Total Quality Management (TQM) is the philosophy of involving all the stakeholders in an organization in a continued effort to improve the quality and to achieve customer satisfaction. Quality can be defined as the definitive parameter that distinguishes a superior product/service from an inferior one.
TQM "installs organization-wide culture" of continuous improvement where the employees, management and contractors are always striving to improve their ability to meet consumer demands (using the feedback system) by offering substantial value. The improvement in value is fronted in the processes, products, services and the organizational culture.
i) Find out what the customer wants.
ii) Secondly, design the product or service to meet and/or exceed the customer expectations.
iii) Next, design a process that will do the job right in the first time. Strive for a fail-proof process, (fail-safing).
iv) Next, keep track of all the results and use them to guide improvement in the process.
v) Lastly, extend the concept to your suppliers and distributors.
Quality assurance is the biggest marketing tool any food manufacturer can adopt. When a processor can assure the consumers that they will consistently get high quality products, they (consumers) become the greatest asset for the company in terms of brand publicity. A satisfied customer will not hesitate to recommend the company/product to family and friends at any opportunity.
Quality of design is the intentional variation introduced in the food item due to the conscious decision to vary the raw materials used in the production process and the level of tolerance in processing to meet consumer needs/demands, official standards, and the cost of production.
It is achieved by making a conscious decision during product/process design stage to ensure that certain functional requirements are met.
Intentional variation facilitates the differences observed in the levels of nutrients of certain foods, which then create room for various grades of food. Grades depend on the levels of nutrients contained, the functionality of the food, the level of performance of foods, etc.
Quality of conformance refers to how well a product meets certain specifications required by the product design.
It depends on the choice of manufacturing process adopted, the level of training for the staff and the level of supervision available, the type of quality assurance method used (e.g. process control tests), inspection, and the level to which the quality assurance procedures are followed.
Therefore, the level of motivation of the workforce contributes immensely to the quality of conformance.
Quality control is the maintenance of a uniform, consistent predetermined quality. It involves control of all the variables in the production process of a satisfactory, reliable and an economical product.
Quality control includes raw material control, process control, and finished product inspection at levels of tolerance acceptable to the buyer while at the same time minimizing the cost of production to the producer.
You could easily mistake quality control for quality assurance. However, quality assurance is the certainty that the consumer will continuously and consistently receive products with all the requirements embodied in the intent of production.
This is the probability that the marketed product will function without failure in accordance with the designed specifications and the required standards. It is the assurance that the consumer will derive the same level of satisfaction every time he/she uses the product.
Management system that emphasizes on the need for quality before anything else will gunner consumer confidence and increase sales in the long run. Consequently, profits will become substantial unlike those systems that consider profits first. In the latter case, the profits may be huge but they will never remain competitive for long.
A consumer is the person with wants and needs that your product/ service should satisfy. The consumer is not seeking for a favor from the producer, not dependent on the producer, not an interruption of work, and is always right.
The precedent statements mean that you cannot win an argument with a consumer. The producer must, therefore, produce products that meet all the consumer specifications. As such, the consumer will be happy to spend his/her money on the product or service offered in the marketplace.
In monopolistic markets, the producers adopt a producer orientation approach. In this approach, the producers make the products they consider to be good without consulting the consumers.
When the customer satisfaction is the key focus in any production facility, sectionalism will cease. Every manager will consider his/her input into the system as part of the whole. This will foster collaboration with other departmental heads to ensure that the system operates smoothly.
Smooth operations will improve the quality of service delivery to meet the consumer needs and wants. The issues that sometimes erupt in organizations with interdepartmental wrangles will cease when everyone works collaboratively to meet the needs of the consumer.
The chief pillar of TQM in an organization is about attitude change. The following aspects are critical to the achievement of attitude change.
Improve all process related factors of converting inputs to outputs in an ongoing process.
Identify the other organizations that are best at your line of business and study how they do it to learn how you can improve your operations.
Give workers responsibilities and the authority to make changes to accomplish them; this will give them motivation. Put decision making in the hands of those closest to the task.
Have teams for problem solving since teams have synergy when they reach a consensus. People feel more involved and exhibit a cooperative spirit when they work in teams.
The management should gather and analyze data as a basis for decision-making.
Management and employees should be well trained on the use of quality tools.
Suppliers should be included in quality assurance and quality improvement process to ensure that they are capable of delivering the requisite quality. They need to understand what is acceptable and what is not in terms of raw material quality.
Identify a TQM champion whose main job will be to advance the value and importance of TQM throughout the organization.
Make each worker responsible for the quality of his or her own work. When every worker knows what is expected of him or her, s/he takes charge to deliver only the best. This reduces chaos and bile between the workers and their superiors.
Suppliers are long-term partners in the process. Engaging them in the TQM process will help reduce incidences of non-conformity since they inspect the quality of the materials at the source.
This leads to lack of coordination as people work at crossed purposes and use non-standardized methods to measure their success parameters.
Lessens the chances for success and ignores to address the strategic implication of change.
Increases the risk of customer dissatisfaction since the needs of the customer is not factored in the design of the product or service.
Leads to frustrations, waste and confusion since the message does not reach the intended recipient efficiently. As a result, the people have no clear orders regarding their purpose within the organization.
This often happens when the employees are not trusted to address problems within their job description. There are many bureaucratic measures that lead to unnecessary delays.
Quality is not a one-time event. Rather, it is a continuous process that is supposed to result in improvement in output in perpetuity.
Companies that amplify short-term results do not live to see their tenth anniversary. Every company should concentrate on quality first, and then build a loyal client base that will give it substantial returns in the years to come.
This often leads to sabotage leading to delays, de-motivation and drop in performance. Many talented employees may decide to leave the company due to internal wrangles.
Happens when all the stakeholders do not share the organization’s vision. They are disparate and non-focused on the goals that are necessary to achieve the vision.
The stakeholders will never appreciate the value of quality if the management does not make a concerted effort to sell the total quality management to them.
Happens when the management does not show interest in championing for quality management within the organization.
Helps investigators to identify the critical points in a process where faults occur. Decision-making takes place at the diamond shape.
These sheets allow the investigators to arrange the data in a way that will facilitate analysis and correction. Using this tool, the investigator may tell different defects in a given food product, where the defect is found, and the time when the defect occurred in a continuous manner.
These are charts of empirical frequency distribution. The investigator uses them to check for the symmetry of the presentation and to identify the outliers. These outliers are critical to the identification of the defects and non-conformities.
This principle is named after Wilfredo Pareto who developed the 80/20 rule, which states that 80% output is directly attributed to 20% input.
Under this principle, different problem areas are classified according to their degree of importance. This helps in eliminating distractions and focusing only on the most important aspect.
For instance, the investigator will be able to decipher that 80% of machine breakdowns come from only 20% of the machines. He will then narrow down his efforts to just these 20% faulty machines.
These are statistical charts of time ordered values of a simple statistic. You can use these charts to monitor a process and find out if the process is random.
This can help you identify any correctable causes of variation in the process. The charts are so accurate that you can track the exact time when the error occurred in the system.
These are used to search for the causes of an identified problem. They are popularly called the fish-bone diagrams and they are commonly used in brainstorming sessions
This is the most suitable tool for tracking results over a period of time. It is useful for identifying trends or other patterns that may be occurring over time.
It is easy to construct and interpret for data analysis.
There are many idea generation tools out there with their advantages and disadvantages. However, for the sake of this article, we'll cover just a couple of them. Some of the more common methods include:
This technique is very suitable for groups where free flow of ideas are encouraged. It takes place in a relaxed atmosphere where unrestrained collective thinking is allowed. In such an environment, criticism is absent, no member dominates the sessions and all ideas are welcome in equal measure. The session should be structured to encourage everyone to participate.
The goal here is to generate ideas identifying problems, finding causes of different problems and forming solid solutions for them.
Involves groups of workers who meet to discuss how to improve the system periodically. At my former workplace, we held quality circle meetings every other Tuesday. During these sessions, the employees get an opportunity to put their views across for considerations. They get the feeling of belonging and motivation when they are considered during such meetings.
These circles are less structured and the individuals have authority to implement the resolutions that arise from the meetings.
Interviewing is a very effective technique for identifying problems and collecting different views and opinions. The best way to find solution for internal problems is by interviewing the workers while external problems are best assessed by interviewing the customers.
In all honesty, ideas for improvement should come from the research and development department, customers, competitors, and the company employees.
Here, you measure the organization’s performance against the best player in the industry. Through this process, you will be able to extrapolate the performance metrics throughout the company to raise the standards to the appropriate levels.
The bench-marking process looks something like this:
This method of idea generation uses different questions that have been abbreviated in the name. You ask questions such as;
What? Why? Where? Who? When? How? How much?
By answering all these questions, you will not only be armed with adequate information regarding the cause of the problem but also how to correct it and who should take charge of the process.
You can also make a time frame within which the quantifiable results should be achieved.
Decision making is a meticulously outlined process that involves goal setting, gathering sufficient information and planning the execution plan. Decision making techniques call for assessment and weighing of the available options to choose the most effective one to implement.
To better understand the various decision making techniques you can adopt whenever you have to make a decision, let us consider this question:
Critically examine the four decision-making techniques, identifying their strengths and weaknesses and rank them by order of preference.
Listed by order of preference, these are the four decision-making techniques with their advantages and disadvantages.
This technique is quite useful among large groups that want to make decision quickly (e.g. by use of vote) but want to consider everyone’s opinion. They consolidate, analyze and vote upon/for individual ideas.
This is a group creativity technique by which the members exert efforts to find a solution to a particular problem by gathering a list of ideas spontaneously contributed by its members.
This is a modified Nominal Group Technique. It involves the use of experts in a panel. The panelists are total strangers to one another and do not sit in the same room.
They fill out questionnaires, which the moderators will later review at a central point. The experts then get the reviewed list to finalize and develop another questionnaire in case they develop new ideas.
This technique is applied only where the conclusion definitely results into a Yes/No situation. This therefore, requires extensive and exhaustive discussions including elaborate investigations since a wrong decision can have serious consequences.
There are two groups of panelists; one group analyzes the pros while the other the cons. They then interchange ant critique themselves and their counterparts