Total Quality: Origin, What is it, Principles, Models and MORE

9 minutos de lectura

Do you know what it is Total quality (TQM in English)? It is a management strategy to detect, reduce or eliminate errors in the preparation / provision of a product / service. Its main objective is to reduce quality problems in the products that are produced, through continuous improvements in the processes. For which it takes into consideration the opinion of all the people who participate in it.

In a world where markets seem borderless, competitiveness and cost reduction can mean the survival of an organization. It is no longer just customer satisfaction, but how much it costs the organization to do so, since the price of the good / service depends on it.

Do not stop! Read on to learn more about Total Quality!

Origin and Evolution of Total Quality

The Total quality, became known in the early 1980s thanks to an article from the Harvard Business Review. However, its conception is the result of a sustained effort of innovations in quality control.

End of the 19th century, first quarter of the 20th century

We can locate the origin of total quality at the end of the 19th century, when companies developed important efforts to detect and solve production failures. Which were generated as a consequence of the lack of uniformity in the production processes.

This lack of uniformity in the activities of massive manufacturing processes meant a high inefficiency in the production systems. Hence, the «Scientific Administration of work» by Frederick Taylor, made important contributions to administrative theory at the beginning of the 20th century.. This is by conceptually separating the execution of the work from its planning, inspection and improvement.

It is at this stage where companies began to become aware of the importance of controlling quality problems. Not only from the point of view of error detection, but also from the uniformity of its value-added processes. At this stage, quality control was in the final activity of the process, that is, in the finished product..

Many of the companies, thanks to the division of labor and Taylor’s contributions in this regard, began to create quality departments. Which began to inspect a representative sample of finished products to predict the quality with which the batch would come out.

Second quarter of the 20th century

At this time statistical control methods take relevance on the final inspection of the finished product. This led to a notable reduction in the quantity of products to be inspected, while also providing a way to predict the quality of a batch.

While customers were receiving higher-quality products, companies had not yet found a way to significantly lower that cost of satisfaction.

The cost reduction was in the inspection, but not in the activities developed in the product value chain. This is because even at this stage, quality problems continued to be detected in the finished products.

It is not until the early 30s when the American engineer and statistician Walter Shewhart, introduces the concept of «Statistical Process Control». Although Shewhart had created this method in the late 1920s, it was not until its publication in 1931 that the method became relevant.

From then on, quality was understood as a variation problem that could be prevented during the manufacturing process.. With which, the final product could meet the minimum quality tolerance standards. For his input, Shewhart was considered the father of «Statistical Process Control.»

This effort also meant a contribution to those who defend multidisciplinarity in production and management issues. Then the publication of his book «Economic Control of the Quality of Manufactured Products», meant the union of statistics, engineering and economics.

This era of statistical quality control was the preamble to that of Quality Assurance. Whose contribution is based on the change of quality control: no longer focused on the finished product but on the process. From there, it went from a corrective vision to a preventive vision; turning quality into a strategy rather than a tool.

Third quarter of the 20th century

As it became a business strategy, quality began to involve other departments within the organization. Starting with those related to design and planning. The change in focus from the product to the process led to the creation of Quality Policies.

This evolution of quality not only applied to the manufacturing processes, but also to the rest of the indirect processes (support and service). With which, not only the manufacturing companies had quality policies, the service companies had also adopted them as a business strategy.

Customer satisfaction was understood as a much more holistic effort than just providing a quality good or service. It is there where the concept of Quality Assurance appears, whose purpose was to determine and eliminate processes outside the value chain.

This provoked a debate about those activities that, although they did not have added value to the good or service, did increase the costs in the organization. In the middle of this third quarter of a century, quality concepts began to appear with global approaches such as Kaizen.

These quality concepts, which had been applied in post-war Japan, had a great economic impact in reducing costs. But they also meant tremendous improvements in product quality. With which the price / value ratio made the western markets were full of Japanese products.

Quality had ceased to be the subject of specialists to become a global subject within the organization. The proposed improvements no longer came from a small group of people, but involved everyone. This not only made it possible to incorporate more substantive improvements, but also to achieve the commitment of all workers.

At this stage the concept of Total quality, which is nothing more than the attempt at customer satisfaction beyond the product you receive. Quality as a strategy is then adopted by the entire organization and its main responsibility is its leader.

Advances in this regard was the incorporation of customer expectations to improve the product or service. Which not only meant innovation efforts in the production / provision of the good / service, but also a reduction in customer response time. In addition to significant cost reductions.

The shift towards Total quality begins to drive changes in the delegation of some decisions that affect the customer experience. With this, not only the processes of planning, organizing, directing and controlling change the focus towards the customer, but also the employee.

Thus another concept arises, the Empowerment (Empowerment), which empowers the employee to make certain decisions that he considers pertinent to expand the customer satisfaction experience.

Last quarter of the 20th century

The Japanese experience had greatly impacted Western companies, which recognized and assumed the Total quality as a competitive ability. Organizations that were already oriented to improve their processes to obtain higher quality and lower cost products, deepened their idea of ​​continuous improvement.

Thus begin the efforts to align the objectives of the entire organization based on its mission and vision. The common purpose of the organization seeks to be more clearly reflected in the specific objectives of each department. The economic incentives of each worker incorporate a variable component that depends on the results of the company and the individual effort of each worker.

The Kaizen quality model is transformed into thinking, with which companies turned innovation into a continuous process to satisfy the customer. At this time new techniques appear such as:

  • The Hoshin Administration.
  • World Class Manufacturing
  • Just in Time
  • The Balanced Score Card
  • Reengineering

What is Total Quality?

The Total quality o Total Quality Management (TQM) is a management strategy developed between 1950 and 1960. It originates from the Japanese industries that survived the Second World War, from the practices suggested by Edwards Deming and Joseph They swear.

This approach seeks to improve the quality of the goods and services produced by an organization, through continuous improvement of its internal practices.. The standards established as part of the Total Quality approach reflect both internal priorities and market standards.

This strategy strives to make all members of the organization aware of the importance of all processes being developed with quality. This not only increases customer satisfaction through quality products / services, but also considerably reduces the unnecessary costs associated with them.

After the importance of quality in the development of the activities of organizations, there are countries that have institutions that deal with the subject. They even give certifications or awards to thoseas companies that meet the highest quality standards. In Mexico for example there is Mexican Institute of Quality Control, the Institute for the Promotion of Total Quality and National Quality Award.

Principles of Total Quality

The Total quality it is a quality strategy that involves many dimensions within an organization. It not only has to do with the preparation / provision of the product / service, but also with the impact it has on the customer. In this sense, these nine (9) principles are a consequence of all this multidimensionality:

  1. Customer satisfaction
  2. Leadership as an organizational capacity
  3. Staff participation in decisions
  4. Mutual commitment between company and employee to meet expectations
  5. Process-based approach
  6. System approach to process integration and management
  7. Continuous improvement as a permanent activity
  8. Fact-based approach to decision making
  9. Mutually beneficial supplier relationships

Fundamental Models of Total Quality

The 3 fundamental models of Total quality are:

  1. Deming, created in 1951 in Japan and managed by the Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers.
  2. Malcolm Baldrige, created in 1987 and managed by the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award Foundation (USA).
  3. European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM), created in 1988 and managed by the own foundation.

Step by Step to Apply Total Quality in the Company

The application of Total quality in a company does not only require adjustments in philosophy, structure and work styles. It also requires commitment from everyone to be able to make those adjustments. In this sense, the steps to convert a result-oriented organization into a results-quality-oriented organization are:

  1. Senior Management Commitment to Total Quality. Not only to develop it throughout the organization, but also to train in it.
  2. Convert Total Quality Management into an organizational strategy. To do this, you must consider the current culture, what are the customer satisfaction standards and what are the quality management systems you have.
  3. Communicate to the entire company the fundamental values ​​and principles that the Senior Management identified. Develop a Total Quality master plan considering steps 1 and 2.
  4. Identify customer demands and align products and services to meet those demands. Senior Management must make a strategic map of what are the critical processes and what are their threats.
  5. Form process improvement teams. These teams must be linked by a Management Committee made up of members of Senior Management.
  6. Develop and communicate routine procedures for total quality.

We hope the information that we present here has helped you!

Thanks for reading!

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