JUST recently, I had a class on Total Quality Management (TQM) and quite some interesting issues came up from participants. Previously, quality management systems focussed on quality standards and achieving those quality standards was their objective. Currently, TQM focusses more on the philosophy of continuous improvements throughout all functional areas of the organisation.
By Robert Mandeya
TQM is defined by the American Society for Quality (2013) as:
A management approach to long–term success through customer satisfaction. In a TQM effort, all members of an organisation participate in improving processes, products, services, and the culture in which they work. In defining quality, quality management and TQM, the connection they have to customer relations and satisfaction becomes clearer. Customers are satisfied when they receive products and services of a high quality.
Gaining commitment to change
Process alignment is characterised by the embracing of a broad view of the organisation and required changes by top management. Top management must be transformed into a cohesive working team. It is top management which should create the climate for the subsequent changes in an organisation.
Developing a shared mission
An organisation’s mission statement is designed to formulate its basic purpose and define the boundaries of its business. The mission statement, which should flow from open and spontaneous discussion, provides a sense of direction on what needs to be done.
Failure to articulate a clear mission statement undermines subsequent business activities. An effective mission statement is understandable, communicable, believable and usable. It focusses on the needs and satisfaction of stakeholders
Defining measurable ideas.
Define the measurable objectives, which must be agreed by the team, as being quantifiable indicators of success in terms of the mission. Objectives operationalise the mission statements. The mission provides direction and the core values that will inform the behaviour of organisational members. Objectives provide benchmarks for measuring success.
Developing the mission
Developing of the critical success factors help the organisation to coalesce and move forward and articulate the state of affairs-for example designing policies, turnover of staff, profit margins.
Critical success factors are defined as “what the organisation must accomplish to achieve the mission”. They constitute the minimum key factors as sub-goals that the organisation must have or need to achieve the mission. Critical success factors provide direction and the success criteria.
Breaking down key success factors
It takes a process or process to achieve a critical success factor. It is important to identify the process and a member of a management team that is responsible for that process. Questions such as, how is the process currently carried out? By whom? When? How frequently? Will it help to focus and fine-tune processes? Answers to questions posed will force process ownership into the business. Each process owner should form a process quality team.
Working at cross-purposes
Organisations should avoid situations where there are too many management systems that are working at cross-purposes and in contradictory ways.
TQM must be harmonised with the strategic planning process of an organisation. Systems should work harmoniously to achieve common corporate objectives. Both strategic planning and total quality management are based on the systems theory. The steps in the integration process of the two systems must be synchronised in order to achieve common objectives. The steps should be viewed as sub-systems. The malfunctioning of one sub-system impacts negatively on other sub-systems.
Developing a business culture
A business culture may be described as the beliefs that prevail in an organisation about how a business should be conducted and how employees should behave and be treated observes Oakland (1993:28). All total quality management gurus concur on this fundamental point.
An organisation’s vision provides the framework for its guiding philosophy, core values, beliefs and purpose. TQM requires values, which focus on employees, suppliers, customers, society at large, safety and shareholders. Senior management has a critical role in total quality management.
An increasing number of companies, particularly in developed countries, are now acutely aware that knowledge is their key asset. There is a strong desire to turn to managing this asset to deliver business results.
Successful mangers have long been aware that competitiveness lies in knowledge, long before such words as experts system, competencies, best practices learning organisations and corporate memory became fashionable. While knowledge originates in the minds of individuals, it is embedded in norms, processes, practices, organisational systems and organisational routines. Knowledge management is designed to facilitate the application of fragmented knowledge through ingratiation.
Knowledge management is critical in order for an organisation to cope with market shift, uncertainty, technological proliferation, competition and the absolence of products and services.
Successful companies are characterised by an ability to create new knowledge consistently, quickly disseminate it and embody such knowledge in new products and services.
Mandeya is an executive coach, trainer in human capital development and corporate education, a certified leadership and professional development practitioner and founder of the Leadership Institute for Research and Development (LiRD). — firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or +263 772 466 925.