So, How Do You Define
Total Quality Management?
To define Total Quality Management in a few short sentences is not easy as the topic is so large. Holistically, it can be described as
- a disciplined yet humane way of managing an organization.
Yet, it is more that a philosophy; it seeks to switch the emphasis from merely applying tools and techniques to changing attitudes so that quality becomes part of the beliefs and values of everyone in the organization.
It is therefore:
- an approach where continuous improvement is integrated into the culture of the organization and it becomes a way of life
- It is based on a set of solid principles and beliefs for example, "Quality is determined by the customer” and “we need to manage Quality in as opposed to inspect every error out”;
- Commercially very sound. It embraces critical issues such as financial performance and customer satisfaction;
- Built on a framework of customer-centered systems and the internal supplier / customer chain. It is also equally passionate about establishing and monitoring standards of performance and conformance to specifications by using a variety of quality assurance techniques;
- An approach which will succeed or fail depending on whether the employees of the organization are integrated and motivated enough to adopt the approach or not.
Total Quality Management
Total Quality Management (TQM) upon which total quality control is based, is a management-led approach that requires
- Total Commitment from top managers
- Good relations with customers
- Good relations with suppliers
- Good relations between management and workforce
- Continuous education at all levels
- Good communications and relationships between different departments.
- Employee initiatives are to be encouraged and facilitated.
So what does TQM implementation involve?
- A TQM Coordinator. This person should work alongside management spreading the word, clarifying that vision, acting as a training resource, a communicator. They must work as an internal consultant.
- The TQM Coordinator plan their approach by gathering data, making sense of that data, generating options, making decisions.
- Skills or techniques that help success along: These will include active listening, diagnostic questioning, advice giving, diplomacy, visionary work, problem-solving techniques, concept mapping techniques and strategy management.
- Management must support the TQM Coordinator to implement that plan and arrange any necessary follow-up or financial supports. This support must be visible and communicated to all employees.
- The TQM Training Contact must establish contact with the customer and forge a working relationship.
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Conclusion on Total Quality Control
To define Total Quality Management: It is a philosophy which sees quality as a source of competitive advantage. The customer is the main focus and therefore determines the definition of quality within the company. Quality is managed strategically and it requires organization-wide commitment and a long-term perspective.
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For more on Quality Assurance, check out these pages:
Quality Assurance Definition
Cause And Effect Diagram
Myths about ISO9000
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