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Using TQM to re-define quality

mansmiling26246769.jpgFor several years, companies have been using Total Quality Management (TQM) to manage quality within their organization. The concept has been around since the 1980's when it was first introduced to improve product effectiveness, competitiveness, efficiency, and flexibility in order to best suit the customer's needs.

To understand how TQM can help your company re-define quality, you need to understand the official definition of TQM. Here is a breakdown of its acronym:

Total Quality Management (TQM)

  • Total - Quality involves everyone and all activities in the company.

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

  • Management - Quality can and must be managed.


TQM is a process that is used for managing quality; it must be a continuous way of life; a philosophy of perpetual improvement in everything we do. Companies that properly implement TQM must take on various responsibilities like meting customer requirements and satisfaction.

TQM also forces companies to focus on cycle time variation, demand flow manufacturing, reducing production time, improving employee training, reducing the costs of products and service, and a handful of other company problems.

In order for TQM to work, you must follow these 10 steps
:
1. Pursue New Strategic Thinking
2. Know your Customers
3. Set True Customer Requirements
4. Concentrate on Prevention, Not Correction
5. Reduce Chronic Waste
6. Pursue a Continuous Improvement Strategy
7. Use Structured Methodology for Process Improvement
8. Reduce Variation
9. Use a Balanced Approach
10. Apply to All Functions

You need to appoint good managers to be in charge of TQM. This is not a process that can be ignored; it needs constant management and improvement. Establish goals with your staff members to determine if they are achievable and if they can use tools to measure them. Some of the common goals you may consider should include the following:

  • Can we define the manufacturing process?

  • What will our key performance indicators be?

  • What are some of the common manufacturing problems we have?

  • Is there clear communication between the departments?


When you are re-defining quality within the company, you need to look for new ways to lower costs while still producing the highest quality product. One of the nice things about TQM is that it differs from the other process improvement strategies because it focuses on customer retention. While it is nice to gain new customers, 80 percent of your annual sales actually come from repeat customers.

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

Your customers will help you define quality by providing you with feedback. Take advantage of your customers and send out surveys asking for feedback. To get them to participate, you will need to offer them an incentive. Discounts and free products are a great way to get your customers to fill out the surveys that help you determine if your products are meeting customer quality standards.

The last step you need to take to improve quality is to involve your employees. Your employees are responsible for the interactions between the company and the customers. This makes part of their job duties responsible for collecting and organizing customer feedback. Use TQM as a way to test your employee's limits. If you have an employee that desperately 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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Posted by DF
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