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Unformatted text preview: delines An Introduction.qxd 3/10/05 12:12 PM Page 1 An Introduction
to TQM An Introduction.qxd 3/10/05 12:12 PM Page 2 An Introduction to TQM
1. Today’s challenge
The challenge that companies face as the 21st Century gets underway, is to succeed in a
global economy where competition is fierce and where customers are becoming increasingly
demanding of quality. Companies must take a global perspective. They must supply products
and services that are competitive in both price and quality, and in international as well as in
domestic markets. To maintain a competitive edge in such an environment they must
continually improve the quality of what they offer.
Total Quality Management (TQM) has proven itself as a way of managing and continuously
improving quality. Its successful implementation in Japanese firms has been a major factor
not only in their success, but also in establishing the levels of quality that customers now
expect in whatever they purchase.
What is Total Quality Management? What indeed do we mean by quality? Quality may be
simply defined as meeting customer requirements. In fact, given the level of competition in
today’s market place, we might better define it as meeting and improving upon
requirements. Total Quality Management, as the name indicates, regards the continuous
improvement of customer-oriented quality as both requiring active management and
involving the entire company – and often suppliers and customers as well. TQM can be
described in practical terms as customer focus, continuous improvement and teamwork.
A great deal has been written about TQM, and more scholarly analyses have identified four
fundamental orientations of TQM: systems, customer, learning and change. From this
perspective, TQM is seen as a dynamic economic effort by firms to adapt and survive in
dynamic environments. 2. The background to TQM
Born out of management practice, and with roots in production, statistics and quality control,
modern quality management began in the USA in the mid-1920s and has had a profound
impact on modern business history. It was not however widely applied in the West until the
1980s, some two decades after it had taken off with remarkable results in Japan.
In the 1950s Japanese companies, dissatisfied with the quality of their products, looked to
the quality improvement ideas of such western experts as Deming and Juran, then being
given little attention in the West. Traditional approaches rely on inspection to prevent
defective products being shipped to the customers. This results in lots of products being
either discarded or reworked. It is highly wasteful, with loss rates estimated at 25% of sales
revenue, and it is not effective. The Japanese chose instead to prevent any defective units
being produced upstream in the first place.
A core objective in the prevention of defects, in ensuring that all products and services
conform to customer requirements, is the reduction of variation. Products manufactured
A Roadmap to Quality 2 An Introduction to TQM An Introduction.qxd 3/10/05 12:12 PM Page 3 under the same conditions and to the same specifications almost always vary to some extent.
These variations may be great or small, and come from the main components of the
production process: machinery, people, method or materials - for example machinery wears
out and materials are never exactly the same. The critical question is whether these
variations have any effect on quality. The answer to this question however is often unknown,
because the variations are usually not measured. TQM provides tools which allow us to
measure these variations and to take corrective action.
Tools alone however are not enough to achieve the successful prevention of defects and the
continuous improvement that today’s markets demand. This requires the cooperation of
everyone in the company. It requires different departments and functions to work together. It
also involves employees getting together regularly to solve problems in their own
workplaces. This can only be achieved by a change in management style and way of
thinking, and by an overall change in the company culture. All of this is what TQM is about. 3. The central role of management
TQM must first of all have the active commitment of top managers. They have to take
personal charge, providing vision, forceful leadership and clear direction. They must
translate this vision into detailed, long-term planning, often for a period of up to ten years.
• Developing a clear long-term strategy for TQM.
• Formulating and deploying an annual policy and ensuring everyone understands it.
• Ensuring that objectives, targets and resources are agreed among all those responsible
for putting the policies into action.
• Building quality into designs and processes.
• Developing prevention-based activities.
• Planning how best to use quality systems, procedures, tools and techniques.
• Developing the organization and infrastructure to support improvement, and allocating
the necessary resources.
They must also establish, not least by their own behaviour, an appropriate style of
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This note was uploaded on 10/07/2013 for the course MKT marketing taught by Professor Anamika during the Spring '12 term at Punjab Engineering College.
- Spring '12