Total Quality Management(TQM) is an organisational process that actively
involves every function and every employee in satisfying customers needs, both
internal and external. TQM works by continuously improving all aspect of work
through structured control, improvement and planning activities that are carried
out in concern with guiding ideology that focuses on Quality and Customer
Satisfaction as the top priorities.
There has been many arguments that TQM succeeds only by incorporating a
concern about quality for the customers throughout the organisation. The truth
of this statement and those facts that disagree with this statement will be look
into and discuss in more detail to achieve the success of TQM.
TQM recognises that the Customer is at the center of every activity. The
customer may be external or internal. The key is to determine the gap between
what the customer needs and what the system delivers. Once the gap is
recognised, it would be systematically reduced and results in never-ending
improvement in customer satisfaction at every level.
TQM depends on and creates a culture in an organisation which involves
everybody in quality improvement. Everyone in the company can affect quality but
must first realise this factor and have the techniques and tools which are
appropriate for improving quality. Thus TQM includes the marketing and
dissemination of quality and methods not only within the organisation and
customers but also to suppliers and other partners.
The general view to achieve success in TQM could be summarised as below:
Quality as strength
Quality in all processes
The importance of management
The involvement, commitment and responsibility of everybody
Focus on prevention rather than inspection
Meeting the needs of target customers
A prerequisite for successful quality improvement is first, to understand how
quality is perceived and valued by customers.
Design Quality Technical Quality
Customer Perceived Quality
Figure 1: Gronroos – Gummesson Quality Model (1987)
Gronroos and Gummesson has combined their Customer Perceived Quality’
model and the 4 Q model to stress the importance of customer. The intergrated
model focuses solely for the organisation to achieve customer satisfaction
through improving the quality for the customers.
Morup (1992) notes that quality is the most important and effective factor
a company can use in the battle for customers. To be competitive, we must
satisfy the customers. In order to be more competitive, we must delight the
customers. Quality is here defined as the measure of customer delightment.
Kaizen provides the philosophy and driving force for designing the quality.
If quality is made the global driving force, then customers will obtain the best
value possible and use the product. The concern about quality will optimise the
value for customers.
The TQM perspective involves not only quality in relations with external
customers but also quality in the internal service chains and in relation to
suppliers and other partners.
This Quality Chain involves everyone in the process and applied
throughout the organisation.
Customer orientation and quality are not just a matter of ensuring that the
contents of the product or services satisfies the customer needs. The manner in
which the service is delivered and the customers’ relations with the company
must also meet the customer’s expectation.
As the above graph indicates the sales increases directly with an increase
in customer satisfaction. Customers are satisfied with improvement in quality.
The more quality improves, the faster sales will increase because customer
satisfaction carries its own acceleration. When the quality reputation grows,
marketing can emphasize increasing customer satisfaction as a major element in
advertising and the other promotions.
As Deming wrote in his book Out of the Crisis,” it will not suffice to
have customers that are merely satisfied. An unhappy customer will switch.
Unfortunately a satisfied customer may also switch, on the theory that he could
not lose much and might gain. Profit in business comes from repeat customers,
customers that can boast about your product and service, and that bring friends
with them. He further stated that we should stay ahead of the customers. This
could be achieved through constant quality improvement and innovations.
Why Do Companies Lose Customers:
Death of Customer1%
Customer Moving Residence3%
Lower Price Elsewhere5%
Unsatisfactory Handling of Complaints14%
Suppliers’ Lack of Interest68%
As shown in the above graph above TQM’s success includes the incorporation
on quality of the after sales service and follow up. The quality needed in
maintaining a customer will be less as compare to gaining a new customer. TQM
success would therefore not only focus on gaining new customers but maintaining
the current customers, through improvement in quality for customers.
Even though the main concern about TQM is highly focused on the customers,
the focus on internal process cannot be left out. TQM’s success may not lie only
on the quality for the customer but the quality of the organisation as a whole.
The core concept is discussed below:
Right First Time / Zero Defects
TQM stress of the importance of zero defects and achieving the right target
the first and everytime. Variances in product are not acceptable and methods
such as the Statistical Process Control (SPC) is use to achieve the objective.
Zero defects is the result of an emphasis on prevention and diligent use of
measurement, process control and the data driven elimination of waste and error.
As Crosby said, The purpose of quality management is to set up a system and a
management discipline that prevents defects from happening in the company’s
Cost of Quality
This is the cost incurred in achieving a quality product or services. These may
be prevention cost, appraisal cost, internal failure cost, external failure cost,
the cost of exceeding customer’s requirement and the cost of lost opportunities.
Comparing with competitors is another reflex of TQM. This is a continuous
management process that helps firms access their competition and themselves and
to use that knowledge in designing a practical plan to achieve market
superiority. When done correctly, benchmarking produces the hard facts needed to
plan and execute effective business strategies.
Involvement of Everyone
In TQM everyone is involved in the process of making the company a successful
business. Everyone in the company is responsible for producing quality goods and
services and reducing the cost of quality.
Synergy in Team Work
In Japan, there is no status difference as they believe in synergy. Therefore
they consider themselves as partners depending on each other for effective
management and success. Ownership and the Elements of Self-Management
Total quality programmes are founded on the principal that people want to own
the problems, the process, the solution and ultimately the success associated
with the quality improvement. Psychologically, the ownership advocated by TQM
ties in the development in organisational design away from traditional models of
imposing management control over employees’ behaviour.
Recognition and Rewards
TQM system considers the rewards and recognition to be critical to a company’s
programme, particularly when greater involvement of staff is required. Positive
reinforcement through recognition and rewards is essential to maintain
achievement and continuous improvement through participative problem-solving
The Quality Delivery Process
TQM is not just the awareness of quality for the customers. It demands the
implementation of a new system.
Finally, the main objective of TQM may put the customer at the center of every
activity and consider the process as customer driven, but all other factors
which do not involve the customers have to be taken into consideration for the
successful implementation of TQM.