Total Quality Management is a philosophy of continuously improving the quality of all the products and processes in response to continuous feedback for meeting the customers’ requirements. It aims to do things right the first time, rather than need to fix problems after they emerge (A company should avoid defects rather than correct them). Its basic objective is customer satisfaction.
The elements of TQM are:
Total Quality involves everyone and all activities in the company (Mobilizing the whole organization to achieve quality continuously and economically) Quality Understanding and meeting the customers’ requirements. (Satisfying the customers first time every time) Management Quality can and must be managed (Avoid defects rather than correct them) TQM is a vision based, customer focused, prevention oriented, continuously improvement strategy based on scientific approach adopted by cost conscious people committed to satisfy the customers first time every time. It aims at Managing an organization so that it excels in areas important to the customer.
The underlying principles of TQM:
The philosophy of TQM rest on the following principles which are enlisted below:
- Clear exposition of the benefits of a project.
- Total Employee involvement (TEI).
- Process measurement.
- Involvement of all customers and contributors.
- Elimination of irrelevant data.
- Understanding the needs of the whole process.
- Use of graphical and pictorial techniques to achieve understanding.
- Establishment of performance specifications and targets.
- Use of errors to prompt continuous improvement.
- Use of statistics to tell people how well they are doing
Steps in Total Quality Management:
Step 1: Identification of customers/customer groups: Through a team approach (a technique called Multi-Voting), the Firm should identify major customer groups. This helps in generating priorities in the identification of customers and critical issues in the provision of decision-support information.
Step 2: Identifying customer expectations: Once the major customer groups are identified, their expectations are listed. The question to be answered is – What does the customer expect from the Firm?
Step 3: Identifying customer decision-making requirements and product utilities: By identifying the need to stay close to the customers and follow their suggestions, a decisionsupport system can be developed, incorporating both financial and non-financial and non-financial information, which seeks to satisfy user requirements. Hence, the Firm finds out the answer to – What are the customer’s decision-making requirements and product utilities? The answer is sought by listing out managerial perceptions and not by actual interaction with the customers.
Step 4: Identifying perceived problems in decision-making process and product utilities: Using participative processes such as brainstorming and multi-voting, the Firm seeks to list out its perception of problem areas and shortcomings in meeting customer requirements. This will list out areas of weakness where the greatest impact could be achieved through the implementation of improvements. The Firm identifies the answer to the question – What problem areas do we perceive in the decision-making process?
Step 5: Comparison with other Firms and benchmarking: Detailed and systematic internal deliberations allow the Firm to develop a clear idea of their own strengths and weaknesses and of the areas of most significant deficiency. Benchmarking exercise allows the Firm to see how other Companies are coping with similar problems and opportunities.
Step 6: Customer Feedback: Steps 1 to 5 provide a information base developed without reference to the customer. This is rectified at Steps 6 with a survey of representative customers, which embraces their views on perceived problem areas. Interaction with the customers and obtaining their views helps the Firm in correcting its own perceptions and refining its processes.
Steps 7 & 8: Identification of improvement opportunities and implementation of Quality Improvement Process: The outcomes of the customer survey, benchmarking and internal analysis, provides the inputs for Steps 7 and 8, i.e. the identification of improvement opportunities and the implementation of a formal improvement process. This is done through a six-step process called PRAISE, for short.