Introduction to Total Quality Management (TQM)

Total quality management is a strategic, customer-focused approach to improving businesses through customer satisfaction. The idea of Total Quality Management, or TQM, came to life in the 1950s but didn’t gain significant traction till the early 1980s. It laid the groundwork for many modern methodologies we see today, such as Six Sigma and Lean. Additionally, principles found in the ISO 9001, the globally recognized Quality Management System (QMS) standard, can also be attributed to the development of TQM.

The significance of Total Quality Management lies in its ability to offer a flexible framework for implementing efficient productivity and quality initiatives to improve customer satisfaction across all business operations. Implementing TQM isn’t a one-time process, but a systematic approach to find and eliminate all forms of waste and inefficiency in a company’s operations and guide the focus towards customer needs and satisfaction.

This article will guide you through the key principles of total quality management and how to utilize them successfully within your organization.

The 8 Key Principles of Total Quality Management

Figure 1:The 8 Principles of Total Quality Management (TQM)

The 8 Principles of Total Quality Management

Principle 1: Customer-Focused

Principle 1, Part I: Understanding Customer Needs

  • Conducting market research to understand the needs and wants of the customers
  • Creating products or services that meet or exceed customer expectations
  • Regularly collecting customer feedback and using it to improve products or services

Principle 1, Part II: Customer Satisfaction

  • Providing high-quality products or services that satisfy customer needs
  • Offering excellent customer service and support
  • Building strong relationships with customers to increase their loyalty

Principle 2: Total Employee Involvement

  • Encouraging all employees to participate in improving processes, products, and services
  • Providing training and development opportunities to all employees
  • Recognizing and rewarding employees for their contributions to the improvement efforts

Principle 3: Process-Centered

  • Identifying key processes and improving them continuously
  • Using statistical data to measure and analyze the performance of the processes
  • Implementing new processes or modifying existing ones to achieve better results

Principle 4: Integrated System

  • Developing a system that integrates all the activities and processes of the organization
  • Ensuring that all the parts of the system work together effectively and efficiently
  • Continuously monitoring and adjusting the system to improve its performance

Principle 5: Strategic and Systematic Approach

  • Developing a strategic plan that aligns with the organization’s mission, vision, and goals
  • Implementing the plan systematically and monitoring its progress regularly
  • Making necessary adjustments to the plan based on the results of the monitoring

Principle 6: Continual Improvement

  • Making continual improvement a part of the organization’s culture
  • Encouraging all employees to look for ways to improve their work processes
  • Regularly reviewing and improving the organization’s systems, processes, and performance

Principle 7: Fact-Based Decision Making

  • Making decisions based on factual data and analysis, not on assumptions or guesses
  • Collecting and analyzing data regularly to support decision-making
  • Using statistical methods to identify trends, problems, and opportunities for improvement

Principle 8: Communications

  • Communicating the organization’s mission, vision, goals, and plans to all employees
  • Encouraging open and honest communication among all levels of the organization
  • Providing regular updates on the progress of the improvement efforts

The eight TQM principles provide a framework for improving an organization’s performance by focusing on customer satisfaction, employee involvement, process improvement, and fact-based decision-making. Implementing these principles is a good way for organizations to increase their competitiveness and achieve their strategic goals.

Total Quality Management – Conclusion

The way we do business has changed significantly over the last few years. This has left a lasting impact on business requirements for quality management, compliance, and regulatory standards. While Total Quality Management (TQM) has always been a major factor, new terms, concepts, and methods for quality management are capturing our attention and shaping the way we think about quality.

Next time, we will explore a new method which commonly comes in the form of a business intelligence platform, the Quality Management System (QMS). We will discuss exactly what a Quality Management System is and how QMS’ are completely replacing TQM in some organizations.

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