Quality Management (TQM) improves customer satisfaction through doing what is necessary to maintain success. Customers’ satisfaction is rooted in employees and business processes long before any product or service is delivered.
What can businesses and organizations do to ensure that their processes and people are aligned with success and customer satisfaction? This is where total quality management comes in.
What Is Total Quality Management (TQM)?
In Total Quality Management, products and services are delivered with the highest level of quality to maximize customer satisfaction and meet regulatory requirements. A total quality management approach is a continuous improvement effort that is carried out across the entire organization. When an employee is able to provide on-demand products and services that are of value to their customers, their productivity will improve.
Total quality management is all about that. “What is TQM” means that all employees of an organization participate in the effort. However, total quality management lacks a widely accepted methodology. Additionally, it uses tools and techniques other than project quality control and quality assurance.
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Principles of Total Quality Management
Total quality management (TQM) is defined differently in different contexts, and its principles are also different. We have, however, compiled the most important TQM principles below.
Customer Focused: Quality is defined by the customer, and all efforts in the organization lead to customer satisfaction.
- The effort is not isolated to one department of the organization. A business that strives for customer satisfaction must have a common goal for all its employees and aspects.
- Process Oriented:
- Integrated System: Regardless of the size or complexity of the organization, all its parts must work together.
- Strategic and Systemic Approach: Integrating total quality management into a strategic plan can help structure a company’s mission.
- Continual Improvement: Customer satisfaction is the mantra for total quality improvement, but it is not a one-shot goal: improving quality for the customer is a process without an end.
- Fact-Based Decision Making: To determine if an organization is meeting its objectives, performance metrics must be collected and analyzed accurately and without prejudice.
Total Quality Management Methodologies
Total quality management requires methodology. Quality management isn’t one-size-fits-all. You can take several approaches. A few of them are listed below.
Toyota, the car manufacturer, is a pioneer of lean manufacturing in Japan. To add value and maintain quality, it is all about targeting and eliminating mud or waste.
As another quality management methodology, Six Sigma focuses on improving current processes, products, or services. It identifies and eliminates defects to streamline quality control.
ISO 9000 is a series of international standards that focuses on quality management and quality assurance. In order to maintain an effective quality system, companies created this document.
History of Total Quality Management
As a result of the economic instability of the late 1970s and early 1980s, total quality management was born. At this time, North America and Western Europe saw their dominance challenged by competition from the East, especially Japan’s high-quality yet inexpensive products.
It was the United States Navy that initiated the idea when it asked civilian researchers to suggest ways to improve its operational effectiveness in 1984.
This methodology was used by the Underground Storage Tank Program of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1985. Private sections soon followed as a way to compete against Japanese influence.
Key Concepts in Total Quality Management
Total quality management concepts developed by the military include:
- The quality of a product is determined by the requirements of the customer
- Quality improvement is directly attributed to top-tier management
- Systemic analysis and the use of that data to improve work processes are key to improving quality
- Quality improvement is a continuous process conducted throughout the organization
To achieve these concepts, the U.S. Navy used certain techniques and tools. To control continuous improvements in processes and products, there’s a four-step management method known as the Plan Do Check Act (PDCA) cycle.