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What is TQM and How Can it be Implemented in Industry Today

Total Quality Management: What is Tqm and how can it be implemented in the industry today?

In society, today quality plays an important role in customer satisfaction. A classic example of a customer’s being discouraged due to poor quality would be the case of Skoda cars. In the ’80s and early 90’s Skoda was known for it poor quality and this, in turn, affected both the brand image and also sales of the company. Once the Volkswagen Group overtook it in 1994, strategies have been implemented to put quality back into the product and to put the customer first.

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However, before understanding the concept of “total quality management” (TQM) one must define quality. Quality is said to be “the ability to satisfy, or even exceed, the needs and expectations of the customer” (Mullins 1998). This quote is far more contemporary than some of the older definitions of quality below as there is the broader understanding that quality should exceed the expectations of the customer and also indicates quality is intangible and the level of quality often changes.

Other define quality as: “Quality is fitness for use”(Juran 1974) (4) or “Quality is a conformance to requirements or specifications” (Crosby 1979) – (4); however these definitions have no inherent aspect on the customer; currently all businesses should be market-orientated and hence any notion of quality should be developed for the customer’s benefit.

TQM is a management approach to long-term success, through achieving complete customer satisfaction. TQM is the complete approach to improve organizational performance and effectiveness. There are numerous definitions of TQM, but Mullins 5th edition (1999) says TQM is: “A way of life for an organization as a whole, committed to total customer satisfaction through a continuous process of improvement, and the contribution and involvement of people” (3) Laurie J Mullins Management and Organizational Behaviour 5th Edition 1999 One should be aware that it is not a departmental project or quality saving campaign, but TQM is a philosophy that the organization adapts and implements throughout the company for a mutual benefit i.e. the companies and customers.

The participation of all members of an organization in improving processes, products, services, and the culture they work in is the basis of TQM. TQM can be viewed as a necessary means to achieve increased sales, reduce costs, and develop a competitive advantage through enhanced product quality (Fig 1 -Deming Chain Reaction) (9). Deming believed that profits are the result of attention to quality and customer satisfaction. In Some instances, TQM could also be seen as a key strategy for the organization’s survival.

This is particularly true in the case of the motoring industry, where competition is intense and there is little to tell products apart. The quality some manufacturer’s offer over others is the competitive advantage (Jaguar v Ford, where Jaguar will spend more on quality on the end product, Ford will try to give value for money and not exceed customer expectations too much) (6).

Figure 1 Deming’s Chain Reaction.

This gradual move towards total quality and TQM has also seen a move towards lean manufacturing (Jaguar Cars) (6); again the key is to give the customer a product of the highest quality at the lowest possible cost, within the shortest possible time. Traditionally Jaguar has been producer of high-quality high-cost products and invests much more in the quality of the product, whereas Ford traditionally has seen to be producers of average products with average costs (7).

TQM, which has been available for many years, was originally developed in the United States and the Japanese were the first to visualize its benefits and apply it successfully. The late Dr William Edward Deming was the creator of TQM (1900-1903) (3) who devised 14 points of management, which apply anywhere, from small organizations to large multi-national ones. Other management guru’s also did a considerable amount of work on TQM (10); Feigenbaum (1950’s) Deming (1950’s) Crosby (1970’S) Ishikawa (1970’s) Juran (1980’s) Taguchi (1990). This paper will concentrate on the work of Deming and Crosby giving both strengths and weaknesses of each approach.

TQM is a participative management style that stresses total staff commitment to “customer satisfaction”. TQM is the part management organised for the use of creating and implementing a continuous improvement process that constantly improves on the organization’s effectiveness and also their efficiency. The main responsibility of quality lies not on the workers but on the management on all levels.

Statisticians, such as Walter A Stewhart, Joseph M Juran, Philip B Crosby and most importantly Dr William E Deming (1900-1993) (3) were responsible for initiating the TQM and share a common role in participatory management and employee improvement.

Much like his colleagues Dr Deming believed quality is not acquired by the workers abilities but rather by their system of work. Organizations both large and small have only recently started appreciating the effect quality has on them. Most companies feel like they produce products or services to make a profit, but Deming’s philosophy says organizations produce products and services that help people live better.

Hence, this develops loyal customers, which according to Dr Deming, is where the real profits are generated (Fig 1). Since 1985 TQM has become another quality management movement in the United States and throughout the world and has been an important driver of the global village. TQM has been implemented in many organizations such as IBM, Xerox and Motorola. Subsequently, many non-profit organizations such as Universities, colleges and charities have also begun to implement TQM.

Dr Deming has developed a number of guidelines for the transformation of management, which he calls the 14 points for quality improvement (9). These are as follows: (1) Create constancy of purpose (2) Adopt the new philosophy (3) Cease dependence on inspection (4) End awarding business on price (5) Improve constantly the system of production and service (6) Institute training on the job (7) Institute leadership (8) Drive out fear (9) Break down barriers between departments (10) Eliminate slogans and exhortations (11) Eliminate quotas or work standards (12) Give people pride in their job (13) Institute education and a self-improvement programme (14) Put everyone to work to accomplish it (9).

Dr Deming’s repeatedly talks about constancy and how the concept of constancy begins and ends with the customer. Since the work of Deming, numerous management writers have stated both strengths and weaknesses of the approach. Nigel Slack 1998 (10) says; “The strengths of Deming’s model are (1) It provides a systematic and functional logic, (2) Stresses management comes before technology, (3) Leadership and motivation are recognized as important (4) Emphasis role of statistical and quantitative methods (5) Recognises the different contexts of Japan and America”.

He goes further in saying, ” the weaknesses of Deming’s model are (1) Action plan and methodological principles are sometimes vague, (2) the approach to leadership and motivation is seen by some as idiosyncratic, (3) does not treat situations that are political or coercive”. My personal opinion is that the work of Deming was extremely important to the success of TQM, and his model offers a logical systematic approach to the problem of improving quality. I also believe, although Slack 1998 picks up on weaknesses of Deming’s approach, the strengths far outweigh these. The success of TQM through Deming’s approach can be seen in Japanese industry (Honda, Toyota and Mazda are examples of this).

Crosby in the 1970’s also did a considerable amount of work on TQM. Philip Crosby is best known for his work on the cost of quality. Crosby’s views were that many organizations do not know how much they spend on quality. In his book “Quality is free” Crosby provided a zero-defects programme, which he believed, would reduce the total cost of quality (8). This is summarised as 1) Quality is conformance to requirements 2) Prevention not appraisal 3) The performance standard must be “zero defects” 4) Measure the price of non-conformance (PONC) 5)

There is no such thing as a quality problem Much like Deming’s model Nigel Slack 1998 (10) also states the strengths and weaknesses of Crosby’s approach. Firstly the strengths are; (1) Provides clear methods to follow (2) Worker participation is recognized as important (3) Strong on explaining the realities of quality and motivating people to start the quality process.

The weaknesses of Crosby’s are; (1) Seen by some as implying that workers are to blame for quality problems (2) Seen by some as emphasizing slogans and platitudes rather than recognizing genuine difficulties (3) Zero defects are sometimes seen as risk avoidance (4) Insufficient stress given to statistical methods (10).

The success of TQM depends on how well a company evaluates the processes, products, and markets of today to try and find out what the customer of tomorrow wants. It has been evident from past marketplaces that companies show more support to short-term interests that even if they do have a long-term strategy if often lacks commitment from top management.

Implementation and the success of TQM can be seen clearly using the example of Honda. Many other Japanese car manufacturers have also followed a pursuit. When trying to implement TQM it requires both behavioural and cultural change. A successful TQM brings together management, behavioural and cultural commitment to customer quality.

There are three approaches to implementing TQM. Firstly there is the “concept of a management”. This basically fine-tunes and revitalizes management in producing bottom-line products or services resulting hopefully in customer satisfaction. With this approach management and individuals of the organization are usually operating at fairly effective levels and have already taken the idea of TQM aboard.

Kawamoto CEO of Honda implemented TQM with the advice of the founder of the company, Soichiro. When TQM was implemented at Honda production lines were reconfigured to speed the process and allow greater flexibility. Engineers were expected to create designs that could be manufactured more efficiently. Honda’s new strategy, which the CEO describes as “customer-focused”, has increased sales and improved profit (7).

The second approach can be seen as a “system of management”. This approach is used when TQM is already in place but needs to be brought up to speed. The basic area of this approach is to resolve conflict, decision-making, meeting management as well as traditional areas of measurement and continuous learning.

With this approach, the Q-STEP is used (10). The Q-STEP simplifies quality into five basic competencies. Q-Quality Maximisation, S-Skill Maximisation, T-Team Participation, E-Excellence for customers, P-Prevention of waste. The Q-STEP works with the existing culture and takes advantage of current “good practices”.

The final approach is usually the most common and is also the cause of most failures. This approach usually aims mainly at changing behaviour, not a culture that drives or supports that behaviour. TQM has in the past failed however there here have been many reasons why, but the most common are (2): (1) Lack of management commitment- executives may demand TQM because they may see it as purely a cost-cutting strategy.

(2) Poor timing and pacing-organizations sometimes implement TQM when there is no compelling need.

(3) Wasted education and training- TQM can fail because organizations are not committed enough on the training of the individual.

(4) Lack of short-term bottom line results- TQM can be seen as a strategy that only harvest the best results many years down the line, hence organizations are encouraged to focus on process, not results, as the organizations scare resources are poured into quality activities without any immediate results.

(5) Lack of TQM concepts being implemented such as Just in Time, Quality Circles and Lean manufacturing.

Total Quality Management, a concept created by Dr William E. Deming and developed further by Fredrick W. Taylor is a management approach to long-term success through customer satisfaction. For TQM to be successful in the organization all members of the organization must be committed to maximizing customer satisfaction. Although complex, Dr Deming’s concepts of constancy in the improvement and total customer satisfaction are the foundation. Dr Deming’s 14 points are essential to helping companies achieve their goal.

The points must be used together with an emphasis on each other to maximize results. In order for a company to achieve implementation of TQM, they must realise that both behavioural and cultural change is necessary for success. Dr Deming’s philosophy of total quality management has proved effective in many organizations, and if companies are willing to embrace all of its ideas and concepts, it can be hugely successful for them.

As with all theories, there have been criticisms to whether Dr Deming’s TQM model works. Heller (1997) (5) makes the point: “The successes of TQM in the Japanese auto motive industry are evidence that, when applied correctly TQM delivers-and you can’t argue with the results”.

Like many of the management guru’s who have praised TQM, I believe it is a management concept that could help deteriorating organizations achieve, both a competitive advantage over others, as well as increasing sales, customer satisfaction and profit levels; similarly TQM can help a successful company build a better relationship with its customers, supply base and inevitably increase its bottom line.

In society today quality plays an important role in customer satisfaction. A classic example of customer’s being discouraged due to poor quality would be the case of Skoda cars. In the 80’s and early 90’s Skoda was known for it poor quality and this in turn affected both the brand image and also sales of the company. Once the Volkswagen Group overtook it in 1994, strategies have been implemented to put quality back into the product and to put the customer first. However before understanding the concept of “total quality management” (TQM) one must define quality. Quality is said to be “the ability to satisfy, or even exceed, the needs and expectations of the customer” (Mullins 1998). This quote is far more contemporary than some of the older definitions of quality below as there is the broader understanding that quality should exceed the expectations of the customer and also indicates quality is intangible and the level of quality often changes.

Other define quality as: “Quality is fitness for use”(Juran 1974) (4) or “Quality is a conformance to requirements or specifications” (Crosby 1979) – (4); however these definition have no inherent aspect on the customer; currently all businesses should be market orientated and hence any notion of quality should be developed for the customers benefit.

TQM is a management approach to long-term success, through achieving complete customer satisfaction. TQM is the complete approach to improve organizational performance and effectiveness. There are numerous definitions of TQM, but Mullins 5th edition (1999) says TQM is: “A way of life for an organization as a whole, committed to total customer satisfaction through continuous process of improvement, and the contribution and involvement of people” (3) Laurie J Mullins Management and Organization al Behaviour 5th Edition 1999 One should be aware that it is not a departmental project or quality saving campaign; but TQM is a philosophy that the organization adapts and implements throughout the company for a mutual benefit i.e. the companies and customers. The participation of all members of an organization in improving processes, products, services, and the culture they work in is the basis of TQM. TQM can be viewed as a necessary means to achieve increased sales, reduce costs, and develop a competitive advantage through enhanced product quality (Fig 1 -Deming Chain Reaction) (9). Deming believed that profits are the result of attention to quality and customer satisfaction. In Some instances TQM could also be seen as a key strategy for the organization’s survival. This is particularly true in the case of the motoring industry, where competition is intense and the there is little to tell products apart. The quality some manufacturer’s offer over others is the competitive advantage (Jaguar v Ford, where Jaguar will spend more on quality on the end product, Ford will try to give value for money and not exceed customer expectations too much) (6).

This gradual move towards total quality and TQM has also seen a move towards lean manufacturing (Jaguar Cars) (6); again the key is to give the customer a product of the highest quality at the lowest possible cost, within the shortest possible time. Traditionally Jaguar has been producer’s of high quality high cost products and invests much more in the quality of the product, whereas Ford traditionally have seen to be producers of average products with average costs (7).

TQM, which has been available for many years, was originally developed in the United States and the Japanese were the first to visualise its benefits and apply it successfully. The late Dr William Edward Deming was the creator of TQM (1900-1903) (3) who devised 14 points of management, which apply anywhere, from small organizations to large multi-national ones. Other management guru’s also did a considerable amount of work on TQM (10); Feigenbaum (1950’s) Deming (1950’s) Crosby (1970’S) Ishikawa (1970’s) Juran (1980’s) Taguchi (1990). This paper will concentrate on the work of Deming and Crosby giving both strengths and weaknesses of each approach.

TQM is a participative management style that stresses total staff commitment to “customer satisfaction”. TQM is the part management organised for the use of creating and implementing a continuous improvement process that constantly improves on the organization’s effectiveness and also their efficiency. The main responsibility of quality lies not on the workers but on the management on all levels.

Statisticians, such as Walter A Stewhart, Joseph M Juran, Philip B Crosby and most importantly Dr William E Deming (1900-1993) (3) were responsible for initiating the TQM and share a common role in participatory management and employee improvement.

Much like his colleagues Dr Deming believed quality is not acquired by the workers abilities but rather by their system of work. Organizations both large and small have only recently started appreciating the effect quality has on them. Most companies feel like they produce products or services to make a profit, but Deming’s philosophy says organizations produce products and services that help people live better. Hence, this develops loyal customers, which according to Dr Deming, is where the real profits are generated (Fig 1). Since 1985 TQM has become another quality management movement in the United States and throughout the world and has been an important driver of the global village. TQM has been implemented in many organizations such as IBM, Xerox and Motorola. Subsequently, many non-profit organizations such as Universities, colleges and charities have also begun to implement TQM.

Dr Deming has developed a number of guidelines for the transformation of management, which he calls the 14 points for quality improvement (9). These are as follows: (1) Create constancy of purpose (2) Adopt the new philosophy (3) Cease dependence on inspection (4) End awarding business on price (5) Improve constantly the system of production and service (6) Institute training on the job (7) Institute leadership (8) Drive out fear (9) Break down barriers between departments (10) Eliminate slogans and exhortations (11) Eliminate quotas or work standards (12) Give people pride in their job (13) Institute education and a self-improvement programme (14) Put everyone to work to accomplish it (9).

Dr Deming’s repeatedly talks about constancy and how the concept of constancy begins and ends with the customer. Since the work of Deming, numerous management writers have stated both strengths and weaknesses of the approach. Nigel Slack 1998 (10) says; “The strengths of Deming’s model are (1) It provides a systematic and functional logic, (2) Stresses management comes before technology, (3) Leadership and motivation are recognised as important (4) Emphasis role of statistical and quantitative methods (5) Recognises the different contexts of Japan and America”. He goes further in saying, ” the weaknesses of Deming’s model are (1) Action plan and methodological principles are sometimes vague, (2) the approach to leadership and motivation is seen by some as idiosyncratic, (3) does not treat situations that are political or coercive”. My personal opinion is that the work of Deming was extremely important to the success of TQM, and his model offers a logical systematic approach to the problem of improving quality. I also believe, although Slack 1998 picks up on weaknesses of Deming’s approach, the strengths far outweigh these. The success of TQM through Deming’s approach can be seen in Japanese industry (Honda, Toyota and Mazda are examples of this).

Crosby in the 1970’s also did a considerable amount of work on TQM. Philip Crosby is best known for his work on the cost of quality. Crosby’s views were that many organizations do not know how much they spend on quality. In his book “Quality is free” Crosby provided a zero defects programme, which he believed, would reduce the total cost of quality (8). This is summarised as: 1) Quality is conformance to requirements 2) Prevention not appraisal 3) The performance standard must be “zero defects” 4) Measure the price of non-conformance (PONC) 5) There is no such thing as a quality problem Much like Deming’s model Nigel Slack 1998 (10) also states the strengths and weaknesses of Crosby’s approach. Firstly the strengths are; (1) Provides clear methods to follow (2) Worker participation is recognised as important (3) Strong on explaining the realities of quality and motivating people to start the quality process. The weaknesses of Crosby’s are; (1) Seen by some as implying that workers are to blame for quality problems (2) Seen by some as emphasising slogans and platitudes rather than recognising genuine difficulties (3) Zero defects sometimes seen as risk avoidance (4) Insufficient stress given to statistical methods (10).

Success of TQM depends on how well a company evaluates the processes, products, and the markets of today to try and find out what the customer of tomorrow wants. It has been evident from past marketplaces that companies show more support to short-term interests that even if they do have a long-term strategy if often lacks commitment from top management.

Implementation and the success of TQM can be seen clearly using the example of Honda. Many other Japanese car manufacturers have also followed pursuit. When trying to implement TQM it requires both behavioural and cultural change. A successful TQM brings together management, behavioural and cultural commitment to customer quality.

There are three approaches to implementing TQM. Firstly there is the “concept of management”. This basically fine tunes and revitalises management in producing bottom line products or services resulting hopefully in customer satisfaction. With this approach management and individuals of the organization are usually operating at fairly effective levels and have already taken the idea of TQM aboard. Kawamoto CEO of Honda implemented TQM with the advice from the founder of the company, Soichiro. When TQM was implemented at Honda production lines were reconfigured to speed the process and allow greater flexibility. Engineers were expected to create designs that could be manufactured more efficiently. Honda’s new strategy, which the CEO describes as “customer focused”, has increased sales and improved profit (7).

The second approach can be seen as a “system of management”. This approach is used when TQM is already in place but needs to be brought up to speed. The basic area of this approach is to resolve conflict, decision-making, meeting management as well as traditional areas of measurement and continuous learning. With this approach the Q-STEP is used (10). The Q-STEP simplifies quality into five basic competencies. Q-Quality Maximisation, S-Skill Maximisation, T-Team Participation, E-Excellence for customers, P-Prevention of waste. The Q-STEP works with existing culture and takes advantage of current “good practices”.

The final approach is usually the most common and is also the cause of most failure. This approach usually aims mainly at changing behaviour not culture that drives or supports that behaviour. TQM has in the past failed however there here have been many reasons why, but the most common are (2): (1) Lack of management commitment- executives may demand TQM because they may see it as purely a cost-cutting strategy.

(2) Poor timing and pacing-organizations sometimes implement TQM when there is no compelling need.

(3) Wasted education and training- TQM can fail because organizations are not committed enough on the training of the individual.

(4) Lack of short-term bottom line results- TQM can be seen as a strategy that only harvest the best results many years down the line, hence organizations are encouraged to focus on process, not results, as the organizations scare resources are poured into quality activities without any immediate results.

(5) Lack of TQM concepts being implemented such as Just in Time, Quality Circles and Lean manufacturing.

Total Quality Management, a concept created by Dr William E. Deming and developed further by Fredrick W. Taylor is a management approach to long-term success through customer satisfaction. For TQM to be successful in the organization all members of the organization must be committed to maximising customer satisfaction. Although complex, Dr Deming’s concepts of constancy in improvement and total customer satisfaction are the foundation. Dr Deming’s 14 points are essential to helping companies achieve their goal.

The points must be used together with an emphasis on each other to maximize results. In order for a company to achieve implementation of TQM, they must realize that both behavioural and cultural change is necessary for success. Dr Deming’s philosophy of total quality management has proved effective in many organizations, and if companies are willing to embrace all of its ideas and concepts, they can be hugely successful for them.

As with all theories, there have been criticisms of whether Dr. Deming’s TQM model works. Heller (1997) (5) makes the point: “The successes of TQM in the Japanese automotive industry are evidence that when applied correctly TQM delivers-and you can’t argue with the results”.

Like many of the management guru’s who have praised TQM, I believe it is a management concept that could help deteriorating organizations achieve, both a competitive advantage over others, as well as increasing sales, customer satisfaction and profit levels; similarly, TQM can help a successful company build a better relationship with its customers, supply base and inevitably increase its bottom line.

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