Total Quality Management (TQM)

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What is TQM? 

Total Quality Management (TQM) is all about continuous improvement.  

TQM is a strategy that every staff member contributes to improving your processes, products, services, and the culture.

This strategy challenges some of the fundamental assumptions about managing an organisation. It been said to be an "enhancement to the traditional way of carrying out business". 

TQM changes the relationships between managers and staff.  It gives you a new focal point for your workplace.  It looks to have multi-skilled teams of employees who take charge and manage their own work.  This involves placing a large focus on the continuous improvement of their work processes, with the goal of achieving the organisations objectives and providing customer satisfaction. 


The three basic principles that form TQM are: 

  1. Customer focused quality: As with many of the other systems relating to quality, it is evident that quality begins with the customer, which TQM strongly aligns with. When setting up a TQM system, it is imperative to remember that at the end of the day, it will only be the customer who sets the standard of quality for your product or service. Therefore, it is important that the final product or service being handed over to the customer is nil of any defects or imperfections. There is no use spending huge amounts of time on training employees or improving processes, if the final customer does not view your product of high quality.
  2. Quality through people: The position of an organisation can be enhanced through the skills of the employees at the organisation. It will be highly beneficial for your business to involve their own people in the development process of the products and service. Often the employees may have a perspective of something that no one else gets to see or pick up on.
  3. A scientific approach to problem solving and improvement: This relates to actually discovering the root cause of problems, rather than relying on guess work or instinct. This means it is important to use data and research in your decision making process.


Benefits of TQM:

  • Flat structure improves communication and shared power – reduction in hierarchical issues
  • Relationships are not based upon position – they are informal and aim to use everyone’s skills to get the job done
  • Decisions will be based on facts and solutions agreed on collectively
  • Managers do not make all the decisions – they support staff to make their own decisions. This improves self-confidence throughout employees.
  • Problem solving focus will encourage initiatives