Total Quality Management: it’s Meaning and Definition!
The concept of quality control is quite old. In the recent years, Total Quality Management (TQM) has drawn the world wide attention and is being undertaken in different organisations – both profit as well as non-profit. It is now being adopted as a management philosophy.
Total quality management techniques have brought quality awareness and changes in the attitudes of the employees. Various efforts towards understanding, adopting and promoting TQM are due to the rapid changes taking place in the global economy, changing market conditions, customer’s expectations and mounting competitive pressures.
Many big organizations have recognised the role of TQM in meeting these challenges. The evolution of the concepts and philosophy of TQM has taken many years of trials and tribulations in different organisations all over the world.
Total Quality management provides the concept that ensures continuous improvement in an organisation. The philosophy of TQM stresses on a systematic, integrated and consistent approach involving everyone and everything in an organisation.
It aims at using all people in multifunctional teams to bring about improvements from within the organisation. Everyone associated with the organisation is fully involved in continuous improvement (including its customers and suppliers if feasible).
Some of the important definitions of TQM are as under:
“Total Quality Management (TQM) is an approach to improving the effectiveness and flexibility of business as a whole. It is essentially a way of organising and involving the whole organisation, every department every activity, every single person at every level.”
“Total Quality Management is a combination of socio-technical process towards doing the right things (externally), everything right (interally), first time and all the time with economic viability considered at each stage of each process.”
—Zaire and Simintiras
“TQM is the systematic analysis, but the focus is turning from a process driven by external controls through procedure compliance and enhancement to a process of habitual improvement where control is embedded within and is driven by the culture of the organisation.”
—Foster and Whittle
“TQM is a strategic approach to produce the best product and service possible through constant innovation.”
“TQM is a management system, not a series of programs, it is a system that puts customer satisfaction before profit. It is a system that comprises a set of integrated philosophies, tools and processes used to accomplish business objectives by creating delighted customers and happy employees. ”
—Price and Chell
From the above definitions, it is clear that TQM is a long term success strategy for the organisation, it aims at customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, product quality at ail stages and brings about continuous improvements and innovations of total quality. TQM is a journey.
It never ends and has become a necessity for every organisation. Dr. Frag Diwan of All India Management Association, New Delhi has very nicely concluded that TQM is “an all encompassing dynamic process in an organisation to promote never ending involvement in the effectiveness and efficiency of all elements of a business.”