Total quality management for organisational development
Today, the market is competitive and organisations that carry out
work in an efficient manner can survive as the output of such
organisations meets the needs and wants of customers.
The traditional way of improving the quality of products and services
is to employ more inspection, attend to repairs, rework and applying
corrective tools while putting the responsibility on the quality
assurance department or division.
But most organisations have not understood that many problems
originate in other departments such as administration, production and
purchasing, which contribute to the generation of waste.
This situation has led to the creation of waste generation within the
organisation which in turn increases cost of production or services.
Therefore, it is necessary to address the organisation as a whole where
each and every department focuses on improving the processes of its
departments to eliminate waste while focusing on achieving departmental
goals. One of the methods that an organisation can give effect to
achieve success is to follow the total quality management approach.
According to BS 7850 TQM is defined as “Any activity that accepts
inputs, adds values to these inputs for customers and produces outputs
for customers. The customers may be either internal or external to the
Total Quality Management (TQM) is a well-defined systematic quality
improvement approach for companywide management to improve performance
of processes, customer satisfaction and profitability.
TQM is a management philosophy and a concept to empower every member
of the organisation to promote continuous improvement in quality and
productivity and to eliminate waste and to achieve sustainability.
Total Quality Management is a comprehensive approach that integrates
all departments, divisions and units of the organisation to achieve the
overall goal of the organisation with the support of all employees.
The fundamental concept of TQM is that the cost of prevention is less
than the cost of correction.
TQM can be defined as a holistic management philosophy which strives
for continuous improvement in all functions of an organisation and
practices which have been documented with extensive measurement
indicators in relation to various dependent variables.
TQM is achieved through an integrated effort among personnel at all
levels to increase customer satisfaction by continuously improving
performance of the organisation.
The important thing to be considered before implementing a total
quality management program is to ensure that the top management adopts a
strategic view of quality to improve and develop the functions of the
This needs the top management's active involvement to promote the
right-the-first-time approach to work situations where a complete change
of attitude from detection to prevention should be established among
employees. In other words, the most senior management must demonstrate
that they are serious about quality and, therefore, organisation-wide
approach for quality improvement is a must to improve the efficiency and
effectiveness of work processes.
The Chief Executive Officer with the support of other officers should
develop a Quality Policy in which he or she really believes that
improvement of quality in all departments and units is necessary from
all levels of employees and to that extent the direction and guidance
can be developed based on the main Quality Policy of the organisation.
Therefore, the quality policy should be communicated to all employees
and it should be ensured that they have an understanding of the contents
of the policy in relation to their functions.
Policy deployment is also effective in motivating employees, since it
needs so many of them to actively participate in it. The organisation’s
objectives have to be drawn up in the form of a coherent system of
linked goals for the organisation as a whole.
In this process, employees in each division of the organisation set
their targets through active participation and in a TQM environment,
with guidance and assistance through supportive leadership.
There are four main pillars that are critical to a successful TQM
strategy and those are customer satisfaction, employee involvement,
managerial leadership and process improvement and control.
In many organisations they consider the customer as the end user of
receiving the service or the product. But TQM-focused organisations
always ensure that customers (internal and external), determine the
specific needs of customers, integrate all activities of the
organisation to focus on all divisions of the organisation to satisfy
the needs of customers and finally, follow up to ensure customers have
Performance measurement is an integral part of all management process
and traditionally has involved management accountants through the use of
budgetary control and the development of financial indicators such as
return on investment.
However, it is important to note that with the implementation of TQM-based
systems, the conventional aggregate financial accounting indicators are
inappropriate as with the growing awareness that the quality of final
products and services is a strategic competitive variable, organisations
can develop more qualitative and quantitative indicators to cover the
whole organisation and to measure performance while ensuring the concept
of high quality products or services and providing the road map to
TQM provides valuable benefits such as improved customer
satisfaction, organisational productivity, boosts employee morale and
job satisfaction, creates a positive work culture, undertakes systematic
problem solving and decision-making through project teams, improves
teamwork and creates a climate conducive to continuous improvement.
The writer is the Director General and CEO of the Sri Lanka Standards