They wish government would be more like a well-run
business, but most have stopped hoping it ever will he.
Today, fortunately, a new channel
bas opened through which business
and progressive husiness practices
can have an impact on the cost, efficiency, and overall quality of government. This channel is the quality
movement-tbe rapidly growing acceptance of the management prac64
tices tbat W. Edwards Deming developed and persuaded Japanese
industry to implement after the end
of World War II. As more and more
U.S. industries work witb and profit
from Deming’s techniques, we have
to wonder whether it’s not possible
to develop a public sector that offers
taxpayers and citizens tbe same quality of services they have come to expect from progressive businesses like
Motorola and Westinghouse.
My answer to that question is yes,
it is possible. Moreover, while I was
mayor of Madison, Wisconsin from
1983 to 1989, I took several steps to
make it happen.
Mayor of Madison, Wisconsin from
1983 to 1989, Joseph Sensenbrenner
is now a consultant on the application of total quality management in
the public sector.
I acted in response to a changing
climate. Just as major corporations
like Ford and Harley-Davidson have
bad to improve or perish, so too the
marketplace now confronts governments witb shrinking revenues, taxpayer revolts, and a new insistence
on greater productivity and better
“People are making comparisons,”
says one quality expert. “They can
call American Express on Monday
and get a credit card in tbe mail by
the end of the week, but it takes six
weeks to get a lousy driver’s license
renewed. You migbt not think the
motor vehicles division competes
witb American Express, but it does
in tbe mind of tbe customer.”
Welcome to Madison
These problems came alive for me
when I was elected to the first of
three two-year terms as mayor of
March-April 1991
Madison in 1983. As state capital and
home of the University of Wisconsin,
Madison smolders politically even in
quiet times. Although life had returned to relative normalcy after
the upheavals of the Vietnam War,
government was still on the defensive. The Reagan revolution was cutting sharply into revenues (the city
lost 11 % of total revenues between
1983 and 1989) even as our service
area continued to grow and costs continued to rise.
Madison’s property-tax base is
constrained in two ways – naturally
hy the city’s location on a narrow
isthmus, artificially by the volume of
land and buildings devoted to the
university and to county and state
government. By 1983, we were taxing taxable property nearly to its
limit and beginning to turn to controversial measures like ambulance
fees to make up the difference.
Budget hearings were hecoming an
annual nightmare. The people of
Madison did not want their services
cut or their taxes raised. In their view,
city services were in a steady decline
already, even as they paid more for
them. From what I could see, in
many cases they were right.
But I felt boxed in. My previous
managerial experience – as the governor’s chief of staff and as deputy
state attorney general – was nearly
useless in getting a handle on the
mixed operations of municipal government. As deputy state attorney
general, I had run an office where I
was an expert on every aspect of the
work, and I practiced a good deal of
participatory decision making. As
mayor, I could not run an executive
office, deal with the city council, and
also be an expert on lawn cutting,
snow removal, and motor vehicle
maintenance. And it was out there
on the front lines that systems were
breaking down.
For example, a 1983 audit disclosed big problems at the city
garage: long delays in repair and
major pieces of equipment unavailable for the many agencies that used
Madison’s 765-unit fleet of squad
cars, dump trucks, refuse packers,
and road scrapers.
The audit gave a depressingly vivid
and complete picture of the sympHARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW
March-April 1991
toms of the problem (for example,
vehicles spent an average of nine days
in the garage every time they needed
work), but it offered no clear explanation of why things were so bad. Like
other managers in similar situations,
I felt inclined to call in the shop boss,
read him the riot act, and tell him
to crack the whip and shape up his
Just about then, an assistant in my
office suggested I attend a presentation by W. Edwards Deming, the then
82-year-old statistician and guru of
the Japanese industrial miracle.
Deming’s approach is no doubt
familiar to many businesspeople,
but it was unlike anything I had
ever heard. It sounded like common sense, but it was revolutionary.
American industry, he said, had
been living in a fool’s paradise. In an
ever-expanding market, even the
worst management seems good because its flaws are concealed. But
under competitive conditions those
flaws become fatal, and that is what
we are witnessing as U.S. companies lose market share in one area
after another.
If there was a devil in the piece,
Deming said, it was our system of
make-and-inspect, which if applied
Applied to toast,
the government
approach to
quality wouid go,
“You burn,
111 sorope.”
to making toast would he expressed:
“You burn, I’ll scrape.” It is folly to
correct defects “downstream”; the
critical issue, he said, is to get your
“upstream” processes under control
so you can guarantee the outcome
every time. To do this, an organization must create a culture of quality;
it must master proven quality techniques. Most important, it must
define quality – first, as continuous
improvement in pleasing customers
and second, as reducing the variation in whatever service or product
it offers.
As Deming described tbe organizational changes required to produce
his culture of quality, I found myself
thinking that this was, perhaps, what
I had heen searching for. It also
occurred to me that it would take a
revolution to get it. Autonomous
departments are the virtual essence
of government bureaucracy, so how
was I going to implement Deming’s
command to break down harriers?
“Cover your ass” and “go along to get
along” are ancient tenets of the civil
service, so how was I going to follow
Deming’s admonition to drive out
fear and license more workers to
solve problems? Most daunting of all
was his command to install continuous improvement not just as a goal
but as a daily chore of government.
My God, government invented the
status quo! And what were the voters
going to think of “quality” as a cost
item in a city budget?
The First Street Garage
These were some of my thoughts
as I headed back to city hall. But I had
another: there was nowhere else to
go. 1 had already seen that management by objective and threats of
audits were not going to produce
change. I might as well try it, I
thought. And the city garage, where
the rubber hit the road, seemed a
likely place to start.
The manager and mechanics at the
First Street Garage were surprised to
see the mayor and a top assistant
show up to investigate their problems; most previous mayors had
shown their faces only when they
needed a tankful of gas. Over the
next few years I learned again and
again the crucial importance of the
top executive getting personally and
visibly involved on the battlefield of
hasic change.
For the most part, the crew at the
garage were doubters. But when I
met Terry Holmes, the president of
Laborers International Union of
North America, Local 236, I looked
him squarely in tbe eye, pledged my
personal involvement, and confirmed his membership’s central
role. He agreed to participate. We
formed a team and gathered data
from individual mechanics and from
continued on page 68
the repair process itself. We found
thai many delays resulted from the
garage not having the right parts in
stock. We took tbat complaint to the
parts manager, who said the problem
with stocking parts was that the city
purchased many different makes and
models of equipment virtually every
year. We discovered tbat the fleet
included 440 different types, makes,
models, and years of equipment.
Why tbe bewildering variety? Because, the parts manager told us, it
was city policy to buy whatever vehicle had the lowest sticker price on
tbe day of purchase.
“It doesn’t make any sense,” one
mechanic said. “Wben you look at
all tbe equipment downtime, the
warranty work that weak suppliers
don’t cover, tbe unreliability of
cheaper machines, and the lower resale value, buying what’s cheapest
doesn’t save us anything.”
Our next trip was to the parts purchaser. He agreed witb the mechanic. “It would certainly make my job
easier to have fewer parts to stock
from a few reliable suppliers. But
central purchasing won’t let me do
it.” Onward to central purchasing,
where we heard this: “Boy, I understand what you’re saying hecause I
bear it from all over the organization.
But there’s no way we ean change tbe
We found one
chronio service
failure whose
cause and
solution were well
known – but no
one ever fixed it.
policy. The comptroller wouldn’t let
us do it.”
Enter tbe comptroller. “You make
a very strong ease,” he admitted.
“But I can’t let you do it because the
city attorney won’t let me approve
such a thing.” On to tbe city attorney. “Why, of course you ean do
that,” be said. “All you need to do is
write the specifications so they include the warranty, the ease of maintenance, tbe availability of parts, and
the resale value over time. Make sure
that’s clear in advance, and there’s no
prohlem. In fact, I assumed you were
doing it all along.”
Tbis was a stunning disclosure.
Here was a major failure of a city
service wbose symptoms, causes,
and solution were widely known but
that had hecome ehronie hecause
government was not organized to
solve it. No doubt there are dozens of
large corporations that have made
similar discoveries about their own
bureaucracies. (Indeed, Deming
would not he famous in tbe business
world if this were not the case.) But
for me – and, I later learned, for local
governments all over the country and
the world – tbis kind of discovery
was eye-opening.
This first exercise confirmed point
after point of Deming’s paradigm and
suggested strongly that what worked
for husiness would work for govemment. To hegin with, tbe source of
tbe downtime problem was upstream in the relationship of the eity
to its suppliers – not downstream
where tbe worker eouldn’t find a
missing part. The problem was a
flawed system, not flawed workers.
Seeond, solving the problem required teamwork and breaking down
barriers between departments. The
departments were too self-contained
to be helpful to one anotber, and
helpfulness itself – treating the people you supplied or serviced as “customers” – was an unknown concept.
Third, finding the solution meant
including frontline employees in
problem solving. The fact of being
consulted and enlisted rather than
blamed and ignored resulted in buge
improvements in morale and productivity. When we actually changed our
purchasing policy, cutting a 24-step
process with multiple levels of eontrol to just 3 steps, employees were
stunned and delighted tbat someone
was listening to tbem instead of
merely taking them to task.
They were so enthusiastic, in fact,
that they hegan to research the possihle savings of a preventive maintenance program. Tbey discovered, for
example, that city departments did
not use truck-bed linings when hauling corrosive materials such as salt.
Mechanics also rode along on police
patrols and learned that squad cars
spend much more time at idling
speeds tban in the higb-speed emergencies mechanics bad imagined and
planned for in tuning engines.
Various eity departments – streets,
parks, police – helped the First Street
mechanics gather data, and we ultimately adopted their proposals, ineluding driver cheek sheets for vehicle condition, maintenance sched-
We cut vehicle
turnaround time
fronn nine days to
three days and
saved $715 for
every $1 invested
in improvennents.
ules for eaeh pieee of equipment,
and an overtime budget to cut downtime and make sure preventive maintenance work was done.
The result of these ehanges was a
reduction in the average vehicle
turnaround time from nine days to
three and a savings of $7.15 in downtime and repair for every $1 invested in preventive maintenance – an
annual net savings to the city of
Madison of ahout $700,000.
The Second Wave
Despite the satisfying outcome of
this first foray into publie-sector
quality, I understood that we were far
from having enough knowledge and
experience to develop a program for
the entire city work force.
I attended a seeond, four-day seminar with Deming, and I enlisted the
support of university faculty and
loeal and national quality consultants. I also helped found the Madison Area Quality Improvement Network and recruited academic, professional, and corporate members.
Today it is the largest and most active community quality council in
the world. In the years that followed,
corporate and academic experts provided the eity with in-kind .services
that were worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
1 went about setting up a formal
quality and productivity (QP) program that would eventually function
citywide. I hired a full-time quality
and productivity administrator – the
first sucb public-sector position in
the eountry – even though that
meant giving up one of the four policy positions on my staff. 1 also organized a QP steering committee of
top managers to direct the effort.
Originally, the committee itself was
a throwback to an older, hierarchical
tradition: all top managers. Within
two years, it replaced eight of its own
original eleven members with two
union presidents – Firefighters and
AFSCME – three middle managers,
two of our most enthusiastic frontline workers, and the president of the
city council.
The steering committee issued a
mission statement that envisioned
employee involvement, customer
input, continuous improvement, creativity, innovation, and trust. On a
more practical level, it said that the
hallmarks of quality in Madison city
govemment would he excellence “as
defined hy our customers,” respect
for employee worth, teamwork, and
data-based decision making. We
called this foursquare commitment
the Madison Diamond.
Finding the lofty words was tbe
easy part; now we had to live up to
them. The first task was to recruit
the initial cadre of what we hoped
would become a quality army We set
out to identify pioneers in several
city departments – managers and
frontline employees with the imagination and motivation to lead tbe
way. Their most important characteristic, 1 found, regardless of political philosophy or training, was
a strong ego: the capacity to take
responsibility for risks, share credit
for sueeess, and keep one eye on
the prize. We found enough of these
people to begin a new round of experiments like our suecessful First
Street prototype.
This second wave included projects in the streets division, the
health department, day care, and
data processing. We expanded the
lesson we’d learned ahout purchasing at the First Street Garage to create a citywide “Tool Kit” program
March April 1991
that got workers directly involved in
choosing the most cost-effective
tools and materials for their jobs.
City painters picked the most
durable, long-lasting paints for city
housing projects, for example, and
police officers chose the equipment
they would be using every day in
their patrol car “offices.” Selections
had to be made on the basis of hard
data, however, so mnning the comparisons became quality projects for
the employees.
In the health department, the challenge was simply to give citizens
quicker, hetter answers to their questions about clinies and programs.
Employees began to sample and analyze the questions that were coming
in, then on the basis (if that data they
set up briefings for phone receptionists so they eould answer most questions directly. They also created a
clear system of referrals for more
complicated requests. Follow-up
studies showed considerable improvement in the department’s level
of “customer” satisfaction.
By gathering and analyzing data, the day care unit shortened its
waiting list for financial assistance
hy 200 names, while data processing customized and thus greatly improved its relations with internal
^ I expected
opposition from
;, voters, city
council or our
14 unions. But the
resistance canne
from bureaucrats.
As with our first experiments at
the garage, the second wave of quality initiatives worked minor wonders in productivity and morale, and
they met with little resistance – so
long as the projects stayed small.
But as the program grew to involve
more departments and demand more
time of managers, opposition began
to emerge. 1 bad expected problems
from structural sources: the 14 different unions that represented 1,650 of
Madison’s 2,300 employees,- tbe
strong civil serviee system that included and protected all of tbe city’s
mid-level managers and most of Its
department heads; the 22-member,
nonpartisan city council (meaning
no partisan bloc for the mayor’s
program); and Madison’s “weakmayor” system of government that
invested little authority in the chief
But it turned out that the city
council supported the program, and
the unions grew increasingly helpful,
The real opposition was not structural but bureaucratic. There were
individual mangers wbo could not
tolerate the idea of bringing their
employees into decisions or who
resented taking time to reassess tried
and true procedures. There were
employees who scorned the program
as faddish and who looked on enthusiastic colleagues as management
finks. There were cynics who tried to
exploit the program hy packaging
their pet projects as QP initiatives,
and I had politieal opponents in a few
departments who tried periodically
to entice some reporter into prohing
the “QPboondoggle.”
Most surprising and disappointing
to me were the harriers ! discovered
between work units, including even
units in the same department. One
department head told bis middle
managers that be expeeted them to
deal with quality prohlems while he,
as he put it, “protected” the department from the rest of city government! He could hardly have devised
a better way to nip eooperation in the
hud and help problems multiply.
The most unsettling indication of
how far we had to go came early in
the program when all the individual
team members in our second wave of
projects independently resigned.
They felt their managers, who
should have been giving them guidanee and support, were simply cutting them adrift and thus setting
them up for failure and hlame. For
their part, the managers believed
that all they had to do was make an
initial statement of support and invite subordinates to “call if you have
a problem.” Employees, of course,
took this to mean, “I expect you to
take care of it.”
“Cargill -1 haven’t come to the punch line yet!”
I addressed this problem by discussing it directly with all tbe people
involved. I then restructured our procedures to require specific work
plans and regular, scheduled meetings between tbe frontline project
teams and their managers. Contacts
had to stop being intrusions into a
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