Total Quality Management

Under the traditional philosophy, the view of quality is as follows:


Productivity and quality are conflicting goals

Improving quality consumes additional corporate resources that are needed to maintain productivity. Therefore, quality can be improved at the expense of productivity.

Quality is defined as conformance to specifications or standards

Such conformance pays no attention to incorrect specifications or obsolete standards that are prevailed in most companies.

Quality is measured by degree of nonconformance

It is usually measured by the defect count in "parts per million"- the famous six-sigma measurement. Such measurement focuses on the degree of non-conformance in stead of customer satisfaction.

Quality is achieved through intense product inspection

Such inspection consumes much of the corporate resources. If a product fails the inspection, it needs to be reworked or scraped.

Some defects are allowed if a product meets minimum quality standards

This implies that customers are willing to pay for a "buggy" yet working product.

Quality is a separate function and focused on evaluating development

It is assumed that the development group will welcome such independent quality function.

Workers are blamed for poor quality

However, replacing a worker does not mean improving quality. Furthermore, poor quality may come from the supplier side.


Poor practices

To be able to become a total quality organization, some of the bad practices must be recognized and corrected. These may include:

  • Leaders not giving clear direction.

  • Not understanding, or ignoring competitive positioning.

  • Each department working only for itself.

  • Trying to control people through systems.

  • Confusing quality with grade.

  • Accepting that a level of defects or errors is inevitable.

  • Firefighting, reactive behavior.

  • The "It's not my problem" attitude.


The Definition

"Quality" is "a degree of excellence; a distinguishing attribute." That is, quality is the degree to which a product lives up to its performance, endurance, maintainability, and other attributes that a customer expects to receive from purchasing this product. In order to produce quality product, one must instill TQM concept into one's product development process.

The word "total" means the total of everything in an organization. That is, it covers every process, every job, every resource, every output, every person, every time and every place. According to the American Society for Quality Control (ASQC), total quality management (TQM) "is a management approach to long-term success through customer satisfaction.

TQM is based on the participation of all members of an organization to improving processes, products, services, and the culture they work in. TQM benefits all organization members and society. The methods for implementing this approach are found in the teachings of such quality leaders as Philip B. Crosby, W. Edwards Deming, Armand V. Feigenbaum, Kaoru Ishikawa, and J.M. Juran."


Some other definitions of TQM

"TQM is both a philosophy and a set of guiding principles that represent the foundation for a continuously improving organization. TQM is the application of quantitative methods and human resources to improve the product and services supplied to an organization, and the degree to which the needs of the customers are met, now and in the future. TQM integrates fundamental management techniques, existing improvement efforts, and technical tools under a disciplined approach focused on continuous improvement."



(source: management programmes)