Some of the important elements of total quality management are: (i) Management’s commitment to quality (ii) Customer satisfaction (iii) Preventing rather than detecting defects (iv) Measurement of Quality (v) Continuous improvement (vi) Corrective action for root cause (vii) Training (viii) Recognition of high quality (ix) Involvement of Employees and (x) Benchmarking.
If an organisation is serious about implementing TQM, the lead has to be taken by the top management with full commitment.
It must initiate quality improvement programmes. The top management should continue all the efforts and provide the resources to continue quality improvement programmes. This is provided by collecting, reporting and use of quality related cost information.
TQM is designed in such a manner so as to meet the expectations of customers. In the present era, customer is the king. It must be recognised that customers are the most important persons for any business. The very existence of an organisation depends on them. They are the life blood of a business and deserve the most courteous and affectionate treatment.
TQM checks the poor quality products or services rather than simply to detect and sort out defects. “Prevention rather than detection” is the main characteristic of TQM. Some of the important techniques of TQM which aim at the prevention of defects rather than the detection of the defects are statistical process control, continuous process improvement and problem solving and system failure analysis etc.
Quality is a measurable entity and we must know what current quality levels are i.e. Where we are or where we stand in respect of the quality and what quality levels we are aspiring for or where we are going
TQM comprises of a continuous process of improvement covering people, equipment, suppliers, materials and procedures. It includes every aspect of an operation in an organisation. In Japan the word “Kaizen” is used to describe the continuous process of improvement. In USA, TQM zero defects and six-sigma are used to describe such efforts.
TQM aims at preventing repetition of problems by identifying the root causes for their occurrence and developing means and corrective actions to solve the problems of the root level. Failure analysis and problem solving skills are very useful techniques in this regard.
Proper training programmes have to be undertaken to train the employees for the use of TQM concepts and techniques. Employees have to be provided regular training for continuous improvement.
TQM aims at developing long term relationships with a few high quality suppliers rather than those suppliers who supply the inferior goods at the low cost.
Involvement of employees means that every employee is completely involved at every step of production process which plays an active role in helping the organisation to meet its targets. Employee involvement and empowerment can be assured by enlarging the employee’s job so that responsibility and authority is moved to the lowest level possible in the organisation.
Benchmarking is a systematic method by which organisations can measure themselves against the best industry practices. Benchmarking aims at developing best practices that will lead to better performance. It helps a company to learn and incorporate the best practices into its own operations. Benchmarking is a technique of distinguishing an organization’s efforts with the best performance in the field and also to suggest how the gap between the two performances can be removed. Thus, benchmarking is a technique of continuous improvement.