Total quality management is a mana­gement’s approach towards the quality; it can be in regard to products, customer satisfac­tion and employee’s satisfaction..

Total Quality Management


  1. Introduction to Total Quality Management
  2. Evolution/Origin of Total Quality Management
  3. Definition of Total Quality Management
  4. Concepts of Total Quality Management
  5. Characteristics of TQM
  6. Beliefs of TQM
  7. Principles of TQM
  8. Steps in TQM Implementation
  9. Benefits of TQM

# 1. Introduction to Total Quality Management:

Total quality management is a mana­gement’s approach towards the quality; it can be in regard to products, customer satisfac­tion and employee’s satisfaction. The concept of TQM was developed by an American W. Edwards Deming and i.e., why it is called as Deming’s concept of TQM .He introduced this concept for improving the quality of various products and services.

Earlier it was just related with the quality of products which an organization is producing but now other concepts like marketing, finance design, cus­tomer service has also joined the area. TQM works on one belief that mistakes can be avoided and defects can be prevented.


Total Quality Management, as its name implies, is related to the monitoring of quality throughout the organization by everyone in that organization. This means that if problems are spotted during the production process, it is the responsibility of that person to solve the problem before it goes any further through the process. This way, problems should be identified before they ever get near the consumer but if they do, every effort is made to sort the problem out.

TQM talks about the satisfaction of customer, supplier, employees etc. and it requires continuous improvement. If the workers of an organization are efficiently working then their morale will go up. TQM works effectively if the organization works in a family manner.

Here management is like a father, employees are the children and manager is like mother; and as father and mother takes care for their home collectively the same way , management and managers are supposed to take care for their organization with the help of tool called TQM. In a TQM effort, all members of an organization participate in improving processes, products, services and the culture in which they work.

# 2. Evolution/Origin of Total Quality Management:

The concept of quality has existed for many years, though it’s meaning has changed and evolved over time. In the early twentieth century, quality management was merely inspecting products to ensure that they met specifications.


After the First World War, quality inspection became more commonplace in manufacturing environments and this led to the introduction of Statistical Quality Control (SQC), a theory developed by Dr. W. Edwards Deming.

This quality method provided a statistical method of quality based on sampling. Where it was not possible to inspect every item, a sample was tested for quality. The theory of SQC was based on the notion that a variation in the production process leads to variation in the end product. If the variation in the process could be removed this would lead to a higher level of quality in the end product.

After World War II, the industrial manufacturers in Japan produced poor quality items. In a response to this, the Japanese invited Dr. Deming to train engineers in quality processes. By the 1950’s quality control was an integral part of Japanese manufacturing and was adopted by all levels of workers within an organization.

Statistical sampling techniques were used to evaluate quality, and quality control charts were used to monitor the production process. In the 1960s, with the help of quality gurus, the concept, took on a broader meaning.


The meaning of quality for businesses changed dramatically in the late 1970s. Before then quality was still viewed as something that needed to be inspected and corrected. Since the 1970s, competition based on quality has grown in importance and has generated tremendous interest, concern, and enthusiasm.

Companies in every line of business are focusing on improving quality in order to be more competitive. In many industries quality excellence has become a standard for doing business. Today, successful companies understand that quality provides a competitive advantage. They put the customer first and define quality as meeting or exceeding customer expectations.

The term used for today’s new concept of quality is Total Quality Management or TQM.

# 3. Definition of Total Quality Management:

Total Quality Management (TQM) is made of three words namely:



Made up of the whole.


Degree of excellence a product or service provides.



Act, art, or manner of handling, controlling, directing, etc.

Therefore, TQM is the art of managing the whole to achieve the excellence.

Some of the definitions of TQM as given by various quality experts are:


TQM is an integrated organizational effort designed to improve quality at every level.


TQM is a process and philosophy of achieving best possible outcomes from the inputs, by using them effectively and efficiently in order to deliver best value for the customer, while achieving long term objectives of the organization.



Total Quality Management is a structured system for managing the quality of products, processes, and resources of an organization in order to satisfy its internal and external customers, as well as its suppliers.


TQM is a philosophy that is designed to make an organization faster, flexible, focused and friendly. It leads to a structured system that focuses each employee on the customer. It creates an environment that allows organization-wide participation in planning and implementing a continuous improvement process to meet customer needs.

In brief, TQM is a comprehensive management system which:

a. Focuses on meeting owners’/customers’ needs, by providing quality services at a reasonable cost.

b. Focuses on continuous improvement.


c. Recognizes role of everyone in the organization.

d. Views organization as an internal system with a common aim.

e. Focuses on the way tasks are accomplished.

f. Emphasizes teamwork.

# 4. Concepts of Total Quality Management:

The main feature of TQM is to focus on identifying root causes of quality problems and correcting them at the source, as opposed to inspecting the product after it has been made. TQM attempts to involve quality in every aspect of the organization. It is concerned with technical aspects of quality as well as the involvement of people in quality, such as customers, company employees, and suppliers.

Some of the specific concepts that make up the philosophy of TQM are:


(i) Customer Focus.

(ii) Continuous Improvement.

(iii) Leadership from Top management.

(iv) Actions Based on Facts.

(v) Employee Participation.

(vi) Employee Empowerment.


(vii) Use of Quality Tools.

(viii) Product Design.

(i) Customer Focus:

The first feature of TQM is the company’s focus on its customers. Quality is defined as meeting or exceeding customer expectations. The goal is to first identify and then meet customer needs. TQM recognizes that a perfectly produced product has little value if it is not what the customer wants. Therefore, it can be said that quality is customer driven. Customer satisfaction is seen as the company’s highest priority. The company believes it will only be successful if customers are satisfied.

It is not always easy to determine what the customer wants, because tastes and preferences change. Also, customer expectations often vary from one customer to the next. For example, in the auto industry trends change relatively quickly, from small cars to sports utility vehicles and back to small cars. The same is true in the retail industry, where styles and fashion are short lived. Companies need to continually gather information by means of market surveys, and customer interviews in order to stay in tune with what customers want.

(ii) Continuous Improvement:

Another concept of the TQM philosophy is the focus on continuous improvement. Earlier companies works on the assumption that once it has achieved a certain level of quality, it was successful and needed no further improvements. But nowadays this trend has changed as more and more companies think of improvements in terms of quality.

Continuous improvement of all operations and activities is at the heart of TQM. Once it is recognized that customer satisfaction can only be obtained by providing a high-quality product, continuous improvement of the quality of the product is seen as the only way to maintain a high level of customer satisfaction. Japanese called Kaizen as continuous improvement, which requires that the company continually strive to be better through learning and problem solving. Elimination of waste is a major component of the continuous improvement approach.


The two approaches that help companies with continuous improvement are:

a. Plan -Do- Check – Act (PDCA) cycle.

b. Benchmarking.

(a) Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) Cycle:

The Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle, also known as the Shewhart Cycle or the Deming Cycle, is a popular model for continuous improvement.

As the name indicates, it consists of 4 distinct steps:


(1) Planning, which refers to the act of identifying opportunities for improvement and identifying ways of achieving these improvements;

(2) Doing, which refers to the actual implementation of the actions needed to effect the change;

(3) Checking, which refers to the act of verifying whether the implemented changes resulted, in the desired improvements; and

(4) Action, which is what one does in response to the effects observed.

In step 4, if the effects observed are the desired improvements, then the actions implemented are made permanent and even deployed more widely. If the effects are negligible or even negative, the cycle is repeated using a different plan of action.

(b) Benchmarking:

Benchmarking is another process adopted by the companies for continuous improvement. Benchmarking is the systematic comparison of organizational processes and performance to create new standards or to improve processes. Benchmarking involves looking outside an organization, industry, region etc. to examine how others achieve their performance levels and to understand the processes they use.

(iii) Leadership from Top Management:

TQM is a way of life for a company. It has to be introduced and led by top management. This is a key point. Attempts to implement TQM often fail because top management doesn’t lead and get committed. Commitment and personal involvement is required from top management in creating and deploying clear quality values and goals consistent with the objectives of the company, and in creating and deploying well-defined systems, methods and performance measures for achieving those goals. These systems and methods guide all quality activities and encourage participation by all employees.

(iv) Actions Based on Facts:

The statistical analysis of engineering and manufacturing facts is an important part of TQM. Facts and analysis provide the basis for planning, review and performance tracking, improvement of operations, and comparison of performance with competitors. The TQM approach is based on the use of objective data, and provides a rational rather than an emotional basis for decision-making.

The statistical approach recognizes that most problems are system-related, and are not caused by particular employees. In practice, data is collected and put in the hands of the people who are in the best position to analyze it and then take the appropriate action to reduce costs and prevent non-conformance.

Usually these people are not managers but workers in the process. If the right information is not available, then the analysis, whether it is of shop floor data, or engineering test results, can’t take place, errors can’t be identified, and so errors can’t be corrected.

(v) Employee Participation:

A successful TQM environment requires a committed and well-trained Work force that participates fully in quality improvement activities. Such participation is reinforced by reward and recognition systems, which emphasize the achievement of quality objectives. On-going education and training of all employees supports the drive for quality. Employees are encouraged to take more responsibility, communicate more effectively, act creatively, and innovate.

(vi) Employee Empowerment:

Another concept of TQM is to empower all employees to seek out quality problems and correct them. Employee empowerment is a strategy and philosophy that enables employees to make decisions about their jobs. Employee empower­ment helps employees own their work and take responsibility for their results.

Employees are considered a vital element of the effort to achieve high quality. Their contributions are highly valued, and their suggestions are implemented. In order to perform this function, employees are given continual and extensive training in quality measurement tools.

For employee empowerment to work successfully, the management team must be truly committed to allow employees to make decisions.

(vii) Use of Quality Tools:

Another concept of TQM is use of quality tools, which help organizations to identify, analyze and assess qualitative and quantitative data that is relevant to their business. These tools can identify procedures, ideas, statistics, cause and effect concerns and other issues relevant to their organizations. Each of these tools can be used to enhance the effectiveness, efficiency, standardization and overall quality of procedures, products or work environment, in accordance with standards.

(viii) Product Design:

A critical aspect of building quality into a product is to ensure that the product design meets customer expectations. To produce a product that customers want, the organization’s needs to translate customers’ everyday language into specific technical requirements. A useful tool for translating the voice of the customer into specific technical requirements is Quality Function Deployment (QFD).

QFD enables organizations to view the relationships among the variables involved in the design of a product, such as technical versus customer requirements. QFD begins by identifying important customer requirements, which typically come from the marketing department. These requirements are translated into specific product characteristics.

# 5. Characteristics of TQM:

Some of the characteristics of TQM are:

a. TQM is a customer-focused approach.

b. Aims at satisfying the customer or delighting them.

c. Provides best quality product at lowest possible price.

d. It is companywide strategy.

e. Involves everyone in the organization.

f. Prevention of defects is the way and the target is zero defects.

g. Total quality management is methodical.

h. It makes moves based on information.

i. It is a continuous process.

# 6. Beliefs of TQM:

Following are the universal total quality management beliefs’:

a. Owner/customer satisfaction is the measure of quality.

b. Everyone is an owner/customer.

c. Quality improvement must be continuous.

d. Analysis of the processes is the key to quality improvement.

e. Measurement, a skilled use of analytical tools, and employee involvement are critical sources of quality improvement ideas and innovations.

f. Sustained total quality management is not possible without active, visible, consistent, and enabling leadership by managers at all levels.

g. It is essential to continuously improve the quality of products and services that organization provides to its owners/customers.

# 7. Principles of TQM:

TQM can be defined as the management of initiatives and procedures that are aimed at achieving the delivery of quality products and services.

A number key principles can be identified in defining TQM, including:

(i) Executive Management.

(ii) Training.

(iii) Customer Focus.

(iv) Leadership.

(v) Involvement of People.

(vi) Process Approach.

(vii) System Approach to Management.

(viii) Continual Improvement.

(ix) Factual Approach to Decision Making.

(x) Mutually beneficial supplier relationships.

(xi) Company Culture.

(i) Executive Management:

Top management should act as the main driver for TQM and create an environment that ensures its success.

(ii) Training:

Employees should receive regular training on the methods and concepts of quality.

(iii) Customer Focus:

Organizations depend on their customers and therefore should understand current and future customer needs, should meet customer requirements and strive to exceed customer expectations.

(iv) Leadership:

Leaders establish unity of purpose and direction of the organization. They should create and maintain the internal environment in which people can become fully involved in achieving the organization’s objectives.

(v) Involvement of People:

People at all levels are the essence of an organization and their full involvement enables their abilities to be used for the organization’s benefit.

(vi) Process Approach:

A desired result is achieved more efficiently when activities and related resources are managed as a process.

(vii) System Approach to Management:

Identifying, understanding and managing interrelated processes as a system contributes to the organization’s effectiveness and efficiency in achieving its objectives.

(viii) Continual Improvement:

Companies should continuously work towards improving manufacturing and quality procedures.

(ix) Factual Approach to Decision Making:

Effective decisions are based on the analysis of data and information.

(x) Mutually Beneficial Supplier Relationships:

An organization and its suppliers are interdependent and a mutually beneficial relationship enhances the ability of both to create value.

(xi) Company Culture:

The culture of the company should aim at developing employee’s ability to work together to improve quality.

# 8. Steps in TQM Implementation:

Total Quality Management (TQM) is a management concept of achieving the best possible results from business inputs and operations. Most companies use TQM to improve customer value and to increase the sales and profitability from goods and services.

Implementation of TQM involves the following steps:

(i) Obtain Management Commitment.

(ii) Employee Involvement.

(iii) Create Steering Committee.

(iv) Documentation.

(v) Outline the Vision Statement, Mission Statement, and Guiding Principles.

(vi) Preparation of a Flow Diagram of Company Processes.

(vii) Focus on the Customer Concerns and Surveys.

(viii) Training of Employees.

(ix) Use of Quality Tools.

(i) Obtain Management Commitments:

The first step in implementing TQM is to obtain the total commitment, involvement, and leadership of upper-level management.

(ii) Employee Involvement:

The second stem in TPM implementation is involvement of all, from worker to top executive.

(iii) Create Steering Committee:

A steering committee must be created to guide the company through the process of implementing TQM. The role of the steering committee is to review and evaluate customer surveys, to determine processes to be improved, based on customer and employee recommendations, to monitor process improvement and to communicate successes and progress.

(iv) Documentation:

This step involves documentation of what to do i.e., quality manual and then to do what had been documented i.e., follows the quality manual.

(v) Outline the Vision Statement, Mission Statement, and Guiding Principles:

Mission and vision statement must be written and displayed every-where. These must be the guiding rules to all employees.

(vi) Preparation of a Flow Diagram of Company Processes:

A TQM flow diagram should be made to implement quality processes within the company.

(vii) Focus on the Customer Concerns and Surveys:

Quality improvement can be accomplished by focusing on customers’ concerns, and by learning what those concerns are through owner/customer surveys.

(viii) Training of Employees:

Training regarding quality should be given at all levels of management.

(ix) Use of Quality Tools:

Quality control tools and techniques should be used for TQM implementa­tion.

# 9. Benefits of TQM:

Some of the benefits of TQM are:

a. Elimination of waste costs and rejects products.

b. Elimination of repairs and reworks.

c. Reduced warranty and customer support costs.

d. Process efficiency leading to improved profit per product or service.

e. Improves reputation i.e., faults and problems are spotted and sorted quicker.

f. Higher employee morale i.e., workers motivated by extra responsibility, teamwork and involvement in decisions of TQM.

g. Higher productivity.

h. Higher profitability.

i. Greater customer satisfaction.

j. Employee’s empowerment.

k. Enhanced job interest and security.

l. Enhanced communication.

m. Improved customer/supplier relations.