The concept of quality or Total Quality Management (TQM) has existed for many years, though it’s meaning has changed and evolved over the time. The concept has evolved into a customer centric approach over time with more and more companies competing with one another to achieve very high standards of quality. This revolution in Quality Management was brought about by quality gurus in the 1970s and 1980s.
Total Quality Management (TQM) focuses on identifying root causes of quality problems and correcting them at the source, as opposed to inspecting the product after it has been made. It is concerned with the technical aspects of quality as well as the improvement of people in quality such as customers, company employees and suppliers.
The philosophy of Total Quality Management (TQM) stands on some basic pillars. Some of these principles are:
1. Customers focus which deals with the identification and fulfillment of the customer needs and their satisfaction.
2. Continuous Improvement which means a philosophy of never ending improvement. It means competing with oneself.
3. Employee empowerment includes empowerment of the employees so that the quality problems can be identified and solved at the local level itself and the employees feel that they are an important part of the organization.
4. Use of quality tools should be under taken to ensure quality improvement. Quality tools include the Ishikawa diagram, the PDCA cycle and the Pareto analysis.
5. Product design which includes the designing of products which to meet customer expectations and improve quality of the product.
6. Process management which says that quality should be built into the process. It involves identification and correction of quality problems.
7. Managing supplier quality says that the concepts of quality must extend to a company’s suppliers as well.
This is the concept of Total Quality Management (TQM) and the various pillars on which the concept stands.