The rewards of establishing a quality company are immense. Look at the growth, profitability and image of Marks & Spencer and British Airways through focusing on quality. Any company in any industry can follow their path and share their success provided its management is serious about meeting customer requirements. Total quality management is the route to creating a quality company and requires complete commitment and dedication from the top.
It also requires strength of leadership and willingness to listen and learn and accept suggestions from wherever they come and to make changes. To start with, a Managing Director will find the task of quality improvement across the whole company daunting and he will get very little comfort from the teachings of the quality gurus. Just deciding where to begin is so difficult that they may never get off the starting block. The condition is so common it even has a name ‘Total Quality Paralysis’! However, how to overcome total quality paralysis can be seen in the following section.
A Company Experience Recently, (Whiston, 1988) in order to develop their quality improvement process, the ICI Chemicals & Polymers division looked at the offerings of the three main quality experts, i. e. Crosby, Juran and Deming. All of them were from the United States and had a strong client-base approach. Crosby’s approach helped them to understand about (a) defect prevention, (b) the stress on the individual, (c) clear customer focus and an education programme for all in the organization.
Juran’s method taught them the project-approach to problem diagnosis and solution and concentration on continual improvement, whereas Deming’s emphasis on measurement and the importance of education were also totally in sympathy with the ICI culture. After very careful consideration ICI decided to initiate their improvement process with the Philip Crosby approach recognizing that the work of the other quality experts would very quickly come into their thinking. They decided to adopt the Crosby approach utilizing his 14 steps process as given below:
Once the management training had been completed to a significant degree ICI launched their own quality improvement process. At the early stage of the process they did not see the need to adopt all the 14 steps of Crosby. It seemed to them that some of the Crosby’s steps had more emphasis in the UK scene than anywhere else. With the increased understanding of the quality improvement process ICI felt confident to develop their own brand of quality improvement process.
Their view of educational needs were modified and they were in a position to select appropriate education packages from the various consultants. They started their quality improvement process using an American consultant and gradually brought into their process other US and non-US consultant packages. However, they also rediscovered the old British productivity film ‘Right first time’ which in general highlights so many of the points of the whole range of quality gurus and realized that the final approach they had adopted was not really an imported process.
Various Stages of Total Quality Management The process of implementing total quality management in an organization can be developed in the following four stages: (i) Identification and preparation Identifying and collecting information about the organization in the prime areas where improvement will have most impact on the organization’s performance. Preparing the detailed basic work for the improvement of all the organization’s activities. (ii) Management understanding and commitment
To make sure that the management understands the objective and methodology of total quality management and are prepared to adopt them all the time. (iii) Scheme for improvement Identify and resolve quality issues by involving all management and supervision in a proper scheme of training and communication. (iv) New initiative, new target and critical examination (Bowman 1991). Start new initiative with new targets and take the complete improvement process to everybody indicating supplier and customer links in the quality chain.
Obtain information about progress and consolidate success. It is often easy to see that some companies have failed to improve their quality by starting the total quality management approach at the third or fourth stages. Without the data to make informed decisions, without total commitment from the top, without the strength of a united and co-ordinated middle management, it is hardly surprising that the company has failed. There are no by-passes for this total quality management approach but to go through every stage.
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