Total Quality Management or TQM is a philosophy that focuses on constant quality improvement whether of processes or products in organization. Have you seen companies that constantly innovate and find various ways to become more productive, efficient and effective? And have you compared those companies with those producing the same product for decades without changing or improving anything? In a constantly changing business environment, with competition coming from left, right, and center, companies that choose to innovate and improve quality of the products and services succeed.
TQM is a system that involves the integration of the organizational environment, continuous improvement, and employee participation.
The model of TQM begun in the USA, but thrived in Japan after the Second World War. Japan applied it in the manufacturing industries. As a result Japan have earned the reputation for being a manufacturer of the most quality products. Japan also has successfully implemented this concept in the public service sector. Thus their citizens are getting quality service from the government.
TQM creates a positive environment in the organization where the whole organization, from top to bottom becomes concerned for ensuring the quality of services and products. TQM can be implemented at any type of organization from kindergarten to government organizations. TQM is a unique approach based on the environment and the culture of the organization.
Organizational culture is a set of values and beliefs shared by members of the organization. (Brown, 1994) Among the effective keys for success are organizational designs that permit continuous improvements in their business processes. A company applying TQM and implementing continuous improvement demonstrates the basic central principle of total customer satisfaction. TQM integrates quality in all departments throughout the organization.
How to implement TQM?
Learning strategies needed for successful change, include educational programs for employees and specialized training. (Baldwin, 1997). In today’s contemporary business environment it is vital for organizations to integrate the complexities of a learning organization philosophy. It has proved effective at manufacturing plans of Ford and Harley Davidson.
The old way is the best way is the opposite philosophy to TQM, continuous improvement and innovation are considered to be the life-blood of many companies and people in them. The organization that stands still will not survive in todays economy.
The implementation of TQM requires thinkers and doers work together and needs creativity, collaborative thinking, strong leadership, and the ability to get things done. (Kofman, 1993).
Baldwin, T., Danielson, C., Wiggenhorn, W.(1997). The evolution of learning strategies in organizations: from employee development to business redefinition. The Academy of Management Executive.
Brown, A., Starkey, K. (1994).The effect of organizational culture on communication and information. Journal of Management Studies. Vol. 31 No. 6.
Kofman, F., Senge, P. (1993). Communities of commitment: the heart of learning organizations. Organizational Dynamics. Vol. 22 No. 2.