Arguably, the economic growth and manufacturing dominance of Japanese industries in the 1980s can be attributed to the successful application of TQM in Japan (Basu, 2004). Much of the Japanese success was based on the three fundamental tenets of Juran’s view of quality programmes: firstly, upper management leadership of quality, secondly, continuous education on quality for all, thirdly, an annual plan for quality improvement and cost reduction – foundations that, by the way, still are valid today (Basu, 2004). The origin of the name TQM is, by the way, disputed; discussions can be found in Martinez-Lorente et al. (1998) and Bergman and Klefsjö (2003). However, the late American professor and consultant William Golomski has told one of the authors of this paper that Koji Kobayashi, former executive at NEC, was the first one to use the term TQM in his speech when receiving the Deming Prize in 1974. 2.1.2 Definitions Different definitions and descriptions of TQM have been presented over the years; see e.g., Oakland (1993), Dahlgaard et al. (1998) and Dale (1999). Several of these are, in our opinion, more vague descriptions than definitions and contain terms as “… a philosophy,
4 B. Klefsjö, B. Bergquist and R.L. Edgeman which …”, “… a culture, that …”, “… an approach for …”. As just an example, Dale (1999) defines TQM, in accordance with ISO 8402, as “a management approach of an organization, centred on quality, based on the participation of all its members and aiming at long-term success through customer satisfaction, and benefits to all members of the organization and to society.” In recent years some definitions with a system emphasis have been suggested. These are based on a kernel of core values that seems to have converged (Sila and Ebrahimpour, 2002). One of these definitions is from Hellsten and Klefsjö (2000), who define TQM “as a continuously evolving management system consisting of values, methodologies and tools, the aim of which is to increase external and internal customer satisfaction with a reduced amount of resources”, see Figure 1. They argue that the methodologies (or “ways to work consisting of a sequence of activities”) and tools (that is, “more concrete diagrams or matrices, sometimes with a statistical base”) should consequently and continuously be chosen to support the values to be part of the culture. The three units together form in that way the whole. Figure 1 Total Quality Management (TQM) seen as a management system consisting of values, methodologies and tools. The methodologies and tools in the figure are just examples and not a complete list Source : Hellsten and Klefsjö (2000) 2.1.3 Important ingredients of TQM Although the system view is not always as clear as in Hellsten and Klefsjö (2000), many definitions of TQM of today contain the ingredient values (sometimes called core values, principles or cornerstones as well) and ways to work (also called methods, methodologies or techniques). TQM can, in most descriptions, be characterised by a number of values, illustrating how we should act in our profession. These focus on the six values mentioned in Figure 1, i.e., on continuous improvements, fact based decisions, participation of all
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