Total Quality Management (TQM) is a philosophy aimed at improving business as a whole. Some of the benefits lie in the continuous improvement of processes and products, and enhanced efficiency of people and machines leading to improved quality.
The application of Total Quality Management helps in streamlining processes, and ensures a proactive work system ready to counter deviations from the ideal state. What are some of the major benefits of Total Quality Management?
The major thrust of Total Quality Management (TQM) is to achieve productivity and process efficiency by identifying and eliminating problems in work processes and systems. TQM addresses key problem areas such as mistakes in work processes, redundant processes, unnecessary tasks, and duplicate efforts. TQM interventions also help with predicting and pre-empting such mistakes and unproductive activities.
Improving process efficiency brings about many benefits to the organizations in terms of costs and time.
The major benefits of TQM in terms of cost savings include:
- elimination of non-confirmation and repetitive work
- elimination of waste costs and reject products
- elimination of repairs and reworks
- reduced warranty and customer support costs
- process efficiency leading to improved profit per product or service
- fiscal discipline through elimination of unnecessary steps and wasteful expenditure
TQM frees up management time from redressing problems and directs management time and effort to:
- increase production
- extend the range of products
- improve existing products
TQM and Customer Satisfaction
A major long-term benefit of Total Quality Management relates to customer satisfaction. TQM aims at improving quality, and identifies the best measure of quality as matching customer expectations in terms of service, product, and experience. TQM interventions quantify problems and aim to achieve the best state defined in terms of such customer expectations.
Some examples of the application of Total Quality Management to improve customer satisfaction include:
- Reduction of waiting time by changing the method of appointment scheduling or client handling
- Making changes to the delivery process so that the product reaches the customer faster
Better quality products requiring no repairs improving customer loyalty
TQM and Organizational Development
Among the major benefits of Total Quality Management is improvement in Organizational Development. TQM heralds a change in the work culture by educating all employees on quality and making quality the concern of everybody, not just the Quality Control department. The focus on quality leads to a proactive work culture aimed at preventing mistakes rather than correcting mistakes.
Total Quality Management’s focus on teamwork leads to the formation of cross-departmental teams and cross-functional knowledge sharing. Such interventions lead to many benefits such as:
- Improvement in communication skills of individual employees and overall organizational communication
- Knowledge sharing, resulting in deepening and broadening of knowledge and skill-set of team members, and the making of a Learning Organization
- Flexibility for the organization in deploying personnel, contributing to rightsizing, and ensuring cost competitiveness.
Another benefit of Total Quality Management is that TQM promotes the concept of internal customer/supplier satisfaction. For instance, the HR department considers employees as internal customers and processes their queries or requests within the specified time limit. The lab technician in a hospital processes the clinical tests required by the doctor, an internal customer in a timely and efficient manner, according to the laid down customer satisfaction norms.
TQM and Human Resources
A major application of benefits of Total Quality Management relate to Human Resource Management. Application of TQM in an organization brings about the following benefits to the Human Resources of an organization:
- TQM extends the ownership of the business process to each employee involved in the process by empowering them to rectify mistakes on the spot without supervisor review or action. This generates intrinsic motivation and creates an atmosphere of enthusiasm and satisfaction among the workforce.
- TQM’s thrust on eliminating mistakes and improving productivity contributes to accomplishment of targets faster. The resultant free time allows employees to enhance their knowledge and apply their creativity to improve existing products and develop new products.
- TQM’s thrust on quality leads to identifying skill-deficiencies in employees and providing training and other interventions to bridge such deficiencies. Cross-functional and cross-departmental teams allow employees to share their experience and solve issues jointly, leading to benefits such as broadening skill-sets, and improvement of existing skills.
TQM’s focus on eliminating mistakes and bringing about process efficiency heralds a direct approach such as counseling and other remedial actions to solve issues such as absenteeism.
- The enhanced productivity brought about by TQM translates to better profits for the organization, and consequently better wages.
TQM and Competitive Advantage
The application of Total Quality Management brings forth all-round benefits and makes the organization more competitive. In the new business environment marked by demolition of barriers and free flow of information and products, organizations retain their competitive advantage by reducing prices, improving existing products and innovating new products. TQM is a business strategy that allows organizations to achieve all this and much more.
Total Quality Management demolishes the myth that increased quality results in increased costs and decreased productivity. TQM proves that quality is actually the key to decreased costs, and better productivity and positions quality as a critical component of strategic business advantage.
- Powell, Thomas, C. (Jan 1995). Total Quality Management as Competitive Advantage: A Review and Empirical Study
Strategic Management Journal (16.1)
- VIPTaskManager. Problems and advantages of Total Quality Management. Retreived from http://www.taskmanagementsoft.com/solutions/articles/problems-and-advantages-total-quality-management.php
Image Credit: Ken Lund. http://www.flickr.com/photos/kenlund/