Last Updated 12 Jul 2021

Total Quality Management Defenition

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Introduction to Total Quality Management:

Total quality management refers to the idea or structure that intends to recover the services or goods that are presented to the customers. The approach of total quality management was introduced in 1950s and came in much more implementation and use in 1980’s. Total quality management basically encompasses the culture, position and organization of the company. Total quality management works for producing and providing the goods and services to the customers in order to satisfy their needs. TQM is basically a combination of tools that are designed for improving quality and management.

TQM is a management policy and it gathers all the operations with in the organization and tries to improve their management so that the production can also be improved. It gathers marketing, finance, design, engineering, production, customer services and so on. The basic purpose of implementing TQM in any organization is to satisfy the needs and requirements of the customer and to achieve the aims of the organization. At first TQM was only implemented for the manufacturing area of the company but now it is implemented in the organization generally in almost all the areas and for the management of each and every area. The major activities of TQM include:

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  • To fulfill the commitments made with management and all the workers.
  • Satisfying the requirements and needs of customers.
  • Minimizing the time period of development cycle.
  • In time demand flow management.
  • Improving the team.
  • Minimizing the costs of products and services.
  • Introducing the systems that can improve the position of company.
  • Improving the processes and operations.
  • Achieving the goals and objectives.

All the above basic activities of TQM shows that all the people associated with the organization should practice the total quality management techniques and processes and it should be implemented in all the areas of the company. (Hashmi, 1, 2000).

Relevance of TQM with Academics

The possible benefits of TQM to the academics are very much obvious. It helps the institutes to provide improved services and education to the students as well as to the employers. The continuous improvement objective of TQM is obviously the requirement of all the educational institutes. This objective of TQM provides students with challenges and it also excites the students and hence the atmosphere of learning is improved because they are looking for more and more improvement. (Fitzgerald, 1, 2004).

Essential Elements of TQM in Education

In the institutes that implements TQM team improvement and individual improvement is continuously taking place. There are few elements that are important in observing and understanding the possibilities of TQM in academics.

  • Awareness and Commitment
  • Clear mission
  • System planning approach
  • Team replacement hierarchy
  • Enablement and empowerment replacing fear
  • Focus on learning
  • Management by measurement
  • Developing total quality management skills in students
  • Transformation plan
  • Quality learning environment (Fitzgerald, 1, 2004).

Aims and Objectives of TQM

It is said that the basic goal of TQM is to do the right things right the first time, every time. In simple words it can be described as the aim of TQM is to satisfy the customers by providing the quality services and products and also fulfilling their requirements and needs. TQM also focuses on the continuous improvement of the organization. The improvement is required in almost all the areas like processes, people, equipment, partners, goods, services and customers. As the name shows Total Quality Management means to provide excellent services and products on the whole and for providing excellent services it is necessary to have total control and improvement in management. TQM also focuses in maintaining the trust between the customers and the organization. (Vishwanathan, 1, 2008)

Elements of TQM

  • Focus on customer that what does he wants. Focus over customer is necessary in order to find out his needs and requirements.
  • Always try to provide the right thing to the customer so that he should not ask to rework. This will maintain the trust of customer.
  • The process of improvement should not be stopped.
  • The communication among the members of the organization should be present and the members should know what is going on.
  • If the workers are not trained for TQM then obviously they would not be able to help in continuous improvement so the workers should be trained for the principles of TQM.
  • The work should be measured so that the decisions can be made over facts rather than by using opinions.
  • The top level of the organization should always be involved.
  • The workers should not be afraid of making mistakes or they should not be afraid of failure in implementing something new or innovative.
  • There should always be a team work involved, so that there can be a variety of skills and ideas. This approach minimizes the risk of conflicts. (Vishwanathan, 1, 2008).

Phases of Implementing Total Quality Management

In order to implement TQM in any organization following are some of the steps that can be followed:

Obtain Commitment

The first step in implementing TQM is to get the commitment from the chief executive of the company that he will be totally involved and committed to the tasks.

Train the Management

The second step would be to educate the management as well as the upper level of the organization that how to give the time and money in order to bring enhancements in all the fields of organization. They should be trained so that they can participate in all the activities and can also make the decisions and solve the problems. The management should be involved in making the vision and mission statement and should also guide the rest of the employers.

Create a Steering Committee

When the upper level of the organization is involved and has made commitments then there it is necessary to create a committee that is responsible for guiding the entire company about the implementation of TQM. This committee is responsible for observing the demands of the customer then it should find out the processes that can help in improving the standards. Teams should be made and tasks should be divided among these teams. The committee should monitor the performance of the teams. If any problem is finding out then it is also brought in front of the committee and the committee will then form a team for solving that problem and will make necessary changes.

Developing the Vision Statement, Mission Statement and Guiding Principles

The vision and mission statements along with the guidelines should be made by considering the customer’s need and satisfaction. The safety should be there and the out come should be error free so that the customer is satisfied with the first outcome with which he is provided. The mission should be continuous improvement and also to obtain the good position in the eyes of the customer.

Flow Diagram of Company’s Processes

A flow diagram of company’s processes should be made as it will help in improving the processes of the company. Such descriptive diagrams are necessary for understanding the processes and operations in the organization. If the clear understanding of company’s processes is provided only then the TQM can be implemented.

Focus on the Customer’s Concerns and Surveys

It should be the main part of consideration that for what customer is concerned. This is the best way of obtaining total quality management. If the requirements of the customer are focused and the company tries to achieve these requirements by making the changes and improvements that are needed then obviously the customer would be happy. All these concerns can be met by surveying different areas of the organization like condition of equipments, the power and weaknesses of the rivals, image of the company, level of performance, relation with the customer, delivery system,

Providing Quality Training Programs

All the companies that implements TQM do arrange training programs for their employers as well as for the management. These training sessions should be provided to the management first. If the highest level of management is not trained then the TQM will not survive in the organization.

Establishing Different Teams

There should be teams that are organized for implementing total quality management in different areas of the company. In large organizations there are several teams for this purpose and in small organizations only one team is enough. This team is responsible for finding out the inputs and outputs of any processes. These teams also review the processes and think about making some new and improved changes in it. Identification of problems and then determining the solution is also their responsibility. This team is responsible for gathering data and also to develop the framework for the implementation of TQM.

Implementing Process Improvements

If the management is supporting the improvement of processes then they will be very much interested with the customer’s satisfaction. The managers should try to find out the areas that need improvement. There should be good understanding between the managers and the employers of the company. This good relation ship will help in improving the systems. The fear of failure should be driven out of the minds of employees so that they can try new and innovative experiments. The teams should be arranged in such a way that they can analyze and understand the procedures.

Using Tools of TQM

There are some tools that are related to the TQM. These tools include:

  • Flowchart
  • Cause and effect diagram
  • Control chart
  • Histograms
  • Check sheet
  • Pareto diagram
  • Scatter diagram
  • Run chart

There are many more tools related to TQM if these tools are applied and used then the implementation of TQM will become easier. (Total Quality Management- A continuous improvement process, 11, 1996)

Implementation of TQM

The basic thing while implementation total quality management in any organization is to find out the truth of the organization. For the successful implementation of total quality management it is necessary to find out the history as well as the current situations of the organization. The needs of the organization and the conditions should be observed so that it can be judged that what processes need what type of improvements. The implementation of total quality management should not be done until the positive response is not possible. If the organization is flexible enough that it can give positive response to the changes and it has adopted changes successfully in the past then such an organization is ideal for the implementation of total quality management. Management audit is the best way to analyze the level at which the changes can be made. Total quality management is applied in the sound and healthy organizations, the organizations that can adapt changes and can respond to these changes. But if the organization is having a weak structure or it is lacking in finances or its administrative and management area is weak then obviously such an organization is not suitable for implementing total quality management. The TQM should be implemented when people associated with the company feel a need to change. (Hashmi, 1, 2000)

Problems in Implementing TQM

There are some of the problems associated with the implementation of total quality management. Obviously all of the organizations do have interest in providing quality services and improved processes to the customers. The development and implementation of total quality management do need time, money and energy that is sometimes not manageable by some of the organizations. The process of implementing TQM is very much time consuming and it needs hard work and efforts. It needs development of teams and it also requires meetings so that the teams can communicate with each other. This thing needs a lot of time. Another problem with TQM implementation is that it also needs a training which is again a time consuming as well as money consuming task. Some times it happens that the people who get trained may leave the organization and in that case all the time spent and money spent on that person is wasted. This TQM process needs a strong leadership for managing the teams and it is not possible for everyone to be a strong leader and sometimes it takes a time to become one. Other people who observe that it is difficult to manage the leadership can get discouraged. The program of implementing TQM can be so much costly sometimes. Getting the advisors, trainers and training tools is not simple it needs a lot of money. Total quality management is obviously a time taking as well as high maintenance and costly program. (Rebecca, 1, 1996).

Failure of TQM

In some of the organizations after the implementation of total quality management sometimes it gets failed. There can be several reasons of failure:

  • TQM can become a failure program if the top level management does not show any interest in it.
  • It can also become a failure when the management is not in communication with its staff.
  •  If the organization’s management is not concerned and not paying it full attention then obviously this program will become a failure.
  • After starting the program the interest is lost and no proper time and concentration is being paid.
  • Difference of thoughts among the workers and the management can also lead it towards a failure.
  • Interference of some sort of urgent problems.
  • Total quality management’s implementation is forced over the workers and they are not agreed with it.
  • There are no targets, no deadlines and no performance level is set up before starting the process.
  • Procedures are not documented
  • Weak systems
  • Poor analysation of the processes. (Vishwanathan, 1, 2008).

Methods of Investigations

For having a successful response social investigation method is the most successful and effective method. This social investigation is based over the principles by Deming. Responses from different people over these principles are taken and are then compared with the traditional principles of TQM in the organization. These principles include:

  • Opinion of management for achieving the top quality of work.
  • How to satisfy the needs of the customer
  • Description of some operations and functions from the top as well as low level management.
  • Influence of team work on every individual in the team.
  • To regulate the systems in the organization.
  • How to define quality and how to achieve it
  • How to create the quality standards.
  • How to improve quality and make it sustainable
  • Comparing the experiences.
  • Improving the training level
  • Defining the problems
  • Solution of the problems
  • Assuring the quality
  • Active management
  • Good quality of material
  • Improved communication with in the organization
  • Introducing the reward system (Christauskas, 2, 2006)


The simple way to achieve success in implementing TQM is to respect the people related to the organization so that they can be dedicated to the organization in return. The top level management should be involved with the organization’s staff people and should understand their opinions as well. If this will be the approach then obviously the people associated with the organization will pay attention in improving the situations of the organizations. There are many top class companies that have implemented total quality management in their organization like Wal-mart, Bechtel, Motorola, Built rite, Marlow industries and so on. The necessary element is the support of top level management. The people should be committed in implementing the total quality management for short time rather they should be calm and be committed till the very end. The funds should be provided enough so that new systems and processes can be introduced. (Total Quality Management- A continuous improvement process, 9, 1996)


  1. Dr, Gomathi Vishwanathan, Total quality management (2008), Accessed November 17, 2008
  2. Julius Christauskas, Problems of implementing TQM principles (2006) <
  3. Accessed November 17, 2008
  4. Khurram Hashmi, Introduction and implementation of TQM (2000). , Accessed November 17, 2008.
  5. Rebecca, What went wrong with TQM (1996) Accessed November 17, 2008.
  6. Ron Fitzgerald, Total quality management (2004). <> Accessed November 17, 2008.
  7. Total Quality Management- A continuous improvement process (1996) <> Accessed November 17, 2008




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