An Introduction to Total Quality Management

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The name ‘Federal Express’ is synonymous with quality. It is recognized that the Federal Express Company a world leader in transportation area and information field. Federal Express can deliver packages overnight to almost anywhere in the world. Simultaneously, people can track packages at any time so that they can know where their goods are. (Neff & Citrin, 2001) As the good quality and services Federal Express provided, people like it, trust it and make it universally. Thus, a distinctive quality is vital to every organization at present if you want to have bigger market share in the world. However, how could people achieve it?

Quality management is an excellent method to resolve it. In the following parts, this project will briefly identify the definition of quality and total quality and tell the differences between them at the same time. Moreover, it will illustrate three main pioneers of total quality management during the development. In the end, the following project will make some prediction of the trends of quality management in the future.

Quality and Total Quality
“Quality” is a word that is commonly used in daily life. People can often see the term in advertisements that declare ‘superior quality’, ‘quality comes first’, ‘quality all the way’ and so on. However, it is hard to find the best appropriate definition to quality. According to Goetsch and Davis (2006), though there is no generally adopted definition of quality, a number of similarities and ingredients could be abstracted as follows.

a)Quality meets and exceeds customer expectations.
b)Quality is suitable for products, services, people, processes and environments. c)Quality is constantly changing.

With the above normal ingredients abstracted, Goetsch and Davis (2006, p5) defined quality as: ‘Quality is a dynamic state associated with products, services, people, processes and environments that meets or exceeds expectations.’

Total Quality
Just as “quality”, total quality (total quality management) has a variety of different kinds of definitions. For example, Dale, Wiele and Lwaarden (2007) thought that total quality management is the commutative co-operation of everyone in a firm or combined business procedure to generate economic benefits goods and services, which meets and surpasses customers’ needs and wants. Ho (1999) also proposed a definition for total quality management that everyone associated with the company is involved in continuous improvement (including its customers and suppliers if feasible). Griffith et al. (2000) agreed with the process and summarised the whole procedure as: ‘TQM is a philosophy for achieving a never ending improvement through people.’

As a whole, no matter who defines total quality management, there are always three key principles. The first one is a focus on consumers, supplier and others who are associated with the company or business. Secondly, everyone in the organization participates in the process and cooperates with each other. The third one is incessant learning and improving.

Take Body Shop as an example. Since the first Body Shop outlet was opened in 1976, Anita Roddick has taken customer focused as central ideas. Till now, she still cannot abandon her customers. Therefore, Body Shop consulted views from customers and then tried to produce the products. They always keep trying. (Bank, 2000)

Differences between quality management and total quality management The differences can be discovered from how it is achieved between total quality approach and traditional methods of doing business. According to Goetsch and Davis (2006), there are ten distinctive features of total quality that help to support the organizational strategy, and they are as follows.

1)Customer focus (internal and external),
2)Obsession with quality,
3)Unity of purpose,
4)Long-term commitment,
6)Employee involvement and empowerment,
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