Total Quality Management

Total Quality Management (TQM) is a comprehensive and structured approach to organizational management that seeks to improve the quality of products and services through ongoing refinements in response to continuous feedback. TQM requirements may be defined separately for a particular organization or may be in adherence to established standards, such as the International Organization for Standardization's ISO 9000 series. TQM can be applied to any type of organization; it originated in the manufacturing sector and has since been adapted for use in almost every type of organization imaginable, including schools, highway maintenance, hotel management, and churches. As a current focus of e-business, TQM is based on quality management from the customer's point of view.

TQM processes are divided into four sequential categories: plan, do, check, and act (the PDCA cycle). In the planning phase, people define the problem to be addressed, collect relevant data, and ascertain the problem's root cause; in the doing phase, people develop and implement a solution, and decide upon a measurement to gauge its effectiveness; in the checking phase, people confirm the results through before-and-after data comparison; in the acting phase, people document their results, inform others about process changes, and make recommendations for the problem to be addressed in the next PDCA cycle.

The principles of quality management

  • customer-focused organisation - organisations depend on their customers and therefore should understand current and future customer needs, meet customer requirements and strive to exceed customer expectations
  • leadership - leaders establish unity of purpose, direction and the internal environment of the organisation. They create the environment in which people can become fully involved in achieving the organisation's objectives
  • involvement of people - people at all levels are the essence of an organisation and their full involvement enables their abilities to be used for the organisation's benefit
  • process approach - a desired result is achieved more efficiently when related resources and activities are managed as a process
  • system approach to management - identifying, understanding and managing a system of interrelated processes for a given objective contributes to the effectiveness and efficiency of the organisation
  • continual improvement - continual improvement is a permanent objective of an organisation
  • factual approach to decision making - effective decisions are based on the logical and intuitive analysis of data and information
  • mutually beneficial supplier relationships - mutually beneficial relationships between the organisation and its suppliers enhance the ability of both organisations to create value