What is Total Quality Management (TQM)?
Total quality management (TQM) is a management technique that emphasizes continuous improvement over all the mechanisms of the organization to make quality products and services in order to maintain long-term customer satisfaction as well as employees. TQM is designed to bring awareness of quality in all organizational processes. It is commonly used in manufacturing, education, government, and service organizations.
Total quality management provides an umbrella under which everyone in the organization can strive and create customer satisfaction. It consists of three qualities, quality of return to satisfy the needs of shareholders, quality of products and services to satisfy some specific needs of customers, and quality of life at work and outside work to satisfy the needs of the people in the organization.
Some important definitions of TQM are:
International Organization For Standardization (ISO) – TQM is a management approach for an organization, centered on quality, based on the participation of all its members and aiming at long-term success through customer satisfaction, and benefits to all members of the organization and to society.
Ricky W. Griffin – A strategy commitment by top management to change its whole approach to business to make quality a guiding factor in everything it does.
Robert Kreitner – Total quality management (TQM) is defined as creating an organizational culture committed to the continuous improvement of skills, teamwork, processes, and product and service quality, and customer satisfaction.
Robbins and Coulter – Total quality management is a philosophy of management that is driven by customer’s needs and expectations and focuses on continual improvement in the work process.
TQM ensures that things are done right the first time, and defects and waste are eliminated from operations. An organization that adopts TQM must implement changes in all areas of management. It must review its strategies, plans, policies, procedures, and practices as per the needs and desires of the market.
TQM has four objectives:
- Better quality of product or service.
- The quicker response in the process to customer needs.
- Greater flexibility in adjusting to customers shifting requirements.
- Lower cost through quality improvement and elimination of non-value-adding work.
Principles of Total Quality Management
Following are the major principles of TQM:
- Customer First: In total quality management customers are the focus point. For the satisfaction of them, the quality of products and service is implemented.
- Continuous Improvement: TQM ensures until unless the organization runs its activities, all the activities should be reviewed continuously from time to time.
- Participative Management: Employees should participate in the decision-making and planning process. This makes feel them valuable at work.
- Fact-Based Decision Making: TQM ensures real data rather than guesswork.
- Effective Communication: Two-way communication system ensures effectiveness in communication.
- Integrated System: All the activities of the organization should be integrated to achieve one specific goal.
- Strategic: TQM must have a vision and the ability to make it real.
- Process-Based: TQM activities are process-based.
- Teamwork: An effective team helps to develop team spirit among the members.
Tools and Techniques To Achieve TQM
Organizations can apply several tools and techniques to improve total quality management. The popular among them are benchmarking, outsourcing, speed, ISO 9000, and statistical quality control techniques.
Benchmarking is the process of searching for the best practice among competitors that leads to their better performance. It is an evaluation and comparison of an organization’s own products and processes against the very best in the market. It is a very specific form of environmental scanning.
Benchmarking involves looking at similar firms to examine how they have achieved the best performance levels and to understand the process they use. It helps to examine the essence behind the excellent performance. This allows organizations to develop the best practice which helps to improve performance.
Application of benchmarking involves four steps:
- Understanding in detail the existing business practice.
- Analyzing the business process of others.
- Compare own business performance with that of others analyzed.
- Implementing the steps necessary to close the performance gap.
Outsourcing is the process of subcontracting some of the jobs to other organizations to bring the quality and get the benefit of specialization. It is an important means of reducing cost and improving quality.
If an organization performs each and every activity by itself, it may not be able to perform it in an efficient manner and the quality of product and service also be inferior. Thus, the organization needs to identify certain areas that can be outsourced to minimize the cost of operation and to produce higher quality.
Speed is the time required to perform a specific activity for an organization. It is required in every area including development, production, and distribution of products or services. Many organizations are using speed for competitive advantage today.
Increasing speed will give organizations a strategic advantage and helps them to complete the task more effectively. Speed has become an important competitive advantage today. It involves not only doing the same things faster but also rethinking, and redesigning the whole business cycle.
#4 ISO 9000
The international organization for standardization (ISO) is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standard bodies. It was found on 23, February 1947.
There are five sets of standards covering areas such as product testing, employee training, record keeping, supplier relations, and repair policies and procedures starting 9000 to 9004. Firms that meet these standards apply for certification and are audited by a firm’s domestic affiliation organization. It develops quality standards over a wide range of quality systems, which add value to the business operations.
#5 Statistical Quality Control (SQC)
Statistical quality control is a set of specific statistical techniques which is applied to monitor the quality of good or services. It measures the degree of conformance of the various factors involved in processing the products on the basis of specifications. It is based on statistical and probability theories. It seeks to control quality through incoming materials, processing, and the output produced.
Acceptance sampling is applied for sampling a lot of materials and final output to ensure that quality standards have been met. Process sampling is used to evaluate product during the course of production to ensure that defective piece is not produced. Control charts are constructed to set the acceptable lower and upper limits of an aspect that we want to control in an item. All finished products may not be exactly the same and therefore, some limits or tolerance must be set so that if the finished products fall within these set limits, they can be considered as acceptable quality.
The effective utilization of these techniques helps to achieve total quality management effectively in the organizations.