Total quality management


TQM is a systems approach to quality. In order to assure the quality levels, designed into products, throughout the production system this is applied.

The Evolution of TQM

The term TQM was first used at Bell Labs in 1920’s by a group of early pioneers in this field — George Edwards, Waltershewhart etc. Many of the technical methods for Statistical Quality Control, such as control charts and sampling techniques, were developed by them. Only in early 70’s the focus of quality changed from the technical aspects to more of a managerial philosophy. Over a decade ago the Total Quality Control (TQC) technique was introduced to improve the quality aspect in the organization.

A primary percept of TQC is strong leadership from top management to improve and make it a continuous process. Which means all the employees at all levels of the organization, led by top management, are responsible for the quality improvement. Thus, the quality improvement is a continuous, giving rise to the term continuous improvement, which would become a fundamental principle for quality management.

In recent years TQM has become popular, which emphasizes quality assurance, total quality control, and companywide quality control. TQM emphasizes the top management’s predominant role in leading a total quality effort by all the employees at all levels. TQM also emphasizes that quality is a strategic issue and the organization must determine the customer wants in terms of quality and then use strategic plan encompassing all functional areas to achieve strategic goals related to quality.

Principles of TQM

TQM represents a set of management principles that focus on quality improvement as the driving force in all functional areas and at all levels in a company. These principles can be summarized as follows:

1. The customer defines quality and the customer’s needs are paramount.
2. Top management must provide the leadership for quality.
3. Quality is a strategic issue and a primary focus of strategic planning.
4. Quality is the responsibility of all employees at all levels of the organization.
5. All the functions of the company must focus on continuous quality improvement to achieve strategic goals.
6. Quality problems are solved through cooperative effort, involving employees and management.
7. Problem solving and continuous quality improvements are based on statistical quality control methods.
8. Training and education of all employees are the basis for continuous quality improvement.