Total Quality Management

Total Quality Management (TQM) refers to management methods used to enhance quality and productivity in business organizations. TQM is a comprehensive management approach that works horizontally across an organization, involving all departments and employees and extending backward and forward to include both suppliers and clients/customers.

TQM is only one of many acronyms used to label management systems that focus on quality. Other acronyms include CQI (continuous quality improvement), SQC (statistical quality control), QFD (quality function deployment), QIDW (quality in daily work), TQC (total quality control), etc. Like many of these other systems, TQM provides a framework for implementing effective quality and productivity initiatives that can increase the profitability and competitiveness of organizations.

Principles of TQM

TQM can be defined as the management of initiatives and procedures that are aimed at achieving the delivery of quality products and services. A number of key principles can be identified in defining TQM, including:

  • Executive Management – Top management should act as the main driver for TQM and create an environment that ensures its success.
  • Training – Employees should receive regular training on the methods and concepts of quality.
  • Customer Focus – Improvements in quality should improve customer satisfaction.
  • Decision Making – Quality decisions should be made based on measurements.
  • Methodology and Tools – Use of appropriate methodology and tools ensures that non-conformance incidents are identified, measured and responded to consistently.
  • Continuous Improvement – Companies should continuously work towards improving manufacturing and quality procedures.
  • Company Culture – The culture of the company should aim at developing employees ability to work together to improve quality.
  • Employee Involvement – Employees should be encouraged to be pro-active in identifying and addressing quality related problems.