Advantages and disadvantages of total quality management
This article aims to explore the advantages and disadvantages of total quality management (TQM). Total quality management (TQM) is a management tool that helps organisations achieve long-term goals and stay focused on improving the processes they follow. However, it has some demerits too.
What is total quality management (TQM)?
According to Miranda and Bottorff (2022) Total Quality Management (TQM) aims to involve the whole company in process improvement. It encompasses all aspects of the business and considers it a system.
According to the Chartered Institute of Quality (2020) TQM is a philosophy for managing an organization in a way which enables it to meet stakeholder needs and expectations efficiently and effectively, without compromising ethical values.
Advantages of total quality management (TQM)
There are several advantages of total quality management that have indeed impressed many organisations and analysts globally. Some of them are outlined below:
One of the main goals in total quality management is to provide the best possible experience to the customers who are always right at the center of the organisation. When a company uses TQM, it can anticipate customer complaints and desires, address them at the source, and improve on its products/services.
Attracting and keeping top-notch employees is one of the most significant challenges for a company. With TQM in place, it can engage and motivate employees and help them realise their full potential.
Increased market share
Market share is increased when a company has a good reputation in the industry. As it improves the products and services, its revenue and market share should show a long-term increase as well resulting in sustained competitive advantages.
Productivity and less waste of resources
TQM helps organisations decrease the waste of resources greatly. In addition, the productivity of employees rises sharply too as they use time more efficiently.
TQM is all about improving the processes that a company follows. This can include anything from customer service to manufacturing. For instance, in order to avoid product defects, manufacturing processes should be examined and improved where necessary. Internal operations can be improved by establishing processes that have been proven to work in other industries.
Disadvantages of total quality management (TQM)
The processes of an organization are essential to its success. However, when they try to change them for the better, there are always some costs involved, which can be higher than usual.
By implementing the tools of TQM, a company can improve its processes; however, it does not mean that customers will like them more. In fact, service procrastination due the implementation of TQM may dissatisfy many of them.
Difficult and time consuming
Implementing TQM is not a simple task as it can be difficult and time consuming (BBC, 2022). It requires a huge number of resources, both human and financial. This is because implementing TQM means changing the way operations of a business are managed – from top-down to bottom-up. And, in order to do so, operational processes and procedures must be examined, evaluated, and changed where necessary, which again means a significant investment in resources.
Examples of total quality management (TQM)
Some of the top global companies such as Toyota, Motorola, Ford Motor Company, Xerox, and Exxon use (or used in the past) TQM. These companies brought about many changes in line with TQM principles. For instance, Ford Motor Company improved on its assembly line activities and practices to produce even more vehicles, while keeping the level of quality high. Likewise, Exxon rebranded itself to address the needs and desires of its customers.
Principles of total quality management (TQM)
According to the Chartered Institute of Quality, cited in Cartana (2020), there are several principles of total quality management. Businesses can use them to achieve a high level of quality across their organisations. Some of these principles and commentary are as follows:
Quality is the first priority. Top management must be involved in quality management. This should make it easier for organisations to involve the entire team in the quality management process.
Organisations should set SMART objectives to achieve their stated goals. If the objectives are not realistic and achievable, they will lead to the waste of valuable resources.
Commitments made to customers must be fulfilled. Quality is a process, not an event. It does not happen by accident. It happens when a company engages its customers, focuses on their needs, and brings a product or service that is of high quality.
The success of any business depends on the abilities of its people working in it. Therefore, it is essential to put people first.
The expectations of different stakeholders should be broken down so that everyone can understand them. Organisations should communicate with their stakeholders regularly as well.
Quality problems must be identified and resolved quickly and efficiently. Problem solving process and activities should involve the entire team.
Quality must be planned and managed, hence the name ‘total quality management’. It can be planned by using PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) methodology.
Recurring errors must be avoided. This can be achieved with a detailed root cause analysis. It is important to remember that quality is a process and not an event. Therefore, it is essential to focus on the process itself which should help companies avoid waste as well.
Finally, when working in the field of quality, it is essential to be proactive. If a process is not working properly, it is essential to act before the situation gets worse.
To sum up, the main objective of total quality management is to ensure the quality of the whole organisation. If a business practices it, it can reach long-term goals of staying in the industry and increasing its revenue. However, as stated above, TQM is costly and time-consuming, hence no quick fix!
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Last update: 04 May 2022
BBC (2022) The concept of quality, available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/zmqvf4j/revision/2 (accessed 04 May 2022)
Cartana, M. (2020) Creating a quality culture with TQM, available at: https://www.quality.org/knowledge/creating-quality-culture-tqm (accessed 02 May 2022)
Miranda, D. and Bottorff, C. (2022) What is process improvement? available at: https://www.forbes.com/advisor/business/what-is-process-improvement/ (accessed 03 May 2022)
Author: M Rahman
M Rahman writes extensively online and offline with an emphasis on business management, marketing, and tourism. He is a lecturer in Management and Marketing. He holds an MSc in Tourism & Hospitality from the University of Sunderland. Also, graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University with a BA in Business & Management Studies and completed a DTLLS (Diploma in Teaching in the Life-Long Learning Sector) from London South Bank University.