The need to solve complex human issues with a collective effort brought about Management in the first place.
It is only natural that people want a better solution in their management with less of human efforts.
The early management was solely based on using cost cutting measures to make the management process more efficient.
The practice which often was plagued by unethical results such as laying off of staff and cutting down the wages (disproportionately.)
But with the introduction of Quality Management System, the focus redirected to removing defects (inefficiencies) from the system of management, breaking down the barriers of management into processes which can be tackled and improved on collectively.
By Quality Management System, it means the “organizational structure, processes, procedures, and resources needed to implement, maintain and continually improve the management of quality,” American Society for Quality (ASQ) ditto.
But to get a clearer view of the term, let’s look at what Total Quality Management (TQM) means and its antecedents.
TQM is a management philosophy that originated in the 1950s but only started to gain steams in the last three decades. The initial adoption was limited to manufacturing operations, and for a number of years continued to be used in that area alone.
TQM had since evolved into a broader management model that many deem its success in manufacturing just as equally applicable in service sector and public sector organizations, essentially with the use of technology.
There are many reasons why TQM is viewed as a social solution as much as it is a scientific model: the emphasis on customer experience in the continuity of business operations and the use of scientific data to bring the customer experience into the process of business negotiations, are two key pillars. TQM also emphasizes a belief that views an organization as a collection of processes and maintains that business must strive to improve each process (continuously) to meet the consumer needs.
Essentially, TQM is based on a business philosophy that emphasizes on standards in all aspects of work. Though mistakes can be made by people, most of them are caused, or at least permitted, by faulty systems or processes. It maintains that businesses should make efforts to fix such problems by tracing to their root causes and removing them from the management process, and repetition can be prevented by changing the process.
Having given a background of the TQM, let’s go into the detail on how you can go about implementing it in your business organization.
Bear in mind that this piece is far from being a complete process of the TQM, but it can well be used as a baseline for applying TQM-related solutions in your business organization.
8-Step Process to a Total Quality Management System
Identify the need for a change
The success of TQM process depends on if the people working in an organization want to make the change happen. If your organization is the type that’s responsive to new ideas, then TQM can easily be adopted in such system. But if you are in a highly conservative system that’s governed by some foundational principles, then TQM implementation should be delayed until there is a stress in the existing structure leading people to want to make the change happen. In such case, it is easier to sell them the TMQ as a solution in the disoriented environment.
Clarify the vision and mission with the management and employees
TQM is an integrated process which means it requires all hands to be on deck to reach a successful implementation. From the management board and the executives to the department heads and rank and file, there should be a proper channel of communication to make sure everybody is informed of what role to play in the TQM process. Also, TQM newsletters can be an effective ongoing communication tool to keep activities at the helm of employees as they unfold.
Survey key customer groups
Being the major reason for embarking on the TQM, you need to survey your key customer groups to gather their inputs for what you might need to include in the improvement plan.
You can first identify your customer groups by taking a close look at those parties involved in your existing business operation. They include but not limited to:
- Customers, etc.
You can use any complaints from these groups to chart a course to solutions of problems facing your organization.
Identify Critical Success Factors (CSF)
Critical Success Factors are those little measures that allow the overall goal to be easily measured. With some actionable data by your side to keep you in close line with your goal, you are not only making sure the TQM is successful in the end but also knowing when the implementation is fully done. For this reason, you would need some help (tools) with tracking the data useful in planning each course of action. In addition, the CSF should have to include those measures you can easily quantified (assigned number to):
• Quantity Sold
• Number of Closed Deals per Day
• Customer Calls answered per Day (reduced dropped call rates)
• Market Share
• Improved Balance Sheet Figures
• Customer Complaints (number)
Map out major processes and sub-processes
As said, the complete TQM is process based, which is why it’s a subject of continuous improvement. But when you start a process, there are sub-processes in between in order to move to the next process. For example, a process can be to improve your customer satisfaction, while sub-processes may be to reduce dropped calls rate, improve after sales service, increase on-purchase bonuses and benefits, etc. These are sub processes you can measure to determine the level you’ve attained in completing a major process.
Train and re-train employees
Since success with TQM is largely dependent on the adoption level by people working in the organization, you should train and re-train your employees to get their feet wet in the new structure. While certain tasks may require outside consultants in the training of staff and system design, access to TQM’s intricate process should be open to all internal workers in your organization. Also, there should be a clear role definition and specification of duties in the collaborative relationship with the consultants.
Develop an improvement plan
Having said the above, you should have a clear roadmap on how the TQM process would be implemented. A good plan should have some basic rudiments in it to be successful. First, your plan must follow the popular SMART format. It should also incorporate certain changes that your employees can adapt to. A typical plan should contain:
- A draft to transition the TQM ideas to functions and duties for employees.
- Leadership Development and Training (inspire the movement).
- Process improvement initiatives and development.
- Staff Training in the area of quality of customer service.
- Performance Evaluation Techniques: help to monitor and ensure jobs are executed in line with the specifications.
Measure and Report
In the end, the report on whether TQM was successful or not depends on the measurements factored into that process to inform your strategy in critical areas like, purchasing, hiring and diversifying.
In deciding when to improve or adjust or to re-imagine the whole process, you still need measuring your options for that decision.
In the overall compilation of data, measuring is also key to determine how the company had changed in some critical figures. The data gathered in this process can be useful not only to entice new customers in but also to give credits to your employees for the job well done, which can serve as a motivation for future TQM.
TQM is a complete improvement process that’s applicable to any business organization today. Unlike when the technology was really crude, access to some sophisticated tools is easier today to collect the data. Some customer relationship data can be mined using a host of modern tools such as HubSpot CRM, Goldmine CRM, Salesforce, Infusionsoft, etc.
This is the area that allows TQM to be applied across boards in all facets of the organization (marketing, finance, customer service, engineering, design, and production, etc.). For instance, customer satisfaction data (like testimonials, feedbacks, and case studies) can be useful for someone who wants to know how the existing environment can improve their experience before committing to make a purchase.
Incorporating data in your marketing is also a great way to showcase the achievements and milestones within your organization.
What do you think? How is your business getting ahead with management and customers? Have you tried TQM before, what are your results? Please share your experience in the comment below