Total Quality Management refers to a management concept that seek to integrate all functions of the organization, for example, marketing, finance, engineering and design, production and customer support departments with the intentions of optimally meeting customer requirement and the general objectives of the organization. TQM concept holistically views the organization as a set of processes. It emphasizes that organizations must try to continually improve their process by constant incorporation of workers knowledge and experiences. TQM has the simple objective of doing things right the first time. It is extremely variable and adjustable (Goetsch, 2014, p. 96). The TQM concept originally came from manufacturing operations where it was used for considerably longtime before it got to become a generic tool for management. TQM has principles that support its application. They include management commitment, meeting customer requests, reduction of development cycle times, improvement of teams, Just in time concept, focus on improvement plans and cost reduction.
Continuous improvement concept by the TQM
In all the work being done, the major concern for TQM is continuous improvement of the process. This begins from the ultimate strategic planning and decision-making level to implementation and execution levels at the lower levels of management. The concept springs from the belief that mistakes and defects can be prevented and avoided. This would lead to continual improvement of results in all existing dimensions. All the processes, capabilities, people, technology and machines are to be continually (Goetsch, 2014, p. 109). Improved from time to time. Improvement of capabilities is important as it enable the organization to consistently achieve better results even in future. Areas that require improvement of capability include supply generation, demand generation, technology, operations and the capability of staff members.
TQM holds that people may make mistakes, but in most instances, mistakes are normally attributed to faulty machines and processes and systems. It is thus clear that what causes such mistakes can be recognized and removed. It as well means that repetition of mistakes can be prevented through process improvement. Prevention of mistakes can take various three dimensions that may include, totally preventing mistakes from occurring (Goetsch, 2014, p. 117). In the case where no possibility to prevent mistakes from occurring, then they can be detected early so that they be prevented from going down the value chain. This can be achieved through conducting of inspection at the source or in the following operation areas. Lastly, where mistakes keep on recurring, production processes are ceased until the system is corrected. This would help the organization minimizing further defects in time.
Evolution of Total Quality Management
TQM concept has been existence for so long even though its meaning has undergone some change from time to time. The early twentieth century, TQM was used to mean the inspection of products for purposes of ensuring conformity to the specifications. Total Quality Management became statistical in nature during the World War II. Sampling techniques, technical in nature, got used for evaluation of quality (Goetsch, 2014, p. 124). Quality control charts were as well introduced to for monitoring the process of production. The rise of quality gurus around 1960 gave the TQM concept a more comprehensive meaning. They introduced the perception that quality not only involved the production process but the entire organization. This, they explained was due to the fact that the entire organization was involved in the quality management process. They also postulated that all departments should take responsibility for the quality of produced and that all functions should share the cost of poor quality.
Business organizations lost the meaning of quality during the 1970s and the 1980s. Before this period, quality was still referred to as stuff that required inspection and possibly corrections. Nevertheless, during this period, the industries in the United States lost a huge share of their market to industries in foreign nations due to stiffer competition in the global market. For instance, in the car manufacturing industry, Toyota and Honda swept the market for automobiles. This denied the well-known players like Ford some part of the market (Oakland, 2014, p.94). Toshiba and Sony also took the consumer goods market. This was due to the ability of these foreign markets to produced low price commodities without sacrificing quality. Thus, the America-based companies learned that their survival required that they make drastic changes in the quality management programs. They had to seek the services of external consultants to offer training programs on quality to their employees. This leads to the result that quality got the strategic meaning.
Such changes brought a paradigm shift from how quality was being perceived previously. To date, all organizations understand the significance of quality to their success. Thus, the modern day definition of quality is where companies refer to it as meeting or exceeding the requirement of customers. Quality based competition has significantly grown since the 1970s and has thus produced considerable interest and concern on an equal measure (Talib, 2011, p. 111). All organizations across various industries are have laid focus on quality improvement in order to enhance their competitiveness. The cost of not meeting such criteria automatically leads to failure of an organization. As a result of the growth in the interest on quality, there are established certification bodies that approve those businesses that meet quality requirement. Some of the well-known quality certification organizations include the International Standards Organization (ISO) that has a world-wide recognition on quality certification (Kanji, 2012, p. 88). Thus, Total Quality Management has evolved overtime with the old concept of TQM being reactive while the modern concept is proactive in nature. The old concept looks reactive in that; it offers solution to correct the problems after occurring while the new concept seeks build into the product and processes, quality from the start.
The current knowledge and information has is as a result of a few notable individuals. These individuals laid down philosophies that have shaped the modern day learning of TQM. It is, therefore, imperative to talk about their individual contributions in the field of quality. Walter A. Shewhart was a Bell Labs statistics practitioner between the period of 1920s and 1930s. He extensively ventured into the field of randomness and established the existence of variability in the processes of manufacturing (Kanji, 2012, p. 99). He thus postulated quality control charts for quality monitoring. Much of his emphasis was on the point that quality can be improved when the variability was eliminated. The foundation for the modern day statistical process control was laid by his philosophies.
Edwards Deming was a statistics professor at New York University in the period of 1940s. He assisted most Japanese companies in improving their qualities after World War II (Oakland, 2014, p.122). He was highly regarded that in 1951, the Japanese government introduced the Deming Prize named after him. This award was given annually to companies that had displayed quality outstanding performance. Thirty years later the American business organizations started to adopt the philosophy of Deming. However, some features found in Demings philosophy are deeply rooted in the traditional concept of quality. According to Deming, the immediate role of management in quality is the effort to improve.
The traditional perspective blamed poor quality on the lack of workers productivity, their clumsiness and carelessness. On the contrary, Deming postulated that only about 15% of poor quality is due to the error of employees (Conti, 2012, p.85). According to Deming, it was the responsibility of management to make right the problems that arose from the organizations systems and cultivated an environment with the potential of to promote quality and allow workers to realize their full potential. He emphasized that improvements in quality of output could only be achieved if the full support of top management in an organization was in tandem.
The TQM philosophies
TQM I focused with the identification of problems that result into poor quality and how to solve them from the start and prevent future reoccurrence of the same. TQM strives to weave quality in the whole organization while putting emphasis that quality is driven by customers. TQM thus involves the people in the quality department, for example, suppliers, employees, and the customers. Therefore, the various philosophies steps of achieving TQM include
Every company strives to satisfy fully the needs of their customers. Quality thus seeks into ways in which the customer demands can be met and possibly exceeded. Without the focus on the customer, even products produced at highest standards become of no value. It thereby lays the confirmation that quality is driven by the customer (Conti, 2012, p.93). In addition, it is apparent that expectations of different customers vary due to the difference in taste and preference of different customers. It is, therefore, important for firms to gather information about their potential customers via means like surveys of the market, focus groups, and one on one interview with customers to get what the customers actually want.
Therefore, it is clear that satisfaction of the customer is the fundamental component of Total Quality Management. And it can only be achieved when all the employees are fully committed and involved in the customer satisfaction mix. The methods by which customers can be satisfied include prompt response to customers message and striving to keep them abreast with important information all the time. Creating a clearly and well-defined customer service policy (Goetsch, 2014, p. 138). In the long run period, it saves time. Encouraging face to face customer dealings and cultivating a friendly environment and becoming approachable to customers.
In the traditional ways of the organization, achievement of a particular of quality meant success and hence no more improvements was required. Continuous improvement is a philosophy that lays emphasis on never ending the improvement process. It is the concept of perpetually looking at ways that would make better the operations of the organization. Some of the necessary activities include benchmarking excellent practices and bringing the sense that the employees themselves own the process (Conti, 2012, p. 97). Continuous improvement concerns itself with reduction of time length involved in doing an activity, minimizing the amount of scrap generated. It also concerns itself with continuously improving relationships with both customers and suppliers. Achieving the philosophy of continuous improvement involves a process that may take time but is worthwhile in the long-run.
The first thing is to train the staff the statistical process control (SPC) alongside other quality improvement tools. It is then followed by making the SPC techniques to be a usual aspect of operations on the daily basis. Teams are then built and employees involved in every process taken. The techniques for solving problems within the institutions are then used and finally, a sense of ownership of the process by the operator is developed. Generally, the involvement of employees remains key to this...
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