/resources/image/template/step.png TQM


Total Quality Management (TQM) is philosophy that has been in use for many years for continuous process improvement. Is a management approach focusing on the improvement of quality and performance in all functions, departments, and processes across the company to provide quality services which exceed customer expectations? TQM expands the scope of quality of every department from top management to lower level employees. All employees are trained in a professional manner and encouraged to make decisions on their own to improve the overall quality and attain higher standards.

When used, TQM is integrated into the company philosophy to enable the continuous improvement of the quality of products and processes.

One of the key aspects of TQM, Total Quality Management is that the quality of products and processes is the responsibility of everyone involved within the processes of an organization.

TQM involves all levels and aspects of a company including management, workforce, suppliers, and customers, to meet or exceed customer expectations.

Total Quality Management Principles

The basic concept of Total Quality Management (TQM) is that it is a customer focused strategy aimed to produce consistently high quality products or services. In involves the whole organization and beyond, with quality becoming the responsibility of everyone in the organization.

Some of the key concepts of TQM, total quality management include:

  • Customer focused. Consumers are the ultimate judge to determine whether products or services are of superior quality or not. No matter how many resources are pooled in training employees, upgrading machines and computers, incorporating quality design process and standards, bringing new technology, etc.; at the end of the day, it is the customers who have the final say in judging your company. Companies must remember to implement TQM across all fronts keeping in mind the customers.
  • Employee involvement. Ensuring total employee involvement in achieving goals and business objectives will lead to employee empowerment and active participation from the employees in decision making and addressing quality related problems. Employee empowerment and involvement can be increased by making the workspace more open and devoid of fear.
  • Continual improvement. A major component of TQM is continual improvement. Continual improvement will lead to improved and higher quality processes. Continual improvement will ensure companies will find new ways and techniques in producing better quality products, production, be more competitive, as well as exceed customer expectations.
  • Strategic and Systematic Approach to Improvement. Businesses must adopt a strategic approach towards quality improvement to achieve their goals, vision, and mission. A strategic plan is very necessary to ensure quality becomes the core aspect of all business processes.
  • Integrated into company systems and processes. Businesses comprise of various departments with different functionality purposes. These functionalities are interconnected with various horizontal processes TQM focuses on. Everyone in the company should have a thorough understanding of the quality policies, standards, objectives, and important processes. It is very important to promote a quality work culture as it helps to achieve excellence and surpass customer expectations. An integrated system ensures continual improvement and helps companies achieve a competitive edge.
  • Fact based decision making. Data from the performance measurement of processes indicates the current health of the company. For efficient TQM, companies must collect and analyze data to improve quality, decision making accuracy, and forecasts. The decision making must be statistically and situational based in order to avoid any room for emotional based decisions.
  • Communications required across the organization. Communication plays a crucial role in TQM as it helps to motivate employees and improve their morale during routine daily operations. Employees need to be involved as much as possible in the day to day operations and decision making process to really give them a sense of empowerment. This creates the environment of success and unity and helps drive the results the TQM process can achieve.

Evolution of TQM

The basic ideas behind TQM have existed for many years, and in many ways, there is nothing new in TQM. That said, bringing the principles and processes together in the format in which they now exist, and implementing them has enabled many companies to totally improve their performance.

Many of the foundations for TQM started to surface in the 1940s during the Second World War. At this time there was a focus on improving quality as lives depended upon the proper functioning of equipment.

Statistical sampling techniques started to be employed to evaluate quality. On top of this quality control charts were used to monitor the on-going production process.

In the 1960s the concept started to take more form. Quality started to be viewed as an aspect that involved the whole organization. This resulted because all functions and areas within a company or organization had an impact on the final product quality. Also all shared the costs of poor quality, and this meant that quality was an aspect concept that affected the entire organization.

In order to be able to compete and survive, western companies needed to make a step change in the quality of their products. To achieve this, new quality programs were instituted. Previously quality had been interpreted as a reactive response to an issue. High inspection and rework costs had reflected poorly on the final product. By changing the emphasis to a proactive approach fewer issues were encountered in production raising build standard and lowering costs.

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