A primary role of management is to lead an organization in its day-to-day operations as well as to maintain its as a viable entity into the future. Quality has become an important factor in success in this latter strategic responsibility.
TQM finds out what the customers want. Customers include both the internal customer (the next person in the process) as well as the external customer (the final customer).
Design a product and service that will meet or exceed what customers want.
It keeps track of the result and uses those to guide improvement in the system. Never stop trying to improve.
The TQM concept supports the philosophies of customer focus, continuous improvement, defect prevention, and aa recognition that responsibility for quality is shared by all employees of an organization.
Elements of the Total Quality Management System
A brief overview of the key TQM concept is given in the following points:
1. Sustained Management Commitment to Quality
It an organization is serious about implementing TQM, the commitment to do so has to start at the top management level.
Top management commitment and involvement in implementing TQM are very crucial for ht success.
Top management gets involved in setting business strategies based on using product quality as a competitive weapon to capture the global market share and rewarding employees for achieving excellence in product quality.
2. Focusing on the Customer
Customers’ needs and expectations drive the TQM system.
The characteristics of that customer’s value more are built into products from design to after-sales services.
3. Preventing Rather than Detecting Defects
TQM prevents poor quality products or services rather than simply to detect and sort out defects.
Prevention rather than detection is a very strong single characterizes of TQM.
Some of the techniques of TQM which aim at defect prevention rather than defect detection are statical process control, continuous process improvement, Taguchi design of experiments, problem-solving, and system failure analysis, which will be discussed in later chapters.
Related: 5 Competitive Priorities in Operations Management.
4. Universal Responsibility for Quality
Another basic TQM precept is that the responsibility for quality is not restricted to only the quality assurance department, but is the guiding philosophy started by everyone in the organization.
The traditional thinking was that inspection (or detection rather than prevention) is necessary to ensure the quality of products, thereby installing a deep belief in people who manufacture the products that they are no longer responsible for the quality of their output.
In the TQM approach, everyone takes responsibility for quality.
As quality improves, the inspection activity reduces and the quality assurance department gets smaller and ultimately may disappear.
5. Quality Measurement
The quality measurement aspect of TQM asks the questions: where are we and where are we going? Quality s a measurable entity and we need to know what the current quality levels are (Where are we?) and what quality levels we aspire to (where we are going?).
6. Continuous Improvement
TQM involves a never-ending process of continuous improvement that covers people, equipment, supplies, materials, and procedures.
The basis of the philosophy is that every aspect of an operation can be improved.
The Japanese use the word “Kaizen” to describe the ongoing process of unending improvement in the setting and achieving of ever-higher goals.
In the USA, TQM zero defect and six sigma are sued to describe such efforts.
Related: Top Competitive Dimensions of Operations Management.
7. Root Cause Corrective Action
TQM seeks to prevent the repetition of problems which were thoughts to have been corrected by identifying the root causes of problems and by implementing corrective actions that address the problem,s at the root cause level.
Problem-solving skills a failure analysis approach ate useful in this regard.
8. Employee Involvement and Empowerment
Employee involvement means every employee is involved in every step of the production process and every employee plays an active role in helping the organization meet its goals.
Employee empowerment means enlarging the employee jobs so that the added responsibility and authority is moved to the lowest level possible in the organization.
Techniques for building employee empowerment include:
- Building communication networks that include employees,
- Developing open, supportive supervisors,
- Moving responsibility from both managers and staff to production employees,
- Building high morale organizations, and
- Creating such formal organization structures as teams and quality circles.
Must-Have Skills and Qualities of Effective Corporate Trainer.
9. The Synergy of Teams
Taking advantage of the synergy of the team is an effective way to address the problems and challenges of continuous improvements.
The concept of quality circles developed into a more sophisticated and focused teaming concept known as focus teams in the USA.
10. Thining Statistically
Statical methods or techniques are useful for reducing process or product design variation for improving quality.
Statistical process control (SPC) using charts for control of ongoing processes and the Taguchi concept for variability reduction is used for achieving continuous improvement.
These will be discussed in later chapters.
Benchmarking involves selecting a demonstrated standard of performance that represents the very best performance for a process or activity.
The steps for developing benchmarking are:
- Determine what to benchmark
- Form a benchmark team
- Identify benchmarking partners
- Collect and analyze benchmarking information and
- Take action to match or exceed the benchmark
Benchmarking will be discussed in later chapters.
Key Benefits and limitations of Benchmarking.
12. Inventory Reduction through Just in Time Production and PRocurement
The philosophy behind JIT is one of continuous improvement and forced problem-solving.
JIT systems are designed to produce or deliver goods just as they are needed.
JIT reduces the amount of inventory that a firm has on hand by establishing a quality and purchasing controls that bring inventory to the firm just in time for use.
JIT is related to quality in three ways:
- JIT cuts the cost of quality by cutting the cost of scrap, rework, inventory caring cost, and damage costs.
- JIT improves quality. IT creates an easy warning system for quality problem,s both within the firm and with vendors.
- Better quality means less inventory and a better easier to employ the JIT system. If consistent quality exists, JIT allows firms to reduce all the costs associated with inventory.
JIT production will be discussed in later chapters.
13. Value Improvement
The essence of value improvement is the ability to meet or exceed customer expectations while removing unnecessary costs.
TQM removes unnecessary costs while simultaneously customer expectation and requirements are satisfied.
However, simply cutting cost without satisfying the customers will not result in value improvement.
14. Suppliers Teaming
TQM aims at developing long term relationships with a few high-quality suppliers rather than simply selecting those suppliers who supply at the lowest costs.
People have to be trained to use TQM concepts and technologies.
Employees are empowered by proving the tools necessary for continuous improvement training is the most basic tool for this.
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