Total Quality Management (TQM)
In the early period manufacturing was done by the craftsman who knew how to craft raw materials using his skills to make what the customer wanted. He was the buyer, manufacturer, quality controller and seller all rolled into one. With the advent of mass production these functions became fragmented as emphasis shifted on specializing in each part of the whole. Somewhere down the line we lost the full picture and the craftsman who could no longer see the temple for which he was sculpting the stones.
The non marketing functionaries lost sight of the customer and his needs and pleasure that the craftsman got from seeing a satisfied customer’s smile was no longer available to them. Most management tools and techniques now try to integrate these fragments into a seamless whole and try to make the chain of supplier-materials-manufacture-customer to get the craftman’s magic back. Total quality management (TQM) is one such tool which strives to achieve perfection in he area of quality in an organization.
Total Quality Management is defined as a system for satisfying internal and external customers by measurement and control of the business processes, and continuous improvement.
In order to achieve TQM one needs to have a clear concept of planning, measurement, control and improvement of quality. Quality of being organized and constant improvement has to become a part of ones personal and corporate life. One cannot expect to live an unkempt and hap-hazarded life at home and expect to be transformed into another person just as one clocks into the factory. Quality in short is a way of life.
The steps to achieve TQM
Understand your business as processes
- Understand your business as processes achieving specified objectives rather than departments . Men, materials, machines, money, and market all are part of these processes .It is easy to confuse departments or power centres with processes .So one has to look closely for objectives and what processes are working to achieve those objectives. Processes may cross departmental or even company barriers and move into the supplier or customers geographic domain.
- TQM requires a new process thinking mindset. We must realize that everything we do is part of a process. Our focus shifts from managing outcomes to managing and improving processes; from what to do to how to do the processes better. Quality performance expands to include how well each part of the process works and the relationship of each part to the process. Also, process improvement focuses on continuously achieving the greatest potential benefit for our customers
Measure, identify weaknesses and improve these processes
- What is not measured is not controlled. Majority of the companies suffer from this malaise. There is a lot of data in and data out but hardly any data for analysis, control and decision making. Without data each part of the process is blind to the next and if one doesn’t know where one stands there is no way one can improve. The process should be so data transparent that one should be able to see through from suppliers supplier to customers customer what is happening to a customers order. No company can achieve its vision if it is blind to its own processes.
- Understand the gaps between what is and what should be. Benchmark with industry standards or best achievements. Precious little has been done on our country to have industrial benchmarks or research. It is time we industries formed consortiums with universities like the west and did some serious research into areas of research like TQM.
- Study the MIS and whether the data generated is accurate and sufficient to analyze and control every critical phase of the process.
- Complete control of the process and an accurate and understanding of the cause and effect relationship is essential. An uncontrolled process is like driving a car blindfolded and hoping to reach the destination safely.
- For each process analyze objectives, owner, inputs, outputs, wastes, time, costs , customer feedback and improve
- Do extensive information mining on one to one and by group brainstorming to identify areas of improvement.
- Improve the process efficiencies and aim at exceeding customer expectations minimizing defects and wastes.
- Measure costs of internal failure, external failure, appraisal, non conformance or poor quality with prevention costs.
Plan your TQM strategy and make a road map
- Structure a full time TQM training and monitoring cross functional team with a top level pro-active member on top.
- Allocate resources .One has to prepared to bear costs at the expense of the bottom-line for a period to benefit later.
- Plan extensive training and mind set change. Arrange to train them to be trainers and change agents. At least 4 % of the wage bill must go into training.
Implementation and inculcating the TQM culture is the most difficult part. Cultural changes need commitment from top, patience and painstaking perseverance. It involves making a prioritized action plan with targets, target dates, cross functional full time and part time teams and team leaders, resource plan, daily action reports, weekly monitoring reports, reviews, handholding, motivation, problem solving and more. Even after effective implementation, it still takes a couple of years before financial improvement begins.
It has to do with trust, teamwork feeling of ownership. Management must empower employees, so they are willing to innovate and act in an atmosphere of trust and respect. No amount of slogans or programs will work if there is no transparency and the workmen are not convinced that management will share the gains with them.
Advantages of TQM
A landmark study conducted by Kevin B. Hendricks, of The College of William and Mary’s School of Business, and Vinod R. Singhal, of Georgia Institute of Technology’s DuPree College of Management has clearly shown the relationship between better quality management and ROI .Some 140 quality award givers were drawn upon in the study, among them independent bodies such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which oversees the Baldrige Award Program, various state quality award programs, and manufacturers, such as the Big Three automakers, that offer supplier awards. The study sample comprised nearly 600 award winners, 75 percent of which came from the manufacturing sector.
Briefly summarized, the study shows that quality award winners experienced increased income, sales and total assets during their respective post-implementation periods as compared with their controls. They also hired more new employees. Stock price performance for winners increased as compared with various benchmark portfolios. And, finally, smaller companies that won quality awards showed more improved operating incomes than larger companies.
The path of increasing profits, growth and harmony is undoubtedly through Total Quality Management.
Mr. Ashok Gupta
Mr. Ashok Gupta , management consultant, digital media specialist and a published author is a chemical engineer from Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, with over 30 years experience in senior management positions and as a management consultant in reputed companies in Supply Chain/General Management/ Techno-Commercial areas in India and Indonesia.
He has an international management exposure having worked and undertaken consultancy assignments in USA, India and Indonesia . He is running a highly successful business of Digital Marketing including Social Media Marketing VA International http:www.virtual-assistance-international.com since last 10 years. In addition he has a company offering digital marketing courses in classes at Vadodara and also online.
Skype ID: ashok1082
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