The major new element in world market competition is quality. During the 1970's and 1980's, the Japanese and their U.S. companies demonstrated that high quality is achievable at lower costs and greater customer satisfaction. It was the result of using the management principles of total quality management (TQM). More and more U.S. companies have demonstrated that such achievements are possible Using TQM as a new way to manage. Such companies also found that they were recognized with everyone pulling in the same direction. Improvement had become a way of live.
Improving competitive position and profit has always been the responsibility of management. Before the 1980's, U.S. management was broadly successful. Until then the dominant management model was that of the autocrat. Management, primly senior management, decided how the business was to operate, including what the policies and objectives were; how it was organized; what jobs were established; and how should they be done. It was an unquestioned axiom that if everyone did what the upper management required, the business would be successful.
Organizations are composed of the people in them and the managers who lead them. People respond strongly to leadership expectations and rewards. If they are given little power in their jobs, they have little interest in improving them. If leaders exhort the members for better output but reward (promotions, bonuses, recognition) for mostly higher output, they get the behavior they reward. Quantity over quality has been a common management philosophy in the United States.
The first step in implementing TQM requires the an upper-management change in both philosophy and behavior. Managers must adopt the objectives of customer satisfaction and continuous improvement. They must implement the change to achieve these objectives through their personal and continuous involvement and in the reeducation of everyone in the organization in TQM principles and practices. The past philosophy of management can work reasonably well if a company dominates world markets. When markets become complex and worldwide with more and stronger competitors, a new model is needed. Asian companies and some in the United States have demonstrated that there is a more effective way to manage, quite different from the autocratic model: It is employee involvement in quality improvement. These companies also introduce high quality at lower cost as a competitive element, thereby changing the competitive equation for everyone.
TQM is a way to continuously improve performance at every level of operation, in every functional area of an organization, using all available human and capital resources. Improvement is addressed toward satisfying board goals such as cost, quality, market share, schedule, and growth. It demands commitment and discipline, and an ongoing effort.
The quality management process includes the integration of all employees, suppliers, and customers, within the corporate environment. It embraces two underlying tenets:
Quality management is a capability which inherent in your employees.
-Quality management is a controllable process, not an accidental one.
The idea of an integrated, human-orientated systems approach to management was successfully used by W. Edwards Deming in the 1950's. Deming told the Japanese that they could become world-class leaders if they followed his advice and they did. He lectured top Japanese business leaders on statistical quality control. He proposed a system that would change the approach to management in many ways. Today, this system is the pillar of TQM philosophy. These components make up the strategic portion of the quality pyramid (figure. 1). There are mainly eight functional elements from which other concepts flow. These are:
Organizational vision provides the frame work that guides a firm's believes and...