Suppose you are in the business landscape and are determined to have your business be successful and simultaneously provide ultimate customer satisfaction. 

In that case, you need to know what total quality management is. 

In this article, you will learn everything about total quality management and how it can be helpful for you and your business. 

Let’s start now!

What is Total Quality Management (TQM)

Total Quality Management (TQM): Definition and Background

Total quality management, or TQM, focuses on the systematic and structured approach to overall organizational management. The focus of TQM’s process is to improve the quality of an organization or business’s outputs, including the services and goods, through continuous improvement of internal practices for each core component. 

But what is the background of total quality management? 

The origins of the phrase total quality management is unknown, but it all started when Walter A. Shewhart introduced “modern quality control.” He wrote a book entitled “Economic Control of Quality of Manufactured Products” in 1931.

Decades later, Joseph M. Juran further developed Shewhart’s work. Then, in the 1950s, the TQM framework was created by William Deming, a management consultant whose work contributed to Japanese manufacturing.

In more defined terms, total quality management aims to improve productivity and quality. It examines the guidelines and strategies businesses use to extinguish manufacturing errors (important in the manufacturing sector), improve customer experience, streamline supply chain management, and ensure that employees in the organization are well-trained. 

Total quality management applies in any business, whether a service company or a big corporation. It is a strategic and systematic approach encompassing all factors of an organization. It aims to hold all the people involved in the production process accountable for the overall quality of the product or service.

Introduction to Total Quality Management (TQM)

The Core Principles of TQM

Every organization/business has its management techniques and methods, business processes, strategic planning, etc. Success varies from one company to another. 

Below, we will explore the core total quality management principles, regardless of the variables of the business endeavor. 

Customer focus and satisfaction

Customer focus and satisfaction is one of the core TQM principles. It puts the emphasis on the customers buying your products or services. 

On deeper meaning, it refers to paying attention to improving customer satisfaction and customer retention. Customer loyalty is really important to achieve success for your organization.

Continuous improvement (Kaizen)

With continuous effort, there would be continual improvement. 

Kaizen hails from Japanese with Kai (improvement) and Zen (good) combined; it translates to “continuous improvement.” 

This core principle of TQM refers to activities that continuously improve all functions of the organization and involve all employees from all organizational departments and department levels. This includes everyone from CEOs to assembly line workers.

When the continuous effort is done right, there will be improved processes, helping for better quality and a humanized workplace.

Employee empowerment and Involvement

If you want to see continuous improvement in processes, you’ll need the total commitment of your employees. Total employee commitment can increase productivity, sales, and operations. 

To implement this principle of communication, active management participation, acknowledgment of success, and encouragement to your employees are essential.

Process excellence and waste reduction

Total quality management’s systematic approach always relies on process flowcharts. Process excellence continually improves business processes and operations’ effectiveness, efficiency, and quality through a strategic management framework. 

You need to immediately process issues like quality-related issues in order to eliminate waste that can affect production, performance, and quality. Waste, in this matter, is defined as any actions that do not add any value to the process or the customers.

No management approach guarantees long-term success, but the best TQM practices could lead to quality improvement and continual progress.

TQM Tools and Techniques

To solve almost any kind of problem that arises in an organization, quality management systems, tools, and techniques are created to help you eliminate those problems. 

Here are some of the TQM tools that you can use.

Quality control charts 

To achieve total quality control, there are seven basic tools that you must familiarize yourself with.

These tools were introduced by Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa in 1968: 

  • Check sheet; 
  • Graphs (Trend Analysis); 
  • Histograms; 
  • Pareto charts; 
  • Scatter diagrams; 
  • Cause and effect diagrams; 
  • Control charts.

It is very essential to apply these statistical quality control (SQC) tools when troubleshooting issues within the production processes in the organization. 

Statistical process control (SPC) methods

Statistical process control method refers to using statistical techniques to control a production or process method. 

SPC tools can help you monitor the behavior of the process, identify internal system issues, and create solutions for production errors. 

Quality function deployment (QFD)

Quality function deployment, or QFD, is a TQM tool that provides a graphical methodology for digging up a customer’s stated and not stated expectations and needs. 

It is used to make decisions in case the needs and expectations conflict with each other. Its other aim is to drive customer-focused expectations and requirements into product development and manufacturing.

Six Sigma methodology

Six Sigma methodology gives you the tools and techniques to identify what’s slowing the production process. It shows you how to improve the process, eliminate delays, and fix issues

The Six Sigma aims to reduce the variability, time, and defects experienced in processes in your organization. Six Sigma also increases customer loyalty toward your product.

These tools and techniques are essential in the TQM framework. This arsenal embodies a comprehensive and systematic approach to reaching operational excellence and customer satisfaction. 

Six Sigma methodology

Implementing TQM: Processes and Best Practices

If you want to implement total quality management processes in your organization, you must follow these basic steps:

  • Have a clear mission, vision, goals, and values.
  • Find ways to measure your version of success. You can start by determining how your company is doing regarding market share, financial performance, production quality, customer satisfaction, and employee satisfaction.
  • Identify your target market and seek feedback on your product or services.
  • Develop a strategic plan and a comprehensive business strategy.
  • Make sure you implement consistent monitoring of data and use it for improvement.

The role of the top management system is crucial in the implementation of TQM in the entire organization. The reason is that they are the ones who will make sound and strategic decisions that could help the organization achieve its goals, missions, and objectives. 

Measuring and Monitoring Quality: How to evaluate your success

When measuring success, many companies use internal tools to assess the efficiency, quality, and reliability of their services or products. Measuring the quality of operations and products can help an organization to improve continuously. 

Here are some tools you can use to measure and monitor quality within the organization.

Key performance indicators (KPIs) for quality

In terms of quality assurance, one of the best tools to use to ensure the quality of the organization is the Key performance indicator or KPI. Any particular business, but not all, uses KPIs to ensure that the organization is delivering quality. 

KPIs are business performance metrics; in the case of Quality KPIs, the metrics are related to quality issues. 

Here are the quality KPIs that you can choose and focus on: 

  • Risk; 
  • Cost of quality; 
  • Quality response; 
  • Quality culture; 
  • Productivity.

Quality audits and assessments

Quality audits and assessments are independent and systematic examinations of an organization’s quality management system (QMS)

The quality audit has two factors:

  • Quality system audit: analysis of the internal system which the products are being brought into;
  • Service quality audit: analysis of the item or service itself.

Quality audit is typically conducted by an external or internal quality auditor or team at agreed schedules or time intervals, ensuring that the business or organization has a defined system suitable for quality monitoring.

Customer satisfaction surveys and feedback analysis

Collecting customer feedback or surveys is 50% of the job; what makes it 100% is the complete feedback analysis. Customer feedback analysis looks into quantitative and qualitative feedback data and creates actionable and valuable interpretations and insights. 

One of the best solutions is to provide on-demand products whenever the customer satisfaction is half met. 

The customers are your decision-making unit (DMU); they are the ones that pour profit into your business, so you have to let them have decision-making accuracy.

Analyzing customer feedback improves customer experience and creates customer retention.

Benchmarking and comparative analysis

Benchmarking and comparative analysis are the two best tools for business control and so-called strategic planning. 

In quality planning, benchmarking is essential because it compares your business practices, services, products, or results with other organizations that are best in their niche or leading the industry. 

Comparative analysis is the process of analyzing your competitor’s SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) compared to yours. 

Total Quality Management oversees all organizational management, activities, and tasks integral to maintaining a desirable level of excellence in your business and its operations. 

That is why if you have a business or are starting your own business, you should implement TQM as one of your business processes.

Benchmarking and comparative analysis

Benefits and Business Impact of TQM

Integrating quality in your organization means that Total quality management is undeniably the best tool for organizational advancement. 

Here are some of the benefits that TQM possesses:

  • It integrates quality and creates an integrated system.
  • It produces a high productivity rate.
  • Strengthens competitive position in the market, enabling you to adapt quickly to changes in the market.
  • It helps eliminate waste and errors, reduces cost, and allows better cost management and higher profitability assurance.
  • It increases job security and boosts employee morale.
  • It’s improving processes and increases customer loyalty and retention.

The impact that TQM possesses is unimaginable when done and implemented correctly. It would also help enhance your shareholder and stockholder value, giving your brand more awareness to the public and the business landscape. 

Total quality management may have originated in manufacturing, but any business can use its principles. 

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between Statistical Quality Control (SQC) and Statistical Process Control (SPC)?

SQC and SPC use the same tools, but their difference is that SQC is the application of analytical and statistical tools to monitor processes. At the same time, SPC is the application of analytical and statistical tools to control processes.

What does DMAIC stand for?

DMAIC in Six Sigma stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control.

Can I use Total Management Quality even if I have a small business?

Yes, no rules stop Small businesses from implementing TQM in their companies.