Total Quality Management (TQM) is a structured system for meeting and exceeding customer needs and expectations by creating organization-wide participation in the planning and implementation of improvement (continuous and breakthrough) processes. Why TQM?
In a global marketplace a major characteristic that will distinguish those organizations that are successful will be the quality of leadership, management, employees, work processes, product, and service. This means that products must not only meet customer and community needs for value, they must be provided in a continuously improving, timely, cost-effective, innovative, and productive manner. GOAL/QPC's Synthesis
There are a variety of strategies being used to implement quality management. These include a "guru" approach, a "quality award" approach, and an ala carte (pick a few pieces of different things and try them) approach. From observation and direct experience with companies implementing TQM, as well as an analysis and critique of different TQM implementation strategies, GOAL/QPC constructed a TQM Wheel to provide a holistic view, and a Ten-Element Model to outline an implementation strategy that allows organizations to get started fairly quickly and begin to improve effectiveness, even though it will take several years to become fully operational. A suggested method for operational zing TQM is explained in GOAL/QPC's 63-page Research Report (PDF, 59MB), Total Quality Management Master Plan: An Implementation Strategy. TQM Evolves
What is called TQM has never stood still. As with any dynamic management system, TQM has continuously evolved over the last half of the Twentieth Century. GOAL/QPC has been an active partner in this evolution since 1980. While numerous improvements have been made throughout the world, the elements that make up the TQM Wheel and Ten Element Model are foundational to good quality management. In today's world, two of the most effective and popular "new" management models are Lean and Six Sigma. Both of these models utilize the basic TQM elements and add on some extra refinements to achieve a more robust and powerful system for customer-focused product and service excellence that also focuses on optimizing costs and profits.
TQM presents a business character of caring and competence. A TQM business recognizes that the customer’s wants and needs are the market, and therefore the only trophy worth seeking. An organization’s customers include those who buy and use the organization’s products and services, and the organization’s employees, suppliers, stockholders, and communities in which they operate. For too many years, some public and private sector leaders and managers have considered their customers as simply the original source of their revenue and profits. If they could get them to let go of some of the contents of their wallets, they have been successful. Fortunately, the impact of that shortsighted philosophy is becoming more apparent in terms of the impact on customers -- people, planet, and profits. An increasing awareness of the need to truly serve one’s customers needs to become more of an American tradition. TQM training promotes, throughout an organization, the reality of producing customer satisfaction. From research and development through sales and service, every employee orients his or her efforts toward understanding and pleasing the customer. Customer input is sought at every level. No change is made unless it can be illustrated as a move toward increased customer satisfaction. A clear documentation of customer dissatisfaction results in a careful evaluation of business processes, followed by a decisive and deliberate modification of those processes to better meet, and then exceeds the customer’s quality requirements. There is no aspect of customer satisfaction that isn’t part of TQM. Virtually any business improvement program is nothing more than some aspect of Total Quality Management....