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Elements of Total Quality Management

Managements commitment and involvement to quality:

If an organisation is serious about implementing TQM, the lead has to be taken by the top
management with full commitment.

It must initiate quality improvement programmes. The top management should continue all
the efforts and provide the resources to continue quality improvement programmes. This is
provided by collecting, reporting and use of quality related cost information.

Customer Involvement (Customer Focus)

Decisions of how to organize resources to best serve customers starts with a clear
understanding of customer needs and the measurement of customer satisfaction. For
example, the Red Cross surveys its blood donors to determine how it can make the blood
donation experience more pleasant and convenient. It collects information on the place,
date and time donors came in, and asks donors questions of whether the donation time was
convenient, whether they were treated with respect and gratitude, how long they had to
wait to donate, and whether parking was adequate. By understanding donors' needs and
experiences, Red Cross managers can determine strengths and weaknesses of the donation
service process and make adjustments if necessary.


Proper training programmes have to be undertaken to train the employees for the use of
TQM concepts and techniques. Employees have to be provided regular training for
continuous improvement.

One of the element of TQM is training, which could be on the job or off the job as the case
may be. All employees or workers in the firm need and deserve training services in order to
improve their skills competency, efficiency & effectiveness to the successfully
implementation of TQM approach in the firm system

Design Product and Quality:

Product design is a key activity to avoid costly internal and external failure costs. For
example, when a dental office designs the service process, it might have patients fill out a
form that covers important information on general health issues, allergies, and medications.
This helps to avoid future complications and problems. Staff, hygienists, and dentists are
highly trained to follow proper procedures, the facility is both functional and pleasant, and
the equipment and tools are state of the art to ensure that the patient's desired outcome is
achieved. In a manufacturing setting, products should be designed to maximize product
functionality, reliability, and manufacturability.

Discussion of the details of quality tools extends beyond the scope of this chapter, but there
are seven basic quality tools that are used by front-line workers and managers in monitoring
quality performance and gathering data for quality improvement activities. These tools
include: cause-and-effect (fishbone) diagrams, flowcharts, checklists, control charts, scatter
diagrams, Pareto analysis, and histograms. The beauty of these tools is that they are easy to
understand and apply in on-going quality efforts.

Develop supplier partnership:

TQM aims at developing long term relationships with a few high quality suppliers rather
than those suppliers who supply the inferior goods at the low cost.

The focus on quality at the source extends to suppliers' processes as well, since the quality
of a finished product is only as good as the quality of its individual parts and components,
regardless of whether they come from internal or external sources. Sharing your quality and
engineering expertise with your suppliers, having a formal supplier certification program,
and including your suppliers in the product design stage are important measures to take to
ensure that quality at the source extends to the supplier network.

Customer service, distribution and installation:

TQM is designed in such a manner so as to meet the expectations of customers. In the

present era, customer is the king. It must be recognised that customers are the most
important persons for any business. The very existence of an organisation depends on them.
They are the life blood of a business and deserve the most courteous and affectionate
Building team and empowered employees

This means enabling worker to achieve his or her highest potentials. Empowerment requires
recognizing that management is in place to aid the worker assistance in overcoming
problems they encounter and not to place new roadblocks in their way.

Employees in a TQM environment have very different roles and responsibilities than in a
traditional organization. They are given responsibility, training, and authority to measure
and control the quality of the work they produce, they work together in teams to address
quality issues, they are cross-trained to be able to perform multiple tasks and have a greater
understanding of the total production process, and they have a more intimate
understanding of the operation and maintenance of their equipment. Employees are
essential to the building of a continuous improvement organization.

Involvement of employees means that every employee is completely involved at every step
of production process which plays an active role in helping the organisation to meet its
targets. Employee involvement and empowerment can be assured by enlarging the
employees job so that responsibility and authority is moved to the lowest level possible in
the organisation.

Benchmarking and continuous improvement:

Benchmarking is a systematic method by which organisations can measure themselves

against the best industry practices. Benchmarking aims at developing best practices that will
lead to better performance. It helps a company to learn and incorporate the best practices
into its own operations. Benchmarking is a technique of distinguishing an organizations
efforts with the best performance in the field and also to suggest how the gap between the
two performances can be removed. Thus, benchmarking is a technique of continuous

TQM comprises of a continuous process of improvement covering people, equipment,

suppliers, materials and procedures. It includes every aspect of an operation in an
organisation. In Japan the word Kaizen is used to describe the continuous process of
improvement. In USA, TQM zero defects and six-sigma are used to describe such efforts.