Total Quality Management (TQM)

Definition of Total Quality Management (TQM)

Total Quality Management (TQM) seeks to integrate all organisational functions, such as marketing, finance, design, engineering, production, customer service, etc. to focus on meeting customer needs and organisational objectives.

TQM is defined as:

Total = Made up of the whole.

Quality = Degree of excellence of product/service provider.

Management = Art of handling, controlling and directing.

TQM sees an organisation as a set of processes. It argues that organisations must strive to continually improve these processes by integrating the knowledge and experiences of workers. The simple goal of TQM is ‘To do things right, the first time, always.’ TQM is infinitely variable and adaptable. This management approach covers several areas, although it was originally applied to manufacturing operations. For several years, it has only been used in this field. From now on, TQM is identified as a generic management tool, which also applies to services (health and safety), industrial enterprises, and the public sector. There is a series of evolutionary units, with different sectors creating their own versions of the common predecessor.

Total Quality Management is also defined as a customer-driven process and goals for continuous improvement of business operations. It ensures that all related work (in particular the work of the employees) is directed towards the common objectives of improving the quality of the product or the quality of the service, as well as the production or execution process of the services. However, the focus is on evidence-based decision-making, with the use of performance measures to monitor progress (Deming).

The Key Principles of TQM

  • a) Commitment from the Management
  • • Plan (drive, direct).
  • • Do (deploy, support, and participate).
  • • Check (review).
  • • Act (recognise, communicate, revise).
  • b) Employee Empowerment
  • • Training.
  • • Excellence team.
  • • Measurement and recognition.
  • • Suggestion scheme,
  • c) Continuous Improvement
  • • Systematic measurement.
  • • Excellence teams.
  • • Cross-functional process management.
  • • Attain, maintain, improve standards.
  • • Customer Focus
  • • Partnership with suppliers.
  • • Service relationship with internal customers.
  • • Customer-driven standards.
  • • Never compromise quality.

Benefits of TQM

Total Quality Management implementation leads to benefits for an organisation:

  • • It increases knowledge and culture of maintaining quality within the organisation.
  • • Distinctive attention and importance will be given to teamwork.
  • • It will lead to a commitment to continuous improvement.

Essential Requirements for Successful Implementation of TQM

a) Commitment

Quality improvement (in all aspects) must be the work of all members of the organisation. A clear commitment on the part of management must be provided, removing barriers to continuous quality improvement and the steps necessary to create an environment conducive to attitudinal change. Training and support in this regard should be expanded.

b) Culture

Culture is a step for successful implantation of TQM. Therefore, before changes take effect in the culture and attitude of the organisation, suitable training and awareness is necessary.

c) Continuous Improvement

Improvement needs to be understood as not only a one-time affair. Rather, it is a process that is continuous in nature. It is basically a need of the customer, as well as of the service provider.

d) Customer Focus

A customer-oriented approach ensures the intention of the organisation is to attain perfection with no defects and giving comprehensive satisfaction to the end-user. The users could be internal to the company or external.

e) Control

A process control exercise through monitoring and regular checks ensures no deviation from the intended course of implementation.

PDCA Cycle

Plan-Do-Check-Act is also known as the PDCA cycle.

Planning Phase

This is a very crucial phase for TQM where employees put forth their queries and problems which need to be addressed. A list made by employees of various daily challenges in activities helps in understanding and analysing the root causes for the problems. Proper research from the gathered data can help them find solutions for almost all these difficulties. So it is more reliable for achieving lasting solutions.

Doing Phase

A plausible solution is developed by the stakeholders (employees in this case) in the planning phase. Well thought out policies/tactics are formulated and then implemented to address the challenges presented to the employees. The efficiency and effectiveness of the employed strategies, as well as the solutions, are evaluated at this stage.

Checking Phase

During this phase, a comparative analysis is performed before and after to evaluate the effectiveness of the processes and measure the results. Therefore, it provides an efficient result for the process.

Acting Phase

During this phase, documentation of the results obtained is undertaken by the employees. They proceed to address further problems.

Elements of TQM

TQM is a synergic application of a variety of activities. For the successful implementation of TQM, an organisation must concentrate on the eight key elements. These eight elements are based on four groups, according to their function,

  • • Foundation: Namely of ethics, integrity, and trust.
  • • Building bricks: It also includes three elements of TQM such as training, teamwork, and leadership, etc.
  • • Binding motors: Communication is only one included in this group.
  • • Roof: It includes recognition only.

Eight elements of TQM are shown in Figure 2.1.

Here is an explanation of the eight elements of TQM:

a) Ethics

Ethics is basically the principle of discipline, the discipline of good and evil in any situation. Multi-faceted issues represent the organisational level and the individual level of ethics. Organisational ethics is a blanket code of

Eight elements of TQM

FIGURE 2.1 Eight elements of TQM.

professional ethics applicable to all the employees, and they are expected to follow it closely in carrying out their work. Individual ethics includes personal rights or errors.

b) Integrity

TQM has an element of integrity that implies honesty, morals, values, impartiality, respect for facts, and sincerity. The integrity feature is w'hat clients (internal or external) expect and deserve to receive. Lack of integrity is perceived as duplicity and it is believed that TQM w'ould not survive in an environment of duplicity.

c) Trust

After studying ethics and integrity, the role of trust is very important. Trust is a by-product of integrity and ethical conduct. Without trust, the total quality management framew'ork cannot be built. Trust ensures complete participation from different members. It allows for accountability that encourages the pleasure of ownership and encourages commitment.

d) Training

Training has a strong relationship with the productivity of employees. The better the training, the more productive workers become. Training employees periodically instils thoroughness in the implementation of total quality management. The departmental level of implementation of TQM is undertaken by the supervisors. They also help in making sure their employees gain better knowledge.

e) Teamwork

In order to use resources effectively, it is necessary to work as a team. Teamwork is a crucial aspect of TQM, which is essential in making a business successful. Through the use of this tool, the company will receive faster and more efficient solutions to problems. Teamwork helps in getting better and more permanent solutions to improve various processes and operations.

f) Leadership

This is perhaps the most important element of total quality management. Without leaders, the organisation cannot stand up. Leadership is omnipresent in the organisation. A manager is expected to provide inspirational goals and vision, and at the same time define strategic steps to move forward in the business, which are comprehensible for all the employees, which are some of the requirements of leadership in TQM. For TQM to succeed in the business, the supervisor must commit to directing its employees.

g) Recognition

Recognition should be provided for the suggestions made, as well as for the achievements of teams and individuals. This gives employees the morale boost to work more efficiently. Employees want to receive recognition for themselves and their teams. ‘Detecting and recognising employees are the most important job of a supervisor.’ As people are recognised, their self-esteem, productivity, quality, and the effort required can change significantly. Recognition is the most effective when given to employees immediately after their actions.

h) Communication

Communication unites everything. It means connectivity for every person in the organisation. From the foundation to the roof of the TQM house, everything is joined by the strong mortar of communication. It acts as a dynamic link between all the elements of TQM. To reinforce communication, it is important to maintain a strong relationship of ideas between the sender and the recipient. The success of TQM requires communication among all the stakeholders of the organisation, including suppliers which are external to the organisation.

Quality Leadership

The administration is responsible for the selection of the right people, the creation of teams, providing various resources, and configuring the system as required within the organisation. Senior management has complete responsibility for the problems of quality and maintenance. A few key points responsible for quality leadership are explained below.

a) Sincere Enthusiasm

Each team admires the members of the team and if the team wants to give them everything, the members will also have to be enthusiastic. The team is motivated through the efforts of their team-mates and their leader. The greater the efforts that are put in by the people, the harder the complete team works. In short, it improves the growth of the organisation.

b) Integrity

Integrity is an essential part of any organisation succeeding. Without this, no real success is possible, be it in a section team, a football field, an army, or an office. Honesty and integrity are two important requirements that make a good leader.

c) Great Communication Skills

Good communication skills are one of the most important traits of any leader. To reinforce communication, it is important to maintain a strong relationship of ideas between employees and managers. Words can make wonders and might inspire people to do the unthinkable and the extraordinary. If communication skills are used effectively, this can lead to better results.

d) Loyalty

Loyalty is the main factor for quality leadership. A good leader is a personality highly appreciated by employers and employees. All teams, as well as organisations, are kept together or dissolved by loyalty. Loyalty, trust, and commitment are really the glue that keeps relationships going for maximum benefit.

e) Decisiveness

A high-quality leader must have the ability to make decisions. In addition to having a revolutionary vision, a good leader takes the right decisions at the appropriate time. These decisions have a profound impact on people. A leader must be able to think for a long time before making a decision, but once the decision is made, stick with it so that the decision will improve the process.

f) Managerial Competence

This should be necessary for quality leadership. Management competence creates a healthy environment. It offers the possibility of quality leadership.

g) Empowerment

People might not always do the right thing. It could be the result of a lack of understanding of the difference between right and wrong at that point in time. It thus becomes very important for a leader to focus on primary responsibilities rather than others. It is usually prudent to leave the secondary issues to others. This delegation of tasks to the subordinate ranks in the hierarchy helps in embedding a feeling of empowerment in them. It is also important to see how they behave. This approach provides them with all the resources and support they need to reach the goal and gives them the opportunity to accept responsibility.

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