It begins with the knowledge provided by quality gurus– Shewhart, Deming, Juran, Feigenbaum, Ishikawa, Crosby and Taguchi. As the figure shows, they contributed to the development of principles and practices and/or the tools and techniques. Some of these tools and techniques are used in the product and/or service realisation activity. Feedback from internal/external customers or interested parties provides information to continually improve an organisation’s system, product and/or service. [ TQM Framework ]
An organisation will not begin the transformation to TQM until it is aware of the fact that the quality of product or service should be improved. Awareness comes when an organisation loses market share or realises that quality and productivity go hand-in-hand. It also occurs if TQM is mandated by a customer or if management realises that TQM is a better way to run a business and compete in domestic and world markets.
Automation and other productivity enhancements might not help a corporation if it is unable to market its products or services because of their poor quality. The Japanese learned this fact from practical experience. Prior to World War II, they could sell their products only at ridiculously low prices and even then it was difficult to secure repeat sales. Until recently, corporations have not recognised the importance of quality. However, a new attitude has emerged– quality first among the equals of cost and service. To sum it up, a customer wants value.
Quality and productivity are not mutually exclusive. An improvement in quality can lead directly to increased productivity and other benefits. Table 2.2 illustrates this concept. In the table, the improved quality results in a 5.6% improvement in productivity, capacity and profit. Many quality improvement projects are achieved with the same workforce, same overhead and no investment in new equipment.
Recent evidence shows that more and more corporations are recognising the importance and necessity of quality improvement in order to survive the domestic and worldwide competition. Quality improvement is not limited to the conformance of a product or service to specifications. It also involves an inherent quality in the design of a system. The prevention of product, service and process problems is a more desirable objective than taking corrective action after the product is manufactured or a service rendered.
TQM does not occur overnight. There are no quick remedies. It takes a long time to build an appropriate emphasis and technique into the culture. Overemphasis on short-term results and profits should be set aside and long-term planning and constancy should be allowed to prevail. [ TQM Framework ]
Many organisations, especially small ones with a niche, feel comfortable with their current state. They are satisfied with the amount of work being performed, the profits realised and the perception that the customers are satisfied. Organisations with this culture see little need for TQM until they begin to lose market share. Once an organisation embarks on TQM, it faces some obstacles to its successful implementation. Some of the obstacles are as follows:
Lack of Management Commitment
In order to make an organisational effort successful, there should be substantial management commitment of management time and organisational resources. The purpose should be clearly and continuously communicated to all personnel. Management should consistently apply the principles of TQM.
Robert Galvin of Motorola said that only the CEO can ensure, even in times of great pressure, that quality and customer satisfaction are preserved. In a survey, out of 188 quality professionals, 66% reported that management’s compensation is not linked to quality goals such as failure costs, customer complaints and cycle time reduction. [ TQM Framework ]
Inability to Change Organizational Culture
Changing an organisation’s culture is difficult and requires as much as five years. Individuals resist changing as they become accustomed to doing a particular process and it becomes the preferred way. Management should understand and utilise the basic concepts of change which are as follows:
People change when they want to and to meet their own needs.
Never expect anyone to engage in behaviour that serves an organisation’s values unless adequate reason (way) has been given.
For change to be accepted, people should be moved from a state of fear to trust.
It is difficult for individuals to change their way of doing things. It is much more difficult for an organisation to make cultural changes. Management by exhortation and inspiration fails. Speeches, slogans and copings to motivate people to remain effective for a short period of time. Impediments to a cultural change are ineffective communication and emphasis on short-term results. Organisations that spend more time in planning for the cultural aspects of implementing a TQM program will improve their chances of success. [ TQM Framework ]