A Business Encyclopedia

Total Quality Management (TQM)

Definition: Total Quality Management, abbreviated as TQM is a people-oriented management system, wherein all the members of the organisation, makes continuous efforts so as to maintain high work standards, in all the operations of the company. Its main aim is to make a continuous increase in the customer loyalty and satisfaction, at constantly lower cost.

In other words, TQM is the overall system approach and the essence of top-level strategy, to gain long-term success, by way of customer satisfaction. It requires organization-wide commitment, for introducing and keeping a culture in the organisation to work continuously on the improvement in its performance to deliver first-rate products and services, to the customers.

All the employees of the organisation, from top to bottom, are involved in the process, as well as it is widened backwards and forward so that the members of supply chain and customer chain can also participate. The process operates horizontally across functions and departments.

Phases of Total Quality Management

  1. Planning Phase: In this phase, the employees are required to discover the problems faced by them, during regular operations along with their root-cause. For this, a comprehensive research is done by the employees to collect the relevant data, with a view to finding solutions to their problems.
  2. Doing Phase: At this stage, employees find out solutions to their problems, stated in the previous stage. Strategies are created and executed to cope with the problems experienced by the employees, while at work. Moreover, the evaluation of the usefulness of strategies and solutions are also done in this phase.
  3. Checking Phase: The performance is analysed by making a comparison of before and after data, for validating the effectiveness of the processes and measuring the outcome.
  4. Acting Phase: The outcome of the process is documented at this stage, and the employees prepare themselves to confront other challenges.

Principles of Total Quality Management

TQM can be implemented to the organisation, only when there is organisation-wide support. There are a few principles, which guide the success of total quality management, described as under:

  • Long-term management commitment to quality
  • Customer-focused
  • Preventing, and not detecting defects
  • Universal quality responsibility
  • Measurement of quality
  • Process-centered
  • Constant refinement and learning
  • Statistical thinking
  • Value improvement
  • Synergy of teams
  • Training

The fundamental objective of TQM is to thoroughly mutate the organisation, by making a gradual change in the beliefs, attitudes, values, structure, processes, practices, systems, etc. It lays emphasis on learning and conforming to continual transformation as keys to the success of the organisation.

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