The components of Total Quality Management (TQM)
The main ideas around Total Quality Management (TQM) are:
i. A systems approach:
Managers must be responsible for three systems-the social or cultural system, the managerial system and the technical system.
ii. The tools of TQM:
These include statistical quality control, fishbone diagram (diagram used to organize and show the visually the possible causes of a problem or event; cause-and-effect diagram; Ishikawa diagram) and benchmarking (the process of finding the best available product features, processes, and services and using them as a standard for improving a company’s own products, processes, and services).
iii. A focus on customers:
If customer needs are not the starting point of the quality management process, using the tools of quality may result in products and services that no one wants to buy. Quality refers to “fitness for use”-the ability of a product or service to satisfy a customer’s real needs. By focusing on real needs, managers and workers can concentrate their efforts where it really matters.
iv. The role of management:
Many managers begin with the assumption that where there is a quality problem, the workers or some individual (manager or worker) is to blame. However, TQM implies that when there is a quality problem, it begins in the boardroom and in the offices of the senior managers and others who do not take quality seriously enough. For instance, until the system that is the cause of a particular failure in quality can be identified,
management cannot do its job. It is every manager’s job to seek out and correct the causes of failure, rather than merely identify failures after they occur and affix blame to someone.
v. Employee participation:
Having the support and attention of senior management remains a necessary condition for making quality management work in an organization, but without empowered employees, it won’t go very far. Empowerment stands for a substantial change that businesses are implementing. It means letting employees make decisions at all levels of an organization without asking for approval from managers. The idea is quite simple: the people who actually do a job, whether it is running a complex machine or providing a simple service, are in the best position to learn how to do that job the best way. Therefore, when there is a chance to improve the job or the systems of which a job is a part, people should make those improvements without asking for permission.
vi. Quality is everybody’s responsibility and it is customer driven not organization driven.
vii. There is real commitment to a continuous improvement of all processes.
viii. Communication is excellent and multi-way – people can freely air their news and concerns
ix. Attention is focused first on the process and second on results.
x. There is an absence of strict control systems.