Total Quality Management (tqm)

By: Bob Pearce

I.History

The roots of Total Quality Management can be traced to the early 1920's production quality control ideas, leading from mere inspection to the development of essential processes ideas and tools for business development and performance improvement.

II.What is Quality?

A frequent definition is "The ability to delight the Customer by fully meeting their needs and expectations." These needs and expectations may include performance, appearance, availability, delivery, reliability, maintainability, cost effectiveness and price. A business must know what these needs and expectations are, must understand them, and measure its ability to meet them. For a business to be really effective a quality approach must cover all people and all activities at every interface within the business. A failure in any part of the system which lets down an internal customer will eventually find its way to the external customer.

III.Benefits of Total Quality Management

Managing quality to achieve excellence means managing a business so that every job and process is carried out right, first time, every time. The reputation of any business is built on the quality and excellence of the products or services it provides. Quality management is a powerful competitive weapon. It provides greater customer satisfaction which can lead to greater market share, both of which lead to an improved bottom line profit.

IV.Features of Total Quality Management

The building blocks are:
&bullProcesses
&bullPeople
&bullManagement systems
&bullPerformance

Processes transform a set of inputs into the desired outputs, which satisfy internal or external customer's needs. Each process can be analyzed to determine the action necessary to improve quality.

People - Those who actually do the job or carry out the process have suppliers and/or customers. All employees must be committed to quality and excellence within a culture of improvement, teamwork and recognition.

An appropriately documented Quality Management System is essential to achieve the objectives set out in the Strategic Business Plan, and build upon them.

Performance measurement is used to monitor and control the standards set and achieved for each indicator listed in the Strategic Business Plan.

V.Implementation of Total Quality Management

The task of implementing a TQM programme can be quite daunting. Before embarking on the journey it is important for a business owner to clarify the motive for introducing a programme, and the level of commitment within the management team. The following is a list of points which should be considered at an early stage:
&bullA long term commitment to continuous must be established
&bullA culture of "Right first time" must be established
&bullStaff must be trained to understand the customer/supplier relationship
&bullRecognition that systems must be managed
&bullModern methods of supervision must be applied - remove fear
&bullTeamwork and communications must be improved and barriers to process improvement eliminated
&bullExtensively train and educate - develop experts
&bullUse only facts when studying processes
&bullA systematic plan for implementing TQM must be established

VITools and Techniques

A wide range of tools and techniques are available for identifying, measuring, prioritizing and improving processes. These include: - Process mapping, flow charting, cause and effect diagrams, brainstorming, control charts, statistical process control, Pareto analysis. Most of these tools are freely available.

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