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Essential components of TQM - Commitment & Leadership

TQM is an approach to improving the competitiveness, effectiveness and flexibility of an organization for the benefit of all stakeholders. It is a way of planning, organizing and understanding each activity, and of removing all the wasted effort and energy that is routinely spent in organizations. It ensures the leaders adopt a strategic overview of quality and focus on prevention not detection of problems. Whilst it must involve everyone, to be successful, it must start at the top with the leaders of the organization. All senior managers must demonstrate their seriousness and commitment to quality, and middle managers must, as well as demonstrating their commitment, ensure they communicate the principles, strategies and benefits to the people for whom they have responsibility. Only then will the right attitudes spread throughout the organization. A fundamental requirement is a sound quality policy, supported by plans and facilities to implement it Leaders must take responsibility for preparing, reviewing and monitoring the policy, plus take part in regular improvements of it and ensure it is understood at all levels of the organization. Effective leadership starts with the development of a mission statement, followed by a strategy, which is translated into action plans down through the organization. These, combined with a TQM approach, should result in a quality organization, with satisfied customers and good business results.

The 5 requirements for effective leadership are
  • Developing and publishing corporate beliefs, values and objectives, often as a mission statement

  • Personal involvement and acting as role models for a culture of total quality

  • Developing clear and effective strategies and supporting plans for achieving the mission and objectives

  • Reviewing and improving the management system

  • Communicating, motivating and supporting people and encouraging effective employee participation

  • The task of implementing TQM can be daunting. The following is a list of points that leaders should consider

  • The organization needs a long-term commitment to continuous improvement

  • Adopt the philosophy of zero errors/defects to change the culture to right first time

  • Train people to understand the customer/supplier relationships

  • Do not buy products or services on price alone - look at the total cost

  • Recognize that improvement of the systems must be managed

  • Adopt modern methods of supervising and training - eliminate fear

  • Eliminate barriers between departments by managing the process - improve communications and teamwork

  • Eliminate goals without methods, standards based only on numbers, barriers to pride of workmanship and fiction get facts by studying processes

  • Constantly educate and retrain - develop experts in the organization

  • Develop a systematic approach to manage the implementation of TQM Culture change

  • The failure to address the culture of an organization is frequently the reason for many management initiatives either having limited success or failing altogether. Understanding the culture of an organization, and using that knowledge to successfully map the steps needed to accomplish a successful change, is an important part of the quality journey. The culture in any organization is formed by the beliefs, behaviors, norms, dominant values, rules and the "climate". A culture change, e.g., from one of acceptance of a certain level of errors or defects to one of right first time, every time, needs two key elements

  • Commitment from the leaders

  • Involvement of all of the organization's people

  • There is widespread recognition that major change initiatives will not be successful without a culture of good teamwork and cooperation at all levels in an organization, as discussed in the section on People. The building blocks of TQM: processes, people, management systems and performance measurement Everything we do is a Process, which is the transformation of a set of inputs, which can include action, methods and operations, into the desired outputs, which satisfy the customers' needs and expectations. In each area or function within an organization there will be many processes taking place, and each can be analyzed by an examination of the inputs and outputs to determine the action necessary to improve quality. In every organization there are some very large processes, which are groups of smaller processes, called key or core business processes. These must be carried out well if an organization is to achieve its mission and objectives. The section on Processes discusses processes and how to improve them, and Implementation covers how to prioritize and select the right process for improvement.

    The only point at which true responsibility for performance and quality can lie is with the People who actually do the job or carry out the process, each of which has one or several suppliers and customers. An efficient and effective way to tackle process or quality improvement is through teamwork. However, people will not engage in improvement activities without commitment and recognition from the organization's leaders, a climate for improvement and a strategy that is implemented thoughtfully and effectively. The section on People expands on these issues, covering roles within teams, team selection and development and models for successful teamwork. An appropriate documented Quality Management System will help an organization not only achieve the objectives set out in its policy and strategy, but also, and equally importantly, sustain and build upon them. It is imperative that the leaders take responsibility for the adoption and documentation of an appropriate management system in their organization if they are serious about the quality journey. The Systems section discusses the benefits of having such a system, how to set one up and successfully implement it. Once the strategic direction for the organization's quality journey has been set, it needs Performance Measures to monitor and control the journey, and to ensure the desired level of performance is being achieved and sustained. They can, and should be, established at all levels in the organization, ideally being cascaded down and most effectively undertaken as team activities and this is discussed in the section on performance.

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