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Theories in Total Quality Management (TQM)

written by: Ronda Bowen • edited by: Rebecca Scudder • updated: 4/12/2013

What do you know about the different theories of total quality management? Learn more about TQM, a customer based management methodology.

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    Total Quality Management (TQM) is a quality improvement body of methodologies that are customer-based and service oriented. TQM was first developed in Japan, and then spread in popularity. However, while TQM may refer to a set of customer based practices that intend to improve quality and promote process improvement, there are several different theories at work guiding TQM practices.

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    Deming's Theory

    shutterstock 5203153 Deming's theory of Total Quality Management rests upon fourteen points of management he identified, the system of profound knowledge, and the Shewart Cycle (Plan-Do-Check-Act). He is known for his ratio - Quality is equal to the result of work efforts over the total costs. If a company is to focus on costs, the problem is that costs rise while quality deteriorates. Deming's system of profound knowledge consists of the following four points:

    • System Appreciation - an understanding of the way that the company's processes and systems work
    • Variation Knowledge - an understanding of the variation occurring and the causes of the variation
    • Knowledge Theory - the understanding of what can be known
    • Psychology Knowledge - the understanding of human nature

    By being aware of the different types of knowledge associated with an organization, then quality can be broached as a topic. Quality involves tweaking processes using knowledge. The fourteen points of Deming's theory of total quality management are as follows:

    1. Create constancy of purpose
    2. Adopt the new philosophy
    3. Stop dependancies on mass inspections
    4. Don't award business based upon the price
    5. Aim for continuous production and service improvement
    6. Bring in cutting-edge on the job training
    7. Implement cutting-edge methods for leadership
    8. Abolish fear from the company
    9. Deconstruct departmental barriers
    10. Get rid of quantity-based work goals
    11. Get rid of quotas and standards
    12. Support pride of craftsmanship
    13. Ensure everyone is trained and educated
    14. Make sure the top management structure supports the previous thirteen points.

    Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) is a cycle created for continuous improvement. In the planning phase, objectives and actions are outlined. then, you do your actions and implement the process improvements. Next, you check to ensure quality against the original. finally acting requires that you determine where changes need to occur for continued improvement before returning to the plan phase.

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    Crosby's Theory

    Philip Crosby is another person credited with starting the TQM movement. He made the point, much like Deming, that if you spend money on quality, it is money that is well spent. Crosby based on four absolutes of quality management and his own list of fourteen steps to quality improvement.

    Crosby's four absolutes are:

    • We define quality as adherence to requirements
    • Prevention is the best way to ensure quality
    • Zero Defects (mistakes) is the performance standard for quality
    • Quality is measured by the price of nonconformity

    The fourteen steps to continuous quality improvement, for Crosby, are:

    1. Attain total commitment from management
    2. Form a quality improvement team
    3. Create metrics for each quality improvement activity
    4. Determine cost of quality and show how improvement will contribute to gains
    5. Train supervisors appropriately
    6. Encourage empolyees to fix defects and keep issues logs
    7. Create a zero-defects committee
    8. Ensure that employees and supervisors understand the steps to quality
    9. Demonstrate your company's commitment by holding a zero defects day
    10. Goals are set on 30, 60, or 90 day schedule
    11. Determine root causes of errors, remove them from processes
    12. Create incentives programs for employees
    13. Create a quality council and hold regular meetings
    14. Repeat from step one
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    Joseph Juran's Theory

    Joseph Juran is responsible for what has become known as the "Quality Trilogy." The quality trilogy is made up of quality planning, quality improvement, and quality control. If a quality improvement project is to be successful, then all quality improvement actions must be carefully planned out and controlled. Juran believed there were ten steps to quality improvement. These steps are:

    1. An awareness of the opportunities and needs for improvement must be created
    2. Improvement goals must be determined
    3. Organization is required for reaching the goals
    4. Training needs to be provided
    5. Initialize projects
    6. Monitor progress
    7. Recognize performance
    8. Report on results
    9. Track achievement of improvements
    10. Repeat
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    The EFQM Framework

    The European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) Model is based upon nine criteria for quality management. There are five enablers (critera covering the basis of what a company does) and four results (criteria covering what a company achieves). The result is a model that refrains from prescribing any one methodology, but rather recognizes the diversity in quality management methodologies. The nine criteria as defined by the EFQM Model are:

    1. Focus on Results - pleasing company stakeholders with results achieved by stakeholders is a primary focus.
    2. Focus on Customers - it is vital that a company's quality management leads to customer satisfaction.
    3. Constancy of Purpose and Consistent, Visionary Leadership
    4. Process and Facts form the Management Focus - Management breaks down everything into systems, processes and facts for easy monitoring.
    5. Training and Involving Employees - Employees should receive professional development opportunities and be encouraged to remain involved in the company
    6. Continuous Learning - everyone should be provided with opportunities for learning on the job
    7. Developing Partnerships - It is important to encourage partnershps that add value to the company's improvement process
    8. Social Responsibility of the Corporation - The company should always act in a way where it is responsible towards the environment and society at large.
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    Ishikawa's Theory

    Creator of the last theory, Dr. Kaoru Isikawa is often known for his namesake diagram, but he also developed a theory of how companies should handle their quality improvement projects. Ishikawa takes a look at quality from a human standpoint. He points out that there are seven basic tools for quality improvement. These tools are:

    • Pareto Analysis - Pareto analysis helps to identify the big problems in a process.
    • Cause and Effect Diagrams - Cause and effect diagrams help to get to the root cause of problems.
    • Stratification - Stratification analyzes how the information that has been collected fits together.
    • Check Sheets - Check sheets look at how often a problem occurs.
    • Histograms - Histograms monitor variation.
    • Scatter Charts - Scatter charts demonstrate relationships between a variety of factors.
    • Process Control Charts - A control chart helps to determine what variations to focus upon.

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    What Should I do About the Competing Theories?

    These are a few of the many different TQM theories, and we haven't even covered Six Sigma here. When learning about total quality methods, it is important to remember that these are guidelines. What is important is that you and your company practice consistent steps towards improving quality in your organization and processes. Use the tools that have been shown to work and make a commitment. Committed leadership means committed employees.

References

  • Ishikawa's Theory: http://www.cwiep.org.uk/trim/files/ISHIWAKA-THEORY.pdf
  • Deming's Theory of Management: http://maaw.info/DemingMain.htm
  • Total Quality Management (TQM) http://asq.org/learn-about-quality/total-quality-management/overview/overview.html

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