Total Quality Management is a process that ensures continuous improvement for an organisations future. It is a management system with customer satisfaction as a continual goal. It is TQM’s goal to integrate a sense of quality into the culture of how an organisation is run. It hopes to merge different internal branches of an organisation (finance, Communications, R&D etc.) and link them all with quality being their main goal, with a view to continual customer focus. This system of management contains 8 principles which are vital in implementing this strategy into an organisations culture. These principles combined with effective leadership should result in a company doing “The Right Things Right, First Time”. TQM stems from the principle that “It is easier to control systems than it is people”.
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Companies depend on their customers to keep them in business. It is essential that a company can keep their customers happy by ensuring that the products received are fit for their intended use. It is also very valuable if a company can foresee future customer needs to ensure they keep the customer base in the future. Here the company can ensure that all its new objectives are customer satisfaction based and can later apply measuring techniques to see if their approach is effective (customer surveys etc.)
Total quality should be adopted into the culture of the organization so proper leadership should create an environment where this is possible. The objectives should be clearly laid out with an emphasis on customer satisfaction. A leader should ensure that all employees are fully aware of their importance to the organisation and should eliminate fear and promote trust.
Involvement of People
Every person within the organisation must be utilized for their specific skills so everyone is contributing to the organizations goals. This helps create a sense of unity and purpose and leads to a better working environment. This leads to people being accountable for their work and serves as a baseline for quality. It involves people sharing ideas and practices and leads to better trouble shooting.
The objectives should be clearly outlined and all personnel should be aware of hoe the process will be managed and undertaking. This removes the waste of resources and ensures all efforts are placed on defined essential tasks. This helps increase the rate of work and processes are finished faster. If the process has been properly defined and it has to be repeated, the exact same system can be used as it has been documented and this will further increase efficacy of the work in the future.
Systems Approach to Management
If you can define interrelated systems, they can be correlated and run under one management guise. Running these various operations under one system leads to more effective work and allows the system to be monitored more easily and have data compiled on the systems efficacy. Through this monitoring continual improvement can be scored and documented. By aligning different departments within an organisation, more focus can be placed on key goals and confidence in the work will be widespread. This can lead to greater results faster.
This is to be a permanent goal for every process undertaken within the organisation. By training staff to use the various continual improvement tools available, a company can leap on an improvement opportunity before others. This could possible open up a new customer market that was previously unavailable.
Factual Approach to Decision Making
Decisions should be made based on analysis of sound data and intensively researched information. This removes poor decision making from an organisation and sets a baseline for decision making in the future. This can also help the ability to demonstrate how effective past decisions were by checking factual data. The factual data can help access the outcome of the decision and help removes decision making based on intuition alone.
Mutually Beneficial Supplier relationship
A relationship based on mutual benefits is very healthy and ensures that both parties have each other interests in focus. This will help create value for both companies if some parameters are set correctly. Open communication must be maintained and key objectives and future plans must be known to both parties. If both parties can pool their resources and both have a strong view towards customer satisfaction then waste of resources can be minimised and activities can be improved on both sides.
TQM is a complex management system that will require a lot of input from all people involved in the company. However, the most important initiating step is to get full commitment from the company’s senior management. Without this a proper plan cannot be devised and TQM will not work. A quality team or quality council must be set up among senior managers. Here ideas can be exchanged and improvements to specific parts of the company devised. Here it will also be decided who is to implement certain changes and a system of quality reporting must also be set up. There should be a quality improvement team and also a quality planning team set up. These teams should contain people who represent all areas of the organisation and have a high standard of knowledge of their individual departments. It is essential that the individual department are not run separately, but rather as one large system to ensure full communication remains and key objectives can be achieved faster.
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Once senior management have become involved the next step is to make middle management aware of the transition. This will involve meeting between middle management and the personnel who report to them. Here all staff will be educated about the forthcoming move to TQM and a series of plans will be set in motion. Here the staff should constantly retrain and each department should develop new experts to keep a focus on continual improvement.
A mission statement of the organisations quality policy is a great way to start. From here a series of plans and a systematic approach can be developed to convert the company’s operations to one of total quality. This change is very serious and without full commitment and proper planning can fail easily. The first thing a company must do is assess their current state. Here a management audit is a valuable tool and can easily identify the company’s health. If the company is in poor health (quality standards low, reactive decisions, and poor managerial skill) then TQM will be near impossible to implement. However, if a company can agree that its current level of management, organisational culture and work ethos are suitable to TQM, then the process can develop from here.
Benefits of TQM:
Once an organisation has been converted to a system of total quality management, the organisation may be able for ISO 9000 accreditation. This is an internationally recognized standard of quality that has a major impact on how your organisation itself and the process that are undertaken are viewed by the public/possible customers. Having this accreditation will also greatly benefit the organisation from a financial point of view. Getting insurance for large companies can a massive financial burden and being ISO 9000 approved means you are more likely to be insured. This will help protect the organisation from possible liable action.
The main benefits internally are a new streamlined system for operations. Increased workmanship due to work ownership/accountability and this leads to constant quality. Increased readiness for the future market and a removal from a reactive decision making process and overall improved stability within the market and increased staying power.
Disadvantages of TQM:
A main concern of implementing total quality management is the initial set up cost. Here employees will have to attend training that will take away from their usual duties and cause a dip in productivity.
Due to all the changes implementing TQM will cause, there is a school of thought that thinks employees will doubt the security of their positions. This may lead them to becoming resistant to change and as a result, slow down the implementation stages and the efficacy of TQM. The results which are desired from TQM’s implementation may also take years to see, this can lead the employee’s feeling that their input was of little use and the project was a waste of time.
TQM can also tie a business to a certain set of plans that may span years. This can lead the company down an inflexible route when it comes to future prospect and developments. Instead of the company continually focusing on the goals TQM was supposed to tackle, the main focus in put on finishing the implementation stage. As a result, the company ends up with a major organisation change but the highlighted problems still exist and more time will have to be delegated to solving these at a later time. This again all leads to a drop in current productivity and the business retains its previous efficacy with no notable improvements being recognisable.
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