Total Quality Management

Total quality management or TQM is an integrative philosophy of management for continuously improving the quality of products and processes.

TQM functions on the premise that the quality of products and processes is the responsibility of everyone who is involved with the creation or consumption of the products or services offered by an organization. In other words, TQM capitalizes on the involvement of management, workforce, suppliers, and even customers, in order to meet or exceed customer expectations.

Basic concepts. There are 6 basic concepts in TQM:

A committed and involved management directing and participating in the quality program;
Focus on the customer. This means listening to the customer so goods and services meet customer needs at a low cost;
Supplier partnering. A partnering rather than adversarial relationship must be established;
Involvement of the total workforce. It means training all personnel in the techniques of product and process improvement and creating a new culture. It means empowering people;
Continuous process improvement. Processes can and must be improved to reduce cost and increase quality;
Performance measures. Improvement is not possible unless there is some way to measure the results.

Management commitment
If senior is not committed and involved, then TQM will fail. These managers must start the process and should be the first to be educated in the TQM philosophy and concepts. They should form a quality council whose purpose is to establish a clear vision of what is to be done, develop a set of long-terms goals and direct the program.
As well, the council must establish quality statements that include a vision, mission and quality policy statement. The quality policy statement is a guide for all in the organization about how products and services should be provided.

Customer focus
Total quality management implies an organization that is dedicated to delighting the customer by meeting or exceeding customer expectations. There are 2 types of customers, external and internal. Each person or operation in a process is considered a customer of the preceding operation. Customers have 6 requirements of their suppliers:
- High quality level;
- High flexibility to change such things as volume, specifications and delivery;
- High service level;
- Short lead times;
- Low variability in meeting targets;
- Low cost.
Customers expect improvement in all requirements.

Supplier Partnership
Supplier involvement is vital for TQM.

Employee involvement
In a TQM environment, people come to work not only to do their jobs but also to work at improving their jobs. To gain employee commitment to the organization and TQM requires the following:

- Training. People should be trained in their own jobs skills and , where possible, cross-trained in other related jobs. As well, they should be trained to use the tools of continuous improvement, problem solving and statistical
process control;

- Organization. The organization must be designed to put people in close contact with their suppliers and customers, internal or external;

- Local ownership. People should feel ownership of the processes they work with. This results in a commitment to make their processes better and to continuous improvement. They should be empowered.
Empowerment means giving people the authority to make decisions and take action in their work areas without getting prior approval. Giving people the authority to make decisions motivates them to accomplish the goals and objectives of the
organization and to improve their jobs
Teams. A team is a group of people working together to achieve common goals or objectives. Good teams can move beyond the contribution of individual members so that the sum of their total effort is greater than their individual efforts.
Working in a team requires skill and training.

Continuous process improvement
A continuous improvement process (CIP or CI) is an ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes. These efforts can seek "incremental" improvement over time or "breakthrough" improvement all at once.[1] Delivery (customer valued) processes are constantly evaluated and improved in the light of their efficiency, effectiveness and flexibility.

Performance measures
To determine how well an organization is performing, its progress must be measured. Performance measures can be used to:
- Discover which process needs improvement,
- Evaluate alternative processes,
- Compare actual performance with targets so corrective action can be taken,
- Evaluate employee performance,
- Show trends.
There is no point in measuring something that does not give valid and useful feedback on the process being measured. There are many basic characteristics that can be used to measure the performance of a particular process or activity, such as the following:
- Quantity;
- Cost;
- Time/delivery;^
- Quality. There are 3 dimensions to quality measurements:
o Function,
o Aesthetics,
o Accuracy.
Performance measures should be simple, easy for users to understand, relevant to the user, visible to the user, preferably developed by the user, designed to promote improvement and few in number.

Measurement is needed for all types of process:
- Customer. Number of complaints, on-time delivery, dealer or customer satisfaction;
- Production. Inventory turns, scrap or rework, process yield, cost per unit, time to perform operations;
- Suppliers. On-time delivery, rating, quality performance, billing accuracy;
- Sales. Sales expense to revenue, new customers, gained or lost accounts, sales per square foot.