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Sunday, September 6, 2009

TQM as a long term strategy

As per bized, Total Quality Management (TQM) "is a business philosophy that seeks to encourage both individual and collective responsibility to quality at every stage of the production process from initial design and conception through to after sales service."
Total Quality has come a long way and it is now accepted globally. It started as an inspection function and the major duty of the operator was to check the end product. With the increase in the industrialization there came the need of separate inspection department. This department was responsible for standards, training, and recording of data and the accuracy of measuring equipment.
The emphasis then gradually shifted to the prevention of defects which led to the emergence of quality control department. In late 1940 companies began using statistical tools. In the early 1950's, quality management practices developed rapidly in Japanese plants, and by 1970s it was popular in US and Europe.
In 1969 the first international conference on quality control, sponsored by Japan, America and Europe, was held in Tokyo. In a paper given by Feigenbaum, the term "total quality" was used for the first time, and referred to wider issues such as planning, organisation and management responsibility. In 1980s west started adapting the quality management after some of the countries like UK started experiencing decline in world trade. The British Standard (BS) 5750 for quality systems had been published in 1979, and in 1983 the National Quality Campaign was launched, using BS5750 as its main theme. The aim was to bring to the attention of industry the importance of quality for competitiveness and survival in the world market place. Since then the International Standardisation Organisation (ISO) 9000 has become the internationally recognised standard for quality management systems. ISO 9000 is mainly concerned with quality management in relation to customer requirements, customer satisfaction, adherence to regulations and the pursuit of continuous improvement.
In this century TQ is used to improve the performance of the organization and it is now becoming the part of the process leading to excellence in business.
Organization can utilize TQ principle to improve its business process for accomplishment of business objectives. TQM recognizes the importance of internal customers and thus introduced the concept of quality circles. A Quality Circle consists of employees who are trained to identify, analyze and solve work-related problems and present their solutions to management in order to improve the performance of the organization, and motivate and enrich the work of employees. (Wikipedia, 2009). Quality circle helps in greater empowerment and in continuous improvement of the processes. TQM helps to change the attitude of the employees and the quality becomes embedded in each process. TQM should not be considered as a short term solution. Organization must take TQM as long term strategy.

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