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Managing Quality

Total Quality Management (TQM)

by Ten3 East-West


Five Main Advantages of TQM

  1. Encourages a strategic approach to management at the operational level through involving multiple departments in cross-functional improvements and systemic innovation processes

  2. Provides high return on investment through improving efficiency

  3. Works equally well for service and manufacturing sectors

  4. Allows organizations to take advantage of developments that enable managing operations as cross-functional processes

  5. Fits an orientation toward inter-organizational collaboration and strategic alliances through establishing a culture of collaboration among different departments within organization

TQM and Continuous Improvement Firm (CIF) - two different perspectives of the same phenomenon

  • The TQM Perspective - the beliefs and practices required of management to bring about and perpetuate a continuous improvement firm (CIF)

  • The CIF Perspective - the organization itself in all its integrity, full-blown, operating and practicing the total quality management (TQM) approaches

TQM and Just-in-Time (JIT)

  • JIT - seeks improvement through reduction of waste

  • TQM - ensures that the improvements are fundamental and not superficial

Barriers to Successful TQM

  • Lack of long-term commitment and leadership for management

  • Insufficient empowerment of workers

  • Lack of cross-functional, cross-disciplinary efforts

  • Misdirected focus - emphasis on the trivial many problems facing the company rather than a critical few

  • Emphasis on internal processes to the neglect of external  - customer-focused - results

  • Lack of focus in training and coaching

  • Lack of cost-of-quality measurement, performance reporting, and reward/formal recognition systems

  • Emphasis on quick fixes and low-level reforms, short-term performance at the expense of long-term improvements

Main Difference Between TQM and Six Sigma

  • Total Quality Management (TQM) programs focus on improvement in individual operations with unrelated processes

  • Six Sigma focuses on making improvements in all operations within a process

Why TQM?

TQM refers to an integrated approach by management to focus all functions and levels of an organization on quality and continuous improvement. Over the years TQM has become very important for improving a firm's process capabilities in order to achieve fit and sustain competitive advantages. TQM focuses on encouraging a continuous flow of incremental improvements from the bottom of the organization's hierarchy. TQM is not a complete solution formula as viewed by many - formulas can not solve managerial problems, but a lasting commitment to the process of continuous improvement.


Founder - Vadim Kotelnikov. Vadim Kotelnikov, Ten3 East-West & GIVIS

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