Total Quality Management

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.

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3 thoughts on “Total Quality Management

  1. Hey Anastasia,

    I asked this question in my blog post and since we wrote on the same topic I’ll ask it to you as well. Do you think it is necessary for all companies to implement TQM, and if so what do you think the implications would be for the industry as a whole? I ask this because although some may think that this is ultimately better for the end consumer, some consumers actually don’t care too much for the highest quality for certain products. So now with every company implementing TQM, prices will surely rise and may actually have a negative impact on the industry as a whole. This is all pretty hypothetical because I don’t think there is any one industry that would model after the example I gave, but I just wanted to see what your thoughts were if this were the case.

    • It is an interesting question Jordan, TQM could be quite tricky. However since TQM conforms to customer’s requirements, it is ultimately the end consumer who sets the standards for the quality of the product or service.

      When you speak about quality control, TQM does not need rework, and costs that are involved in re-calls and warranties that could also total to a very high number. As well as the company’s reputation could be at stake for producing a low quality product.

      TQM could also be viewed as a positive strategy to build a strong organizational culture and employee morale. A company that works in a unity to produce a better product would have a stronger employee following.

      This is an article from Economist describing TQM and why it is a positive change for the company http://www.economist.com/node/14301657

      -Anastasia

  2. Great post Anastasia. I am, however, am skeptical that TQM can be implemented in any organization. I believe that an organizations’/industry’s culture and value generation have a big effect on whether TQM can be implemented or not. For example, the High-Tech industry has a very innovation centric-culture which allows for the implementation of TQM. Value is generated from creating something new and of high quality in the High-Tech sector, which is why TQM is a boon to the industry and thus management embraces it (Inside Job). But on the other hand, the Banking industry doesn’t need to implement TQM because they don’t have to depend on creating a new product of high-quality since, people will continue to bank with them no matter what. The capitalist economy ceases to function without the banks and thus they don’t care about implementing TQM in their businesses. Thoughts?

    Works Cited

    Inside Job. Charles Ferguson & Audrey Marrs. [Documentary]. Sony Pictures Classics: 2010.

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