Total Quality Management (TQM) is a strategic management concept that believes in building quality into the cultural fabric of an organization. A proper implementation of quality will ensure high product quality, increased productivity, lesser rejections and improve the bottom line of the company along with increasing the customer satisfaction. The concept has been increasingly used in diverse industries such as manufacturing, service and hospitality industries, government organization, defense and so on. This paper provides an analysis of TQM practices that are implemented in Toyota and compares the existing practices with another organization.
Compare and Contrast the TQM practice of two companies
Burrill (et all, 1999) has mentioned the features of implementing a TQM practice in organizations. According to the authors, TQM requires active management support and involves a grass root level approach to upgrade the quality systems. Winfield (et all, 1996) speaks about the TQM implementation at Toyota, one of the leading automobile manufacturers in the world. According to Winfield, at Toyota TQM is practiced by not only the production department but also all other departments such as Marketing and sales, R&D, HR, Engineering, Finance, Purchasing and others. The TQM practices at Toyota involve the following practices: senior management and all employees Commitment, desire to meet customer requirements; reduction in lead time for development projects; implementation of Just In Time and Demand Flow Manufacturing; setting up of process Improvement teams; Reduction of product and service costs; introducing systems to facilitate improvement; ownership of line management activities; involvement of all employees and empowering them to take corrective actions; benchmarking and challenging quantified goals; focusing on processes and improvement plans; incorporating TQM into strategic planning. Sohal (et all, 1997) has suggested that at Toyota the world famous “Toyota production system” was introduced to integrate plant facilities, materials and labor, which led to the basis for the achievement of TQM. The author also speaks of close synergies and extensive cooperation and collaborative efforts between the quality function and all other departments and that everyone believes that they are responsible for improving the quality.
At the organization where I work, the management is interested only in production figures and any rejections are regarded as the natural outcome of the production process. The senior management wants acceptable quality that meet the drawing specifications but are not willing to invest in resources to meet quality. Everyone believes that maintaining quality is the work of the quality control department and there is bitter rivalry and animosity between the quality and manufacturing functions.
Characteristics of the other organization’s TQM and my company
Wadsworth (et all, 2002) has written about the TQM practices that leading organizations follow. He speaks of continuous improvement as one of the methods in TQM along with practices such as Kaizen, just in time, elimination of waste and others methods.
Tseng (et all, 2007) has discussed extensively the TQM practices at Toyota motor company and he suggests that TQM at Toyota is based on five key principles and they are:
Commitment of the senior management: The senior management uses techniques such as Plan – drive, direct; Do – deploy, support, participate; Check – review and Act – recognize, communicate, revise.
Empowerment of Employee: This is done through Training; Suggestion schemes; Measurement and recognition and Excellence teams.
Using methodology of Fact Based Decision Making: This methodology uses SPC – statistical process control; DOE, FMEA; the 7 statistical tools and TOPS – FORD 8D – Team Oriented Problem Solving.
Continuous Improvement process: This process is implemented through Systematic measurement and focus on CONQ; Excellence teams; Cross functional process management and by following a motto of Attain, maintain, improve standards.
Customer Focus: Customers are the key for the business to succeed and this is achieved through Supplier partnership; Service relationship with internal customers; never compromising on quality and driven by customer standards.
At the organization where I work, we have a knee jerk reaction to quality and it is assumed that if the rejection in reduced, we have improved the quality. Efforts to improve the quality are restricted to only machines and components and the associated tooling. Very little effort was spent in improving the quality of the raw materials, the process, inspection methods, workflow, material procurement and so on.
Extent to which the other organizations TQM practices could be integrated
Toyota is a global organization with plenty of resources to implement TQM practices. It has multiple plants and production lines and it is possible for them to shut down a line and shift the production to another so that quality issues can be cleared. Such facilities are not available at the organization where I work. We can however adopt a number of practices from Toyota and implement them here. Some of the practices as suggested by Martínez (1998) that can be integrated are:
- Commitment of senior managers: Our senior managers must get involved in the quality improvement program and their involvement should start at the grass root level. Involvement of senior managers brings quality efforts into focus and everyone becomes more serious.
- Improvement of suppliers: Suppliers should be shown how important quality is and the harm that their products are causing. Suppliers should be trained in effective quality systems and help should be given to them to improve their processes.
- Make Quality everyone’s responsibility: Everyone, right from the workers, quality inspector, maintenance personnel, store keeper, HR, Finance and others should be made responsible for quality in their job functions. Appropriate training should be given to help them perform their work better.
- Improvement in Work process: Efforts should be spent in improving the basic work process rather than concentrating on a particular machine. Quality can improve only if the overall line efficiency is improved. Work improvement teams comprising of workers, supervisors, inspectors and managers should take up specific aspects and work to improve the quality.
- Use of Statistical Tools: Training should be provided in using statistical process control tools to understand and manage defects.
TQM practices at Toyota company have been discussed along with the practices at the organization where I work and both systems have been compared. Suggestions for integrating some of the features of Toyota TQM systems with my organization have also been given.
- Burrill Claude W., Ledolter Johannes. (1999). Achieving Quality Through Continual Improvement, ISBN: 978-0-471-09220-9
- Martínez-Lorente. Angel R., Dewhurst Frank. (1998). Total quality management: origins and evolution of the term. The TQM Magazine. Volume 10. Issue 5. pp: 378-386
- Sohal Amrik. Morrison Michael. (1995). TQM and the learning organization. Journal of Managing Service Quality. Volume 5. Issue 6. pp: 32-34
- Tseng Ming-Lang. Yuan-Hsu Lin. Anthony S F Chiu. (2007). A Structural Equation Model of Total Quality Management and Cleaner Production Implementation. Journal of American Academy of Business. Volume 11. Issue 1. pp: 65-72
- Wadsworth, Harrison M. Stephens Kenneth S. (2002). Modern Methods For Quality Control and Improvement., 2nd Edition. ISBN: 978-0-471-29973-8
- Winfield Ian. Kerrin Máire. (1996). Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Europe: lessons for management development. Journal of Management Development. Volume. 15. Issue 4. pp: 49-56