TQM Objective

  1. Total customer satisfaction
  2. Totality of functions
  3. Total range of products and services
  4. Addressing all aspects of dimensions of quality
  5. Addressing the quality aspect in everything – products, services, processes, people, resources and interactions.
  6. Satisfying all customers – internal as well as external
  7. Addressing the total organizational issue of retaining customers and
  8. Improving profits, as well as generating new business for the future.
  9. Involving everyone in the organization in the attainment of the said objective.
  10. Demanding total commitment from all in the organization towards the achievement of the objective.

Total means 100%, so TQM is about managing all aspects of quality and ultimate goal should be the ‘Total Customer Satisfaction’. Every functional area should stick to the quality plan of the organization and strive to attain the planned quality target. Each offering from the organization should be of optimum quality. Because, “one rotten apple can spoil the whole basket.”

TQM is about addressing all aspects of dimensions of quality. If there is a good product in bad packaging it is not going to give the desired returns to the organization. A good car with a bad bumper will tarnish the image of the company. An ill tempered receptionist can turn away potential customers from a nice 5-star hotel. So people and process should match the quality of the product being offered by the organization. A satisfied employee will always bring a satisfied customer, so internal customers are also important. All hygiene factors and motivation factors should be maintained to satisfy the needs of the internal customer. Retaining internal customer is important for better knowledge management and continuity of the process. Retaining external customer is important to get repeat sales. It is always easier to get repeat sales from existing customers than to get sales from a new customer. Everybody, right from the shop-floor employee to the top management, should have total commitment to the predetermined quality goals.

History of TQM

Think about quality concept which a road side trinket seller may be having. Think about the quality concept your neighbourhood barber may be having. Let us assume there are two haircut salons. One is a roadside one which uses the nearby tree to hang the mirror and gets its own set of customer. Another is a swanky air-conditioned one, which charges premium on every service. Both kinds have their own niches but having a big difference in quality. Think about the quality concept which the nearby Domino’s may be having. One can get every bit of history of quality in a wonderful country like India.

Barriers to TQM Implementation

If the top management takes quality as a form of window dressing then the organization is not going to attain the desired goal. Companies which maintain quality only during the time of inspection by ISO personnel can’t achieve quality goals. It is difficult but important to change the culture of the organization. Paradigm change is needed to force people to strive for the new quality goal. The way Jack Welch managed change in GE is a very good example of people involvement in change management. As quality is a continuous and never ending process, so is the training. Even the whole lifetime is not enough for complete learning. So training should go on forever. This is important because customer’s preferences keep on changing. SONY can be a good example of an organization keeping pace with customer’s preference change. SONY tape-recorder made the gramophone an obsolete product. Later on WALKMAN changed the way for portable music. At present even WALKMAN is an obsolete product and SONY sells MP3 players by the same brand name. People should not live in silos. They should come out to facilitate better interactions to share knowledge. People should be empowered to sort out issues. This will reduce the throughput time. Obviously accountability is important along with empowerment. If a frontline personnel is empowered to sort out customer’s problems then it will save precious time of the top management.

SUMMARY: Quality is having different meanings for different people. In spite of this any organization aiming for sustainable competitive advantage needs to assess customer’s needs to fix a quality objective. Immaculate planning is required to attain the pre decided quality goals. Proper monitoring and people’s involvement can ultimately enable an organization to achieve the desired results. In the long run the good quality always wins the customer’s heart.