TOTAL QUALITY MANAGEMENT Total Quality Management formally known as total quality control emphasizes the crucial role of management in the quality process and utilizes a combination of methods, theories, techniques, and quality guru strategies for achieving world-class quality. TQM is not a complete solution formula as viewed by many but a lasting commitment to the process of continuous improvement. Total quality management is not a fad of the times, but rather a correction of the previous failures in management combined to produce a better management style when used appropriately (http://www. ejs. com, retrieved August 1, 2009). The word “total” in Total Quality Management means that everyone in the organization participates in the overall effort in process improvement. Quality means meeting or exceeding customer (internal or external) expectation and management means improving and maintaining business processes or activities. Communications, cultural transformation, participative management, customer focus and continuous improvement are the five basic elements of TQM. Communication is the exchange of information and understanding between two or more people.
There is communication if the information is received and understood. A company will not be successful if it will not listen to employees and to its customers. If there is on fundamental principle of TQM, it is that quality is what the customer defines it as, not what the organization defines it to be. TQM calls for a cultural transformation which requires a high level of workforce engagement wherein people do their utmost for the benefit of their customers and for the success of the organization. Cultural information implies that all employees must change their traditional way of thinking about business.
It is a cultural change for everyone to be responsible for quality. For the past years, quality was viewed as a manufacturing problem only, but it has now become a service issue as well. TQM is a philosophy that prevents poor quality in products and services. A company vision that defines and supports quality must be shared by anyone in an organization. TQM also involves Participative Management Style where managers develop genuine partnership with the workforce and they both contribute to achieving quality. This management philosophy is often misused by management as a way of avoiding responsibility.
Managers using this philosophy must be leaders, take the initiative, and accept responsibility for giving orders or making decisions. Participative management can be best achieved through empowerment and involvement. Every member of the organization gives their views and suggestions regarding improvements and the combined thoughts and ideas will be evaluated by the empowered associates who have the authority to make decisions and to take actions in their work areas without prior approval while willingly supported by the executives and managers.
The pursuit of TQM must emphasize customer focus which is an important factor in an organizational survival or demise. Organizations depend on their customers and therefore should understand current and future customer needs, should meet customer requirements and strive to exceed customer expectations. The last element of TQM is the continuous improvement which should be a permanent objective of the organization in its overall performance.
Applying the principle of continual improvement typically leads to employing a consistent organization-wide approach to continual improvement of the organization’s performance, providing people with training in the methods and tools of continual improvement, making continual improvement of products, processes and systems an objective for every individual in the organization, establishing goals to guide, and measures to track, continual improvement, and recognizing and acknowledging improvements.
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