Total Quality Management (TQM) is the continual process of detecting and reducing or eliminating errors in manufacturing, streamlining supply chain management, improving the customer experience, and ensuring that employees are up to speed with their training. Total quality management aims to hold all parties involved in the production process accountable for the overall quality of the final product or service.
A total approach to quality is the current thinking of today; which is popularly called total quality management (TQM).
TQM is a philosophy that believes in a company-wide responsibility toward quality via fostering a quality culture throughout the organization; involving continuous improvement in the quality of work of all employees with a view to best meeting the requirements of customers.
Advantages of TQM
(i) Sharpens Competitive Edge of the Enterprise
TQM helps an organization to reduce costs through elimination of waste, rework etc. It increases profitability and competitiveness of the enterprise; and helps to sharpen the organization’s competitive edge, in the globalized economy of today.
(ii) Excellent Customer Satisfaction
By focusing on customer requirements, TQM makes for excellent customer satisfaction. This leads to more and more sales, and excellent relations with customers.
(iii) Improvement in Organisational Performance
Through promoting quality culture in the organization, TQM lead to improvements in managerial and operative personnel’s performance.
(iv) Good Public Image of the Enterprise
TQM helps to build an image of the enterprise in the minds of people in society. This is due to stress on total quality system and customers’ requirements, under the philosophy of TQM.
(v) Better Personnel Relations
TQM aims at promoting mutual trust and openness among employees, at all levels in the organization. This leads to better personnel relations in the enterprise.
Limitations of TQM
The philosophy of TQM suffers from the following major limitations
(i) Waiting for a Long Time
TQM requires significant change in organization; consisting of:
- Change in methods, processes etc. of organization.
- Change in attitude, behaviour etc. of people
Launching of TQM and acceptance of the philosophy of TQM requires a long waiting for the organization. It is not possible to accept and implement TQM overnight.
(ii) Problem of Labour Management Relations
Success of TQM depends on the relationships between labour and management; because participation of people at all levels is a pre-requisite for TQM programme implementation. In many organizations, here and abroad, labour-management relations are quite tense. As such, launching, acceptance and implementation of TQM programme is nothing more than a dream for such organizations.
Basic Principles of TQM
In TQM, the processes and initiatives that produce products or services are thoroughly managed. By this way of managing, process variations are minimized, so the end product or the service will have a predictable quality level.
Following are the key principles used in TQM
(i) Top management – The upper management is the driving force behind TQM. The upper management bears the responsibility of creating an environment to rollout TQM concepts and practices.
(ii) Training needs – When a TQM rollout is due, all the employees of the company need to go through a proper cycle of training. Once the TQM implementation starts, the employees should go through regular trainings and certification process.
(iii) Customer orientation – The quality improvements should ultimately target improving the customer satisfaction. For this, the company can conduct surveys and feedback forums for gathering customer satisfaction and feedback information.
(iv) Involvement of employees – Pro-activeness of employees is the main contribution from the staff. The TQM environment should make sure that the employees who are proactive are rewarded appropriately.
(v) Techniques and tools – Use of techniques and tools suitable for the company is one of the main factors of TQM.
(vi) Corporate culture – The corporate culture should be such that it facilitates the employees with the tools and techniques where the employees can work towards achieving higher quality.
(vii) Continues improvements – TQM implementation is not one time exercise. As long as the company practices TQM, the TQM process should be improved continuously.