What Is TQM?

Total Quality Management (most commonly abbreviated as TQM) is another branch of the continuous improvement approach. TQM strives for 100% employee engagement to achieve 100% customer satisfaction leading to customer retention and long-term success through continuous improvement in the process, products, and services. The philosophy of TQM possesses a lethal combination of quality and management tools, which guarantees business success.

Role of TQM in Manufacturing

“Total Quality Management is a managerial philosophy that incorporates all the organization’s functions, 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

Many multinational giants get numerous benefits from TQM implementation in their workplaces. Among these businesses are:

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

Eight Key Principles of TQM

Following are the eight fundamental 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)
  • The seven 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. It runs the entire length and breadth of the company, starting from management and ending on the shop floor. However, the TQM approach’s focus narrows down to Supply and Demand generation, optimization of operational limits, and building competency levels of people, especially those on the shop floor. TQM believes that zero percent waste generation and zero percent defects are achievable. In contrast, we only need to drill down into how to prevent such defects that can cause harmful effects on our product’s quality.

Below is a brief explanation of TQM mechanism of defects prevention:

  • Apply a Poka-Yoke solution, which is also called mistake-proofing.
  • If defects prevention seems nearly impossible, the organization should ensure early-detection to reduce defects in the final product.
  • If mistakes reoccur after applying the above two methods, stop the production process until the fault is diagnosed to prevent more product flaws.

Resources Needed to Become a TQM Champion

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

  • Commitment towards Delivering Unmatched Quality

All employees must commit to delivering high-quality products and services at all costs.

  • Quality Improvement Culture

The organization should embed a culture of continuous quality improvement by changing the employees’ mindsets via training and refreshers leading to smaller competency gaps.

  • Make Continuous Improvement A Measurable KPI

The continuous improvement cycle should be embedded in production processes and their policies, procedures, and activities. In fact, the business can reference continuous improvement as a KPI, which they can review periodically for insight.

  • Teamwork

An organization should encourage co-operation among employees among departments by assigning team projects and recognizing teams that display better skills than others.

  • Prioritize Your Customers

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

  • Fool-Proof Controls

The business must install adequate controls with continuous data recording and analysis.

Challenges and Benefits Associated With TQM

  • Lower Cost of Production

Since TQM focuses on defect elimination by fixing the root cause or reduction of the probability of the defect, this ultimately results in waste reduction leading to lowered production cost. Having low production costs will lead to massive increases in profits, making a business more assertive in the relevant marketplace among competitors.

  • Disruption in Production

Before fully implementing Total Quality Management, it is necessary to gauge your employees’ mindset towards its philosophy, working principles, and critical benefits, requiring 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 training. Once the activity gets completed, the business will note reduced defects and waste reduction over time.

  • Resistance From Employees

Implementing any new production methodology by higher management faces significant opposition from shop level people because it requires more work to be done. Therefore, management must be careful not to present a half-baked idea to the shop floor. Raising employee morale by sharing success stories and introducing awards and recognition systems weekly, monthly, and quarterly is critical to ensuring your implementation’s success.

  • 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’ feedback or complaints helps you achieve customers’ satisfaction.

  • Strengthened Planning and Process Management

After collecting data from customer’s feedback, the organization should apply plan management strategies to eliminate or at least reduce the chance of customers’ complaints. Having a good plan in your hands will make accomplishing production targets within prescribed timelines a reality.

  • Process Improvement By Virtue of TQM

TQM stresses the fact that no market continues to operate the same. Demand and market supply evolve with time, and so do the customers’ requirements. Improving how the business approaches cost management can make it a more competitive force in the marketplace.