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TQM CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS FOR CONSTRUCTION FIRMS

Bhimaraya A. Metri*

Received: 8. 12. 2004.Preliminary communication
Accepted: 18. 10. 2005UDC: 658.56:624

The construction industry has lagged behind other industries in implementing reform through total quality management. It has not followed the manufacturing industry in the implementation of TQM. The success of the total quality management (TQM) philosophy in manufacturing and other industries is forcing construction organizations to adopt TQM. This paper first outlines the imperatives of quality and its initiatives in the construction industry and then analyzes the critical success factors (CSFs) of the fourteen most prominent total quality management (TQM) frameworks. Based on the comprehensive analysis and examination of existing TQM frameworks and literature, the paper proposes the 10 critical success factors (CSFs) of TQM for construction industry. Finally, it describes the CSFs from the construction industry perspective.

1. INTRODUCTION

The construction industry of any country is the backbone of its infrastructure and economy. Though it is a major contributor to the economy of any country, it faces the problems of high fragmentation, instability, low productivity, poor quality and lack of standards. Abd. Majid and McCaffer (1998) further established that most countries are dealing with the same common problems despite the differences in their economies. Due to the above mentioned quality problems, construction clients are not satisfied with the performance achieved on many of their projects (Kometa & Olomolaiye 1997). Kometa & Olomolaiye (1997) state that despite many efforts, apart from time and cost overruns, unsatisfied clients and other difficulties continue to plague the industry. Thus the reputation of the construction industry is ill suited for meeting the competitive challenges of today’s fast changing market (Torbica & Stroh 1999), where the competitive edge is with those who manage their resources most effectively and offer a timely response to the demands of the market.

Today, quality management has become one of the important forces leading to organizational growth and a company’s success in national and international markets. The role of quality in construction has also been espoused by Belle (2000) and Burati et al. (1992). In order to emphasize the role of quality various aspects of quality tools and techniques have been also described in previous studies (Belle 2000, Metri 2004). Recently, efforts made to improve quality in construction are widely reflected in the relevant literature (Arditi and Gunayadin 1998, Rosenfed et al 1992, Mallon & Mulligan 1993, Kiwus & Williams 2001, Federley & Chase 1993). Many companies are frustrated in their effort to improve quality through TQM because these companies have exclusively focused on financial measures instead of quality measures (Torbica & Stroh 1999). Other studies, in the recent past also observed the failure of TQM. These failures are due to the too much- too soon effort without proper foundation and focus (Culp et al. 1993). Construction firms, therefore, need to understand the TQM CSFs for the successful implementation of TQM. Therefore, there is a pressing need to establish TQM CSFs for construction firms. This paper examines the TQM frameworks developed by scholars and businesses and develops the TQM CSFs for construction firms.

2. SELECTION AND ANALYSIS OF TQM FRAMEWORKS

An extensive literature survey has been carried out to select TQM frameworks for this study. The relevant literature has revealed that different countries have adopted similar TQM frameworks in the form of quality awards with a different title. Today, there are more than a hundred quality awards existing in different countries. However, all these quality awards are basically derived from three basic and prestigious awards: the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality...
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