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Total Quality Management (TQM) is an activity strategically aimed at implementing the awareness of quality in any organization by its management. Most organizations, including manufacturing, service, governmental and nonprofit organizations have extensively used TQM since the 1990s. TQM is structured to satisfy internal and external customers as well as the suppliers. This means that it continuously improves the business environment by integrating various business elements.
TQM ensures development breakthroughs through improvements while changing organizational culture. It is a remarkable concept that awakens individual’s spirit and enhances collaborations at the workplace. Implementation of TQM ensures an organization is continuously renewed, reinforced and develops a bridge of trust among employees responsible for accomplishing the organization’s goals.
One of the goals of TQM entails building an organizational environment that allows cross training and job redesign that facilitates job flexibility. Organizations that implement TQM in areas of common interest provide an opportunity to develop and better control relations with external vital customers and suppliers. Companies that need to provide quality goods and services to their customers will find TQM as an essential tool. The companies will thereafter enjoy prosperity and long-term growth.
In this paper the need for TQM will be looked into such as need for customer-driven quality, role of leadership in TQM, a description of globalization’s impact on quality as well as comparison of the different management styles.
Need for Customer-Driven Quality
All organizations want their customers to receive quality products that offer satisfactory services. This is an essential step toward becoming a successful business. Therefore, it is important for an organization to include Total Management concepts in its goals, objectives, and as part of developing strategic plans.
Customer-driven quality refers to the organization’s ability to provide quality products or services that satisfy customers’ demands. It is the purpose of any business to design products or services that fulfill customer’s desire. Therefore, customer-driven quality means satisfying the customer’s desire through the quality products and services. It also means proactively creating new sources of information aimed at improving production to satisfy customer.
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Training is paramount in all organizations that need to implement TQM to ensure customer-driven quality. No organization can succeed if their employees lack understanding and knowledge on how to perform their daily duties. It is essential to have a strategic plan that defines the goals and objectives communicated in the entire organization. The act improves quality and service provided to customers. It is a form of investment as customers become loyal while increasing the organization’s reputation.
Most companies are often faced with a dilemma associated to lack of TQM. Those that implement TQM experience positive effects that transcend down through the ranks. For instance, nonprofit organizations embraced TQM throughout their organization after realizing the positive results found by their counterparts in the business world. Several other institutions have embraced TQM such as heath institutions. Use of TQM has promoted excellence in nursing by urging nurses and other health practitioners to apply quality improvement. Most companies have embraced TQM and made it their philosophy cum cultural norm.
Importance of Leadership for Quality
The leadership of any organization desiring to succeed in achieving its mission goals and objectives must understand the importance of an effective strategic plan. The strategic plan gives the organization competitive edge as it identifies goals and objectives needed to achieve the mission while maintaining quality service. Most managers understand the importance of TQM concept in customer satisfaction. They know that unsatisfied customers are likely to damage an organization’s reputation, competition and profits. Different organizations use different ways in assessing their TQM program. However, the overall goal is to provide quality products and quality service that guarantee customer satisfaction.
Since TQM concept is vital for organizational success, the leadership and the employees must ensure that their behaviors and attitudes do not impact negatively in meeting established goals and objectives. Through training, they will be equipped with clear and concise understanding of what is expected of them in providing quality services and products as expected by the customer. The overall responsibility for the success of TQM lies with the management, their commitment and involvement within the organization.
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TQM and Globalization
The impact of globalization on quality will depend on the company. If the organization/company takes its business global but has not set up for TQM, globalization can have serious effects on quality. When a company ventures into international markets, effects of globalization can be very demanding especially when the organization does not have proper plan and management style. It could end up creating serious damaging problems with long-term effects.
A company that does not have TQM will operate its business using the traditional management. This is likely to jeopardize quality of services and products causing loss in profit or worse still, closure of the business all together. On the other hand, implementing TQM as part of the strategic plan enhances opportunity for success when doing business globally. It has an overall positive effect on quality of products and services that enhance customer satisfaction. Good quality of products creates repeated business and additional business that an organization could not have when operating under traditional management methods. A company’s success on a global scale lies solely on quality products and services.
Global expansion for any business means inviting stiff competition from the international markets. Some of the reasons that contribute to the stiff competition include entrance into the market by former communist developing countries, introduction of new products, effective production procedures and advancement in technology among many. The reasons are responsible for the shift in markets that were once considered reliable. For a company to compete effectively in the global economy, it needs to be more innovative, produce higher quality products, and ensure its production matches demand.
Traditional Management vs. Quality Management
There are four distinct functions of management. They are planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. From the definition, one can conclude that there are slight differences between traditional and quality management styles. However, focusing solely on traditional management method, especially when it comes to business expansion and profit, can make one ignore quality management style.
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The standard operating procedure would entail identifying demand for the product, followed by production, then distribution of the product to as many channels as possible within the shortest possible time. This is the traditional management style. Though, it has been proven effective historically, it does not put into consideration how quality management teachings would help improve profitability due to reduced defects. Utilizing quality management style will ensure less defects leading to less return to the company. This will imply less warranty work, less negative advertising, less blemish in reporting journals done by consumers, and so on. Therefore, a company committed to quality will experience less hassle when marketing its products.
It is seen that traditional management style places emphasis on the internal work environment. For an organization that has done its best in producing its products and services, it is assumed to have produced quality. On the other hand, Total Quality Management is more concerned with quality from the customers’ perspective. Instead of relying on internal operations to determine quality as in traditional management, TQM is dependent on the customer as the decider of quality. Therefore, quality management focuses on the customer.
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In any organization, a strong Quality Management plan that is all inclusive must be established where quality is assured instead of being checked. In the traditional management style, employees are blamed for not doing their job correctly in case of bad quality products or services. The defining factor that separates the two styles of management is that quality management bestows responsibility to the middle management. In addition, Quality management encourages teamwork as the main building block. If an organization lacks unity among its workers, then Total Quality Management cannot work.
Unlike traditional management, total quality management derives its decisions on facts and figures. This ensures correct identification of problems leading to well planned solutions. Another advantage with Total Quality Management is that it allows continuous thinking and improvements. Although constant improvements are essential, they should be realistic, small and stable. Total Quality Management has managed to change organizational culture and ways of thinking.
Total Quality Management is an all inclusive business management method that aligns employees’ activities with a common focus of satisfying customers. This is achieved through continuous quality improvement of all processes, goods and services.
Total Quality Management is by far a better choice in the management of any organization. Through implementation of TQM concepts, a company is able to create a happier and interactive work environment that encourages input from all employees. TQM enhances teamwork, which in turn leads to production of better overall products or services desired by the customers. It encourages customer loyalty hence generating more revenue through improved sales. Employees focus on customer needs and what the customer requires.
The TQM concept is proven sound method that focuses on an organization’s commitment to quality instead of just volumes and profit. Utilizing TQM has proven effective in reducing costs as well as enhancing customer loyalty and trust. Continued focus on Total Quality Management by organizations increases their chances of success in an increasingly competitive global market.