Quality - A Tool for Achieving Excellence

Introduction

For an organization to be successful it is of paramount importance to exceed the customer expectations as to generate customer delight. One of the best ways of doing this is by providing quality products and services.

In technical language, quality means to a product adhering to the specifications. For customer probably meeting or exceeding the expectation could be quality.

Therefore, quality has different meaning to different people, for example, in automobile industry quality means cars with no defects and works smoothly. Quality involves meeting and exceeding of customer expectations. So to summarize quality is:

  • Satisfying customer defined standards.
  • Meet customer needs
  • Meet or exceed customer expectations.
  • Satisfy future needs and requirements of customers.

Quality Definitions

According to industry and users quality has many definitions some of them are as follows:

  • Customer Oriented Industry: Meeting customer expectation
  • Manufacturing Industry: Meeting technical specification and working with no defects
  • Product Oriented Industry: Product has additional value compared to similar products available in the market.
  • Value Oriented Industry: Product is perfect combination of features in the given price band.

Accordingly, Customers look at quality in different areas as follows:

  • Airline Industry: On time, low cost, comfortable
  • Railways: On time, low cost, secure and safe
  • Postal Service: Accurate delivery and cost effective

Total Quality Management (TQM)

The two main objectives of Total Quality Management are 100% customer satisfaction and zero defects. TQM is a process beyond quality of product or services; it deals with the business philosophy of the organization. TQM propagates the concept of doing right things right and at first time itself. In TQM:

  • Total means involvement of top management as well as workers
  • Quality means meeting expectation of the customers
  • Management means management of quality across the organization

The main focus of the total quality management is as follows:

  • Involvement of all employees in the process
  • Selection of suppliers
  • Organization structure to support the process
  • Maximum customer satisfaction
  • Appropriate reward for quality improvement and suggestions

Considering above focus points, scope of TQM can be defined as follows:

  • Organization should encourage building of culture promoting TQM.
  • Organizational resources, including infrastructure should be dedicated in TQM.
  • Top management decision and structure should support the TQM process.
  • Proper training and environment should be created before implementation of TQM.

Total Quality Management gives a great importance to customers and suppliers. Here customers and supplier both can be internal as well external. The relationship of organization with customers as well supplier is critical in continuation of TQM. Therefore, it is important to understand customers and suppliers.

Principles of Total Quality Management

The main principles of Total Quality Management are as follows:

  • TQM proactively works towards prevention of quality problems.
  • TQM strives to achieve a state with zero defects or minimal defects.
  • TQM aims at producing right quality products at the first instance itself.
  • TQM pushes the concept that quality is not the responsibility of production department but of organization as a whole.
  • TQM encourages continuous improvement of business and production process.
  • TQM encourages award and recognition for worker's pro-actively working towards quality.
  • TQM decisions are fully based by research and data.
  • TQM should be always systematic and logical in the process.

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