Globalization in the business theater is driving companies toward a new view of quality as a necessary tool to compete successfully in worldwide markets. A direct outcome of this new emphasis is the philosophy of total quality management (TQM). In essence, TQM is a company-wide perspective that strives for customer satisfaction by seeking zero defects in products and services.
Total quality management or TQM is defined as an integrative philosophy of management for continuously improving the quality of products and processes.TQM functions on the premise that the quality of products and processes is the responsibility of everyone who is involved with the creation or consumption of the products or services offered by an organization. In other words, TQM capitalizes on the involvement of management, workforce, suppliers, and even customers, in order to meet or exceed customer expectations
Making quality improvements was once thought to be the sole responsibility of specialists (quality engineers, product designers, and process engineers). Today, developing quality across the entire firm can be an important function of leadership. a failure on leadership's part to recognize this opportunity and act on it may result in the loss of TQM implementation responsibilities to other departments with less expertise in training and development. The ultimate consequence of this loss is an ineffective piecemealing of the TQM strategy. Thus, leadership should act as the pivotal change agent necessary for the successful implementation of TQM.
What is the role of leadership in TQM Implementation?
Leadership can act as senior management's tool in implementing TQM in two fundamental ways. First, by modeling the TQM philosophy and principles within its departmental operations, leadership can serve as a beachhead for the TQM process throughout the company. Second, leadership, with senior management's support, can take the TQM process company-wide by developing and delivering the long-term training and development necessary for the major organizational culture shift required by TQM.
Implementing TQM requires a team effort headed by your organization's leadership team. Each person involved in change management has their responsibilities, and it is important for the entire organization to understand the role of leadership in TQM to make delegating responsibility more effective.
TQM of any kind of new company policy or program requires participation from all of the departments that will be affected. Company leadership needs to identify what those departments are and create an implementation team that consists of representatives from each affected group. Management needs to create a structure that identifies various group leaders, the responsibilities of those group leaders and an accountability system that insures that the implementation team meets its timetable for getting the new program or policy in place.
Implementing TQM within a company requires a feeling of urgency on the part of the entire company. It is the job of management to create that urgency by explaining to the staff why the implementation is necessary. Leadership needs to help the employees understand how the company benefits from the new implementation, but it also needs to get the organization to see the setbacks of not making a change.
TQM within a company is not an exact process. It is a dynamic procedure that needs to be monitored by management and altered to meet implementation goals. it is the responsibility of leadership to put a monitoring system in place, analyze the data that is being generated during the implementation and make any necessary changes to make the implementation more efficient.
4) Next step
Implementing TQM is often done in phases. The company leadership needs to be able to identify when each phase of TQM is complete and be ready to transition the company to the next phase. For example, if the company is bringing in a new software program for customer management, then the first phase of the program may be to implement it in the sales department. Management needs to identify when the proper alterations to the software have been made that will allow it to be implemented in other parts of the company.
Implementing a TQM system has become the preferred approach for improving quality and productivity in organizations. TQM, which has been adopted by leading industrial companies, is a participative system empowering all employees to take responsibility for improving quality within the organization. Instead of using traditional bureaucratic rule enforcement, TQM calls for a change in the corporate culture, where the new work climate has the following characteristics:
(i) an open, problem-solving atmosphere;
(ii) participatory design making;
(iii) trust among all employees (staff, line, workers, managers);
(iv) a sense of ownership and responsibility for goal achievement and problems solving; and,
(v) Self-motivation and self-control by all employees.
The TQM approach involves more than simply meeting traditional rejection rate standards. The end result of TQM is the efficient and effective use of all organizational processes in providing consistent quality at a competitive price. The TQM philosophy is a long-term endeavor that links people and processes in a system that alters the corporate culture to become one where quality is the core aspect of business strategy.
In cultivating the TQM philosophy, strategy implementation must involve a focused effort on the part of every employee within the organization. It cannot be applied successfully on a piecemeal basis. TQM requires that management, and eventually every member of the organization, commit to the need for continual improvement in the way work is accomplished. Business plans, strategies, and management actions require continual rethinking in order to develop a culture that reinforces the TQM perspective. The challenge is to develop a robust culture where the idea of quality improvement is not only widely understood across departments, but becomes a fundamental, deep-seated value within each function area as well.
Leadership therefore can jumpstart the TQM process by becoming a role model. This means that leadership has two specific tasks: "serving our customers, and making a significant contribution to running the business." this emphasis on customer oriented service means that leadership must see other departments in the firm as their customer groups for whom making continuing improvements in service becomes a way of life.
In their efforts to achieve TQM, leadership can demonstrate commitment to TQM principles by soliciting feedback from its internal customer groups on current hr services. Leadership should include suggestions from its customers in setting objective performance standards and measures. In other words, there are a number of specific TQM principles that leadership can model.
The current emphasis on quality as a competitive strategy has produced many views regarding the actions necessary to achieve it. Leaders in the quality movement (Deming, Juran, Crosby, Feigenbaum have proposed similar approaches which share certain themes. these themes can be summarized as five basic principles:
- focus on customers' needs;
- focus on problem prevention, not correction;
- make continuous improvements: seek to meet customers' requirements on time, the first time, every time;
- train employees in ways to improve quality; and,
- Apply the team approach to problem solving.
To institute TQM as a philosophy within an organization, all employees must come to realize that satisfying customers is essential to the long-run well-being of the firm and their jobs. No longer is the customer-driven focus exclusive to the marketing department. But customer satisfaction can only be achieved after first defining the customer groups. The new perspective here is that all employees exist to serve their customer groups, some internal and some external to the firm. The organisation has internal customers to satisfy, which indirectly provides ultimate satisfaction to external customers.
The TQM approach entails identifying the wants and needs of customer groups and then propelling the entire organization toward fulfilling these needs. A customer's concerns must be taken seriously, and organizations should make certain that its employees are empowered to make decisions that will ensure a high level of customer satisfaction. This can be achieved by promoting an environment of self-initiative and by not creating a quagmire of standard operating procedures and company policies. Flexibility is the key, especially in a business environment that is diverse and constantly changing, as most are today. In modeling these aspects of the TQM process, leadership would need to identify human resource concerns of other departments and undertake to continually improve its performance, especially in any trouble areas that come to light.
Based on this "customer first" orientation, organizational members are constantly seeking to improve products or services. Employees are encouraged to work together across organizational boundaries. Underlying these cooperative efforts are two crucial ideas. One is that the initial contact with the customer is critical and influences all future association with that customer. The other idea is that it is more costly to acquire new customers than to keep the customers you already have. Exemplifying TQM here would mean that leadership would need to train itself, focusing on being customer-driven toward other departments
Quality improvement programs typically involve the directed efforts of quality improvement (QI) teams. Using teams and empowering employees to solve quality-related issues using such tools as statistical process control (SPC) represent fundamental changes in how many businesses operate. The focus of SPC, also known as statistical quality control (SQC), is defect prevention as opposed to defect correction. Defect prevention results from continuously monitoring and improving the process. In this context "process" refers to service delivery as well as manufacturing. To ensure that output meets quality specifications, monitoring is performed by periodically inspecting small samples of the product. SPC alone will not ensure quality improvement; rather, it is a tool for monitoring and identifying quality problems.
The effective use of quality improvement teams, and the TQM system as a whole, can be reinforced by applying basic principles of motivation. In particular, the recognition of team accomplishments as opposed to those of individuals, and the effective use of goal setting for group efforts, are important in driving the TQM system. Leadership is in a position to help institutionalize team approaches to TQM by designing appraisal and reward systems that focus on team performance.
For many companies, the philosophy of TQM represents a major culture shift away from a traditional production-driven atmosphere. In the face of such radical operational makeovers, a determined implementation effort is vital to prevent TQM from becoming simply latitudinal and the teams approach just another management fad. Senior management must take the lead in overt support of TQM.
Summary and Conclusion
In summary, leadership’s role in the TQM implementation process include:
1. Initiating agreement on goals and measures that cascade throughout the organization;
2. Providing the agreed resources (people, money, training, machines, etc.);
3. Assigning authority and establish deadlines to put resources into motion;
4. Monitoring progress in achieving goals, not to apportion blame, but to aim for improvement; and,
5. Measuring improvement and reward both the achievement of goals and the ways they are achieved.
Beyond modeling TQM, leadership, with senior management's support, can play a leading role in implementing a quality strategy across the firm.