Total Quality Management (TQM) is a philosophy or an approach towards work wherein the worker regardless of their hierarchical level or nature of work strives for efficiency and optimization. Such an approach ensures that continuous improvement of work processes and the end products, bringing about a holistic improvement in the business activity and the benefits permeating to all stakeholders.
Process and Product Improvement
One of the direct benefits of Total Quality Management is process improvement. With the obsession on efficiency, TQM strives to improve productivity by
- Streamlining processes to eliminate redundancy, duplicate tasks and unproductive activities
- Identifying problems or issues that hinder the smooth progress of work and resolve such issues or road-blocks permanently
- Pre-empting errors to avoid repairs and repeats
Such process improvements offer both direct and indirect financial benefits. The direct financial benefit comes from reduced input costs, elimination of waste and waste processes and lesser product rejects.
The indirect financial benefits stems from improved productivity owing to better employee morale, lesser warranty and customer support costs, increasing sales owing to better reputation for high quality output and more.
Total Quality Management improves customer satisfaction.
The process improvement brought about by TQM leads to the delivery of high quality products. TQM defines a high quality product as that which match customer expectations. The whole focus on TQM interventions is to align the production process in parameters such as customer expectation of product features or performance, satisfactory service standards and more.
Applying TQM to improve customer satisfaction, may, for instance, mean
- Changing the delivery process from a linear to a modular one for better delivery to customer
- Proactive contact with the customer after a specified period to book for service than wait for the customer to initiate a request, and more.
Total Quality Management changes the work culture for the better. It serves as a catalyst to educate the workforce on productivity, efficiency and quality. Implementing TQM very often requires forming cross-functional teams, leading to better bonding, better inter-departmental co-ordination and increased workforce flexibility.
Implementation of TQM results in a proactive work culture where employees try to prevent mistakes than correct mistakes. Such an approach allows the worker to gain more insight into their work-domain, directly translating to knowledge and skill enrichment.
For the top management, implementing TQM allows them to focus on strategy than fire-fight problems.