Tqm in Agriculture

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United States General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20548 General Government Division

B-249779 March 30, 1993 The Honorable The Secretary Mike Espy of Agriculture

Dear Mr. Secretary: Total Quality Management (TQM) is a management approach that strives to achieve continuous improvement of quality through TQM also organizationwide efforts based on facts and data. focuses business processes on meeting the needs of customers, Although TQM traditionally has both internal and external. been associated with private sector organizations and their efforts to remain competitive and profitable, in recent years have been attempting to implement TQM to federal organizations cope with budget restrictions and better serve the public. We recently surveyed federal installations to determine the extent of their use of TQM and learned that 68 percent of the surveyed were implementing TQM.* An installations as defined by the Office of Personnel installation, Management, is a unit with a specifically designated head who is not subject to on-site supervision by a higher level installation head and who has been delegated some degree of authority in the performance of personnel management functions. Our survey covered over 2,800 installations, such as Internal Revenue Service Centers, Social Security offices, Two hundred military depots, and Agriculture field offices. and sixty-six installations of the Department of Agriculture were included in this survey, and the purpose of this correspondence is to provide you a brief summary of the results as they apply to Agriculture as well as to compare Agriculture results with the results of all surveyed federal installations. We believe this information--particularly data on barriers to TQM-- can be useful in your planning and as a baseline for judging future efforts.


'Qu i Mna mn* 1 (GAO/GGD-93-9BR, Oct.

1, 1992).
GAO/GGD-93-16R, TQM Implementation at Agriculture

B-249779 STATUS OF TOM Figures 1 and 2 show the percentage of government installations and Agriculture installations implementing TQM. As figure 1 shows, about 68 percent of the federal installations responding to our survey reported they were starting or already implementing TQM Figure 2 shows about 36 percent of the Agriculture . installations responding to our survey were starting or already another 36 percent of the implementing TQM. Additionally, responding Agriculture installations reported that they planned to implement TQM (not shown in figure 2). Fiaure 1: Percentaae Imolementina TOM of Government Installations Never attempted implementation





Starting or already implemented


B-249779 Fiuure 2: Percentaae Imolementina TQM of Acxiculture Installations

Never attempted implementation

To obtain a picture of the status of federal TQM efforts, we asked installations to report their efforts in terms of a fivephase maturity scale. Maturity definitions ranged from Phase 1, preliminary TQM efforts, to Phase 5, institutionalized efforts that are achieving significant benefits (see enc. I for definitions). As figure 3 shows, 51 percent of the total federal installations responding to the survey reported being in Phase 1 or 2, while 61 percent of the Agriculture installations reported still being in these early phases. The fact that many Agriculture installations are in the early phases of TQM reflects the relative newness of Agriculture's efforts; 67 percent of the installations implementing TQM reported beginning TQM efforts within the past 3 years. 3 Y



B-249779 Ficrure 3:


of TOM






0 Phm.1 mm1 Phm.2



TotJ in8tdluioM fodoml
Dqwtmant of AgrlaAtun

In our survey of federal installations, we asked respondents about the extent of their involvement in 43 activities commonly undertaken by organizations involved in TQM. Such activities include providing training in...
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