Total Quality Management

A major element in world market competition is quality. During the 1970ís
and 1980ís, the Japanese and their U.S. companies demonstrated that high
quality is achievable at lower costs and greater customer satisfaction. It was
the result of using the management principles of total quality management (TQM).
U.S. companies have demonstrated that such achievements are possible using TQM
as a way to manage. Such companies also found that they were recognized with
everyone pulling in the same direction. Improvement had become a way of life.
Before the 1980ís, U.S. management was broadly successful. Prior to that, the
dominant management model was that of the autocrat. Management, primarily senior
management, decided how the business was to operate, including what the policies
and objectives were; how it was organized; what jobs were established; and how
they should be done. It was an unquestioned axiom that if everyone did what the
upper management required, the business would be successful. Organizations are
composed of managers and the people who follow them. People respond strongly to
leadership expectations and rewards. If they are given little power in their
jobs, they will little interest in improving themselves. If leaders exhort the
members for better output but reward (promotions, bonuses, recognition) for
mostly highly output, they get the behavior they desired. Quantity over quality
has been a common management philosophy in the United States.

The first step in implementing total quality management requires an
upper-management change in both philosophy and behavior. Managers must adopt the
objectives of customer satisfaction and continuous improvement. They must
implement the change to achieve these objectives through their personal and
continuous involvement and in the reeducation of everyone in the organization in
TQM principles and practices. The past philosophy of management can work
reasonably well if a company dominates the world market. When markets become
complex and worldwide with stronger competitors, a new model is needed. Asian
and some United States companies have demonstrated that there is a more
effective way to manage, quite different from the autocratic model. It is
employee involvement in quality improvement. These companies also introduce high
quality at lower cost as a competitive element, thereby changing the competitive
equation for everyone. Total quality management is a way to continuously improve
performance at every level of operation, in every functional area of the
organization, using all available human and capital resources. Improvement is
addressed toward satisfying board goals such as cost, quality, market, share,
schedule, and growth. In an ongoing effort, it demands commitment and
discipline. The quality management process includes the integration of all
employees, suppliers, and customers within the corporate environment.

Total quality management embraces two underlying tenets. First, quality
management is a capability which inherent in your employees. Second, quality
management is a controllable process, not an accidental one. The idea of an
integrated, human-oriented system approach to management, was successfully used
by W. Edwards Deming in the 1950ís. Deming told the Japanese that they could
become world-class leaders if they followed his approach. He proposed a system
that would change the philosophy of management in many ways. Today, this system
is the pillar of the total quality management philosophy. There are fourteen
functional elements to the TQM philosophy. Here are a few of them.

Organizational vision provides the framework that guides a firmís believes
and values. The idea of the corporate vision should be a simple, one sentence
guide or motto that every employee knows, and more important, believes. If well
crafted, the vision statement can serve through a torrent of change in product
and service technology. The strategic vision needs to consider both the external
customer and the employees, but should lack a defining or differentiating phrase
between them. For example, General Motors provides all employees a card with itís
strategic vision, including a cause and effect diagram that indicates the
importance of teamwork. Simply stating a vision is not enough. It needs to be
demonstrated by the actions of the executives, managers, superiors, foremen, and
individuals. It should be done continuously in all their actions and
initiatives. Moreover, deliberation must be exercised in developing these goals
and strategies. They must reflect the values and culture of the work force.
While top-management commitment is essential, managers should realize when to
lead and when to get out of the way. In a sense, quality management is
management from the bottom up. An atmosphere of responsibility must be created
toward the customer for whatever product is produced or service is rendered.

It is inevitable that change will be resisted. In fact, a great deal of
effort in quality management is expended in overcoming such resistance, usually
by allowing change to come