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Using TQM in the manufacturing process

For several years, Manufacturing companies have been using Total Quality Management (TQM) to manage quality within their organization, for several years.The concept of quality management was introduced about 30 years ago, when manufacturers realized the importance of taking the customer's needs into account to improve product effectiveness, competitiveness, efficiency, and flexibility. TQM is a process that is used strictly for managing quality. It is important to understand that it must be a continuous way of life and a philosophy of perpetual improvement in everything that is done. It is imperative that businesses that properly implement TQM take on various responsibilities like meeting customer requirements and satisfaction.

The first step to implementing TQM is understanding the official definition of TQM. Your business can redefine quality using each step of the TQM process which is:

  • Total=This means everyone and all activities in the company.

  • Quality=Conformance to Requirements (Meeting Customer Requirements).

  • Management=This mean that everyone must understand that quality can and must be managed.

By using TQM businesses must focus on cycle time variation, demand flow manufacturing, reducing production time, improving employee training, reducing the costs of products and service, and any other company problems that can occur in a manufacturing setting.

Another critical part of TQM is the management. In order to be successful companies need to appoint good managers to be in charge of TQM. Keep in mind that this is not a process that can be ignored; it needs constant management and improvement. You will need to establish goals with your staff member, to determine if they are achievable, and if they can use tools to measure them. Some common goals you may consider should include the following:

  • How can we define the manufacturing process?

  • What key performance indicators will we use?

  • What are some of the manufacturing problems we have?

  • Is there clear and consistent communication between the departments?

The main goal of any company is trying to re-define quality, who still looking for new ways to lower costs, while still producing the highest quality product. One of the major benefits of TQM is that it differs, from the other process improvement strategies, because it focuses on customer retention. It is important to understand that while it is nice to gain new customers, 80 percent of your annual sales actually come from repeat customers.

To reach these new customers, you need to market to them and attract them to come back, and purchase more from your company. This will only happen if you can reduce your prices, or if you provide them with a brief handout of information, explaining your businesses involvement in TQM.

It is also helpful to keep in mind that your customers will help you define quality by providing you with feedback. You should take advantage of your customers, and send out surveys asking for feedback. To get them to participate, you may need to offer them an incentive. Discounts and free products can be a great way to get your customers, to fill out the surveys that help you determine if your products are meeting customer quality standards.

It is critical to the success of TQM that you take the time to improve quality, by involving your employees. Remember that your employees are your front line, and are responsible for the interactions between the company and the customers. You can also use TQM as a way to test your employee's limits. If you have an employee that wants more job duties, providing them with TQM assignments, will allow you to see how well they manage stress, and deal with implementing quality standards.

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