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Companies That Benefited From TQM

written by: Jean Scheid • edited by: Linda Richter • updated: 12/19/2010

What is Total Quality Management (TQM), and are there companies that benefit from TQM? Much as its name, TQM is a way to ensure total quality in the outcome of a product or process. Jean Scheid takes a look at some of the organizations that have used and had success with TQM.

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    Exxon Used TQM to Re-Brand

    500px-Exxon Mobil Logo svg Not only does TQM ensure quality, it also considers the customer or the end-user. With the fuel business ever so competitive, Exxon felt the need to explore customer-related issues by using TQM rather than only relying on competitive pricing—becoming one of the companies that benefited from TQM.

    According to BrainMass, Exxon “treated quality as an opportunity for process improvement rather than as cost." The challenge for Exxon was to re-brand the company as a “trusted" fuel provider, and that also meant their service stations—owners were asked to emulate Exxon’s corporate beliefs into their franchises or gas stations that bore the Exxon name and sold their products.

    Through analyzing customers' need and wants and by using TQM to implement those wants and needs—they re-branded themselves from the disaster of the Exxon-Valdez oil spill of 1989. They looked at 4 areas of the end-user and consumer confidence including higher quality products, efficient and easy-to-use services and products, better explanations of warranties and guarantees, and being truthful in all of their advertising efforts. By doing so, the company was able to embark on the new and the workable and leave the “consumer view" of the company on the back burner.

    Image Credit (Wikimedia Commons)

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    Xerox Fights Back With TQM

    500px-Xerox Logo svg According to Mark Chatfield’s article TQM: It Really Works, published on the All Business website, many American companies between “1960 to 1990 lost 40 percent of market share to foreign competitors, while Japan increased its foreign market by 500 percent." With fear of closing down, Xerox fought back using TQM to regain their market share.

    They implemented TQM by opening the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), which focused on ways to emerge as a leader in the printer/copy/fax market. Their main goal: “Innovation is everywhere; the problem is learning from it." The also focused on benchmarking and leadership and re-thought their suppliers to come up with the best quality products that could compete globally. Xerox later went on to win the Baldridge Award for their TQM efforts.

    Image Credit (Wikimedia Commons)

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    Ford is Driven by TQM

    800px-Black Ford Mondeo MK3 - 003 While a believer in Six Sigma these days, back in the 1980s, Ford believed in TQM after its executives saw what the methodology did for Toyota. A new slogan “Quality People, Quality Products" emerged, especially after Ford partnered with ChemFil, their paint supplier—a company that helped produce quality paint products customers desired. As with many other automakers, the emergence of customer surveys was vast and from survey responses came more quality based on customer needs.

    Actually, top executives at Ford say TQM was a “light-bulb" idea from Henry Ford who improved on his assembly line practices to manufacture even more vehicles, while keeping quality levels high. With their entrance into the Six Sigma methodology, the slogan has changed again at Ford—“We’ve got a better idea!"

    Image Credit (Wikimedia Commons)

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    All of these organizations are companies that benefited from TQM. Although some may have moved on to practices such as the 5S Methodology and Six Sigma and even Lean Six Sigma, quality products was the goal for all three of these giants; and by using TQM, they were indeed successful.


    • BrainMass on Exxon retrieved at:
    • St. Francis on Xerox retrieved at: