Definition of total quality management (TQM)

Deming's teaching have led to the emergence of the concept of Total Quality Management (TQM) which aims at continuously improving quality in the entire system by working horizontally across departments, by working with suppliers to provide consistent quality and by working closely with customers to deliver superior value.

1. Baldrige Quality Award : Named after its former Secretary of Commerce America's answer to the Deming Prize is the Malcolm Baldrige Award which was instituted in 1987. As is shown in Table 19.1, this award lays maximum stress on customer satisfaction amongst seven criteria :

Table 19.1: Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Criteria

Examination category/Item

Maximum points

1. Leadership


2. Information and Analysis


3. Strategic Quality Planning


4. Human Resource Development and Management


5. Management of Process Quality


6. Quality and Operational Results


7. Customer Satisfaction


Total Points


Source : Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award : 1993 Application Guidelines, Washington, DC: U.S Department of Commerce (1993): 15.

The Table 19.2. points out the difference between the traditional attitude towards quality and TQM.

Table 19.2: Difference between traditional attitude towards quality and TQM.


Traditional attitude



Quality is a function of how well the product or service meets the specifications.



Quality depends on all departments from purchasing to engineering design to production


to shipping to service.


The Quality goal is to reach preset percentage of defectives.

Accept no defects-insist on perfection.


Quality goals set one fiscal year at a time.

Strive to improve quality consistently, not once a year, but all the time.


There is an optimal level of quality. Customers will not pay for a higher level.

Increasing quality all the time will increase market share and spur new market demand.


Control quality is done through inspections during production and through final inspection of completed lots.

Every production worker is responsible for inspection, even is this means stopping the assembly line to correct an observed defect.


Use statistical sampling methods to inspect large lots of completed products.

Inspect each piece as it is produced to catch defects before a whole lot is poorly made. Keep inventory low using just-in-time concept.


Set acceptable quality levels AQL based on sampling tables such as MIL-STD-105D. These levels are stated in number of defects per 100 units produced.

Reject sampling tables. Since no levels of defects is acceptable. Express defects in number of defects per one million units produced.


Use a random sample typically of size n = 5 check process stability.

Use a sample of n = 2 consisting of the first piece are last piece produced in each lot to assure stability.


The QC department is responsible for testing inspection.

The QC department monitor quality, but also teaches and spreads QC information. Actual inspection by workers.


Rework of defective units is done on a separate rework line with its own staff.

Workers or groups correct their own errors, even if they have to stay late. (In reality, very few reworks are needed because of total quality control.)


Jaitors keep workplace clean.

Workers themselves are responsible for housekeeping of their work areas.

2. ISO 9000. With the development of international trade, the need for a common set of universally accepted quality procedures and methods became obvious and, therefore, in early 1980 the International Organization for Standardisation (ISO) set up technical committees to try to solve this problem. Seven years later the proposals of these committees are finalized which today form the nucleus of the ISO 9000 standards. These standards are a set of basic rules for manufacturing a product or rendering a service which by now have received acceptance of 86 countries of the world..

It should be well understood that ISO 9000 standards do not indicate the quality of the product or service. They are not product standards. They simply ensure that the organization holding ISO 9000 certificate is following the prescribed system for maintaining the quality of its products/services. Customers request their suppliers to seek ISO accreditation and the suppliers in turn request their suppliers and so on down the line.

< Prev   CONTENTS   Next >