Total Quality Management

Total Quality Management Defined
Total Quality Management (TQM) is a young and developing business function. Whether the function is described as a philosophy or management methodology it still must be identified, implemented, and managed. The importance of this function will be outlined in the definition of TQM. As more businesses consider globalization, the impact this has on quality will be described. The differences between traditional management styles and quality-focused management styles will be explored while an example of how TQM applies to an actual organization will also be included. It all begins with a total quality culture.
Total Quality Management
Total Quality Management is an organizational function charged with implementing and sustaining an organizational culture of quality. This is achieved by directing people and processes towards the ultimate goal of satisfying customer needs by maximizing the efficiency and effectiveness of production processes. The continuous improvement in the quality of all processes involved with production and its support will result in quality products and services, meeting the goal of customer satisfaction. SEMATECH’s definition (as cited in Burrill & Ledolter, 1999) is:
Total Quality Management is a [holistic] business management methodology that aligns the activities of all employees in an organization with the common focus of customer satisfaction [to be achieved] through continuous improvement in the quality of all activities [processes], goods and services. (p. 35)
TQM’s definition establishes it as a core function within an organization. This means that it must be aligned within the organizational structure and implemented to fulfill its purpose.
As with any core business function, TQM’s success hinges on two critical inputs - leadership implementation and employee buy-in. Ginés Santiago Marco Perles (2002) explains that TQM has become a business phenomenon since the early 1990s....