What Is Total Quality Management And How Can We Benefit From It?


What is Total Quality Management is formally defined in BS 7850-1, paragraph 3.1, as 

"a management philosophy and company practices that aim to harness the human and material resources of an organization in the most effective way to achieve the objectives of the organization."

Basically, TQM is the mutual cooperation of everyone in an organisation and the business processes to produce products or services which will meet the needs of the customer. TQM is both a philosophy as well as a set of guiding principles for managing an organisation.

While Inspection and Quality Control are centered about basically detection types of activities, Quality Assurance and Total Quality Management are focused on Prevention

A lot of “Firefighting” and chasing up mistakes in the Quality control and inspection approaches led to many hugely unnecessary costs being incurred, what with checking, screening, testing, quick-fixes and reactive activities to the customer who had been delivered the poor quality parts. This in turn affected the whole customer relationship with detrimental consequences to customer loyalty (re-ordering) as well as costs incurred by the customer. 

Quality Assurance is a prevention-based approach which attempts to improve the product or service quality so that non-conforming products are prevented from delivery to the customer. 

The change from detection to prevention demands a whole new set of tools and techniques – and it also requires a new operating philosophy, a new style of managing and way of thinking – a paradigm shift.


The Model Of Total Quality Management

Total Quality Management Model

What is Total Quality Management?

This model shows the different elements for the new approach to Quality. All these elements are inter-related and all need to be nurtured in order for the paradigm to develop. 

  • Development of a Core Vision
  • Emphasis on Training and Re-training
  • Development of a Business Improvement Process. 
  • Enabling and facilitation of Company-wide Improvement Projects. 
  • Collaborative Management Style and Cultural Change
  • Effective Personal and Organisational Communication

Targets For TQM

The Targets for the TQM organisation must include aims for:

  • Customer Satisfaction and Company Profitability. This implies the understanding that the two topics are inevitably interlinked. 
  • Continuous Operational Improvement. This implies all the necessary planning, doing, checking and acting on the results found. 
  • Continuous Cost reduction. This whole area involves having an approach to measuring the cost of poor quality, the costs of waste, creative approaches to doing things in a more cost-effective way.
  • A Want To Culture instead of a Have To” Culture. This concerns getting your employees impassioned about the work they are doing, giving them the responsibility and the rewards for the results. 
  • Highly Skilled Workforce. This focuses on the training / retraining needed in the company – also with a view to being able to achieve any strategic aims that are planned for the company.

Advantages And Implications For TQM

The Advantages for an Organisation in implementing TQM include:

  • Profitability as well as job security increases as the customer satisfaction increases.
  • Costs are better managed leading to greater profits, giving rise to more capital for investment in the company. 
  • Through more creative approaches, innovation in the company increases which helps sustain the company and ensure a future. 
  • People are more accountable for what they do and responsibilities are taken more seriously. Employees are taken more seriously and treated less like a number. Employees enjoy the work more and become more loyal. 
  • Through increased trainings, the knowledge in the company increases. 

The Implications for a company include:

  • Higher investments in training
  • Managers spending more time in training and in communicating with the employees. 
  • The successes of TQM implementation take time to be evident.
  • While Management have to get closer to the employees, distrust may cause employees not liking this. 
  • Increased accountability will certainly cause conflicts somewhere along the line: the potential arises of increased “Blame-games”. 

If you have now understood "What is Total Quality Management", continue on to these pages to get a greater insight how to set it up for your business. 

Key Elements of TQM

2. TQM Process

The Philosophy of TQM

3. TQM Philosophy

TQM Tools & Techniques

4. Tools & Techniques

TQM Culture

5. TQM Culture

TQM Pitfalls

6. TQM Pitfalls

Evolution of Quality Towards TQM

Start of TQM Training


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