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Total Quality Management Research Paper

Businesses of a half-decade ago laughed at the pioneers of a total quality management system. The basic idea of a total quality management system is to improve performance at all levels and all aspects of a business to maintain competitiveness in the market and gain customer satisfaction. There are many facets encompassed in a total quality management model, which is probably why the pioneers were ridiculed. But over time the total quality concept has emerged and proved it is what businesses of today need. Like a new sheriff in a small town, TQM redefined what quality means, how to achieve it, and how to measure it.

Traditional methods were needed and worked effectively in an era where employees took orders and manufacturing and production were the driving force of a business. With globalization and e-business on the frontier needs have changed, thus the need for total quality management to be implemented in all businesses of the new era.

Impact of Globalization

As companies venture beyond domestic borders and into the international arena total quality is a key to their success. The concept of globalization is to offer quality products at a competitive price to foreign customers. Without a quality product a company would not be competitive in foreign markets. Since customer satisfaction is a key element to the TQM model, it is important to understand what quality means to the various cultures of the global arena.

Since most companies today understand the importance of total quality many companies have set out to get a quality certification such as an ISO 9000 certification. The importance of a quality certification is that it makes a company more competitive in the market they are involved in. One day a certification such as ISO 9000 will become a minimum requirement for a business because as technology advances the need for flawless products will increase. Additionally, quality certifications will prove to customers that they are getting quality products.

Traditional vs. Quality
As discussed, the total quality concept focuses on increased customer satisfaction by continuing to improve the performance of all aspects of a company. A half century ago management laughed at this ideal focusing on only improving quality in key areas of the manufacturing process. Traditional style believed that quality could be increased if performance of research and development or production could be improved. When presented with the concept of total quality, the pioneers were ridiculed for their ideals. The concept of empowering employees and satisfying the customer were not top priorities in the traditional era.

One important element that is encompassed in the total quality concept is the six-sigma theory. Over the last half-decade increased volume and complexity of manufacturing has lead to the TQM model to be adopted by organizations. “Traditional…measured process performance in defective parts per hundred produced…with total quality the same measurement is thought of in parts per million” (Univ. of Phoenix, p. 20). In the latter 70’s management saw the need for total quality over the traditional method. Today TQM is a large part of an organizations success and is extended beyond the production or manufacturing aspect of a company. In large corporations all departments have adopted the ideals of total quality to improve performance of all levels.

The total quality concept is important for businesses to be successful in the future. Over time continued pressure on quality products will force businesses to adopt certifications proving they are adhering to the total quality concept. This will ultimately be a good thing for businesses because it will divide the successful from the unsuccessful. The reference to the TQM concept being compared to a new sheriff is even in the old west there was a time for change. The new sheriff would normally try to improve the quality of the town to make its’ residents safe and attract visitors by eliminating those that did not contribute to the town in a positive fashion. The same holds true for the total quality concept; improved quality will yield a better product and productivity of the employees will be enhanced at all levels in all departments.

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