Definition: Total quality management (TQM) is a strategic approach adopted by the organizations to constantly raise the standards of its products, procedures, techniques and various business operations. It focuses on building a quality-centric brand to assure superior customer satisfaction.
Company’s quality standards define its existence or vulnerability in the market. Therefore, the management should never overlook or compromise with it in any condition.
Content: Entrepreneurial Management
Principles of Total Quality Management
TQM is not an immediate remedy, instead, it is a long-term practice to excel in the business.
The secret to a successful implementation of the total quality management tools rely upon the following fundamentals and its applicability:
Strategic and Systematic Approach: Every business strategy should be encircled around quality standards. This would help the organization to prioritize the product’s quality above all the other business aspects.
Customer Focus: The managers have to go deep down the customer’s psychology and wants for strengthening the product quality. Every action should be progressed towards customer satisfaction.
Total Employee Commitment: Employees are the voice of a business and therefore, the company needs to completely absorb its manpower. They should be acquainted with the corporate mission, goals and vision along with proper training and guidance.
Communication: The internal and external communication breaks down the impediment in the flow of information. Hence, providing exceptional results of the total quality management practice in the organization.
Factual Decision-Making: Total quality management analyzes all the facts in the form of qualitative and quantitative data to derive a substantial conclusion.
Process Approach: The steps involved in business operations should be upgraded and curtailed to ensure accelerated task completion with efficiency.
Constant Improvement: The managers should always determine the scope for betterment, to establish new quality benchmarks, which even outdo the consumers’ expectations.
Integrated System: All the departments should be well-coordinated to follow unanimous quality standards, procedures, policies and objectives established by the top management.
Total Quality Management Tools
Total quality management requires collection, arrangement and analysis of the relevant data. It helps to figure out solutions, process, cause and effect relationship, ideas and simultaneously sets benchmarks to improve business operations.
For this purpose, business organizations use the following TQM tools:
Brainstorming: This tool is a team-driven approach where the members contemplate This innovative solution to an organizational problem.
Ishikawa Diagram: The fishbone diagram is a robust tool to dig into the root of the problem along with the study of its repercussions.
Scatter Diagram: The idea behind this method is to identify the impact of an independent variable over the dependent agent.
Tree Diagram: A tree diagram is a systematic arrangement of the tasks in a hierarchical order to endeavour best outcomes.
Relations Diagram: This management planning tool analyzes the link between various factors, tasks, events, problems, etc.
Flowcharts and Modelling Diagram: It is an impeccable tool for enhancing the workflow by correlating the different sections of the system to capture the loopholes and barriers.
Histograms: This is another useful quality research tool which segregates the data and presents it in a bar chart showing the value clusters in each range or category.
Bar Graphs and Pie Charts: These pictorial representations of the facts and figures gathered during the survey helps in mass communication of the data and its accurate interpretation.
Force Field Analysis: To examine a business process and its functioning, the various factors favouring and opposing such behaviour are studied with the help of this tool.
Plan-Do-Check-Act: PDCA is a recurring method of attaining excellence by planning the change, testing it, evaluating the outcomes and rectifying the loopholes.
Pareto Analysis: The Pareto diagram organizes the crucial factors in the order of their impact on a certain business problem.
Focus Group: This a marketing-oriented tool that provides the public views or feedback for the company’s product or service. It examines the market response towards the brand.
Importance of TQM
The power of product quality is such that it can convert a small business into the consumer’s favourite brand.
Total quality management is significant for the organization due to the following reasons:
- Goal Accomplishment: Total quality management is a long-term strategy that turns its vision, goals and mission into reality.
- Identifies Skill Gaps: TQM practice aids the management to detect the problem area or lack of manpower abilities essential for goal attainment. Thus, imparting of proper personnel training can be done accordingly to fulfil this skill gap.
- Organization’s Overall Growth: When the focus is on endless quality up-gradation of the products, technology and procedures, it will ultimately end up on the organization’s comprehensive development.
- Creates Cross-Functional Teams: TQM prospers sharing of ideas, knowledge, information and even the process among the team members which brings in cross-functionality.
- Employees’ Growth and Empowerment: With the urge for constant progress and proper guidance, human resource is encouraged to deliver excellence in their operations. This results in a polished, admirable and empowered personnel.
- Strong Cultural Values: When the company’s ultimate aim is perfection, it automatically inculcates a cultural of delivering supreme quality in all its business operations.
- Survive Competition: The companies can stand the market competition in the long run if it undertakes a systematic total quality management approach.
Benefits of Total Quality Management
Total quality management also smoothens the functioning of any business entity. Following are the multiple advantages of TQM, in this context:
- Brings Cost Efficiency: The company can curtail its expenses by diminishing the product damage to ensure flawless production.
- Reduces Wastage: When the company find out improved ways of production, the wastage and defective products scale down tremendously.
- Ensures Continuous Improvement: The company can eventually augment its products, process, techniques and quality standards through TQM.
- Strengthens Brand Image: The company can build high goodwill on the grounds of excellent customer satisfaction attained through superior quality.
- Promotes Teamwork: TQM develops coordination and interaction between the team members, resulting in a great team spirit.
- Enhances Profitability: When the production cost is optimized and the superior quality products successfully meet the customer expectations, profit maximization is obvious.
Limitations of TQM
Some experts believe that total quality management is not that effective being prone to the following disadvantages:
- Ignores Creativity: Total quality management engulfs the organization’s time and efforts in upgrading the existing business process and products. Thus, the new possibilities and innovation in the other fields are completely neglected.
- Not an Instant Solution: As misinterpreted by many people, TQM cannot act as an assured solution or a quick fix to any of the organizational problem. Instead, it is a well-structured process to derive future benefits.
- Expensive Affair: Replacing or modifying the products, methods, policies, techniques, standards and procedures require a huge investment in infrastructure, human resource and technology.
- Resistance Towards Change: The bottom level staff may feel uncomfortable and hesitant to learn the new methods pretending it to be complicated or unnecessary.
- Requires Excessive Time and Efforts: It is not a quick heal to any issue. Rather, it can be seen as a long-term approach that devours a lot of time and energy of the organization’s human resource.
- Labour-Management Relations Issue: The labour sometimes deliberately hinder the implementation of various reforms including TQM and SHRM, as a response to their grudges with the management.
- Inefficient Planning Results in Failure: If not implemented strategically, the total quality management practice can even end up causing financial loss to the organization.
Example of Total Quality Management
The TVS group was once a transport company of India which has a worldwide presence today. It a renowned manufacturer and global supplier of auto parts, two-wheelers and computer peripherals.
The brand has been awarded the Deming Prize for its successful total quality management practice. The TVS group had always prioritized its customer’s satisfaction and constantly worked on its quality to become the best among its competitors.