The concept of total quality management is a very popular concept of management. It is not just a mechanism that ensures the quality of a product or a service. It is much more than that. Total quality management is a method of working - a system of conducting business.
It concerns itself with managing the processes and people to make sure that the customer is satisfied at each and every stage. A very common catch phrase for TQM is “doing the things right, first time”.
In Total quality management the concept of “quality” is perceived exclusively from the frame of reference of the customer. These customers can be of different kinds. There can be internal customers, such as, those working in another department and there can be external customers who are the end recipients of the product or service.
A central principle of Total Quality Management is the premise that processes are vital for all businesses. Total Quality Management concentrates on the methods of managing these processes. The two primary objectives in the management of these processes are :
1. Zero defects
2. 100% customer satisfaction
Total quality Management places particular emphasis on the relationship between the Customer and Supplier. These are known as “Quality Chains”. The chains can be broken at any point when an equipment or a person involved in a process fails to meet the requirements necessary for maintaining quality. Besides, the failure at one point in the quality chain has a tendency to multiply and create problems in other related points.
The Main Principles of Total Quality Management can be listed below
Prevention: An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. The cost of rectifying a defect is many times higher than the cost of avoiding them.
Zero Defects: The primary objective of Total Quality Management is to bring the number of defects to zero.
Getting things right first time: The process has to be done correctly the first time as rectification and repair can be costly.
Quality involves: Too often, quality is considered to be the responsibility of the quality control department. Each employee working in the organization has to be personally responsible for the task he is assigned to.
Continuous improvement: There must be continuous attempts made to improve quality by new technology or methods.
Employee involvement: The employees at every stage of the production and operation process have a critical role in identifying areas of improvement.
Introducing TQM in a business is not an easy task. This is particularly true in cases of businesses which have not been involved in sensing customer needs and tailoring their processes to suit it.
A major reason why TQM has to be introduced is because of its benefits. The employees are given an opportunity to get involved in the production process. In Total Quality Management, the views of the workers are extremely important and should be taken seriously.