Total Quality Management
Total Quality Management (TQM) is an integrated system of principles, methods, and best practices that provide a framework for organizations to strive for excellence in everything they do.
A model for organization excellence
The roots of Total Quality Management (TQM) go back to the teachings of Drucker, Juran, Deming, Ishikawa, Crosby, Feigenbaum and countless other people that have studied, practiced, and tried to refine the process of organizational management. TQM is a collection of principles, techniques, processes, and best practices that over time have been proven effective. Most all world-class organizations exhibit the majority of behaviors that are typically identified with TQM.
No two organizations have the same TQM implementation. There is no recipe for organization success, however, there are a number of great TQM models that organizations can use. These include the Deming Application Prize, the Malcolm Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence, the European Foundation for Quality Management, and the ISO quality management standards. Any organization that wants to improve its performance would be well served by selecting one of these models and conducting a self-assessment.
The simplest model of TQM is shown in this diagram. The model begins with understanding customer needs. TQM organizations have processes that continuously collect, analyze, and act on customer information. Activities are often extended to understanding competitor's customers. Developing an intimate understanding of customer needs allows TQM organizations to predict future customer behavior.
TQM organizations integrate customer knowledge with other information and use the planning process to orchestrate action throughout the organization to manage day to day activities and achieve future goals. Plans are reviewed at periodic intervals and adjusted as necessary. The planning process is the glue that holds together all TQM activity.
TQM organizations understand that customers will only be satisfied if they consistently receive products and services that meet their needs, are delivered when expected, and are priced for value. TQM organizations use the techniques of process management to develop cost-controlled processes that are stable and capable of meeting customer expectations.
TQM organizations also understand that exceptional performance today may be unacceptable performance in the future so they use the concepts of process improvement to achieve both breakthrough gains and incremental continuous improvement. Process improvement is even applied to the TQM system itself!
The final element of the TQM model is total participation. TQM organizations understand that all work is performed through people. This begins with leadership. In TQM organizations, top management takes personal responsibility for implementing, nurturing, and refining all TQM activities. They make sure people are properly trained, capable, and actively participate in achieving organizational success. Management and employees work together to create an empowered environment where people are valued.
All of the TQM model's elements work together to achieve results.
So how can TQE help?
TQE's core competence is in the areas of Hoshin Kanri, process management, and process improvement. By using TQE's products and training services your organization can begin to implement and use TQM concepts.
Hoshin Kanri directly supports the planning portion of the TQM model. Implementing Hoshin Kanri within your organization is usually a first step toward full integration of TQM because the first plan created is to "Implement TQM". Regardless of your organization's TQM maturity, however, implementing the Hoshin Kanri planning process will help your organization identify critical success factors, schedule implementation, define ownership, track progress, and achieve results. TQE's Hoshin Handbook describes the Hoshin Kanri process and provides step by step instructions. The handbook is also used as the text for the on-site Hoshin workshop that will help get you and your team up to speed quickly. To complete your Hoshin implementation, TQE provides both web-based and PC-based software to help reduce the paperwork and provide structure for your planning process. The software will help make your Hoshin plan become the way you manage instead of a document collecting dust on the shelf. Implementing Hoshin Kanri can be a giant step toward becoming a TQM mature organization.
To help organizations implement the concepts of process management and process improvement, TQE provides on-site training workshops. The workshops teach people how to use basic quality tools to manage and improve processes. Once the basic tools are mastered, people are able to determine if their processes are capable of meeting customer requirements. If processes are capable, people will know how to standardize the process to assure stable and capable performance. If processes are found to be not capable, then people will know how to use the PDCA model to begin improving the processes so that they will meet customer requirements. If you want to see if you are proficient with the basic quality tools, take this quiz and find out.
Understanding how to use basic quality tools allows people in the organization to take responsibility for the processes they manage. In general, the tools will allow anyone to understand and continuously improve about 80-90% of the processes they manage. For the 10-20% of processes that require more sophisticated tools, TQE also provides training in Design of Experiments. This class teaches engineers and other technical personnel the techniques used by TQM organizations to achieve breakthrough process improvement.