All business management principles unanimously agree on the importance of quality. One can measure the success of an organization from the quality of its goods and services. Due to the importance of this factor, total quality management has gained vast prominence over the years. Managers strive to maintain the highest quality standards to meet their market competition.
Importance of Quality Mangement
Quality is one of the most important factors determining the success of a business. Customers always consider the quality of a business’s goods and services while purchasing them. In fact, in some cases, quality gets prominence over price as well.
Good quality of products always gives every organization a strong edge over its competitors. It also rewards the business with customer patronage, word of mouth and goodwill. It is because of these benefits that total quality management has become so important.
Reasons like these have lead to quality certification standards becoming so important these days. Companies often flaunt their ISO certification rankings in advertisements to earn goodwill and gain customers.
Total Quality Management
American management consultants are largely responsible for introducing the entire system of total quality management. These include experts like Edward Deming and Joseph Juran. Their research helped Japanese industries rebuild their economy after World War II.
With the emergence of newer ways of doing business, the importance of quality management has only increased. Its principles have seen tremendous change over time under modern service-oriented economies.
Previously, only business entities took quality management seriously. These days, however, even governments and NGOs focus on quality management. This shows that apart from consumers, even common citizens can be the focus of quality management.
Another thing one needs to understand is that quality management does not relate to just production-related functions. Other managerial activities like planning, organizing, controlling, etc. also require quality standards.
Furthermore, quality management previously came under the domain of managers only. These days, however, every employee of an organization is responsible for this.
Firstly, supervisors at the lower levels of management maintain quality in production and distribution.
Next, managers ensure quality in functioning and implementation.
Finally, even the top management has to adhere to quality in decision making, planning and controlling.
Principles of Total Quality Management
Total quality management (TQM) helps an organization improve its internal functioning and customer satisfaction. The entire system of TQM rests on the following basic principles:
1. Management of quality is possible
The first principle of TQM is that an organization can always manage quality. Unlike external factors, it is completely possible to control the quality of goods and services. TQM makes this possible even in large companies that deal with huge amounts of production.
2. Processes are the problem, not people
If any process is causing problems, the focus of managers must first be on correcting it. They must not, instead, think of simply hiring new workers. They should correct the process first and only then train their employees to adapt.
3. Look for the cure instead of treating symptoms
Managers often make the mistake of addressing problems by just remedying them in the short term. They should, however, go to the root cause and eradicate the source of the problem itself.
For example, imagine that a company faces problems with transporting its goods to certain areas. In such cases, managers should see whether their problem relates to the entire process of shipping in general.
4. Each employee is responsible for quality management
TQM places the burden of maintaining quality standards on every employee of an organization. From line workers in factories to top-level executives, everybody plays a large role here.
5. Quality should be measurable
Managers should always be able to measure and quantify their quality standards. Failure to do so makes it difficult to see achievable results clearly. TQM helps in this regard by employing statistics to measure quality standards.
6. Quality improvements must keep happening
TQM says that quality management is never a temporary phase that ends when it achieves its targets. It is, in fact, a permanent process that happens all the time.
It is always possible to improve quality more than its present standards. Managers must strive to keep improving quality constantly.
7. Quality helps in the long-term
TQM is not a quick fix that can cure quality defects immediately. It is a long-term investment that often shows results in the future only. Managers must keep an open mind and long-term vision while implementing it.
Solved Examples on Total Quality Management
Question: Mention the missing word in the following sentences.
(1) American experts introduced TQM first while helping improve industries in __________.
(2) Apart from businesses, __________ and __________ also take quality management seriously.
(3) Companies often advertise their __________ rankings to show quality and earn goodwill.
Answers: (1) Japan (2) Government and NGOs (3) ISO certification