The History and Concept of Total Quality Management

Subject: Management
Pages: 10
Words: 3026
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Study level: PhD


TQM can be defined as an organization’s management practices that ensure consistent satisfaction of customers by meeting and sometimes exceeding their needs. TQM strongly focuses on measurements of processes as well as their control which results to overall continuous improvement in organizations. TQM’s implementation calls for effort from all organization’s staff members, in the improvement of services, processes, culture as well as products. TQM consist of a number of principles on which its implementation is based upon as well as models of ISO, regulating its standards. TQM’s principles include customer, satisfaction, continuous improvement, supplier satisfaction, among others.

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According to (Taguchi, 1989), TQM strategy is applied in business management to acquire information on quality of organizational processes. It has been used in governments industries, education, science programs, call centers and manufacturing. It can also be defined as an organization’s approach to quality’s management, based on its members’ participation. The main aim of TQM is for an organization to achieve success that is long term, through satisfaction of customers, benefiting organization members and the society as a whole. TQM therefore involves quality management, where management involves directing, planning, assurance, control and organizing. Quality is referred to as total if it comprises of both the quality in which shareholder’s needs are satisfied products quality is improved.

Origin of TQM

It is argued that TQM originated from the control of total quality concept, by Armand Feingenbaum in 1951. Feigenbaum’s idea caught the interest of a number of scholars where the control of total quality concept was used in conjunction with quality control of companies, which was a Japanese expression otherwise abbreviated CWQC. However, their difference had not been established. TQM’s expression first appeared in 1980 and this appearance is based on two theories. According to one of them, TQM was an English misinterpretation of Japanese that resulted due to lack of a difference between management and control in Japanese. William Golomski argues that, TQM had its first mentioning done by Koji Kobayashi on his reception of a Deming Prize at the electrical company of Nippon in 1974. Quality’s Society in America states that, TQM was also used by a Command of Systems of Naval Air in the United States, in 1984. It was used in its description of the Japanese approach to improvement of quality as it avoided using control in the concept of control of total quality. Management came as a suggestion from an employee known as Nancy Warren, which receives consistency in a center for navy research in US, as it started a research on usage of control of the statistical process. (Doody, 2001)

Research Based On Contingency and TQM

(Plsek, 1997), argues that, research has shown that TQM does not operate solely as according to Killough, while incorporated in the systems of management accounting, incentive pay is found to enhance its positive impacts on performance in quality. There was a demonstration by Ittner that showed how TQM, with a focus on products, is linked to information of solving problems in time as well as flexibility in reward systems. Findings of research based on contingency are summarized by Chendall, who noted that there is an association of TQM with broad systems of management control. This is in terms of information focusing on external environment, interactions of strategy and advanced technology as well as measurement of performance that does not regard the finances of a company or organization.

Principles of TQM

According to (Thompson, 1998), there are basic principles in which TQM operates which are based on customer satisfaction, supplier satisfaction and improvement of processes of a business that should be continuous. These principles are guided by a number of questions that regard means by which a customer is satisfied, reasons for supplier satisfaction, and the meaning of continuous improvement. The principles are very essential to all companies and organizations expecting to benefit from application of TQM. They include;

Customer satisfaction

A customer is one who gives some payment in return for a service or a product(s). Customers expect to receive services or products whose worth is equivalent to their money. In cases where the one using a product that has been purchased is different from the one who purchased it, then satisfaction should be achieved by both parties. It is expected that a company that ensures customer satisfaction through provision of their customers’ expectations in terms of quality and value, will in turn receive repeat business, reduced complaints, more referral business as well as less service expenses. It has been noted that some of the companies that have made it in the business area, go ahead to give more than just quality products, by providing their customers with extra services aimed at making them feel valued and very important. (Crawford, 1991)

There is another group of customers in a company, which are the internal customers. This refers to instances where workers provide services or products to their supervisors who in turn influence workers’ wages. Hence, the supervisors are regarded as the internal customers who need to get satisfied out of services and/or products provided. A worker should be obliged to satisfy his/her internal customers so as to get promoted or a raise in return or even for the purpose of retaining his or her job. In most of the companies, there exist a number of customers that form a chain, where each of them improves a product’s quality which is then passed along up to the time it gets to the final external customer. In this case, each of the workers must aim at satisfying the chain’s final external customer, but not the immediate one only. (Eureka, 1994)

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Supplier Satisfaction

According to (Landeros, 1995), the other party that needs to be satisfied is the supplier, forming a TQM’s second principle. The supplier refers to that organization or person, from whom a company purchases its services and /or goods. These are also classified as external and internal suppliers, where external suppliers need to get satisfaction from the company, through provision of clear requirements as well as instructions which should be accompanied by fair and timely payment. This is important as companies hope and expect their suppliers to provide them with services or goods of a high quality so that the same can be passed to final external customers. Therefore, it should be the duty of a company to ensure that suppliers are adequately satisfied so as to get quality returns, which in turn influences that company’s returns from customers. Internal suppliers refer to a company’s supervisors, who are supposed to ensure that workers attached to them, are productive and satisfied. This should be achieved through provision of proper instructions for any given task, a pleasant working environment as well as good tools, appropriate for that particular task. Supervisors should have workers rewarded with a good pay slip and praise for a job well done. This is done so as to retrieve as much productivity as possible from workers and to have the possession of good workers. A competent supervisor with equally good workers is more likely than not to satisfy internal customers. An internal supplier can be satisfied through empowering of the workers, which is achieved when workers are allowed to make their own decisions regarding issues they are able to control. This reduces the work of a supervisor and also acts as a motivation to internal suppliers, enabling them to perform better.

Continuous Improvement

This forms TQM’s third principle showing that one can never get fully satisfied by a certain method that has been used to impact satisfaction as there is always a room for improvement. This is because of the nature of competition which is always on the increase, making competitors to work extra harder so as to be on the lead. It is such competition that results to continuous improvement of the company’s services or products to its customers as well as supplier satisfaction. Making employees to work extra harder, as it has been done by some companies, may result to counter production especially when a company’s operations are flawed. Such operations may be indicated in a situation where workers are expected to increase their output on defective machines, which may lead to more breakdowns of those machines. Therefore, instead of overworking employees, it would be better if problems sources are examined and then have means through which they can be improved. Most delays and problems in a company are usually caused by bottlenecks of its process which should be removed so as to be more effective. Continuous improvement can also be achieved through the integration of suggestions provided by workers on ways in which a company’s process can be improved or how to have unnecessary work eliminated. Quality methods are also useful in continuous improvement of processes in companies. They include timely production, reduction of variability while ensuring consistency as well as poka yoke which work to have processes improved as waste gets reduced. (Amason, 1995)

Statistical analysis

This is very important in the management of manufacturing as well as engineering information. Data, analysis and facts influence review, tracking and planning of operation’s performance, as well as comparison of a company’s performance in terms of quality with that of its competitors. In TQM, data is objectively analyzed which results to rational decision making rather than decisions based on subjectivity. This approach identifies a large number of problems in a company to be related to its system other than to employees. Data is therefore collected, analyzed and appropriate action is taken so as to effect cost reduction as well as avoid non conformance. (Filippini, 1998)

ISO 9001

This is just one of the quality systems’ international standards used for the purpose of assuring a company of its external quality. These standards show requirements for a quality system that should be used in a contract requiring a supplier’s demonstration of capability. The requirements of a quality system are provided for three categories of activities by suppliers, which include; ISO 9001 model, giving an assurance of a system’s quality in terms of development, installation, design , servicing, and production. The supplier is supposed to assure specified requirements conformance in the various stages of a company’s activities. ISO 9002 model is used for the assurance of quality in installation as well as in production. It’s also considered appropriate when specified requirements’ conformance have its assurance done by a supplier in the process of installation and production. The third model is ISO 9003, which assures quality in test and final inspection, whose specified requirements’ conformance also requires a supplier’s assurance. ISO 9001 model is applied in a two parties’ contract, requiring design effort. The requirements of products should be stated in terms of performance or established. Product conformance could be achieved through demonstration of capabilities of a supplier in production, development, design and installation. This model’s requirements of quality ensure that non conformance is prevented in all the products’ stages from the designing part to servicing. However, the quality requirements complement a product’s technical requirements but do not act as their alternative or replacement. A complete assessment of quality system of an organization, against any of the three models by an independent body of certification, leads to registration. Registration of an organization acts as quality assurance evidence, when it wants to tender for contracts.

(Romano, 2000), argues that, the standards’ series of ISO 9000 together with their equivalent of EN 29000 have been gotten from British standards of quality management BS 5750. These standards were built on standards of military, under DS 0521 of UK. Large companies insist on the accreditation of suppliers as they feel more secure when dealing with suppliers who have been accredited. Accreditation is also important for suppliers when it comes to reduction of effort in the regulation of products supplied. However, suppliers also benefit from accreditation in that it provides customer confidence, getting access of those markets requiring quality certification, and improves their quality image. The system of quality management has also been found to have positive impact on companies’ internal performance and it takes about one to two years. There are sections in which ISO 9001 requirements for quality system are detailed including; contract review, management responsibility, design control, quality system, document control, process control, purchasing, quality records, corrective action, servicing and training among others. These sections are also divided into sub sections, where management responsibility section is broken down into management review, organization and quality policy. The quality policy subsection consists of standards through which management of a supplier documents and defines objectives as well as policies. There are also standards through which a supplier should remain committed to a certain standard of quality and ensure understanding, maintenance, and implementation of quality policy at all organization’s levels. Design control section has design verification, general, design output, design changes and design input sub sections.

Document control section is also broken into document modifications and document approval subsections. Document approval subsection comprises of standards that requires maintenance as well as establishment of procedures for document control relating to requirements of ISO 9001 by the supplier. Document modifications subsection comprises of standards requiring the documents’ changes to be reviewed by the organization that originally approved it, unless given otherwise instructions. Functions of controlling the workflow are connected to systems of EDM, which provides secure availability, disseminating and access of information, giving support to requirements of ISO 9001. The rest of sections are also broken into subsections which have different standards as well as requirements.

Implementation of TQM

Though TQM’s principle give some of the means by which it’s implemented, Deming also provides a management practices set, that is used to enable companies increase productivity as well as quality. These include creation of purpose consistence while improving services and / or products which should be accompanied by an adoption of a company’s new philosophy. A company hoping to get good TQM’s results should motivate their workers to work without much inspection so as to get quality results. It should reduce depending on profits from prices alone but also minimize costs by having one competent supplier for its services as well as products. Production, planning and service processes should be constantly improved and this is supposed to continue in the entire lifespan of each company. TQM implementation also requires that a company offers training to its employees and adopt effective institute leadership of its own. Members of staff should be made to work from open areas without barriers so as to enhance good relations among staff and drive fear out of the shy employees. There should be elimination of workforce slogans, targets, and exhortations as well as workforce numerical quotas and management numerical goals. It’s also in TQM’s interest that, barriers lowering employees’ self esteem should be removed and per annum system of merit eliminated. A vigorous education program should be instituted in the company which is also expected to enable overall improvement for all. The last but not least of Deming’s set is that companies should utilize everyone’s resources so as to achieve a total transformation. (Lawler, 1986)

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TQM implementation results have led to suggestions that; one should not use companies that have not even implemented TQM as role models but focus on methods used by companies of a world class implementing TQM. Another suggestion is that, training of managers , those involved in development of new products and employees dealing with customers, should be given a priority while spending funds set aside for TQM’s implementation. Companies willing to make use of EDM, should first adopt a culture of TQM as this sequence makes the whole process a lot easier. This is because those who have had experience in implementation of TQM easily understand EDM’s implementation. It’s a requirement of TQM’s implementation to have quality standards maintained in all areas companies operations, ensuring a proper way of initial performance of activities. It also expects companies and its staff to eliminate wastes and defects from its operations, which can be achieved through proper maintenance of machines as well as recycling of bi-products. (Schoderbek, 1971)


However adoption and implementation of TQM has proved to be a difficult practice to a number of companies. Surveys’ results show that less than forty percent of those companies or organizations that have adopted its implementation, have achieved significant improvements in financial return, quality, competitiveness and /or productivity. This has made a large number of people to become skeptical about its adoption though successful companies have indicated TQM implementation of a very high level. Recent studies on TQM show that TQM as a term has received minimal use US compared to earlier days, and has been substituted with quality management. On the contrary there is extensive use of the term TQM in Europe. Although some companies have not achieved a lot, they have been urged to keep trying, by employing all they can so as to benefit from its effective outcome. However this can only be possible if the entire family in any company is involved in TQM’s implementation by making sure those customers and suppliers both internal as well as external are satisfied. Consistency of implementation is also a necessity with limited levels of variation so as to maintain uniqueness. (Gadd, 1995)


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Doody R. (2001): evidence based review of quality management: AAN Enterprises pp22-25

Plsek P. (1997): Creativity, innovation and quality: Asq Press pp17-19

Thompson K. (1998): Confronting paradoxes in a total quality environment: Elsevier pp33-37

Crawford L. (1991): Quality or else: Houghton Miflin pp23-26

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