Total Quality Management

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An organizations’ success often depends upon the quality of goods and services they provide. Quality is one of the primary factors a customer considers while purchasing the product or service. It is the quality that gives organizations an edge in the market.  In various cases, it has been observed that the importance of quality is something that goes a long way in creating a brand. One of the key things to note when discussing quality is that it is not just limited to products, it is rather applicable to all management and service sectors. It applies to planning, organizing, controlling, etc. These also require quality standards.

Total Quality Management is a continuous process of detecting and reducing or eliminating errors, streamlining the process of management, improving the customer experience and ensuring that employees are up to mark with the training of the product or service. It focuses on ensuring that internal guidelines and process standards are established and are being followed as the quality is reflective of both internal and industry standards.

Total Quality Management (TQM) was developed by American management consultants like Edward Deming and Joseph Juran. Their research helped Japanese industries rebuild their economy after World War II.  While this was mostly applicable in the manufacturing sector, its principles were eventually applied to all industries and sectors. Unlike earlier times where there used to be one quality department for all sectors, today we have independent quality departments and standards set. Some of which are recognized and widely referred to such as the ISO standards.


Principles of Total Quality Management

Total Quality Management strives to ensure all associated employees work towards the common goals of improving product or service quality as well as improving the procedures that are in place for production. This helps an organization improve its internal functioning and customer satisfaction. Below are some basic principles of Total Quality Management:

Management of Quality is Possible

Quality is one factor which is totally in control of the organization or enterprise producing the goods or service. Unlike external factors, quality is something an organization manages. While we know that quality is a manageable aspect, this fact changes when large scale production comes into the picture. However, having or adapting to an efficient process helps an organization manage quality without compromise.

Processes are the Problem, not People

When people understand what to do, how to do and obtain feedback on their performance, they fully strive to work for the organization’s progress and benefits. When this is not working, management must not focus on hiring more people rather analyze where the problem is lying and correct the process and ensure all employees are well trained with the processes or standards set forth.

Look for the Cure instead of Treating Symptoms

Often when processes are looked at, short term goals are paid more attention to rather than long term goals. The actual problem is addressed at a later stage or gets ignored. Managers should instead look at the problem and identify the root cause of it and implement corrective measures in the process by removing the source of the problem itself.

Each Employee is Responsible for Quality Management

Total Quality Management or TQM is a collective effort of the entire organization in making sure the quality standards are met. Structures, systems and technology by themselves do not provide quality; it is the employees who take full responsibility and follow the standards with integrity. The greater the involvement of people, the greater the customer satisfaction will be.

Quality Improvements must keep Happening

Quality management is a continual improvement process and a permanent process that happens all the time. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9000 series of standards believe that organizations can continually improve their performance. Continued improvement in quality and general standards helps achieve a benchmark in the market and return earns rewards in the form of increased goodwill by word of mouth and increased demand for the product or service. 

Quality is Measurable

TQM recognizes quality as measurable and believes it can be quantified in terms of statistical data. This data is used to support quality efforts in simplification of a process and bringing product variation. The quality can be improved if we are aware and clear about where we stand and what are the quality goals we aspire to achieve.

Customer Satisfaction

Bringing the best of what really matters to the customer should be the primary objective of the organization while setting quality standards. Customer satisfaction doesn’t only limit to external customers, it also applies to internal colleagues to whom a certain good, services or information is provided. There is a traditional belief or point of view which says ‘Customer is the King’ and processes and products must be established with one thing in mind that is customer satisfaction. In order to succeed in global competition, companies have started to adapt to the attitude of delighting the customer.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are the benefits of Total Quality Management?

Ans: There are many advantages of total quality management. A few are listed below: 

  • The Competitive Position is Strengthened

  • Productivity is Increased

  • Market Image is Enhanced

  • Customer Satisfaction and Focus Improves

  • The worry regarding Job Security Diminishes

  • Cost Management is Improved 

  • The Market conditions keep improving. With TQM there will be better adaptability to this change

  • Profit Margins Increase

  • The Stakeholder value as well as the shareholder increase

  • The Confidence among the Employees Improves

2. What are the categories in which the Total Quality Management is divided?

Ans: The total quality management is divided into 4 categories, this cycle is also referred to as the PDCA cycle:

  • The First Phase is the planning phase where the employees come forward with their problems that have to be addressed. 

  • The Next Phase is the doing phase where a solution is developed by the employees.

  • The Checking Phase is where the comparative analysis is done to know the effectiveness of the result

  • The Acting Phase is where the results are documented.