Principles of Management

Total Quality Management – Definition, Objectives and Tools for TQM

Total Quality Management

Total Quality Management (TQM) was developed by William Deming, a management consultant whose work had a great impact on Japanese manufacturing. TQM focuses on ensuring that internal instructions and process standards reduce errors.

What is Total Quality Management?

Total Quality Management (TQM) is a management strategy that is designed to bring awareness of quality in all organizational processes. It is commonly used in manufacturing, education, government, and service organizations. It provides an umbrella under which everyone in the organization can strive and create customer satisfaction. Total Quality Management consists of three qualities that are as follows:-

  1. Quality of return to satisfy the needs of shareholders
  2. Quality of products and services to satisfy some specific needs of the consumers
  3. Quality of life at work and outside work to satisfy the needs of the people in the organization

Total Quality Management Definitions

Some of the famous definitions of Total Quality Management given by different writers and organizations are as follows:

According to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), “Total Quality Management is a management approach for an organization, centered on quality, based on the participation of all its members and aiming at long- term success through customers satisfaction, and benefits to all members of the organization and to society.”

According to Ricky W. Griffin, “A strategic commitment by top management to change its whole approach to  business to make a quality guiding factor in everything it does.”

According to Robert Kreitner, “Total quality management (TQM) is defined as creating an organizational culture committed to the continuous improvement of skills, teamwork, processes, product and  Total service quality and customer satisfaction.”

According to Robbins and Coulter, “Total Quality Management is a philosophy of management that is driven by customer needs and expectations and focuses on continual improvement in the work process.”

Total Quality Management ensures that things are done rightly for the first time, and defects and waste are eliminated from operations. An organization that adopts TQM must implement changes in all areas of management. It is removal from earlier management theories that were based on the belief that low cost is the only way to increase productivity. It must review its strategies, plans, policies, procedures, and practices as per the needs and desires of the market.

Objectives of Total Quality Management

  1. Better, less variable quality of product or service.
  2. Quicker less variable response in a process to customer needs.
  3. Greater flexibility in adjusting to customers shifting requirements.
  4. Lower cost through quality improvement and elimination of non-value adding work.

Principles of Total Quality Management

Principles of Total Quality Management

Principles of Total Quality Management

  • Customer focus
  • Commitment from the leadership
  • People engagement
  • Process approach
  • Continuous improvements
  • Evidence-based decision making
  • Relationship Management

Tools for TQM | Tools For Total Quality Management

Organizations can apply several tools and techniques to improve quality. The popular among tools for TQM are as follows:

  • Benchmarking
  • Outsourcing
  • Speed
  • ISO 9000
  • Statistical Quality Control (SQC) techniques


Benchmarking is the process of searching the best practice competitors that leads to better performance. It is an evaluation and comparison of an organization’s own products and processes against the very best. It is a very particular form of environmental scanning.

Benchmarking involves looking for similar firms to examine how they have achieved the best performance levels and to understand the process they use. It helps to examine the process behind the excellent performance. This permits organizations to develop a practice which helps to improve performance.

The applications of benchmarking involve four steps.

  1.  Understanding in detail the existing business practice.
  2. Analyzing the business process of others.
  3. Compare owns business performance with that of others analyzed.
  4. Executing the steps necessary to close the performance gap.

2. Outsourcing

Outsourcing is the process of subcontracting some of the jobs to other organizations to bring quality and get the benefit of specialization. It is an important means of reducing costs and improving quality. If an organization performs each and every activity by itself, it may not be able to perform it in an efficient manner and the quality of products and service will also be inferior.

Therefore, the organization needs to identify certain areas that can be outsourced to minimize the cost of operation and to produce higher quality.

3. Speed

Speed is the time required to perform specific activities for an organization. It is required in every area including development, production, and distribution of products or services. Many organizations are using speed for competitive advantage today. Increasing speed will give organizations a strategic advantage and helps them to complete the task more effectively.

Speed has become an important competitive advantage today. It involves not only doing the same thing faster but also rethinking and redesigning the whole business cycle.

4. ISO 9000

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards bodies. It was founded on 23 February 1947. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland. The organization produces worldwide international and commercial standards. There are 158 member countries in ISO up to 2006.

There are five sets of standards covering areas such as product testing, employee training, record keeping, supplier relations and repair policies and procedures starting 9000 to 9004. Firms that meet these standards apply for certification and are audited by a firm’s domestic affiliate organization.

Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology adopts this standard in Nepal. This office reviews every aspect of the firm’s business operation in relation to standards and grant ISO 9000 certificate who meet the standards. Thus, it develops quality standards over a wide range of quality systems, which add value to business operations.

5. Statistical Quality Control (SQC)

Statistical Quality Control also known as SQC is a set of specific statistical techniques that are applied to monitor the quality of goods or services. It measures the degree of conformance of the various factors involved in processing the products on the basis of specifications. It is based on statistical and probability theories. It seeks to control the quality through incoming materials, processing and outputs produced.

Acceptance sampling is applied for sampling a lot of materials and final output to ensure that quality standards have been met. Process sampling is used to evaluate products during the course of production to ensure that defective piece is not produced. Control charts are constructed to set the acceptable lower and upper limits of an aspect that we want to control in an item.

All finished products may not be exactly the same and therefore, some limits or tolerance must be set so that if the finished product falls within these set limits, it can be considered of acceptable quality.

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