Total Quality Management Definition, Elements, Features

Table of Contents:-

  • What is Total Quality Management?
  • Total quality management definition
  • Total quality management Features
  • Elements of Total Quality Management

What is Total Quality Management?

The concept of quality has undergone significant changes in recent decades. Whereas the traditional view of quality management was predominantly result-oriented and focused on testing outcomes (input/output orientation), more recent quality concepts have tended to integrate additional quality indicators. The realisation that “quality begins in the head” and that the employees’ attitudes and actions are open to influence at each stage in the value-added chain has broadened the focus of quality management.

Only integrated quality concepts in conjunction with modifications to the corporate culture can ensure the ability of a company to deliver quality in the future. This comprehensive view of quality management is also known as Total Quality Management (TQM). It must be regarded as a corporate strategy aiming to ensure that customer requirements are satisfied and concentrating all efforts firmly on the needs of the internal and external customers.

“Quality management” is often replaced by the term “Total Quality Management” (TQM). Before delving into the definition of the TQM concept, it is essential first to define the concept of quality management.

Total Quality Management is a philosophy that gradually evolved from management theories such as Management by Objective, quality circles, strategic planning, etc. To understand the concept of TQM, it is better to first understand the three words constituting the concept: Total, Quality, and Management.

1) Total

Everyone in the organisation creates and maintains the quality of the services and products offered. It is a thorough method of dealing with complex interacting problems involving everyone at all levels and addressing all major issues.

2) Quality

The organisation, through both individual and collective actions, focuses on meeting customers’ agreed-upon needs at the lowest cost, consistently ensuring satisfaction from the first interaction and every subsequent one. Recognising that the customer’s perception identifies quality, Total Quality refers to the processes involved in achieving quality according to specified requirements or established standards.

3) Management

When overseeing the system, the emphasis should be on continuous improvement rather than quick fixes. Only through this approach can Total Quality be achieved. This necessitates everyone in the organisation to take responsibility for managing their respective roles. TQM (Total Quality Management) presents a holistic systems view of quality management, building on the idea that an organisation functions as an interactive communication and control network.

Total quality management definition

According to ISO 8402, quality management can be defined as follows: “All activities within the overall management function that establish the quality policy, objectives, and responsibilities, and implement them through methods such as quality planning, quality control, quality assurance, and quality improvement within the quality system.”

According to Professor Leopald S. Vasin, “TQM is the control of all transformation processes of an organisation to best satisfy customer’s needs in the most economical manner”.

Total quality management is a management system for a customer-focused organisation that involves all employees in continually improving all aspects of the organisation.

TQM = Customer – Driven Quality Management

The total quality management concept is an integrative system that uses data, strategy, and effective communication to integrate quality principles into the activities and culture of the organisation. Total Quality Management (TQM) is a management approach towards the long-term success of an organization through customer satisfaction. In a TQM effort, all members of an organisation participate in improving products, services, processes, and the organisational culture.

Total quality management Features

TQM is useful for small and large companies alike, to improve their competitive position in both the domestic and world marketplace. Adopting TQM as a method for conducting company business will have a positive impact on key areas of corporate performance. Important features of TQM that are common to many world-class quality organisations include:

1) Integrated Activities

Quality concepts need to be clearly articulated and thoroughly integrated throughout all activities of the company.

2) Customer Satisfaction

Remaining competitive in the marketplace hinges on customer satisfaction. Ultimately, both internal and external customer satisfaction propels quality efforts. Therefore, organisations need to determine what customers want and must have processes in place to meet those customer needs.

3) Corporate Culture

Top executives need to establish a corporate culture that involves all employees in contributing to quality improvements.

4) Leadership

Top executives must provide active leadership to establish quality as a fundamental value to be incorporated into the company’s management philosophy.

5) Totality

It implies that all areas, functions, activities, and employees are striving for optimum quality all the time.

6) Strengthen Employee Commitment

Companies need to focus on employee involvement, teamwork and training at all levels. The focus should strengthen employee commitment to continuous quality improvement.

7) Improvements

There should be an endeavour to improve the quality activities of the business. This will help in achieving the highest levels of quality and competitiveness in operations, products and services.

8) Foundation

A solid foundation for the whole organisational structure is imperative. If the company is well organised then it enables the broad scope of quality activities to be properly managed. Good organisational systems equip management and employees of the company to come to grips with customer requirements and satisfaction.

9) Documentation

It is integrated people-machine-information relations that make the TQM effort happen. Documentation helps in the dissemination of information to all persons. The information will help persons visualise their work assignments and responsibilities in quality activity.

Elements of Total Quality Management

TQM has been coined to describe a philosophy that positions quality as the driving force behind leadership, design, planning, and improvement initiatives. To achieve this, TQM relies on eight key elements. These elements can be categorized into four groups based on their function. The groups are as follows:

1) Building Bricks

Based on the strong foundation of trust, ethics, and integrity, bricks are placed to reach the roof of recognition. It includes training, teamwork, and leadership.

2) Foundation

TQM is built on a foundation of ethics, integrity, and trust. It fosters fairness, openness, and sincerity and allows involvement by everyone. This is the key to unlocking the utmost potential of TQM. These three elements move together. However, each element offers something unique to the TQM concept.

3) Roof

It includes recognition.

4) Binding Mortar

It includes communication.

These key elements are described below:

1) Ethics

Ethics is the discipline that determines what is morally right or wrong. Organisational and individual ethics are representative subjects. Corporate ethics establishes a business code of ethics that outlines guidelines for all employees to adhere to in their work performance. Individual ethics encompass personal rights and wrongs.

2) Integrity

Integrity implies morals, honesty, justice, values, adherence to the facts and sincerity. This attribute is what customers (internal or external) expect and deserve to receive. The opposite of integrity is seen as duplicity. TQM works only in an atmosphere of variety.

3) Trust

It is a by-product of ethical and integrity conduct. Trust is essential for the framework of TQM to be built. Trust promotes the full participation of all members. It allows empowerment that encourages pride and ownership, and it encourages commitment. It will enable decision-making at appropriate levels of management in the organisation, foster individual risk-taking for continuous improvement, and help ensure that measurements focus on improving processes and are not used to contend with people. Trust is essential to ensure customer satisfaction. So, trust builds the cooperative environment necessary for TQM.

4) Training

Employees need to be highly productive. Supervisors are only responsible for implementing TQM within their departments and introducing their employees to the philosophies of TQM. The training that employees require includes interpersonal skills, the ability to function within teams, problem-solving, decision-making, job management performance analysis and improvement, business economics, and technical skills. During the creation and formation of TQM, employees are trained to become effective contributors to the company.

5) Teamwork

Teamwork is a crucial element of TQM that helps to become successful in business. The business can receive better and faster solutions to problems by using teams. Teams provide more permanent improvements in operations and processes. While working in a team, people feel more comfortable bringing up issues that may occur and can get help from others to find a solution and implement it.

6) Leadership

Leadership is the most crucial element in TQM. It appears everywhere in the organisation. Leadership in TQM requires the manager to provide an inspiring vision, make strategic directions understood by all and instil values that guide subordinates. For TQM to be successful in the business, the manager must be committed to leading his employees. Managers must understand TQM, believe in it and then demonstrate their belief and commitment through their daily practices of TQM. The supervisor ensures that strategies, philosophies, values, and goals are transmitted throughout the organisation to provide focus, clarity, and direction. A key point is that top management must introduce and lead TQM.

7) Communication

Communication binds everything together. From the foundation to the roof of the TQM house, everything is secured by a strong mortar of communication. It acts as a vital connection between all elements of TQM. Communication refers to the common understanding of ideas and concepts between the sender and the receiver.

The success of TQM demands communication with and among all the organisation’s suppliers, members and customers. Managers must maintain open channels where employees can send and receive information about the TQM process. Communication, coupled with the sharing of correct information, is vital. The message must be clear for communication to be credible, and the receiver must interpret it as the sender intended.

8) Recognition

Recognition is the last and final element in the entire system of TQM. It should be provided for both achievements and suggestions for teams and individuals. Employees strive to receive recognition of work for themselves and their teams. Detecting and recognising contributors is the most critical job of a supervisor.

As people are recognised, there can be massive changes in self-esteem, productivity, quality, and effort exerted on the task. Recognition is at its best when it immediately follows an employee’s action. Recognition comes in different places, ways, and times such as:

i) Time: Recognition can be given at any time like in staff meetings, annual award banquets, etc.

ii) Ways: It can be through a personal letter from top management, also by award banquets, trophies, plaques, etc.

iii) Places: Good performers can be recognised in front of departments, on performance boards and also in front of top management.

It can be concluded that these eight elements are key in ensuring the success of TQM in an organisation and that the supervisor plays a huge part in developing these elements in the workplace. Without these elements, the

business entities cannot be successful TQM implementers. TQM without involving integrity, ethics, and trust would be a great remiss; in fact, it would be incomplete. Training is the key by which the organisation creates a TQM environment. Leadership and teamwork go hand in hand. Lack of communication between departments, supervisors, and employees creates a burden on the whole TQM process. Last but not least, recognition should be given to dedicated employees who contributed to the overall completed task.

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