Definition of Total Quality Management (TQM)
Total Quality Management (TQM) is defined by International Organization for Standardization (ISO):
“TQM is a management approach for 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.”
- Kaizen – Focuses on Continuous Process Improvement, to make processes visible, repeatable and measurable.
- Atarimae Hinshitsu – The idea that things will work as they are supposed to (e.g. a pen will write.).
- KanseiKansei – Examining the way the user applies the product leads to improvement in the product itself.
- Miryokuteki Hinshitsu – The idea that things should have an aesthetic quality which is different from “atarimae hinshitsu” (e.g. a pen will write in a way that is pleasing to the writer.)
Total Quality Management (TQM) requires that the company maintain this quality standard in all aspects of its business. This requires ensuring that things are done right the first time and that defects and waste are eliminated from operations.
Total Quality Management (TQM) Summary
Total Quality Management (TQM) approach can be summarized below under three headings: responsibility for quality, product design, and relation with suppliers.
- Responsibility for quality: The traditional view was that quality problems start on the factory floor, that workers were primarily responsible for poor quality, and that the best way to control quality, therefore, was to “inspect quality into the final product”. This required a large quality control department. The total quality control view is that responsibility for quality should be shared by everyone in the organization; in fact most of the problems arise before the product reaches the factory floor. Under TQM, the philosophy is to “build quality into the product” rather than “inspect quality of the product”. Errors in design, raw material procurement, and so on should be detected at the source. Workers should be held responsible for their own work and should not pass a defective unit on to the next work station; thus, the workers are their own inspectors. Instead of inspecting product quality at the end of production, the quality control staff should monitor the production process and enable workers to “make the product right the first time”.
- Product design: studies have shown that many quality problems originate with the design or the product. Some designers pay inadequate attention to the “manufacturability” of the product. Others include pars that are unique to the product, whereas pars that are common to several products would be satisfactory and are available at lower cost; or they design more separate parts than are necessary, which gives inadequate recognition to the cost involved in setting up machines for each part. Under Total Quality Control, there has been an effort to have the designers work closely with production engineers who are familiar with the manufacturing problems. Designing for manufacturability is one aspect of design. The other aspect of design is designing for marketability, that is, the quality of a product should be what the customer wants, not more. Thus there should be close cooperation between designers and marketing people.
- Relation with suppliers: TQM involves a change in the traditional relationship with suppliers. Instead of awarding contracts to several suppliers, based primarily on which one bid the lowest price, there are only one or two suppliers for a given item; they are selected on the basis of quality and on-time delivery as well as on, price. Long term relationships are established with them.
Credit: Operations Management-MGU