Total Quality Management (TQM)

Until a few years ago, Indian industry was roundly criticized for paying insufficient attention to the quality of goods and services. Today, things have come full circle and the quality movement is at a feverish pitch. Companies such as BPL, Wipro, Carrier Aircon, Maruti, Thermax, Bata, Philips, Titan etc., trumpet their steadfast devotion to quality in their advertisements. Quality has become the most important word to better quality and customer relationships. The term quality refers to a sense of appreciation that something is better than something else. It means doing things right the first time, rather than making and correcting mistakes. According to Edward Deming, TQM is a way of creating an organizational culture committed to the continuous improvement of skills, team work, processes, product and service quality and customer satisfaction. TQM is anchored to organizational culture because successful TQM is deeply embedded in virtually every aspect of organizational life.

Deming’s Advice on Achieving Quality:

W E Deming was originally trained as a statistician and started teaching process control (a method of measuring variation and continuously improving work processes before the final inspection stage to prevent the production of flawed products) in Japan shortly after World War II . He is recognized internationally as an important contributor to Japanese quality improvement programs. Deming advocates that the way to achieve product quality is to continuously improve the design of a product and the process used to manufacture it. According to Deming, top management has the primary responsibility of achieving product quality. Deming advocates that management should follow fourteen principles to achieve a high level of success in improving product quality:

1) Create and publish to all employees a statement of objectives of the company. The management must demonstrate constantly their commitment to this statement.
2) Learn the new philosophy, top management and everybody.
3) Understand the purposes of inspection for improvement of processes and reduction of cost.
4) End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tag alone.
5) Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service.
6) Institute modern methods of training.
7) Teach and institute leadership. Focus supervision on helping people to do a better job.
8) Drive and fear. Create trust. Create a climate for innovation.
9) Optimize towards the aims of the company, the efforts of teams, groups, and staff areas.
10) Eliminate slogans, exhortations and targets for the workforce.
11) Eliminate numerical quotas for production. Instead learn and institute methods for improvement. Eliminate management by objectives. Instead learn the capabilities of processes and how to improve them.
12) Remove barriers that rob people of pride of workmanship
13) Encourage education and self improvement for everyone
14) Take action to accomplish the transformation

TQM: The main Ideas

TQM is built around four main ideas. Do it right the first time, be customer centered, make continuous improvement a way of life and build teamwork and empowerment.

Let’s examine these in detail:

Managers have been interested in the quality of their products, at least as an afterthought since the Industrial Revolution. Thanks to the sustained efforts of quality gurus like Deming and Kaoru Ishikawa product / service quality has become both a forethought and a driving force in effective organizations of all kinds nowadays. Today’s hospitals universities and public sector organizations are as interested in improving product / service quality as are manufacturing organizations, mines, airlines, and railways. On its most basic form the emphasis on quality has come through four distinct phases since World War II from fix it in, to inspect in, to build it in, to design it in. Present days managers are moving away from the first two approaches and towards the build it in and design it in approaches.

Source: HRM VSP

  • It is interesting to see how any organization embarked into TQM using the Demings 14 points. And is there anyone challenged any of the 14 points for its practicality and effectiveness to the business bottom line.
    Take for an example, it point 10 which advocate to “eliminate slogan”. To what extend it can be implemented? Most Big corporations still doing it