Total Quality Management Article’s Critique

Summary of the article

There is a difference between Total quality management and Deming approach to a quality management. There are three major contributors to TQM namely W. Edwards Deming, Joseph M. Juran and Philip B. Crosby. According to Deming, the term TQM and its application differed from his approach which required managers to embrace total transformation of the organization’s operations. Joseph M. Juran on the other hand, introduced the trilogy concept and ‘Continuous quality improvement’ as the overall approach. Philip B. Crosby was known for work on zero defects which meant to try and avoid any problems or wastage of resources

TQM was introduced after the Second World War where the U.S. had dominated the world’s markets in terms of business and industry while other nations experienced the diverse effects caused by the war. After European nations and Japan recovered from the war, the U.S. found itself amongst competitors as the Japanese and Germans started increasing their market share throughout the world. The U.S. resorted to increased management seminars in an effort to improve efficiency and effectiveness. Over some time, different people came up with different opinions on what amounts to quality management. (Petersen, 1987)

The key learning points

According to the Juran trilogy, there are three processes used for managing quality:

  1. Quality planning
  2. Quality control
  3. Quality improvement

Quality improvement is the most important, as it ensures reduction of chronic waste.

Juran’s trilogy concept shows that people in an organization are defined by three roles, that is, customer, processor and supplier. Focusing on the interrelationships provided, there is more understanding of the system hence increased quality.

He also came up with a Company-wide quality management concept. This is where an all-inclusive systematic approach is required for a company to achieve its objectives and also to ensure that all departments in a company are given the same emphasis on quality management.

Philip B. Crosby came up with four absolutes of quality management

  1. Definition of quality is the conformance to requirements.
  2. The system of quality is prevention.
  3. The performance standard is zero defects.
  4. Measurement of quality is the price of nonconformance.

There was a fifth stating that there was no such thing as a ‘quality problem’. But Crosby’s advice was simply to prevent any incidence from happening in the first place. Crosby had his 14 steps of quality improvement. They are: management commitment, quality improvement, team, measurement, cost of quality, quality awareness, corrective action, ZD (zero defects) planning, employee education, ZD day, goal setting, error-cause removal, recognition, quality councils and do it over again.

Deming believed that emphasizing on producing quality products would result in reduction in waste materials and time. He also understood the importance of meeting customer needs. Deming mentioned that variation is the enemy of quality, since variation arising from set standards results in faulty products or services. He came up with two causes of variations:

  • Common causes of variation – caused by the system – a responsibility of management to correct.
  • Special causes of variation – Which are caused by an individual worker.

Deming argued that improvements in quality will result in: increases in productivity; decreases in cycle time; increases in capacity; lower production costs; improved profits; happier customers; greater market share; more jobs; fewer customer complaints; less litigation ( Walton, 1986).

The relevant statements to the session

William Ouchi argued that one could not apply one country’s culture to another, instead they could integrate the needs of the individual with the needs of the organization. It will be a consent culture where a community of equals work together to achieve a common goal.

According to Juran, with quality leadership it would be necessary to use the whole array of quality disciplines in the entire company, that is, in all levels and in an organized manner. Crosby gave simple advice that people should try and prevent defects rather than spend a lot of time finding and fixing the problem.

Deming insisted that the business process starts with the customer as he is the most significant part of the production line. Therefore, understanding their needs is critical. He also put emphasis on the fact that a lot of attention was paid to rectifying mistakes and not so much effort was put in improving the system. (Shewhart, 1939)

TQM seems to be more reasonable as it adapts to the realities of the environment providing industries are operating in dynamic and very unpredictable environments, whereas Deming’s approach represents only one philosophy and does not change.

TQM has the option of avoiding defects, improving or transforming the entire system depending on the financial position of a company, while Deming sees transformation as the only option to quality management which can be quite costly limiting it to big firms.

To bridge the gap between these two, Deming’s transformation can be done in parts not necessarily to the whole organization. It can be done in the department which needs more attention, as the others improve on their work. Managers should ensure that they learn more about TQM so that they know what it entails, as well as work together with the consultants to help in improving product or service quality.

How could the subject matter from the article be applied in a real business case?

Given a fast food company, which has been in business for some years and the increase in competitors over time, its sales have decreased and the owners have seen the need to bring in some changes about that concern. With TQM, they have many options such as, diversifying their menu, changing of management, hire consultants to do research on new markets or products, invest in new technology, for example, ordering food online.

What have you learnt?

TQM works differently for different companies; there is no one way to entirely go about it. Companies need to know what works for them, that means do their own research parallel to what the hired consultants are doing.

Organization should not be transformed as an entire system, but should improve an existing one to avoid extra costs and disruption of work.

Reference List

Petersen, P.B. (1987). The contribution of W. Edwards Deming to Japanese management theory and practice. Academy of Management Best Papers Proceeding. August 11, p. 133.

Shewhart, W.A. and Deming, W.E. (Ed.) (1939). Statistical Method: From the Viewpoint of Quality Control. Washington, DC: The Graduate School of The Department of Agriculture.

Walton, M. (1986). The Deming Management Method. New York, NY: Dodd, Mead & Company.