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Total Quality Management,

Total Quality Management (TQM) Basic Principles & its Implementation

What The Heck Is TQM?

Total Quality Management, most commonly abbreviated as TQM is another branch of continuous improvement approach. TQM indicates 100% employees’ engagement to achieve 100% customers’ satisfaction leading to customer retention and long term success through continuous improvement in the process, products and the services. The philosophy of TQM possess a lethal combination of quality and management tools which is in another words a guarantee to any business success.

Role of TQM in Manufacturing

“Total Quality Management is managerial philosophy that incorporates all the functions of the organization i.e. Marketing, Sales, Finance, Health and Safety, Supply Chain, Production and Quality and aims to narrow the funnel to meet customers’ requirements and expectations.”

Happy Users of TQM

There are many multinational giants who are getting numerous benefits from TQM implementation in their workplaces. Among them few are listed below:

  • Ford Motor Company
  • Phillips Semi-conductor
  • SGL Carbon
  • Motorola
  • Toyota Motor Company

Eight Key Principles of TQM

Following are the eight key principles of TQM that are widely used in TQM implementation in manufacturing firms.

Management and Top Leadership Commitment

  • Plan
  • Do
  • Check
  • Act

Employee Engagement

  • Training Need Analysis
  • Training
  • Suggestions and Feedback
  • Measurement and Recognition
  • Star teams

Evidence Based Decision Making

  • SPC (statistical process control)
  • DOE, FMEA
  • The 7 statistical tools
  • TOPS (Ford 8D – team-oriented problem solving)

Continuous Improvement

  • Systematic measurement and focus on CONQ
  • Excellence teams
  • Cross-functional process management
  • Attain, maintain, improve standards

Customer Focus

  • Supplier partnership
  • Service relationship with internal customers
  • Never compromise quality
  • Customer driven standards

Ways to Embrace Continuous Improvement via TQM

Total Quality Management is one of the branches of continuous improvement starting from top leadership strategic planning all the way trickling down to parameters setting on machines on shop floor level. However, the focus of TQM approach narrows down to Supply and Demand generation, optimization of operational limits, building competency levels of people especially of shop floor people. TQM believes that zero percent waste generation and zero percent defects are achievable whereas we only need to drill down the ways how to prevent such defects that can cause harmful effects on our product’s quality.

Below is brief explanation of TQM mechanism of defects prevention:

  • Apply a Poka-Yoke solution which is also called mistake proofing.
  • If defects prevention seems near to impossible, early detection should be ensured to avoid defects in the final product.
  • If still mistakes reoccur after applying the above two methods, stop the production process until the diagnosis of the fault to prevent more defects in the products.

Resources to Become TQM Champion

Total Quality Management implementation is a step wise approach which is more fruitful if followed sequence wise as stated below:

  • Commitment towards Delivering Unmatched Quality

All employees must make commitment towards delivering high quality products and services at all costs.

  • Quality Improvement Culture

A culture of continuous quality improvement should be embedded in the organization by changing mindsets of the employees via trainings, refreshers leading to minimization in the competency gaps.

  • Make Continuous Improvement A Measurable KPI

Continuous improvement cycle should be embedded in not only production processes but in company’s policies, procedures and activities. In fact, continuous improvement can be made as a KPI which should be reviewed periodically.

  • Teamwork

Co-operation among employees should be flourished among inter-departments by assigning team projects and by recognizing teams on upper level.

  • Prioritize Your Customers

Going beyond customers’ expectations is what should be an utmost goal for everyone working in the organization.

  • Fool Proof Controls

Effective controls must be installed with data recording and analyzing on non-stop basis.

Challenges and Benefits Associated With TQM

  • Lower Cost of Production

Since TQM major focuses on defects elimination by fixing the root cause or reduction of the defects probability which ultimately results in waste reduction leading to less production cost. Having low production costs will definitely sky rocket profits making you stronger in relevant marketplace among your competitors.

  • Disruption in Production

Before implementing Total Quality Management in full gear, it is necessary to form the mind set of your employees towards the philosophy of TQM, its working principles and its key benefits which will require numerous training hours. The designed training module for TQM must include Problem solving tools and techniques, SWOT analysis, Basics of Six Sigma, Pareto analysis and brainstorming via Ideas clustering methods. As the training hours increase, machine productivity hours will decrease because workers will spend more time in classroom trainings. Once the training gets completed, elimination of defects and waste reduction can be seen after passage of time.

  • Resistance From Employees

It has been observed that implementation of any new production methodology by higher management face a great opposition from shop level people for the reason being an additional duty to be done. It is suggested not to throw half cooked stuff to shop floor. It is important to raise the morale of employees by sharing success stories and by introducing awards and recognition system on weekly, monthly and quarterly basis.

  • 100% Employee Engagement

Empowering shop floor workers will not only increase productivity but will also ensure unbeatable results. Recognize team players among shop floor workers and make them an inspiration for the rest of their teams. Employee empowerment will increase employee engagement to ultimate levels.

  • Customer Based TQM Vision

Total Quality Management is all about winning customers’ confidence and trust by going beyond customers’ expectations. Deriving a customer focus strategy by collecting data from customers’ feedbacks or various complaints launched by customers helps you to focus on ways of achieving customers’ satisfaction.

  • Strengthened Planning and Process Management

After collecting data from customer’s feedback, plan management strategies in such a way that the chance of customers’ complaints can be eliminated or at least reduced. Having good plan in your hands will definitely move up to great accomplishment of production targets within prescribed timelines.

  • Process Improvement By Virtue of TQM

TQM stresses upon the fact that no market continues to operate the same. Demand and market supply evolves with time and so the customers’ requirements too. Improving cost to lower production costs will assist to lower labor cost are few secrets to become competitive in the world.

About Sunita Verma

Sunita Verma, Founder and President of Sync Resource started the company in 2009 with a vision to provide management consulting to small & medium size businesses around the country. Sunita holds a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cleveland State University. Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering, India with prestigious gold medal awarded by renowned Scientist Dr Abdul Kalam Azad. As an active philanthropist she believes in pay it forward and is a contributing member of charitable organizations like St. Jude’s Foundation and North Fulton Charities.

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