Published June 4, 2007

Business Quality Management: TQM & Improving Business Quality

If you're trying to manage quality in your organization, then remember that "the customer is always the king". As living standards improve, the demand for improved quality of goods and services will also increase. Customers from all around the world have now started demanding quality goods and services - and they are willing to go all out and pay accordingly so that organizations meet their expectations and specifications. In customer-driven industry, businesses all over the world have become a lot more competitive.

With the transformation of the world into a global village, everyone has started shouting out the new mantra of "world class products and services". The factors that contribute towards business competitiveness are:

  • Quality
  • Competitive Pricing
  • Timely Delivery

The emphasis on superior quality goods and services is now forcing organizations to adopt proven quality management systems to stay ahead of the competition.

TQM does not only impact product and service quality improvement, but it also covers other aspects of quality in the service sector. In terms of quality improvement of products, there are other important dimensions of quality:

  • Performance - how the product operates
  • Conformance - meeting the standards
  • Features - adding "extras" to the basic features
  • Durability - life span
  • Reliability - how the product will operate over a period of time
  • Aesthetics - look, sound, feel, taste or smell
  • Serviceability - how easily it is repaired

The Four Basic Principles to Improving Quality

TQM covers these four basic principles for improving quality in any organization:

  1. Delighting the customer - Start by asking yourself what would delight your customers. This means that you need to be the best at what matters the most to your customers, and this factor can change over time. Being aware of these changes and always keeping your customer satisfied are an essential part of TQM.
  2. Managing quality by fact - Knowing the present quality standards of the goods or service is the first step you can take to improve. You can only improve if you know the foundation of your product or service.
  3. People-based management - Your employees need to know exactly what they're doing and why they're going doing it in order to be motivated by any kind of feedback. In this way, you can give them more responsibility. The more your employees feel involved, the stronger their commitment to satisfying the customer will be. Standards, systems and technology alone cannot provide quality. People play an extremely important role in the improvement of quality in any organization.
  4. Continuous Improvement - TQM is not just a short-term technique that is over once the target is met. It is not a project or program. It is a process that recognizes the fact that however much you may improve, your competitors will also continuously improve and your customers will demand more and more from you. Continuous improvement is essential to any organization.

In the past, managers had to face the rapidly growing quality demands and expectations of the customers, but today, with the advent of TQM, managers are now finding it a lot easier to manage quality in their organizations.