Quality management entails the process of overseeing all the activities and tasks required to uphold a desired level of excellence within an organization. It incorporates the creation and implementation of quality planning, quality control as well as quality improvement. Quality management covers the quality assurance actions that are necessary in the management of quality products and services in organizations. Quality management in organizations ensures that every action or activity requires planning, development, and application that leads to creation of valuable goods and services that reflect professionalism in line with the organization’s culture. Quality management is an organizational structure that enhances an individual’s development and the organization’s proficiencies. Quality management within an organization focuses on the need of a methodical emergence of talent management that embraces a distinct strategy to endow employees and refine their creativeness and production. Worldwide, the business sector is connected by the performance of quality structure founded on ISO 9000 international standards, which has enhanced development of quality management.
Quality Management Concepts
Quality management encompasses a number of administration concepts and principles. Organizational leaders and managers apply these concepts to guide their organizations in enhancing an improved performance outcome (Das, 2013). Quality management entails the following concepts: leadership, customer focus, continual improvement, attachment of people, procedure approach, system approach of administration, realistic approach of judgment making, and mutual favorable supplier’s relationship.
However, among these concepts, there are fundamental core concepts that are entailed in quality management. The fundamental core concepts in quality management offer proper guidance in ensuring the attainment of quality assurance values within an organization. This is significant to all the organization stakeholder groups that result in a constant capacity advancement, thereby achieving and upholding customer satisfaction. These fundamental core concepts include customer focus, defect deterrence of non-conformity, and universals responsibility. Customer focus ensures that customers’ internal and external needs are identified, thereby focusing on satisfaction of the needs through provision of valuable goods and services. Defect deterrence and non-conformity seek to escape non-compliance issues that untimely come along with products in the growth system. This focuses on the prevention of contrary issues that are associated with the organization’s goods and services. Finally, the universal responsibility is another significant core value that upholds an organization’s standard of quality. Therefore, the responsibility of ensuring the attainment of high quality products and services does not fall on the quality assurance team only.
Total Quality Management (TQM)
The concept of total quality management was pioneered by DR. D.E Deming in the 1960s in Japan. TQM refers to the planned approach that is focused on the production of best quality services and products through a continuous innovation as well a timely action. TQM concentrates on the prevention of errors in production rather than rectification. Therefore, TQM is a management approach that focuses on an ongoing improvement of value and quality of products and services that is beneficial to both the organization and the customers. This continuous quest for excellence also aims to enhance the flexibility of any organizations through incorporating different processes to maintain production of goods and services that are better than other competing firms (Douglas & Judge, 2001).
Total quality management contain several features. First, there is an aspect of customer focus. According to total quality management, focus is placed on meeting the internal and external needs of the customers as well as decreasing the organizational internal costs. However, before meeting the external needs of the customer, it is significant that internal needs of the client are addressed first. The second feature of TQM is continuous process that entails a constant and ongoing efforts aimed at improving the quality and value of products and services as well as reducing the internal costs.
Quality improvement in an organization enables it to meet the ever changing needs of facing off the competition from other firms. Therefore, TQM is an ongoing process since the quality of products and services can never be 100% perfect. This enhances a new way of producing or adding values to goods and services. Another feature is defect free approach, which focuses on defect free actions. The main objective of defect free is to reduce errors in production of products and services to enhance smart working. Employee involvement is another significant feature of TQM where emphasis is put on integrating everyone within the organization from directors to junior staff. Reconciliation and rewards is also a significant feature of TQM program that enhances maintenance of achievement as well as an ongoing quality improvement in the value of products and services. Another feature of TQM is synergy in teamwork that encourages cooperation and collaboration. Techniques enhances possible improved systems while system approach boosts total commitment on the organizational leaders to start the whole TQM process in organizations.
An integrated TQM framework is a tool that is applied in understanding and managing organizational performance that entails a set of questions that guide the running of any firm. The criteria for these questions encompasses every facet of management, for instance, leadership, strategic planning, customers, management knowledge, employees, operations as well as outcomes among many others. These criteria is significant in providing systems perspective, that is, looking at an integration that cuts through the whole organization. These frameworks are categorized into process and results, which represent all the elements of performance management systems. The discrete elements are significant, but their success is defined by the way they link with one another, which defines the success of the organization and its general management systems.
Pillars of Total Quality Management
The pillar principle of TQM is Synergistic Relationships that enhances organizations to focus on all their suppliers and customers. The principle of synergistic relationship proposes that performance and production in organizations is enriched by pooling individual experienced talents. Continuous improvement and self-evaluation is also another TQM pillar on a personal and collective level. According to TQM, self-evaluation is treated as part of the continuous improvement process in an organization. The third pillar of TQM is the system of ongoing process that encourages and determines the quality and value of the product or service outcome. Leadership forms the basis of the quality management.
Benefits of Total Quality Management
The main objective of TQM is to optimize the performance of an organization through a continuous process of improving products and services, operations of both internal and external services as well as enhancing the services of all the employees and other persons involved. The TQM process has several benefits. The benefits include cost reduction, customer satisfaction, enhancing products, as well as process quality and employee motivation. These are some of the benefits accrued from TQM. TQM involves an organization philosophy that is to be implemented in the long-term backed by a solid commitment of the management team.
TQM also faces several barriers during the implementation process. They include a competitive market that mostly lowers the quality standard to a minimal accepted levels of products and services (Talib & Rahman, 2015)). Lack of leadership for quality is another barrier that affects TQM. This is as a result of excess layers of management team that duplicates duties and responsibilities leading to lower employees not focusing on quality production, leaving it to managers. Furthermore, inadequate resources is also an obstacle for TQM by organizations focusing on increasing profit margins rather that building employee’s capacity as well as customer satisfaction. Other barriers associated with TQM are lack of customer focus, inadequate measurement of quality improvement, poor planning, and lack of leadership/management planning as well as resistance from workforce.
Definition of a Customer
In terms of quality management, there are two types of customers: internal and external customers. Internal customers are found within an organization or company that works in collaboration for the delivery of products or services to external customers. On the other hand, external customers entail individuals or enterprises that buy the products or services from another person or organization in exchange for money. Customer satisfaction refers to the degree of how an organization’s products or services as defined by customers meet their needs and requirements in their experience that exceeds identified satisfaction. Customer satisfaction is the key performance indicator within organizations. In competing organizations, customer satisfaction is a significant differentiator thus being a key element in business strategy. Customer satisfaction ratings have strong indicators on organizations since they focus on employees’ ability to meet the needs of customers. This means that lower ratings have detrimental effects of warning that might affect an organization’s sales as well as profitability. A high rating profit or service definitely gains customer loyalty and enjoys free word of mouth marketing. This, therefore, implies that it is crucial for organizations to manage customer satisfaction. In order to achieve this, organizations need to identify customer needs and feedback on whether their products or services have met or exceeded their expectations in quality. Therefore, key aspects in customer satisfaction are expectation and quality.
Customer definition of quality refers to the measure of excellence or a state of being free for defects and deficiencies in products and services of an organization. Quality emanates from an organization’s strict adherence to certain standards that ensure customers’ needs and requirements are met. As indicated earlier, there are several methods of identifying customer needs. The first method is through research. This entails carrying out a study as part of marketing strategy in order to determine customers’ needs. This provides significant information about customers’ latest trends as well as changes in the purchasing patterns that are essential in the production of products in organizations. Moreover, getting customer feedback is also essential in identifying customers’ needs. This approach encourages customers to provide insights in helping to identify how organization’s products and services are meeting their needs as well as their attitudes towards them. This forum is also significant in establishing any complaint that customers may have towards the products and services. Having this information enables the organization to incorporate customers’ needs and requirements in the production of products and services. Through this process, an organization’s products are able to reflect the ideal needs of customers, an aspect that will encourage customer retention in purchasing products and services.
Contribution of Quality Gurus
Today, there are several concepts of quality management that have been widely accepted across the world. These concepts were led by several philosophers or gurus that are still prevalent in the modern world of industry and technology. Individuals working on the concept of quality management currently have originated their ideas, expanded or modified the concepts of the gurus. Therefore, it is relevant to note the great contribution of these renowned pioneers and acknowledge their contribution in the field of management. Therefore, winning quality awards in business excellence awards is increasingly becoming an objective of most organization in relation to the contribution of management guru’s ideas (Zairi, 2013). These awards are inspired from Deming Prize of Japan initiated in 1951 and Malcolm Baldride National Quality Award (MBNQA) founded in 1987 in the United States. Additionally, there is the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM), European Quality Award (EQA) initiated in 1991, the UAE awards and Concepts of 5 “S”, QC and 8D. These quality awards have acted as reagents in spreading and promoting TQM practices across the world (Abusa, 2011). Furthermore, these awards have also motivated organizations in the adoption of quality enhancements tools and equipment aimed at exceling in their performance as stated by Bhat and Jagadeesh (Subrahmanya & Rajashekhar, 2009)).
Winning these awards comes in with many benefits for organizations, like prestige and a testimony for an organization’s ability to uphold high quality standards. Organizations are therefore spending quality time and resources to ensure that they win quality awards in order to be in the lame light. However, the criteria of giving awards does not only depend on the quality of an organization’s products and services but also entail other various factors that directly or indirectly touch on the organization enhancing the quality production. Management gurus, for instance, Edward Deming and Philip Crosby, have categorically stated that quality management is only possible and successful with regards to the meaningful contribution of people concerned who are supported by the management (Summers, 2005). Therefore, according to quality management gurus, organizations can achieve management awards through a close connection that is initiated in the human resource that ensures quality production of products and services within organizations and support the efforts of concerned persons like the employees. Achieving this balance entails concepts like 5S system that enhance workplace efficiency in helping managers and employees in an organization to achieve enhanced organization standardization and efficiency. Furthermore, the 8D is another tool used in balancing an organization’s performance through a problem solving process in addressing contradictory factors in a professional and controlled manner.
Statistical Process Control
Statistical process control (SPC) are procedures that help organizational leaders in monitoring the process behavior. There are several tools used in SPC by quality analysts, improvement associates, and inspectors, which is the control chart. This is attained through a training process among organizational leaders that explains to them the details in controlling the charting as well as other SP procedures and their application in the organization in statistical process control. Application of statistical methods is aimed at achieving and maintaining a state of statistical control as well as enhancing the process capability of organizations.
Product reliability in organizations determines the success of products and one of the key factor of quality is the ability of a product to perform over time. Therefore, the performance of a product is determined by the reliability as well as the redundancy where reliability increases the efficiency of products within organization. Product reliability is dependent on speed, quality as well as time availability. This means that equipment failure can lead to frequent breakdown that affects the quality of products and decrease production peed, thus, impacting on the time availability. This calls for total productive maintenance (TPM) in organizations, which entails a series of practices that ensure that every piece of equipment in the production process within organizations is in a position to function as required to avoid production interruption to enhance product reliability. TPM is a team based initiative that entails every employee in ensuring that equipment maintenance is observed.
Business processes have continued to be dynamic, and they are mainly aimed at producing specified products that meet the distinct needs of customers in the market. Enhancing business processes is significant for organizations to remain relevant in the competition filled market. Organizations have been forced to improve their business processes because customers are continually demanding for enhanced quality goods and services. This has forced the organizations to create a continuous improvement model, Business Process Reengineering (BPR). The BPR system model encompasses the development of organizations’ vision as well as process objectives through identifying the process to be redesigned and understanding and measuring the current processes. BPR is supported by a sustainable management, commitment and leadership in relation to realistic expectations ready to accept change.
Quality function deployment (QFD) is process of developing design quality aimed at meeting the customers’ needs as well as translating their requirements into design targets and key quality assurance factors to be applied in the production process. It is an assurance of design quality of products when they are still at the design stage. Therefore, quality function deployment ensures that the consumer’s voice is valued in the production process. Failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA), on the other hand, is a method applied in identification and understanding the potential failure modes in the production process as well as their causes and effects. Through application of FMEA, an organization can point out and perform corrective actions in handling the gravest concerns. FMEA entails an engineering analysis carried out across a functional team of subject matter experts that examine products’ designs and the manufacturing process early enough in the process of production to identify any weaknesses and manage them before reaching clients.
Seven Quality Control Statistical Tools (Q7)
There are several tools, which are commonly referred to as instruments for executing TQM or Q7. They include data collection, cause and effect diagram, Pareto analysis, histograms, stratification, scatter plots, and control charts. Data collecting is the initial step in statistical tools in quality management. Secondly, cause and effects diagrams demonstrate the relationship between a given outcome as well as the factors influencing the outcome. Essentially, quality problems in production are caused by the seven M ‘s’, man, management, method, measurement, machine, material or milieu. Cause and effects diagrams are, thus, developed as a brainstorming. Pareto analysis is a measurement used to identify the most underlying problems in the production process and gives the frequency of the various defects in the chart. This is significant in addressing the predicaments to be solved first. Histograms charts display data and reveal variation in any production process, thus, showing any disparities or errors in products.
Stratification is used to categorize collected data into sub categories and illustrate it on the histogram. This is done with regards to machines, time, factory or material from a given supplier. Stratification is significant in detecting errors within a given time frame or material. Scatter plots entail a graphical technique that examines the connection of two variables referred to as correlation chart. This is significant in explaining how a product’s features are influenced by a set of explanatory variables. The control chart, on the other hand, entails a statistical tool that designates whether the process is in control. The control chart works by tracking information in form of quality indicators within consistent recesses or at different levels of the production process in checking the suitability of the production process.
TQM Leadership and Employee Involvement
Employees are the most significant segment in any organization and the most valuable assets that contribute significantly to the overall success of a company. The involvement of employees in organizations plays a critical role in motivating them as well as giving them an opportunity to make effective and efficient contributions (Price, 2007). This entails aspects, such as process involvement participation, communication, and decision making, thus, making them committed to organizational values. The employees also help one another in the attainment of organizational goals (CIPD, 2009).
Employee management, thus, forms a vital concept of TQM by enabling employees to apply their expertise and knowledge in suggesting methods and areas that need improvement. These improvements could relate to the job, the product, as well as the general working environment of the organization. Organizational leaders are, therefore, encouraged to enhance a close relationship between employees and managers that encourages teamwork, participation, continuous learning, and flexibility.
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