What is Total Quality Management?

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Total quality management is a system for optimum business performance. Every employee involved is held responsible for maintaining the highest possible level of quality in processes, products, services, and management.

Enter Total Quality Management.

Total quality management is an ongoing process for detecting and eliminating errors within a company or organization. TQM acts as a guide or tramline to keep operations within tolerance.

Total Quality Management (TQM) is, establishing procedures and standards and continued measured performance. Employees are trained to reduce errors and improve their productivity via properly following internal guidelines and standards.

Who Created Total Quality Management?

Although Walter Shewhart invented Total Quality Management, the man who popularized the method, and who is considered the “Father” of TQM is a management consultant named William Deming. Among other things, Deming spent a lot of time improving Japanese manufacturing companies using his TQM system, oftentimes with outstanding results.

Many people compare TQM with the more known Six Sigma and while both are systems for improving internal company processes, TQM is more about reducing errors via internal processes and buildings while Six Sigma reducing defects in, mostly, products.

One of Deming’s main tenants in his TQM system is fact-based decision-making. A challenge in so many organizational and quality management systems is that they attempt to implement arbitrary or sometimes vague goals. TQM, on the other hand, focuses on creating accurate performance metrics that can be measured and monitored over time to ensure companies are improving what needs the things they need amelioration. The saying that “you manage what you measure” is true.

Why Does Total Quality Management Matter?

Total Quality Management is more important now than ever as manufacturing and company operations have become more complex. Teams work apart from one another and often even operating in different time-zones. so Productivity and company morale depend on clear and concise communication within the organization.  

Effective internal communication is yet another important part of total quality management.

TQM suggests that most problems that exist within companies are a matter of process errors rather than errors created by specific individuals. If your company has bad processes, who you hire or how good they are at their job will not matter. The person will still be likely to continue making the same sort of mistakes and struggling with the same challenges as their predecessors. The only solution is to treat the actual cause of problems within an organization: Flawed processes.

What is Different About Total Quality Management

Total quality management advocates that every single employee within a company is responsible for quality. TQM advocates that all process owners within a company must be dedicated to the overall quality of the products and or services being products.

Quality Must Be Measurable

For an executive to vaguely suggest that employees must “improve quality” does little to nothing in terms of actual results. To truly improve quality, TQM establishes metrics that can be clearly measured and constantly monitored. These metrics should be coupled with clear and concise goals that can be worked towards and achieved over time.

Quality is Long-Term and Continuous

Total Quality Management system is a constantly improving long-term goal. Creating high-quality products and or services with minimal errors does not happen overnight but through TQM.

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