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Much-in-Demand Excellent

Business Ventures Now Rely on

Total Quality Management
by Marlon Gunasekera
Senior Lecturer
Department of Business Administration, University of Sri Jayewardenepura.
(Sunday observer 28th of December 2003)

The unbiased, impartial, It is in this context that business customers. However, Quality is
balanced and objective stance leaders have, for long, been a relative concept, the definition
taken by the 'Daily News" seeking the “magic formula” for of which differs in terms
Business Sections of November success in both global and local customers as well as producers
25 and 27 (last month) as markets, without paying point of view based on the type
evidenced by its 'Business and adequate attention to the of organization and the nature
Finance' news and comments above-stated quality factors. of the product involved. As an
is, indeed, an encouragement Over the past two decades, the example, for an Appliance
to medium and small-scale Quality crisis in many countries Manufacturer, Quality could,
industrialists who foresee in the world and the apparent perhaps, mean that a
Budget 2004's Economic decline in international substantial percentage of the
Service Charge as a burden on competitiveness of many Appliances so produced, meet
them and bound to have a reputed firms, have become predetermined specifications.
negative impact on their future burning topics in vogue, rather, In the case of an Appliance
production plans, While stating the 'Economic Talk of the Repairs enterprise, Quality
that the business community Town'. Today, quality is not only might mean that the given
has commended the Budget as central to profitability, but crucial products are repaired
growth-oriented and forward- to business survival. Quality faultlessly and within the stated
looking, "in the end", states its was initially seen as an cost and deadline. Likewise, to
fortright Business editorial unacceptable expense and the a Food Service firm, Quality
comment, (Nov.25), "the search for increased profits applies to both the edible food
success of the Budget will be tended to take the form of itself (taste, freshness etc.) and
measured by how it affects the reduced costs rather than the table service (time
man on the street" and quite raising quality. The business consumed in serving, the ever
rightly so, because whether it is community throughout the so friendly courtesy of service
the imposition of unified Value- world, especially during this staff, pleasant environment
added Tax or an Economic past decade, has seriously within the dining room and
Service charge on the business focussed on the real meaning of allied hospitable gestures etc.).
sector, the adverse after-effects "Quality" for their products and
will be most felt by the has made a clarion call for Traditional and Modern
consumer, to whom the shrewd drastic attitudinal changes to Approaches to Quality
businessmen will undoubtedly improve the Quality of their
pass on part of the tax burden goods and services. The Traditional Approach to
in some disguise or another. Quality relates more to the
It has to be established that extent to which the goods and
There has been regular public quality does not necessarily services are produced in
concern in the past that whether mean exellence in the sense of conformity with the exact
it be the large, medium or small a 'Rolls-Royce Product'. Quality specifications laid down,
industrial manufacturer, the basically refers to fitness for technically known as Quality of
majority of these three purpose. According to Philip Comformance. Under this
categories are committed to Kotler, it is 'the totality of traditional thinking, Quality is
mass-scale production, least features and chracteristics of a treated as secondary to Profit
concerned about the "Quality" product (good or service) that motivation, thereby perceiving
of such products and services bears on its ability to satisfy the that enhancement in Quality
and the adoption of Quality stated and implied needs of its essentially increased costs and
Management Measures to target customers. In this reduced profits. The key role
ensure at least minimal respect, Quality reflects the assigned to Quality staff is to
international standards. degree to which goods or minimise Quality defects to a
services meet the demands bare minimum. This approach
and requirements of the generally adopted a reactive
stance and most of the time, activities it plans to carry out quality in Japan. While
managers believed that Quality within a preconceived Japanese companies
problems should be identified framework towards attaining embraced Quality in production
and remedied. Managers who Quality-related goals. TQM is and services, U.S. firms were
operate under this Quality not merely a technique, but a more interested in Quality
paradigm are of the view that philosophy based on the belief Control, an end-of-the-line
most Quality problems arise as that any long run success evaluation orientation.
a result of poor workmanship ultimately depends on a
and tended to pass the blame uniform commitment to Quality During the 1950s and 1960s,
on to the employees as regards in all sectors of the Quality champions such as
Inferior Quality. organization. The essence of Joseph M. Juran and W.
TQM is that the responsibility Edward Deming, shunned by
The Modern Approach to for Quality lies with all American business leaders,
Quality relates more to the members in the organisation. spent considerable time in
extent to which goods and It essentially commits the Japan. Many of their ideas,
services are produced, organisation and its members such as building Quality into
according to the specific towards continuous review production processes and
requirements of the and improvement of all using line-workers to solve
users/customers, technically activities relating to the Quality process-based problems
referred to as Quality of Design. of input, process and output through the use of Applied
Under this modern approach, with the prime objective of Statistics enjoyed an
Quality is treated as the primary satisfying its customer's or overwhelming reception. U.S.
objective to ensure profits client's requirements. companies largely ignored
through customer satisfaction. Juran’s and Deming’s concepts
This approach perceives that The concept of TQM rests during that period of time,
enhancement in Quality leads largely on five principles: relying instead on quality-
to increase in Productivity and a Quality work - the first time, control departments as the
concomitant decrease in costs. Focus on the customer, primary means of ensuring
Quality is treated as a Strategically holistic approach Quality. Under this quality-
competitive and strategic tool to to improvement, Continuous control approach, one
build up markets. Any improvement as a way of life, department within an
expenditure on Quality is and Mutual respect through organization inspected products
treated as a future investment team work. TQM is an for Quality, while other inter-
and more preventive measures outgrowth of an emerging related departments conducted
are initiated to avoid American perspective on their business as usual. This
unneccessary Quality defects Quality that can be traced to was the only form of quality
at all stages of the Production changes which occured in assessment that most
Process. Managers who Japanese Management American managers felt their
operate under this Quality practices immediately companies needed most to
paradigm treat Quality as an following World War II. achieve quality objectives.
phenomenon which, in effect, is The Evolution of the TQM The Quality improvement
the responsibility of all Concept systems of the 1970s were not
members in the organisation. customer-oriented,
Under this approach, the During World War II, many U.S. emphasizing only the
managers try to introduce industries made a concerted manufacturing processes and
innovative Quality Management effort to minimize waste and embracing such techniques as
Systems and Practices for improve productivity for the war zero defects, or error-free
continuous improvement in effort, changes that resulted in production, a manufacturing
Quality. a strengthening of the economy process consisting of
immediately after the war. maintaining machinery and
Total Quality Management When Japan began its own equipment, quality inspection
(TQM) post-war rebuilding process, checks, and well-trained
many of its companies had employees. Managers believed
Total Quality Management been all but destroyed, and that Quality was more effective,
(TQM) is a modern approach they were therefore forced to if their firm’s products were
to Quality which endeavours to adopt even more stringent suitable for shipment to
create a customer-centered Productivity and Quality customers, even if the products
culture which specifically measures in a bid to be among did not meet the customers’
defines Quality for the the survival of the fittest. This specific requirements. They
Organization as a whole. It marked the beginning of a measured Quality by examining
lays the foundation for all the newfound commitment to the costs absorbed by the
factory when it built defective companies applying TQM product's quality image. This
products. However, these began to design both products has often been accomplished
inwardly-focused Quality and the processes that produce through extended service
Management systems had and deliver them to meet programmes and improved
drawbacks of their own. While specific standards. They warranties. For example,
they represented a greater concentrated and further focus Whirlpool Corporation has
commitment to Quality by top their attention on the customer promised that parts for all their
Management, participation by through better product models would be available for
non-management employees guarantees. Furthermore, they 15 years from the date of
was quite limited. Managers purposefully lent their ears to purchase, while Mercedes-Benz
were unwilling to relinquish consumers’ needs and wants provides technical roadside
much of their authority in the and to deliver goods or services assistance after dealer service
pursuit of quality, and quality that fulfilled such requirements. hours, which is a renewed
was still an end-of-the-line The definition of “customer” customer-client relationship.
measure. was even encompassed to
include any person within In the pursuit of customer-
By the 1980s, the Japanese (internal customer) or outside based quality enhancement,
concept of Quality had changed (external customer) the many companies have
for the better. Many customers Company to whom an developed customer-driven
commenced purchasing employee passed on his or her quality programmes. Caterpillar,
products manufactured in work. for example, conducts two
Japan, because they perceived customer surveys after the
Japanese products to have Total Quality and the purchase of a product, one after
higher standards. Customer 300 hours of usage and the
Consequently, Quality became other after 500 hours of usage.
more critical as American In developing TQM or any other By developing customer service
managers sought ways and Quality programme, it is programs, companies can build
means to involve quality imperative that Companies long-term business through
considerations in wider areas of understood how consumers increased customer loyalty.
the Company to become more define Quality in both goods Hence, more techniques
competitive with Japanese and services offered. If the leading to relationship
companies. This perspective Company pays more attention marketing has to be employed
required all functional areas of to Quality in the Production by organisations to ensure
the organization responsible for Process, there will be fewer continuous improvement in
providing goods and services to problems later on, when the quality.
internal and external customers product is in the customer's
to be more concerned with hands. Besides, customers Toyota has integrated total
Quality. Hence, the include not only those who customer satisfaction into all of
responsibility for Quality was purchase the final product its processes. The prime goal
not merely confined to (external customers), but also and focus of its marketing
Production and Quality control suppliers and other employees strategy are to satisfy
departments, but instead it within the Company (internal customers' needs and
became a concerted customers). One way to expectations and to maintain
responsibility of all the measure Product Performance them with their constant
members in the organization and Quality is through feedback. Toyota began with a
from Chief Executive to the Customer Surveys, which commitment from top
shop floor worker. enabled managers to identify management, realizing that all
Subsequently, the responsibility design or manufacturing and sundry in the Company
for Quality was also extended defects and deficiencies. must have the same goal of
to all the internal and external customer satisfaction. The
stakeholders including the According to Quality Consultant company's "The Toyota Touch"
suppliers, employees, Armand V. Feigenbaum, Quality is a commitment towards
customers, competitors, is best defined by the end user. excellence, concern for superior
government and the general Hence, the Concept of Quality quality and caring for
public etc. This new emphasis needs to be expanded so as to customers. "Through this plan,
on Quality Management include not only "objective" Toyota could ensure that the
provided the base for the measures of the goods or customer is first and that the
development of a TQM culture services, but also the Quality of its customer service
within an organization. "subjective" interpretations of matches those of its products.
buyers. Customer perceptions
Although changing the have to be reviewed, if a One means of ensuring a
workplace was not easy, Company desires to upgrade a commitment to "After Sales"
Quality is the Product or Service services, Consumers have philosophy within an
guarantee. Wal-Mart is known more choices than ever before. organisation needs
for its "no-hassles" return policy Such global pressures are considerable commitment and a
for any product - with or without forcing more companies to period of time. If it had been
a receipt. Mail-order house, LL incorporate TQM into their planted with the purpose in
Bean, has replaced a pair of business strategies. Moreover, view, then its lasting benefits
hunting boots purchased ten those companies using TQM will be on hand, with hardly any
years earlier with a pair of new successfully are realizing a time lost.
boots. Saturn automobile decrease in long-run costs by
retailers provide total refunds building a more satisfied TQM needs a complete
for vehicles within 30 days, if customer base. However, since paradigm shift to created a
the customer is not fully short-term costs for new customer driven quality culture
satisfied. One of Saturn's equipment, materials, and and consiousness throughout
commercials features a additional labour are, more the organisation. The internal
representative travelling all the often than not, required to relationships between
way to Alaska to replace a implement TQM processes, departments and work units
defective seat in a customer's many companies are hesitant to should be seen as supplier-
vehicle. However, many adopt TQM. customer relatioships. A firm
Companies are conscientiously commitment to quality and
reluctant to incur the short-run Constraints in time is another personal involvement by the top
costs associated with such deterrent to the adoption of managment is a key element to
guarantees. TQM. Many companies are create a total quality culture
generally reluctant to prolong within an organisation. Training
Obstacles to effectively period typically required to gain and education should be carried
adopting TQM initial benefits from TQM. out to effect the necessary
However, some payoffs can be changes in the knowledge,
To be viably effective, the TQM realized in arround a month's attitudes and skills of the
philosophy must begin at the time. For example, improved employees.
top. From the board of directors customer service through
to the hourly line employees. surveys and improved A lack of visionary leadership is
TQM must be supported at all employee relations with another essential feature which
levels if the firm is to realize management are two areas prevent the practice of TQM
continuous improvements in where beneficial results could philosophy in many
quality. Specifically, if top be derived from the outset. The organisations. A performance
management does not fully example of a bamboo tree may driven reward system along with
support it, other employees may be cited to exaplain this time effective communicational
see TQM as mere symbolism constraint. A bamboo tree channels should be introduced
and not substance, and hence initially takes a prolonged period and maintained to influence and
would be misintepretted as to get firmly rooted to the soil, inspire the behaviour of the
inclined to be supportive. but once the shoots spring employees at levels to be more
fourth, it takes next to no time to committed to quality.
With the increased availability display its strenght of growth.
of international goods and Likewise, to plant a TQM