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Total quality management

Total quality management

WHAT is Total quality management?

Total quality management (TQM) refers to management methods used to enhance quality and productivity in organizations, particularly businesses. TQM is a comprehensive system 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 that have been used to describe similar quality management philosophies and programs include CQI (continuous quality improvement), SQC (statistical quality control), QFD (quality function deployment), QIDW (quality in daily work), and TQC (total quality control). Despite the ambiguity of the popularized term "TQM," that acronym is less important than the substance of the management ideology that underlies it. TQM provides a framework for implementing effective quality and productivity initiatives that can increase the profitability and competitiveness of organizations.

Encourages customer satisfaction

Another benefit of TQM relates to consumers satisfaction. It therefore aims at identifying the best quality to match consumers’ expectations, improving quality of products and services. By predicting mistakes and problems in work processes, TQM aims to provide quality service to meet customer expectations.

3. Improves organizational development

Total quality management also aim at improving organizational development. It not only focus in making changes in educating employees on the importance of quality, but also strives to prevent mistakes in business processes instead of correcting them. Therefore, implementing TQM in your business will help improve efficiency in production.

4. Flexibility

TQM focus on the creation of departmental teams to encourage knowledge between the departments. These interventions can improve overall organizational development and broadening of skills, resulting in improved performance in all departments. Moreover, this encourages flexibility in maintaining cost competitiveness.

5. Promotes supplier/ customer satisfaction

Another reason of implementing TQM in business processes is that it promotes the principle of internal supplier/ customer satisfaction. For example, the HR branch has the responsibility to settle employees’ requests or queries within a specified time. Additionally, avoidance of errors allows the organization to save time and many, which is then used in other processes.

BENEFITS of Total quality management

Total quality management is a general philosophy of gradually improving the operations of a business. This is done through the application of rigorous process analysis by every involved employee and business partner. TQM is usually applied at the tactical, front-line level, where production, clerical, and low-level managers are deeply involved. There are a number of tools available to assist in a TQM effort, such as:

  • Benchmarking
  • Failure analysis
  • Plan-do-check-act (PCDA) cycle
  • Process management
  • Product design control
  • Statistical process control

There is some debate regarding which tools fall within the umbrella of TQM, so there are a number of other tools not mentioned here that could be of assistance.

TQM can be implemented successfully in any part of a business, such as:
  • Accounting
  • Field servicing
  • Finance
  • Legal and administration
  • Maintenance
  • Manufacturing
  • Materials management
  • Research and development
  • Sales and marketing
The advantages of total quality management (TQM) include:
  • Cost reduction: When applied consistently over time, TQM can reduce costs throughout an organization, especially in the areas of scrap, rework, field service, and warranty cost reduction. Since these cost reductions flow straight through to bottom-line profits without any additional costs being incurred, there can be a startling increase in profitability.
  • Customer satisfaction: Since the company has better products and services, and its interactions with customers are relatively error-free, there should be fewer customer complaints. Fewer complaints may also mean that the resources devoted to customer service can be reduced. A higher level of customer satisfaction may also lead to increased market share, as existing customers act on the company's behalf to bring in more customers.
  • Defect reduction: TQM has a strong emphasis on improving quality within a process, rather than inspecting quality into a process. This not only reduces the time needed to fix errors, but makes it less necessary to employ a team of quality assurance personnel.
  • Morale: The ongoing and proven success of TQM, and in particular the participation of employees in that success can lead to a noticeable improvement in employee morale, which in turn reduces employee turnover, and therefore reduces the cost of hiring and training new employees.


Total quality management—first popularized in the 1950s in Japan—swept through American businesses in the 1980s and resulted in significant improvements in quality, productivity, customer satisfaction, and competitiveness in many companies by the 1990s. The basic principles of TQM are intended to achieve continuous organizational improvement through the participation and commitment of workers throughout a company. TQM focuses all the resources of an organization upon meeting the needs of customers (both internal and external), using statistical tools and techniques to measure results and aid decision making.

Despite the impressive results many companies have achieved through TQM, its future popularity is still in doubt. By the late 1990s some experts began to question whether TQM was a fad that would soon be superseded by yet another management technique. At the same time, however, other experts sought to apply TQM to emerging business problems, such as making computer systems compliant in the year 2000. It appears as if the underlying principles of TQM may find continued applications in business, even if they are eventually incorporated into a new movement for management innovation and organizational change.