Total Quality Management (TQM)

Total Quality Management is defined as a customer-oriented process and aims for continuous improvement of business operations. It ensures that all allied works (particularly work of employees) are toward the common goals of improving product quality or service quality, as well as enhancing the production process or process of rendering of services. However, the emphasis is put on fact-based decision making, with the use of performance metrics to monitor progress.


The key principles of Total Quality Management

Commitment from the management:

  • Plan (drive, direct)
  • Do (deploy, support, and participate)
  • Check (review)
  • Act (recognize, communicate, revise)

Employee Empowerment

  • Training
  • Excellence team
  • Measurement and recognition
  • Suggestion scheme

Continuous Improvement

  • Systematic measurement
  • Excellence teams
  • Cross-functional process management
  • Attain, maintain, improve standards

Customer Focus

  • Partnership with Suppliers
  • Service relationship with internal customers
  • Customer-driven standards
  • Never compromise quality


 There are a number of tools available to assist in a TQM effort, such as:

  • Benchmarking
  • Failure analysis
  • Plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle
  • Process management
  • Product design control
  • Statistical process control


The advantages of total quality management (TQM) include:

Cost reduction: When applied consistently over time, TQM can reduce costs throughout an organization, especially in the areas of scrap, rework, field service, and warranty cost reduction. Since these cost reductions flow straight through to bottom-line profits without any additional costs being incurred, there can be a startling increase in profitability.

Customer satisfaction: Since the company has better products and services, and its interactions with customers are relatively error-free, there should be fewer customer complaints. Fewer complaints may also mean that the resources devoted to customer service can be reduced. A higher level of customer satisfaction may also lead to increased market share, as existing customers act on the company’s behalf to bring in more customers.

Defect reduction: TQM has a strong emphasis on improving quality within a process, rather than inspecting quality into a process. This not only reduces the time needed to fix errors, but makes it less necessary to employ a team of quality assurance personnel.

Morale: The ongoing and proven success of TQM, and in particular the participation of employees in that success can lead to a noticeable improvement in employee morale, which in turn reduces employee turnover, and therefore reduces the cost of hiring and training new employees.

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