The concept of TQM (Total Quality Management)

Total Quality Management is a management approach that originated in the 1950's and has steadily become more popular since the early 1980's. Total Quality is a description of the culture, attitude and organization of a company that strives to provide customers with products and services that satisfy their needs. The culture requires quality in all aspects of the company's operations, with processes being done right the first time and defects and waste eradicated from operations.

Total Quality Management, TQM, is a method by which management and employees can become involved in the continuous improvement of the production of goods and services. It is a combination of quality and management tools aimed at increasing business and reducing losses due to wasteful practices.

Some of the companies who have implemented TQM include Ford Motor Company, Phillips Semiconductor, SGL Carbon, Motorola and Toyota Motor Company.

 

TQM Defined
TQM is a management philosophy that seeks to integrate all organizational functions (marketing, finance, design, engineering, and production, customer service, etc.) to focus on meeting customer needs and organizational objectives.

TQM views an organization as a collection of processes. It maintains that organizations must strive to continuously improve these processes by incorporating the knowledge and experiences of workers. The simple objective of TQM is "Do the right things, right the first time, every time". TQM is infinitely variable and adaptable. Although originally applied to manufacturing operations, and for a number of years only used in that area, TQM is now becoming recognized as a generic management tool, just as applicable in service and public sector organizations. There are a number of evolutionary strands, with different sectors creating their own versions from the common ancestor. TQM is the foundation for activities, hich include:

  • Commitment by senior management and all employees
  • Meeting customer requirements
  • Reducing development cycle times
  • Just In Time/Demand Flow Manufacturing
  • Improvement teams
  • Reducing product and service costs
  • Systems to facilitate improvement
  • Line Management ownership
  • Employee involvement and empowerment
  • Recognition and celebration
  • Challenging quantified goals and benchmarking
  • Focus on processes / improvement plans
  • Specific incorporation in strategic planning

This shows that TQM must be practiced in all activities, by all personnel, in Manufacturing, Marketing, Engineering, R&D, Sales, Purchasing, HR, etc.

 

The core of TQM is the customer-supplier interfaces, both externally and internally, and at each interface lie a number of processes. This core must be surrounded by commitment to quality, communication of the quality message, and recognition of the need to change the culture of the organization to create total quality. These are the foundations of TQM, and they are supported by the key management functions of people, processes and systems in the organization.