T.Q.M. or total quality management refers to a set of management practices that aim to introduce quality in all aspects of organizational processes. It is a management approach that looks at a business lifecycle in its entirety rather than one stage in isolation. It serves to ensure the elimination or reduction of errors by making the processes robust enough to prevent them from occurring in the first place. It is believed to have originated in Japan in the 1950’s and then spread to the west by the 1980’s.
It is important to understand that quality, as defined here, is in context of customer expectations and not an absolute definition or number. So T.Q.M can also be defined as a means to meet and exceed customer expectations consistently. In fact, the customer plays a central role in this management strategy. Everything is viewed from the customer’s point of view and not internal constraints or costs. Removal or prevention of product defects is too basic; the attempt is to provide consistently superior services to the customer as compared to the competition. This requires a more holistic view rather than just quality control or spotting the errors. There is also a focus on the need for `continuous improvement’ meaning that quality efforts cannot be a one-time effort; the organization needs to reexamine its processes continuously to ensure that they meet customer requirements. Quality, therefore, is not a static concept either – it can change with time, technology improvements or even competitive and environmental factors.
T.Q.M. works at the very heart of the organization which means employee attitudes and work culture. It recognizes the importance of the `internal customer’, presents within the organization and expects the departments to follow the same principles in dealing with their individual set of `customers’. Unless people are served well themselves, they will be unable to serve others. . For example, unless the sales department gets the support of the product or marketing department, it will be unable to do justice to selling the product or service efficiently. Therefore, each person or department needs to ensure that it identifies its set of customers and their unique expectations. It is also important to track these expectations lest they change.
While anybody can benefit from the principles of T.Q.M, it is most popular in call centers, manufacturing, education, call centers and service industries. While it is not easy to implement quality, with dedication it is not impossible either. All quality assurance projects need to have the full backing of the top management to succeed or else they will just be another failed initiative. It is necessary to take employees into confidence and share the complete vision. Without the entire organization working together as a team, implementing and maintaining quality is very difficult. Each and every person needs to be a part of the movement. They need to question and contribute every day towards improvements. The best ideas come from people handling the job and not a quality consultant from outside.
There are various awards including the Deming Prize and the Malcolm Bridge National Quality Award for excellence in quality assurance.
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TQM is a management practice which aim to bring excellence in all the terms of organizational processes. Visit us at www.totalqualityassuranceservices.com/ for more information on total quality management services.
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