TQM in Manufacturing and Service Organizations
14 April 2010
Introduction to Topic
Total Quality Management (or TQM) is a management concept coined by W. Edwards Deming. The basis of TQM is to reduce the errors produced during the manufacturing or service process, increase customer satisfaction, streamline supply chain management, aim for modernization of equipment and ensure workers have the highest level of training. One of the principal aims of TQM is to limit errors to 1 per 1 million units produced. The application of TQM can vary tremendously from business to business, even across the same industry. Why TQM?
Why should one believe in TQM and why has it come to the forefront over the last 10 years or so? Resources have become scarce and economic times have called for ways to trip costs and improve production. Today's competitive market, in almost every category of products and services, is characterized by accelerating changes, innovation, and massive amounts of new information. Much of this rapid evolution in markets is fueled by changing customer needs. Significant customer behavior and market changes happen almost overnight. Changes in market preference or technology, which used to take years, may now take place in a few short months. For example, the product life cycles for new consumer computer technology and computer printers are estimated to be as little as six months. Computer marketers must carefully plan one or two new product introductions each year, with contingency plans for making design changes with current product lines as they are being manufactured. As the pace of change accelerates, it becomes more difficult to maintain stable relationships with suppliers, customers, brokers, distributors, and even your own company personnel. "Putting out fires" and reacting to new emergencies is unfortunately the norm for many large and small companies caught in the whirlpool of technological change. Are competitors stealing your best customers while you are out looking for more? Commitment to quality and customer satisfaction programs is essential for a small business to compete against both smaller and larger competitors. Think about "post-sale" customer satisfaction (or managing customer "dissatisfaction") programs as a way to reinforce customers' buying preferences for your products and services for their current and future purchases! TQM for small businesses is alive and well! A new company or a small business has limited financial, personnel, and capital plant/equipment resources and is especially vulnerable to instability brought on by rapid changes in customer behavior. One way to help ensure your business success is to make quality and customer satisfaction the number one priority for all employees in your company. Make sure your company is providing "customer management," not just "product management." Larger companies committed to TQM programs may appoint a special manager or VP of quality. In smaller companies, this task is usually undertaken by the chief executive officer (CEO) or the owner. There are many aspects of successful TQM program implementation. And it may require months or years to fully incorporate TQM into every employee's value system.
Total quality management has become an important part of the development of organizations. Although TQM represents a committed effort on the part of management to maintain and increase quality standards in the organization, the manner in which this process is used by the organization varies depending on the specific type of organization. To demonstrate this point we will look at three different sectors: the government, manufacturing and service organizations. By looking at these different groups it is easy to see how one can differ and how it can be used as a viable strategy. Although there are various organizations that comprise the public sector, total quality management and customer satisfaction have been examined...
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