Quality adds value to any product or service and is desirable by the customer. Quality is an intangible parameter based on our perception. We expect a certain level of goodness in any product or service. If the product or service exceeds our expectations, we consider that the product or service is of good quality. There are various methodologies to achieve quality of product or service, which has been developed time to time. ‘Total Quality Management’ is one of the processes to achieve the quality. In this article we will learn, what is the ‘Total Quality Management’, about its key principles and its benefits.
What is Total Quality Management?
Total Quality Management was originated from the manufacturing sector, but now a day, it is applicable to various sectors, across industries. The concept of ‘Total Quality Management’ was jointly developed by W. Edwards Deming, Armand V. Feigenbaum and Joseph M. Juran. This concept states that the quality is a continuous process and it is achieved by the involvement of every employee of the organization.
Total Quality Management (TQM) is a management approach, which seeks participation of all the team members of the organization towards achieving long term quality objectives.
We can define ‘Total Quality Management (TQM)’, as a customer oriented process aimed for continuous improvement of business operations. This process ensures participation of every employee of the organization toward achieving the common goal of improving the quality of product or service.
Key Principles of Total Quality Management
Total Quality Management has many principles which can help any organization to achieve and continuously improve the quality of its products & services. Some of the key principles are discussed below:
Total Quality Management requires and involvement of every employee of the organization. Usually we may think that there is a team in every organization which is responsible for quality control and quality assurance. Or one can say that only the top management is committed towards achieving quality. But ‘Total Quality Management’ approach is different w.r.t. this ideology. It states that every employee of the organization is responsible for the quality and should be committee towards achieving this.
The employees will only be involved in this, if they will be empowered to take decisions. Proper training programs and recognitions for achievements are another measures which may ensure employee participation towards achieving the quality.
Total Quality Management methodology believes in continuous improvement. Your organization should find ways to continuously improve the processes. The organizations should adopt policies to establish process, product and system improvements as measurable goals. The improvement goals should be fixed for individuals and teams. Training sessions for employees should be regularly imparted to encourage them to become quality conscious. Rewards and recognitions should be given to employees for achieving their targets.
Customers defines what value they need in a product. Customer is willing to spend money on a product or service which satisfies the need of the customer. To grab the attention of the customer and to retain the customer, an organization has to understand the need of customer and to make products or services according to that. An organization can determine right specifications, can choose right material and can make right product if it has right understanding of the customer requirement. An organization has to do proper research to know about the customer’s expectations and align its strategies and policies according to that. Proper communication with consumers is also necessary to know their feedback. A product or service should be improved continuously as per the feedback received from the consumers. Customer relationship management and complaint resolution are converted into more sales, increases cash flow and increased profitability. Satisfied customers will tell others also about your products and services which is always better for the sustainability and growth of a business.
Processes ensure that needful steps have been taken to obtain the quality. Therefore, adhering to the processes is very crucial for quality control and quality assurance. Total Quality Management tools such as ‘process flow charts’ may be employed to define clear roles and responsibilities so that everyone in the team knows who does what at a particular time.
Fact Based Decision Making
In the ‘Total Quality Management’ system the decisions are made on the basis of facts and not as per the opinions. A decision based on data gathering and analysis is always better as compared to the that based on opinions or speculations. To implement this principle, proper data should be collected and analyzed using appropriate tools. Relevant data has to be made available to all the stakeholders. The decisions should be strictly made on the basis of outcome of data analysis and not as per the intuition.
An organization has many departments and several processes running at a time. Each department has their specific resources and objectives. Integrating all the departments and processes in crucial for the success of any business. Total Quality Management is focused on integrating various processes. If the system of an organization will be integrated, then each team member and department will be oriented toward common goals and strategy of the organization. System integration solutions like SAP, etc, should be implemented and training should be imparted to team members to implement this principle.
Communication is one of the important principles of ‘Total Quality Management’. Everyone in the organization should be well aware about the objectives, strategies & plans of the organization so that they may be aligned accordingly. Everyone in the organization should be aware of their roles and responsibilities to avoid any confusion and conflict.
Benefits of Total Quality Management
The benefits of adopting ‘Total Quality Management’ are as follows:
- Better quality control and quality assurance is achieved.
- Different departments and processes within the organization are integrated and aligned towards achieving common goals.
- There is better communication among team members and everyone is clear about their roles and responsibilities.
- The decision making is based on facts and is fast.
- The focus of the organization is to provide value to the customer and it results in better customer satisfaction which results in more profitability.
- All employees of the organization are responsible for the quality and are empowered to take decisions.
- Every team member works for continuous improvement of processes within the organization.
- The organization is process oriented and everyone is aware about who has done what at a particular time.
Total Quality Management has many benefits as discussed above. The principles of ‘Total Quality Management’ ensure a better quality of products & services, continuous improvement in processes, fact based & fast decision, better communication, customer satisfaction, involvement and empowerment of every employee, integration of all the processes and departments within the organization, a process oriented organization and more profitability for the organization. To implement ‘Total Quality Management’, all the team members should be given proper trainings and empowerment to take decisions. It is not an overnight process but when applied, it is capable to transform the organization by continuously improving its processes. Strong commitment of management is needed to apply the principles of ‘Total Quality Management’ but eventually it is beneficial for the organization.
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