Pakistan’s Sixth International Convention on Quality Improvement November 14-15, 2000, at Lahore

TQM in the Construction Industry


but it is also suitable for other organizations/industries. The expression “all its members” designates personnel in all departments and at all levels of the organizational structure. We are proud to be the first Construction Company in Bangladesh practicing TQM to achieve total quality & excellence in all departments. TQM is not a tool for the Manufacturing Industries only. Systematic. no organization can achieve its objective without customer satisfaction.TQM IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY by Mohammad Abdul Awal Managing Director The Structural Engineers Ltd.0 INTRODUCTION : It is our great pleasure to share our experience of implementing TQM in our company. who participated in company activities voluntarily. Bangladesh 1. 2. TQM may help the construction industry as well to bring in an organizational transformation. 2. centered on Quality based on participation of all its members and aiming at long-term success through customer satisfaction and benefits to all the members of the organization and to society. The term member itself is very much co-related with volunteerness. Dhaka. As we can not think of having a cup of tea without tea.0 DEFINITION OF TQM : Total Quality Management (TQM) is a Scientific. Company-wide activity in which a Company is devoted to its customers through its products and services. It is the management approach of an organization. Internal customers .1 OBJECTIVE OF TQM : The important objective of TQM are 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) Productivity enhancement Cost reduction Delivery shortening Sales expansion. It includes both external and internal customers. and above all Customer satisfaction Customer satisfaction is some thing like a tea bag in a cup of tea.

JIT. whereas Concepts means Quality Concept. Check and corrective Action). It is a small step forward. we may put Quality on the roof with Techniques. original seven QC tools. Accumulation of small changes . Seiri includes sorting out necessary and unnecessary things and throwing away unnecessary things. Seiso. present it to the management. Seiketsu means visual management and Sitsuke includes training and discipline. the following are the important features of TQM a) b) c) d) e) f) g) h) i) Management on long term basis. KAIZEN & SUGGESSION SYSTEM A Quality Control Circle or a Quality Circle consists of a group of workers who voluntarily meet together once in a week for one hour to discuss and identify the problems of their workplace. Seiketsu and Sitsuke.. 5-‘S’ represents 5(five) Japanese words Seiri. Concepts and Vehicles as its columns. Kanban. 5-‘S’.3 SOME IMPORTANT FEATURES OF TQM : Among others. If we want to erect a house of TQM. Participation at all level. They also define the solutions. Do. Customer Satisfaction (Internal and external). 2. Good business with suppliers (vendors). In that case. 5-‘S’. It is the motivational approach which can be considered as the base. we must think of a strong base as well. PDCA (Plan. Employees are considered as important assets. It is a small change of current work method for continuous improvement. The General Education and Political Stability may be considered as the foundation and Enlightened Population and Statesman with good Leadership being the piles. 2. x-functional management. 3) Concepts and 4)“Quality” on top. among others. Customer satisfaction etc. KAIZEN. 2) vehicles. we need a deep-rooted foundation as well.2 STRUCTURE OF TQM : The basic structure of TQM consists of 1) Techniques. Suggestion Systems. Leadership Development. For any organization to succeed 5-‘S’ may play an important role. implement (if approved by the management) and monitor the results. 2. Seiton. Management Concept. KAIZEN means changing to a better way. QC circles etc. seven new management tools.are the employees of the company itself and their satisfaction means the welfare of the employees. Improvement in all areas. If we want to make the house more and more strong. Vehicles include policy management. The Techniques include. Investment on Technologies.4 THE CONCEPT OF QUALITY CONTROL CIRCLES (QCC). Saiso means putting things in order in a organized manner and Seiton means cleanliness. Poka-yoke etc. Bottom up etc.

Finance. Of these. Immediately after. Marketing etc. (SEL) is a Private Limited company formed in 1983. After inception the company started making significant contributions in construction and allied field of civil engineering. engages one Contractor (usually called Sub-contractor) for each of the trades like Civil. participation at all levels. Mosaic.. usually 50% of his daily wage (fixed by the sub-contractor) called ‘Hajira’. Wood work. 3. KAIZEN is doing better jobs more easily. Painting etc. about 50 are management staff including 25 engineers and architects and the rest are workmen and non management staff. It saves time. at each Project.0 THE CASE OF THE STRUCTURAL ENGINEERS LTD.2 WORKING PRACTICES Like other companies in Bangladesh. impressed him tremendously. Site Engineers. Electrical. quickly and safely. Purchase. Sanitary. The basic philosophy of TQM. Usually cash incentives are declared for every suggestion whether it is accepted or rejected. Appreciation and praising may be alternative incentives to encourage more people to participate. 3. the average length of service of the staff is as high as over 12 years. The Sub-contractor gets the work done by his people under the supervision of company people like Supervisors. money and labor resulting in more profit. Japan. 3.. Helper and Labor on daily wage basis.1 THE COMPANY The Structural Engineers Ltd. At the end of each month the subcontractor submits his bill for work done by his group on item of work basis as per the rate agreed earlier between himself and the Company. Participating in the course.3 THE BEGINNING : In 1994 The Managing Director of the company went to Japan to participate in a 3(three) week management program organized by AOTS. the Directors and the Managing Director. Suggestions System is a scheme in which suggestions are invited from the workers. The sub-contractor engages skilled and unskilled workers known as Head Mistri.results in a big change. Mistri. An agreement is signed between him and the Company in this regard before commencement of actual work. The top management team is made up of heads of the functions like Personnel. he came to know about the Japanese style of management including the concept of Quality Control Circles. The company being in existence over 17 years. In 1995 the company entered into real estate business to make contributions to the housing needs of the residents of Dhaka city. Project Engineers etc. Returning back home he started sharing his experience with the top management. 3. We are about 450 people working together in SEL for excellence. all the Project Engineers were called into a . The Structural Engineers Ltd. This part payment called ‘Khoraki’ is paid at a fixed rate per day per person. The subcontractor gets part-payment for daily fooding & other expenses of his people. In this scheme workers are encouraged to drop their suggestions in a suggestion box by completing a suggestion form.

They used to take low protein food of low calorie. Accordingly. Finally it was decided that there will be a half day work on Friday and to compensate the wages of the remaining half day. The Company participated in all the four National Conventions on Quality.4 PARTICIPATION IN QUALITY CONVENTIONS At the middle of 1996. After a threadbare discussion it was logically identified that the average output of the workers were below 50% of the expected performance. 3. It was also declared that if the workers liked to play any traditional games like football etc. 1999. the Managing Director attended the 5th convention of AOTS Alumni Societies held in Nagoya. sometimes a worker was found sitting idle within a few days. the worker used to leave the work site even without getting the payments cleared. The reason behind it could be the poor nutrition of the workers. it was proposed to declare Friday a full day holiday so that no one could do any work on Fridays. One problem was the migration of the workers. because workers were more interested to get the money not the improved food. He also participated in ICQCC ‘1998 held in Colombo. The sub-contractor did not like to clear his dues to bar him from leaving the site. the company will provide them dinner with enough beef and rice. The reason behind that was the non-payment of his due payments by the sub-contractor.meeting to discuss the existing problems of their construction sites. So. the management of the company decided to participate in quality conventions at home and abroad.. Out of them 2(two) problems were selected for immediate solution. They asked the company to give them the money being spent on account of the dinner on Fridays. Within a couple of months a surprising proposal came from the sub-contractors. Nepal during 11-12 April ‘1999 and the Regional Convention of Japanese style Management held in Colombo. But the Project Engineers opined that the workers won’t accept it because in such case they would lose 4(four) day’s wages per month. taking poor food and working for days and weeks-together one used to become physically weak resulting in poor performance. Japan during 01-05 Sept ’96. . Sri Lanka during 26-31 October ‘1998. The Managing Director and one of the Directors participated in a 4-day Asia Pacific Quality and Service conference (APQS) held during 26-29 September ’99 at Singapore. The meeting was conducted at the style of QC Circle meeting. More than 25 (Twenty five) problems were identified out of which at least 5(five) were m ajor. the company will arrange the logistics and the winning team would get some prizes. At the end. The decision was implemented at all the work sites and it was accepted by the workers with enthusiasm. Sri Lanka during 15-17 July. So it was a mis-trust between the sub-contractor and his workers. Besides the workers were used to work even on weekly holidays (Fridays) to earn more money. the Regional Convention on TQM held in Kathmandu. But unfortunately the initial enthusiasm started to fade away gradually. In this way the whole program finally came to an end. So. It was really a big question how it could be? As mentioned above ‘khoraki’ is paid only at the rate of half the daily wages to meet the fooding and other incidental expenses. After joining work at a site. This also created sensation among the workers. organized by Bangladesh Society for Total Quality Management (BSTQM) with a large number of participants. Another major problem was the over payment to the Sub-contractors in the form of ‘khoraki’.

Japan. have been collected so that any one can go through these books and enrich his knowledge in modern management techniques. a week long seminar and training program was launched which was participated by the Engineers. The Management became concerned and called an emergency meeting of the Steering Committee to discuss and identify the reasons behind it. Besides. the Circles gradually started to cease away. a Management Consultant. A. Other members were recruited by the project Engineer and the Sub-contractor. 5’S techniques. But it was observed that very few Circles could hold regular meetings and the attendance were very poor. Japan during 10-23 July ‘2000. Inspite of all the efforts.6 LAUNCHING OF TQM SEMINAR AND INTRODUCTION OF QUALITY CIRCLES Finally the Management decided to implement TQM with in the company. So. H. the Management had to look for some new strategy. Even the Project Engineers were not committed enough to organize such activities. Accordingly meetings were held every week for about 3(three) months. In the meeting some of the Project Engineers disclosed the fact that some of the Circles identified holding of the ‘meeting’ itself as a problem. This is a form of living education which helped us to develop a number of capable personnel. Several Steering Committee meetings were held at different sites to create an awareness among the workers.5 TRAINING AND EDUCATION One of the Directors of the company. The company has also set up a library for its staff. ten Quality Circles were formed. A good number of books on Quality Circles. The Sub-contractor became a member. the junior staff learn many things by sharing the experience of the senior staff. Zahirul Haque went to Japan in December ‘1998 to participate in a three week training program (SFQM) organized by AOTS. A steering committee led by the Managing Director was formed. The company has provided official accommodation for its staff. The Directors. . Sub-Contractors and the Senior Officials. 7-QC Tools etc. Kaizen. The Project Engineers were nominated as the Circle Leaders. The Circles started functioning slowly. At the end of the meeting it was clear that neither the workers nor the Sub-contractors were motivated enough. This year the Managing Director went to Japan once again to participate in a two week training program on Corporate Management held in Yokohama. one Senior Executive (Marketing & Finance) participated in a two week training program organized by AOTS.3. The aim of these meetings was to motivate everybody concerned and educate them on Quality Control Tools. M. At the end of the program. the departmental heads and Project Engineers became members of the Steering Committee. Supervisors and Sub-contractors. Accordingly. Engr. one at each site. 3. Japan in 1999. An agreement was signed with the Center for Management Development (CMD). Accordingly it was decided to hold weekly meetings in the Head Office involving the Project Engineers. The sub-contractor himself considers the time for conducting meeting as a waste. Staying together.

Seiso.8 5-‘S’ AND SUGGESTION SYSTEM Introduction of 5-‘S’ resulted in significant improvement of work places. Every site has become more organized than before. same time. rather that should be formed trade-wise. The members are attending the circle meetings regularly. Sub-contractors & Workers. each circle had to present the meeting’s proceedings in a follow-up meeting in the presence of the Top Management using ‘Cause and Effect’ diagram. the circles identified a number of problems at their work places and defined their solutions as well. . This helped to develop confidence and leadership among the Project Engineers. Everybody cleans his respective work place for five minutes before the close of the day’s work. 3. a very few participated in this program. All participated the meeting with great enthusiasm. The circles initially started identifying their problems of food and living. They found it more easy and convenient and learned it very quickly. circles should not be formed sitewise. that would never die because the same members of the circle would continue to work in other projects of the Company. observed that the Circles were finding it difficult to construct the ‘cause and effect’ diagram. The meetings of these circles were held every weak at the Head Office on the same day. On the other hand. The Managing Director and the Director attended the meeting as observers. Even the nonmembers are attending the meetings as observers. But the Suggestion system is not working well. A new Steering Committee headed by the Managing Director was also formed. A good sense of cleanliness has developed among the workers. Actually 3-‘S’ (Seiri. Gradually they shifted their eyes into the problem of their workplace. So far. if the circle was formed trade-wise. Although a monitary incentive has been declared for each and every suggestion. Seiton) are being practiced. They also proposed that. It was. After three months. Finally. On the other hand. It was also decided to practice 5-‘S’ & Suggestion System through out the company. The Project Engineers were entrusted with the responsibility of Facilitators. Quality Circles were formed and launched at a grand general meeting inviting all the Engineers. they were taught the ‘tree diagram’. As an alternative. The Sub-contractor of the respective trade at each site was declared as the circle leader. This proposal was highly appreciated and was accepted by all. Supervisors. 3. After the circle meeting. three Quality Circles were formed with the Project Engineers and Sub-Contractors as members of the Circles. In this process it took another three months to build confidence among the circle members. because once the project was finished the circle would die automatically.In these meetings the Project Engineers were allowed to preside the meetings by rotation.7 THE PERFORMANCE OF THE NEW QUALITY CIRCLES The formation of Quality circles this time created a good enthusiasm among the members. only five suggestions have been received from two persons. Altogether fifteen Quality circles were formed.

They also identified a number of causes responsible for the excess thickness. everybody had the bad habit of waiting for instruction from the superior. Other circles are also making significant contributions to quality improvement activities. They used Histogram to analyze the distribution pattern of the sizes of the bricks from different sources.11 RESPONSIBILITY A good sense of responsibility has developed at all levels of our organization. After an extensive investigation. They also analyzed the size of the bricks using Histogram. The company accepted their recommendations and actions have been taken accordingly.10 MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING AND DISCIPLINE After introduction of TQM in the company. From their findings. one Circle identified that excess thickness of plaster was consuming excess quantity of cement and sand as well. The major causes include i) uneven leveling of the slab sofits ii) irregular size of bricks iii) bad workmanship etc. If the average width of the bricks is more than the standard. they found out that the sand from a particular source had been carrying excessive salt. particularly in width was also consuming excess quantity of cement and sand. They also defined the solutions to spray mist on the premature surface and adjust the proportion of cement and marble chips. which was causing this problem. both the circle recommended not to procure bricks from different sources. then every layer of brickwork will require excess width of the mortar bed resulting in additional consumption of cement and sand. In fact the company lacked to act as an organization and always tried to manage by exhortation rather than by identifying the root causes of the problems. after three months of introduction of QC Circles.3. Just within a month. They also recommended that the bricks should be sorted out according to different range of size before use. the mutual understanding among the staff at different levels has improved substantially. one of the main problems of the company was the over running of the cost due to excess consumption of cement in all the projects. sand from that particular source is not being used in brickwork and plaster. The causes for this were as due to 1) Premature drying shrinkage and ii) Use of excess cement in the mixture. Before introduction of TQM. So. Another Quality Circle found that the use of oversized bricks. . None liked to take a decision by himself and relied heavily on the Managing Director’s leadership expecting him to put things right whenever a problem emerged. Another circle identified a problem of efflorescence coming out from the surface of brickwork and plaster.9 ACHIEVEMENTS SO FAR AFTER INTRODUCING TQM Before introducing TQM. the management forwarded this problem to the circles. Another Circle identified severe hair cracks on the surface of floor mosaic. 3. Everybody has developed respect for each other resulting in a strong discipline throughout the company. 3. Accordingly.

Lack of education may be apparently considered as an obstacle in implementing TQM. “Come on. a trusting relationship among all concerned is essential. nobody believes others. 4. Even in Government offices. . . Although it is only a couple of years we embarked on this journey but within this short period.Let us go for it” – then everything will happen.3. The Structural Engineers Ltd. To implement TQM. you can lead your horse to water. because their ideas have been fixed like concrete and transformed into beliefs & convictions. Particularly.Customer satisfaction is being more & more ensured.0 OBSTACLES IN IMPLEMENTATION OF TQM IN A COUNTRY LIKE BANGLADESH : The main obstacles in Implementation of TQM in Bangladesh are 1) Lack of commitment of the top Management 2) Lack of motivation 3) Lack of mutual trust and 4) Lack of education.The staffs are satisfied with their jobs. the lower staff do not believe their bosses. In implementing TQM motivation is a key factor. If you can motivate your illiterate people anything is possible. go-on I am with you” .Internal atmosphere has improved.Getting edge over other competitors. The Trade Union always plays a hostile role with the management. Lack of trusts between 1) the management and the employees 2) the sub-contractor and the worker is another obstacle in implementing TQM. .Profitability has increased. Commitment of the top management is very essential for successful implementation of TQM in a company.that means he is not interested about TQM and nothing will happen.12 CONCLUSION : As a result of practicing TQM. If the CEO says. (SEL) has drawn the following benefits : . latest techniques and machinery. The general scenario in the industrial sector in Bangladesh is. . but can not implement TQM without a motivated work force. “Yes. But it is really difficult to motivate the so-called educated people. almost all our people have become highly motivated and committed to quality. . commitment of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is a precondition to TQM. In other words. We can try to improve quality by using better quality raw materials. A little extra incentive is sufficient to motivate the general workers. Ironically it is more difficult to motivate educated people than the workers. But if he says. . but in real sense it is not that much of a problem. but you can’t force him to drink.Quality has improved.

. Bangladesh Association of Construction Industry : Bangladesh Lions Foundation. Lucknow. He participated in a 3-week Management Training Course organized by AOTS. workshop Paper on “KAIZEN MANAGEMENT” presented at the Regional Convention of Japanese Style Management held in Colobbo. He participated in a 2(two) weeks training program on Corporate Management held in Yokohama. During last 23 years. Seiichi FUJITA. he is holding the position of the Managing Director of The Structural Engineers Ltd. In February ‘1999. Since 1983. Noriaki KANO. held at Dhaka. Prof. India. Dhaka-1205. New Market. He also participated in a ‘TOT’ course on Japanese management system arranged by Bangladesh AOTS Alumni Society (BAAS). Dhaka. Prof. REFERENCES : 1) September 09 ‘1998. he worked with different organizations at home and abroad. he participated in a Facilitator Skill Training Program organized jointly by QCI International USA and CMS. 8621146 : 88-02-8615251 : Bangladesh Society for Total Quality Management (BSTQM) : Bangladesh AOTS Alumni Society (BAAS) Executive Committee. 40. Dhaka in March ‘1977. Short description of Qualification and experience: Obtained Bachelors Degree in Civil Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (BUET). Japan during 10-23 July ‘2000. Bangladesh. Lecturing Tour Program Materials on “Total Quality Management (TQM)”. Sri Lanka. Mirpur Road. Japan in 1994.Speaker’s Name Position Company Address Bangladesh. Tel Fax Joint Secretary Member Life Member : 88-02-9661017. : : : : MOHAMMAD ABDUL AWAL Managing Director The Structural Engineers Ltd. 9663959. Dhaka. He is now acting as a resource person on Quality Management Systems in Bangladesh. 2) July 15 ‘1999. He has participated in a number of National and International Conventions on Quality.