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Elements of TQM


TQM, which stands for Total Quality Management, is a management approach that first began in the 1950's. Although TQM is described as an approach to improving manufacturing processes, it is more like a description of the culture, attitude, and organization of a manufacturing company. The reason for this is that TQ focuses on bringing quality to all areas of a manufacturing business, not just on one or two areas.

TQM is made up of eight elements that are essential to its implementation. What this means is that in order to implement TQM into your manufacturing plant you will need to focus on all eight elements of TQM, you cannot leave out one or two and expect to see any kind of improvements.

The first element of TQM that your business is going to need to be concerned with is ethics, which is going to be dealt with in both good and bad situations. With ethics you need t keep in mind that ethics is going to affect the company and the employees because you will have your company's ethics, but you will also have to deal with the individual ethics of each employee.

The one thing that you need to watch out for is the two types of ethics clashing because the company's ethics go against the individual ethics or vice versa.

The second element of TQM that you need to be concerned with is integrity. It is the integrity of the business your customers are concerned about, customers have come to expect integrity from the places that they do business, but in actuality, it is something that they deserve. Your customers deserve to do business with somebody that has high values and morals, but they also deserve to be treated fairly and honestly no matter what happens. If your business lacks integrity, you will also be lacking in customers.

The third element is a result of both integrity and ethics it is trust. If your customers cannot trust, your company or your suppliers cannot trust your business you will not have a business to run. Not to mention the fact that without trust you cannot build the framework for TQM, the framework of TQM requires that everybody in your business be trustworthy, not just a handful of people. If even one person is not trustworthy, the implementation of TQM will not be successful.

Teamwork and training are two more important elements of TQM without them you will not be successful in business or in implementing TQM. Training is essential for TQM because you need to make sure that your employees know what they are doing. Training them in TQM will require that your employees be fully trained in their specific job areas, but you will also need to cross train them. Part of being successful with TQM is teamwork, if your employees cannot work together as a team things are not being done. In TQM teamwork is an advantage because teamwork allows problems to be solved faster because you have more people working together to come up with possible solutions to the problem. If you only have one or two people trying to solve the problem, it will take twice as long to solve it then if four or five people were working on solving the problem.

In order for teamwork to be effective there is going to need to be a leader for each team, which makes leadership another key element of TQM. If there is no leadership in your organization chances are things are going to be hectic because nobody will know what they are supposed to be doing, not to mention that there will not be anybody leading by example, which will make TQM harder to implement. To be successful with the implementation of TQM you will need to have effective leaders who lead rather than manage so that everybody is ready to work together as a team.

Communication and recognition are the last two elements of TQM. Without communication, nobody will know what is going on because communication is what ties everything together. For example, in order to solve problems you will need to communicate with other departments because you will have to talk about what is going wrong and then talk about possible solutions.

Communication does not just come from the top down because part of good communication skills is listening, which sometimes means listening to the people at the bottom because they often have the most knowledge about how things work in the business. Recognition is key to TQM because people need to be recognized for what they are doing and what they have accomplished. Giving positive reinforcement to your employees can be as simple as telling, those that they are doing a great job or it can involve handing out awards.

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