TQM (Total Quality Management) in VUCA World

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TQM (Total Quality Management) in VUCA World

“Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort” by John Ruskin.

W. Edwards Deming, Armand V. Feigenbaum & Joseph M. Juran unitedly developed the concept of Total Quality Management (TQM). Total Quality management originated in the manufacturing sector, but it can be applied to all organizations.

Total quality management (TQM) is a management approach to long-term success by having all its members, who concentrate on improving quality and delivering customer satisfaction.

It is a philosophy of total unification of the business to attain the desired outcome. The aim is to achieve zero defects, higher efficiency, lower operating cost & increased market share via means of consisting of all members who take part in enhancing processes, products, services, and the culture wherein they work. TQM needs organizations to focus on continuous improvement or kaizen.

TQM is a management method generated in the 1950s and has regularly grown to be more famous since the early 1980s. Total Quality Management method perspectives an organization as a group of processes. It maintains that organizations must endeavor to consistently improve these processes, improve the quality of their products and services through proper feedbacks and research, and by assimilating the knowledge and experiences of workers.

TQM philosophy is so referred to as because:

  • It consists of every single piece of work accomplished within the organization.
  • It includes everybody within the organization.
  • It desires complete commitment.

Quality refers to a parameter that decides the supremacy or inferior status of a product or service. Keep in mind, one happy & satisfied customer brings 10 new customers along with him whereas one disappointed individual will spread bad word of mouth and blemish many of your existing as well as potential customers. You have to offer something greater to your consumers to assume loyalty in return. Ensuring the supremacy of a product or service isn’t always the duty of an individual. Total Quality management is to be sure a combined effort of management, workforce, staff members, suppliers to meet & exceed customer satisfaction level.

principles of total quality management

Benefits of TQM

  • Higher productivity.
  • Strengthened competitive position.
  • Flexibility to changing market conditions.
  • Removal of defects and waste.
  • Reduced costs and better cost management.
  • Higher profitability.
  • Improved customer focus and satisfaction.
  • Increased customer loyalty and retention.
  • Improved employee morale.
  • Enhanced shareholder and stakeholder value.
  • Improved and innovative processes.

Example of TQM

    • One example of TQM is Tata Steel, India based steel-making company and a subordinate of the Tata Group. Tata Steel utilized TQM in the 1980s and 2008 was awarded the Deming Application Prize. Tata Steel used TQM methodologies to obtain deeper know-how of customers. In 2008, Tata Steel developed the Performance Improvement Committee (PIC) to lead continuous performance improvement. Performance Improvement (PI) Groups had been set up for steel making, iron making, flat rolling, maintenance, and more. In their 2008-2009 annual report, Tata Steel stated that their TQM projects ended in a $150MM bottom-line effect on their business.

  • Another example is the Automobile manufacturer Toyota. The adoption of TQM and kaizen at Toyota led to higher product & work quality at all levels of the organization. In 1965, Toyota was awarded the Deming Application Prize for huge advances in quality improvement.

Also See- What is Standard Work and why it is Important in Lean Transformation?

TQM Elements

Total Quality Management principles makes quality the hidden agenda behind leadership, planning, design, and development initiatives. For this, TQM needs the help of these 8 key elements mentioned above in the diagram. These elements can be distributed into four groups according to their function. The groups are:

  • Foundation.
  • Building Bricks.
  • Binding Mortar.
  • Roof.

To implement TQM progressively, an organization must focus on the 8 key elements during its transformation.

  1. Foundation– The complete process of TQM is built on a foundation of ethics, integrity, and trust. It promotes fairness, openness, and sincerity and allows engagement by everyone. This is the important thing to unbolting the final capacity of TQM.
  • Ethics – Ethics is an individual’s knowledge of what is right and wrong in the workplace in VUCA. It is a double-faced issue represented with the aid of using organizational and individual ethics. With rules and regulations as part of organization policies, individual ethics form as the basis for an employee’s behavioral show towards the business and colleagues. High levels of work ethics can lead to efficient constancy to performance indicators, so, fostering highly efficient professionals.
  • Integrity – Integrity defines upholding values such as honesty, morals, fairness, and constancy to the facts and sincerity. The characteristic is what consumers anticipate and should receive. The alternative to integrity is duplicity. Total Quality Management elements will now no longer work in an environment of duplicity. You need to respect your organization’s policies. Avoid spreading unnecessary rumors about your fellow workers.
    • Trust – Trust is a result of integrity and ethical conduct. Trust is one of the most essential factors necessary for implementing TQM. Trust fosters the complete participation of all members. It allows empowerment that motivates pride ownership & it encourages commitment. Trust improves relationships amongst employees and ultimately allows for higher decision making which further allows in implementing Total Quality Management principles successfully. With increased customer satisfaction builds a trust that customers have in the brand, product, or service. So, trust builds the wholesome and cooperative surroundings critical for TQM.


  1. Bricks– Bricks are located on a strong foundation to attain the roof of recognition. The foundation needs to be strong enough to hold the bricks & support the roof. It includes:
  • Training – Training is essential for employees to be highly productive. Managers and supervisors are forerunners engaged in the implementation of a successful TQM session. Supervisors are the handiest liable for imposing TQM inside their departments and coaching their employees on the importance of Total Quality Management. Training employees to enhance their interpersonal skills, the ability to function within teams, decision making, problem-solving, technical skills. This can be followed to bridge the gap between the quantitative output of the business and the quality expectations, coming in from the customers.
  • Teamwork – Teamwork is a pivotal element of TQM. With the use of teams, the business will receive swifter and better solutions to problems during lean transformation. When individuals work in a union, they are in a position to brainstorm ideas and come up with several solutions which would improve existing processes and systems. TQM supports the idea of three types of teams:
  1. QITs (Quality improvement teams) – These are temporary teams that deal with precise issues that regularly recur. These teams are set up for 3-12 months.
  1. PSTs (Problem-solving teams) – These are transient teams to resolve sure troubles and additionally discover & conquer the reason of problems. They generally last from 1 week to 3 months.
  1. NWTs (Natural work teams) – These teams encompass small teams of talented professionals who share responsibilities. These teams generally work for 1-2 hours a week.

Leadership – It is probably the supreme Total Quality Management elements. Leadership provides a direction to the complete process of TQM. Providing an inspirational vision to the employees is what is expected of a leader. Leaders make strategic directions that are understood by all. A manager needs to recognize TQM principles, agree within it, and after that reveal their notion and dedication via each day practice of TQM. A key factor is that TQM must be brought and led through pinnacle management. Commitment and private involvement are desired from pinnacle management in developing and deploying clear quality values and goals.

  1. Binding Mortar– Binding Mortar binds all elements together.
  • Communication – Binding everything together and strengthening the relationship of the employees with the element of quality is effective communication. A strong mortar of communication binds the whole lot from foundation to roof of the TQM house. Information needs to be passed on from the sender to the recipient in its desired form. The fulfillment of TQM needs communication with and amongst all of the enterprise members, suppliers and customers.

3 types of Communication takes place between employees:

  1. Downward Communication – This is the dominant type of communication in an organization. Presentations & discussions essentially do it. The flow of information takes place from the managers to employees for quality transformation.
  1. Upward Communication – Flow of information takes place from the employees to the top-level management. As employees provide vision & constructive criticism, supervisors must listen efficiently to correct the situation.
  1. Sideways Communication – This form of communication is crucial as it breaks down limitations between departments. Communication also takes place between various departments.
  1. Roof-
    • Recognition – Recognition is the last and final TQM elements. Recognition is the roof of your quality house. Every individual is hungry for appreciation & recognition. Employees who provide development thoughts and carry out distinctly well must be appreciated in front of all. As employees are recognized, there may be massive modifications in self-esteem, productivity, quality and the amount of attempt urged to the task at hand.

Principles of TQM

The TQM principles have been outlaid in the ISO 9000 family of standards from the International Organization for Standardization. TQM definition consists of these 8 principles.

1.Customer focused- 

The customer eventually determines the level of quality. If you understand your customer requirements, you have a better chance of resolving the problem of getting the right people, materials, and processes in place to satisfy and exceed their expectations. Implementing this TQM principle requires:

  • Research and understand your consumers’ requirements and expectations.
  • Communicate with customers, measure satisfaction, and use the outcomes to find ways to enhance processes.
  • Find a balance for satisfying customers and other interested parties (such as owners, employees, suppliers, and investors).

Benefits of being customer-focused include:

  • Strong customer loyalty leads to recurrent business.
  • More sales, increased revenue, market share.
  • The increased possibility that satisfied customers will tell others about your products and services.

2.Employee Involvement- 

All employees participate in working toward common objectives. Total employee commitment can only be attained after fear has been driven from the workplace when they understand the vision & goals that have been communicated. Implementing this TQM principle requires:

  • Confess the importance of each contribution to the finished product.
  • Make responsibilities obvious, provide sufficient training.
  • Motivate employees to self-assess performance against personal goals.
  • Motivate people to consistently seek opportunities to learn and move into other roles to increase their knowledge, competence, and experience.
  • Create a business environment where employees can openly discuss problems & suggest ways to solve them.

Benefits of Employee involvement include:

  • Increased employee confinement.
  • Individual and team innovation and creativity in problem-solving and process improvement.
  • Active participation and contribution to continuous improvement.

3.Process Centered– 

A basic part of TQM is a focus on process thinking. A process is a sequence of steps that take inputs from suppliers and modifies them into outputs that are brought to customers. Processes make sure that the proper steps are taken at the right time to ensure consistency & speed up production. Implementing this TQM principle requires:

  • Use TQM tools such as process flowcharts to define clear roles and responsibilities for a proper human resource transformation.
  • Create a visual action plan so everybody can easily see the particular activities.
  • Evaluate and measure present activities to see where improvements can be made.

Benefits include:

  • More consistency & predictable results.
  • Quicker development and production cycles, lower costs and increased revenue

4.Integrated System- 

An organization consists of several departments, each with its particular functions and purposes. It is the horizontal approaches linking these functions which might be the focal point of Total Quality Management principles. Micro-processes add up to larger processes, and all processes combine into the business processes needed for defining and implementing strategy. Everyone must understand the vision, mission & principles as well as the quality policies, objectives, and critical processes of the organization. Business overall performance needs to be monitored and communicated continuously. Implementing this TQM principle requires:

  • Foster a work culture focusing on quality.
  • Train the employees who need to learn new processes and who want to explore opportunities for advancement.
  • Use flowcharts and other visual aids to help employees understand how their functions fit in with the rest of the company.

Benefits include:

  • Focus on the quality that will help your business achieve excellence.

Check out the Video-


5.Strategic and Systematic Approach- 

Implementing this TQM principle requires:

  • Continually improve processes and products, and upgrade equipment as essential to reach goals.
  • Recognize, acknowledge, and reward innovations and process improvements.

Benefits include:

  • Swiftly recognize, react, and fix process breakdowns.
  • Complete improved organizational abilities and improved performance during organization transformation.

6.Fact-based Decision-making- 

To recognize how nicely an organization is performing, statistics on overall performance measures are essential. Making informed decisions leads to a better understanding of consumers & your market. Implementing this TQM principle requires:

  • Evaluate and check data to ensure that it is authentic and precise.
  • Make pertinent data available to stakeholders.
  • Make decisions based on the facts learned from the data.

Benefits include:

  • Ability to alter past decisions based on data review.
  • Ability to make informed decisions for effective lean transformation.
  • Ability to evaluate and defend past decisions by referencing factual records.


During times of organization transformation, as well as part of regular operation, efficient communications play a big part in maintaining morale and encouraging employees at every level. Everybody in your organization should be aware of strategies, plans, and methods that will be used to attain objectives. Implementing this TQM principle requires:

  • Establish an official line of communication so that all employees know about updates, policy changes, and new processes.
  • Ensure everybody in each department understands their roles.

Benefits include:

  • Elimination of silos.
  • Boost in morale and motivation when employees understand how their contributions help the company attain its goals.
  • Interdepartmental coordination & cooperation in transformation.

8.Continuous Improvement- 

Excellent efficiency & customer satisfaction doesn’t happen in a day—your business should continuously seek ways to improve processes. Continuous improvement drives a business enterprise to be analytical and innovative in search of approaches to be more competitive & effective at meeting stakeholder expectations. Implementing this TQM principle requires:

  • Recognize, acknowledge, and encourage innovation to improve processes and development.
  • Encourage employees to participate in available training sessions to learn and take on new and additional roles.

Benefits include:

  • Improved knowledge and capabilities to increase performance.
  • Fast reaction times to identify and fix problems and broken processes.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is Total Quality Management (TQM)?

    Total Quality Management (TQM) describes a management strategy for the long-term prosperity of an organization through consumer satisfaction. In a TQM effort, all members of an organization participate to enrich procedures, products, services, along with the culture in which they work. Moreover, it is a management strategy for an organization that involves all employees in constant development. It uses strategy, data, and helpful communications to combine the quality discipline into the culture and activities of the organization.

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