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EBMG 416 – Managing Quality
TQM is essential for the success of contemporary business organizations. It provides tools that enable them to collect feedback on customer satisfaction. Tools such as Pareto charts and surveys and are useful in that respect. Consequently, managers are able to develop measures that are targeted at improving product quality and reliability. Companies need to adopt TQM tools in their operational systems. Businesses are able to deliver goods that are of high quality through incorporation of such tools into their processes. In the process, they develop a competitive advantage hence greater success in the marketplace, than their competitors.
Table of Contents
Section Title Page
1 Tools used in TQM 4
2 Why a company should adopt TQM 6
3 Companies that have adopted TQM 7
4 Conclusion 8
Total Quality Management is an approach that is geared at long term success in the business operations. Company leaders and managers are required to align business processes with client satisfaction needs in order to achieve that. In TQM, all stakeholders in the business are required to participate in the efforts of improving business processes, services and the culture as a whole. In that respect, this essay covers different aspects in the application of TQM. Firstly it covers the tools that are used in TQM, through a discussion on research and literature. Secondly, the article discusses why companies should adopt the TQM tools in their operations. Finally, it will highlight the results that have been accrued from implementation of TQM in companies. In essence, the essay will identify what TQM tools incorporate and their effects on the business environment.
- Tools used in TQM
TQM provides a systematic approach for meeting the quality improvement needs in a business. Managers are required to understand and perform various roles in their efforts. Firstly, they should be able to assess customer needs in the business environment. They should be able to identify customer needs of the present time and future. Similarly, they should be able to design and deploy products and services that meet or exceed the identified needs, albeit cost-effectively.
Secondly, they should be able to deliver quality. In that respect, they may be required to identify weak points in their business processes, and work on minimizing them. To achieve these needs, the managers may use several tools and techniques. Techniques relate to the activities undertaken in achieving the needs pointed out. Conversely, tools relate to statistics-based measures used in supporting decision making processes, or enabling analysis of outcomes (Hellsten & Klefsjö, 2000).
There are about 15 commonly used tools in TQM. However, each of them falls under one of two classifications. These groups are the qualitative and quantitative tools. Qualitative tools focus on subjective inputs, such as customer satisfaction. They are, therefore, not explicitly concerned with numerical measures. Quantitative tools involve analysis of objective data as well as historical measures. The tools used in TQM vary depending on the desired implementation strategy.
Flow charts are qualitative tools that are used in TQM. These tools operate under the premises of the systems theory. Flow charts involve mapping of inputs, outputs, customers, suppliers and their resulting interactions. As a result, they are useful in breaking down complex business processes into relatively simple sub-processes. The main types of flowcharts are layout and data flow diagrams. Flow charts are useful in statistical process control. They provide an excellent tool for analysis of workflow, through mapping out processes involved. Similarly, they are useful in product-based standardization. For example, analysis of product flow can be analyzed through mapping out the logistics and personnel involved (Dahlgaard and Kristensen et al., 2005).
Cause and Effect diagrams are another instance of TQM tools. They are used for qualitative measures. These tools can also be described as Ishikawa or Fishbone diagrams. In some instances, they may be termed as 5M diagrams. 5M refers to Men, Machine, Materials, Measurements and Methods (Dahlgaard and Kristensen et al., 2005). The five aforementioned measures are used in the identification of the likely causes of problems in business processes. The different categories are used for sorting different aspects of the business. For example, the Men category may be used in identifying problems related to staff such as organizational culture, training or motivation issues.
Pareto charts are quantitative tools that are used in TQM. They are used in evaluating business process performance, and the frequency of resulting problems. For example, processes such as product design or staff training may be explored through Pareto charts. Similarly, Pareto charts are useful in prioritizing the possible causes through their identification problems. Normally, about 80% of the identified problems arise from about 20% of the causes (Dahlgaard and Kristensen et al., 2005). Consequently, managers can map out an efficient approach towards ensuring TQM in their operations.
Histograms present another quantitative tool used in TQM. They are used in the collection of data related to business processes. For example, customer satisfaction data may be collected and tabulated. Subsequently, the frequency of the data is mapped out. This approach provides a simplified and visual understanding of the quality of business processes and products. Similarly, histograms are useful in predicting the limits of product quality, and customer responses. Managers are able to understand market needs that concern quality by utilizing histograms.
- Why should a company adopt TQM tools?
TQM tools are useful in management processes. There are many reasons why businesses should adopt such tools in their operations. However, most of them revolve around the idea of development of a competitive advantage within the business (Douglas & Judge, 2001). Firstly, TQM tools help managers in increasing productivity within the organization. Productivity is the relationship between the amount of inputs and outputs required for the outcome. It has an extensive correlation to quality in a business.
After determination of customer needs, companies need to focus on providing quality products and services, albeit at an efficient rate. TQM tools facilitate productivity at different business levels. At the top level, the tools support leaders in developing efficient management practices. Similarly, they enable managers in adopting up to date manufacturing techniques, which increase efficiency in production. At the middle-level, TQM tools can help managers and supervisors in developing and coordinating their productivity efforts. At low level management, the tools assist employees in improving their productivity. For example, the tools are useful in identification of resistance to change and levels of employee commitment to quality (Oakland, 2003). Subsequently, corrective measures can be developed and adopted.
TQM tools increase the reliability of goods and services provided by the business. Managers are able to identify various weak points in the company by using them (Oakland, 2003). For example, they may identify problems in the manufacturing process. Such issues may hamper the quality and reliability of goods. In a vehicle manufacturing instance, such cars may break down more often than expected. Through identification, possible solutions can be developed hence improving product quality and reliability.
Customer service is an important aspect of product quality. TQM tools help companies in decreasing problems related to customer service. Web platforms present the first medium that customers interact with. TQM tools assist in developing platforms that meet customer needs, and even surpass them. At the second level, human workers are involved. However, issues such as employee resistance and culture may take a toll on the quality of service (Kostman & Schiemann, 2005). TQM tools such as surveys assist in identifying such problems before their onset. Consequently, managers are able to develop policies that address such issues, therefore improving quality of customer interactions (Douglas & Judge, 2001).
- Results from adoption of TQM
Various companies have implemented TQM in their processes, with interesting results. This includes the company that I have worked at. Firstly, the discussion will center on my experience with TQM in the company. In the business, several elements of TQM were implemented. These included a core idea system and the development of product teams. For example, the teams were formed in the procurement, sales and production business units. Interactions between such units were carried out through an intranet. The same system integrated various TQM tools. Consequently, stakeholder views and customer comments were incorporated into the system’s inputs.
Through automated processing, the intranet-based system provided timely feedback on how customers perceived the quality of the company’s products. For example, the reliability of different goods could be tracked back to the customers. In the process, issues with the products were identified. Improvements were then developed for the identified customer needs. Customers were happy with the company’s responsiveness hence greater satisfaction with the brands. As a result, the company was able to acquire additional market share.
Automotive Springs Limited is a manufacturing company that operates in the United Kingdom. In the 1990s, the company adopted a TQM program in its business processes. In that respect, several tools were implemented. They were used for assessment of staff training, quality assurance and collection of consumer feedback. Statistical Process Control (SPC) and Quality Assurance (QA) systems were also implemented. Through implementation of such tools and systems, many problems were discovered in the manufacturing processes (Yusof and Aspinwall, 2001). For example, inefficient training was unearthed as a potential cause of defective goods in the manufacturing processes. Improvements were then developed in line with the highlighted issues. Since then, the company was able to reduce its defectives by over 80% between January 1998 and January 1999 (Yusof and Aspinwall, 2001).
From the essay, it is seen that TQM tools play a significant role on the success of a business in its operations. TQM tools provide an excellent platform for identifying issues in problem processes through collecting and analyzing feedback from various stakeholders. Consequently, changes that increase client satisfaction can be developed. The TQM tools are necessary for an organization to improve the quality and reliability of its products, alongside its productivity.
Dahlgaard, J., Kristensen, K. and Kanji, G. (2005). Fundamentals of total quality management. 2nd ed. London: Chapman & Hall.
Douglas, T and Judge, W. (2001). Total Quality Management Implementation and Competitive Advantage: The Role of Structural Control and Exploration. Academy of Management Journal. Vol. 44, No. 1. pp. 158.
Hellsten, U., & Klefsjö, B. (2000). TQM as a management system consisting of values,
Kostman, J and Schiemann W. (2005). People Equity: The hidden driver of Quality. Quality Progress. Vol. 38, No. 5. pp. 37-42.
Oakland, J. (2003). Total quality management. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.
techniques and tools. The TQM Magazine, 12(4), 238-244.
Yusof, S. and Aspinwall, E. (2001). Case studies on the implementation of TQM in the UK automotive SMEs. International Journal of Quality \& Reliability Management, 18 (7), pp. 722–744.
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