Total Quality Management: Definition, Phases and Principles

What is Total Quality Management?

Total Quality Management (TQM) is a process of continuous effort by the management as well as employees of the company to improve processes, products, and services for customer satisfaction. 

By fostering a collective commitment among employees to enhance work culture, processes, services, systems, and more, it paves the way for sustained success in the long run.

Phases of  Total Quality Management (TQM)

Total Quality Management (TQM) is divided into four phases that are Plan, Do, Check, and Act. It is also called PDCA Cycle.
PDCA Cycle

1. Planning Phase

It is the first and most crucial phase in Total Quality Management (TQM). In this phase, employees come up with their problems and queries which need to be addressed. A proper plan or road map is prepared to find the solution to all the queries and problems.

2. Doing Phase

In this phase, employees develop a detailed solution to the problems that they identified in the Planning Phase. Different strategies are implemented at this stage to overcome the challenges faced by the employees.

3. Checking Phase

In this phase, an audit is done to see if our initiated plan worked. It helps to identify problematic parts of the current process and eliminate them in the future.

4. Acting Phase

It represents the final stage of the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) cycle. In this phase, the previously developed plan comes into the force and employees document their results and prepare themselves to address other problems.

Principles of Total Quality Management (TQM)

There are total 8 principles of Total Quality Management (TQM):

Principles of Total Quality Management (TQM)

1. Customer Focused

This principle tells us that the customer determines the level of quality of the product. So, to meet customer expectations, the product's quality should be customer-centered.

2. Total employee involvement

This principle tells us that the quality of the product can only be improved if all the employees are involved quickly and work towards a common goal.

3. Process Centred

This principle tells us that employees should focus on process thinking. The steps required to carry out the process should be continuously monitored to detect even minor defects.

4. Integrated System

This principle tells us that different systems/departments should be integrated to improve work efficiency.

5. Strategic and Systematic approach

This principle tells us that strategic and systematic approaches should be employed in the system to achieve an organization's vision, mission, and goals.

6. Continous improvement

This principle tells us that to improve the quality of the product, continuous improvement in both analytical and creative ways is necessary.

7. Fact-based decision making

This principle tells us that to know how well an organization is performing, data on performance measures are necessary.

8. Communications

This principle tells us that effective communication plays a vital role in maintaining morale and in motivating employees at all levels. Communication involves strategies, methods, and timeliness.

Advantages of Total Quality Management (TQM)

  • It helps to minimize product defects which reduce product recalls and helps to build customer trust.
  • It helps in higher customer satisfaction which leads to increased market share, and revenue growth.
  • It helps to save costs in customer support, product replacements, field service, and the creation of product fixes.

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