Total Quality Management : Definition, Principles , Advantages

Introduction to Total Quality Management:-

  • Total quality management is defined as the management approach of an organization centered 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.
  • The expression “all its members”, means personnel in all departments and at all levels of the organizational structure.
  • In total quality management, the concept of quality relates to the achievement of all managerial objectives.
  • The concept “benefits to society”, implies, as applicable, fulfillment of the requirements of society. The strong and persistent leadership of top management and the education and training of all members of the organization are essential for the success of this approach.

Definitions of TQM

  • TQM can be defined as, “ The act or manner of handling, controlling made up by the whole system to achieve a degree of excellence that a product or service provides for the whole.
  • Total: – made up by the whole for the whole.
  • Quality: The degree of excellence a product or a service provides.
  • Management: – Act, art, or manner of handling and controlling.
  • As per Indian Statistical Institute: TQM is an integrated organizational approach in delighting customers by meeting their expectations continuously through everyone involved with the organization working on continuous improvement in all products, services, and processes with proper problem-solving methodology
  • As per the Quality Forum of USA: – TQM is a people-focused management system that aims at continually increasing customer satisfaction at a continually lower cost. TQM is a total system approach and an integral part of high level strategy; it works horizontally across functions and departments involving all employees top to bottom and exceeds backward and forwards to include the supply chain and the customer chain.
  • TQM as Philosophy and ISO-9000 quality system model: – TQM is a concept that goes beyond ISO 9000. It must be immediately made clear that TQM and ISO 9000 are not two different choices to be made. There is no contradiction between the two.
  • According to CII (Confederation of Indian Industries): – TQM is an approach for effective management of business enterprise through the focus on its people and the process by a company-wide customer-driven relationship.
tqm approach
TQM approach

Components of TQM

Components of TQM are:
1. Continuous improvement
2. Customer focus
3. Zero defects
4. Training and development
5. Total employee involvements
6. Long-term commitment
7. Leadership

1. continuous improvement:

  • There is no limit to continuous improvement.
  • This is beneficial in improving quality standards.
  • Under TQM, there is continuous improvement in processes, products, work culture, services, etc.
  • This pattern of continuous improvement explorers good things from the organization.
  • This makes the organization competent and updated.

2. Customer focus:

  • The customer is the center point under TQM.
  • Various factors are taken to run the organization with focus at a customer.
  • Customer moods, needs, and requirements are understood through market research.
  • Customers are classified into internal customers and external customers. Employees of the organization are internal customers and outside stakeholders are external customers.
  • All customers are carefully handled by providing suitable services. Customer care system is designed to make the customer happy.
  • Services provided to customers are of a high standard and this is maintained all the time.

3. Zero defects:

  • Product/service should be perfect. This is seriously considered in TQM.
  • Under TQM efforts are made to reduce the defects to zero.
  • Zero defects give excellence in product/service.
  • Systems are designed throughout the organization for zero defects.

4. Training and development:

  • TQM cannot be implemented in one shot.
  • For effective implementation of TQM, employees are given training.

5. Total employee involvements:

  • All the employees from top to bottom are included in TQM implementation.
  • TQM can be weak if even a section of the organization is not involved in the process.
  • All are informed about the importance of TQM individually or as an organization.

6. Long-term commitment:

  • TQM is not an event.
  • It is not a periodic activity.
  • It is a path for continuous growth.
  • Hence for success in TQM, there is an expectation of long-term commitment.

7. Leadership:

  • TQM needs consistent and disciplined leadership.
  • It is teamwork, but this team can only work when there is someone who gives direction.
  • At each level also, such leadership is expected from department heads or center heads.
  • Leadership keeps TQM in track in the respective organization.

Principles of TQM: –

TQM is based on the following principles:

1. The employees are not just the resources, they are for a purpose.
2. A company hires a total man with the body, mind, and intellect and not just the hands.
3. The problems are with the system not with the people.
4. The variance analysis focuses on what, how, why, and not who.
5. The aim is to utilize the full potential of all the employees.
6. The total employee’s involvement is essential for the customers’ satisfaction.
7. TQM is led by the top management.
8. The system is focused on satisfying customers.
9. Process approach to management.
10. Based on error/ failure prevention strategy.
11. Aimed at continual improvement.
12. Built on cooperative, trustful relationship to have a win-win situation.
13. Team working to ensure functioning as effective groups.
14. Fact-based management.
15. Largely aimed at long term goals.
16. Systematic and methodical.
17. Geared towards public responsibility.
18. A holistic approach.

Characteristics of TQM : –

The essential characteristics of an effective TQM system are: –

1. Every company member, from the CEO to the lowest level employee is focused on product or service quality. If management is not behind TQM, then it will fail.
2. Everyone must have the required training and be familiar with the necessary TQM techniques.
3. Anyone can suggest areas for improvement- as general operatives will be more familiar with their workstation than anyone else is, valuable ideas for improvement at a production line level can, in many cases, come from line workers.
4. All departments are expected to focus on quality and productivity improvement and implement changes for their area.
5. In addition, all departments interact with each other to fix common problems in the product or process.
6. Collaboration on external issues (end-users defects for example) is expected from all departments.
7. Decisions made are based on the best solutions, not on hidden agendas for favoritism.
8. Quality becomes a governing part of operations, with decisions that impact on quality, rejected immediately, despite perceived cost-savings involved.

Advantages of TQM : –

The benefits of TQM can classify into three separate areas: –

A. The major benefits of TQM in terms of cost savings include: –

1. Elimination of non-confirmation and repetitive work.
2. Elimination of waste of costs and reject products.
3. Elimination of repairs and reworks.
4. Reduced warranty and customer support costs.
5. Process efficiency leading to improved profit per product or service.
6. Fiscal discipline through the elimination of unnecessary steps and wasteful expenditure.

B. TQM free up management time from redressing problems and directs management time and effort to: –

1. Increase production.
2. Extend the range of products.
3. Improve existing products.

C. TQM and customer satisfaction: –

1. Reduction of waiting time by changing the method of appointment scheduling or client handling.
2. Making changes to the delivery process so that the product reaches the customer faster.
3. Better quality products requiring no repairs improving customer loyalty.

Key elements of TQM: –

1. Foundation: – includes ethics, integrity, and trust.
2. Building bricks: – includes training, teamwork, and leadership.
3. Binding mortar: – includes communication.
4. Roof: – includes recognition.


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Sachin Thorat

Sachin is a B-TECH graduate in Mechanical Engineering from a reputed Engineering college. Currently, he is working in the sheet metal industry as a designer. Additionally, he has interested in Product Design, Animation, and Project design. He also likes to write articles related to the mechanical engineering field and tries to motivate other mechanical engineering students by his innovative project ideas, design, models and videos.

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