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Total Quality Management (TQM) is a management strategy aimed at embedding awareness of quality in all organizational processes. TQM has been widely used in manufacturing, education, government, and service industries, as well as NASA space and science programs.
Definition[edit | edit source]
- "TQM is a set of systematic activities carried out by the entire organization to effectively and efficiently achieve company objectives so as to provide products and services with a level of quality that satisfies customers, at the appropriate time and price." 
In Japanese, TQM comprises of four process steps, namely:
- Kaizen – Focuses on Continuous Process Improvement, to make processes visible, repeatable and measureable.
- Atarimae Hinshitsu – Focuses on intangible effects on processes and ways to optimize and reduce their effects.
- Kansei – Examining the way the user applies the product leads to improvement in the product itself.
- Miryokuteki Hinshisu – Broadens management concern beyond the immediate product.
John Stark Associates, a consulting firm, defines TQM as a company-wide culture and organization that focuses on satisfying the needs of their customers through utilizing a standard much higher than most competitors. The principle requires that the company maintains this quality standard in all aspects of its business. This requires ensuring that things are done right the first time and that defects and waste are eliminated from operations.
Origins[edit | edit source]
Although W. Edwards Deming is largely credited with igniting the quality revolution in Japan starting in 1946 and trying to bring it to the United States in the 1980s, Armand V. Feigenbaum was developing a similar set of principles at General Electric in the United States at around the same time. "Total Quality Control" was the key concept of Feigenbaum's 1951 book, Quality Control: Principles, Practice, and Administration, a book that was subsequently released in 1961 under the title, Total Quality Control (ISBN 0070203539). Joseph Juran, Philip B. Crosby, and Kaoru Ishikawa also contributed to the body of knowledge now known as TQM.
The American Society for Quality says that the term Total Quality Management was first used by the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command "to describe its Japanese-style management approach to quality improvement." This is consistent with the story that the United States Department of the Navy Personnel Research and Development Center began researching the use of statistical process control (SPC), the work of Juran, Crosby, and Ishikawa, and the philosophy of Deming to make performance improvements in 1984. This approach was first tested at the North Island Naval Aviation Depot.
In his paper, "The Making of TQM: History and Margins of the Hi(gh)-Story" from 1994, Xu claims that "Total Quality Control" is translated wrong from Japanese since there is no difference between the words "control" and "management" in Japanese. William Golimski refers to Koji Kobayashi, former CEO at NEC, being the first to use TQM, which he did during a speech when he got the Deming prize in 1974.
TQM in manufacturing[edit | edit source]
Quality assurance through statistical methods is a key component in a manufacturing organization, where TQM generally starts by sampling a random selection of the product. The sample can then be tested for things that matter most to the end users. The causes of any failures are isolated, secondary measures of the production process are designed, and then the causes of the failure are corrected. The statistical distributions of important measurements are tracked. When parts' measures drift into a defined "error band", the process is fixed. The error band is usually a tighter distribution than the "failure band", so that the production process is fixed before failing parts can be produced.
It is important to record not just the measurement ranges, but what failures caused them to be chosen. In that way, cheaper fixes can be substituted later (say, when the product is redesigned) with no loss of quality. After TQM has been in use, it's very common for parts to be redesigned so that critical measurements either cease to exist, or become much wider.
It took people a while to develop tests to find emergent problems. One popular test is a "life test" in which the sample product is operated until a part fails. Another popular test is called "shake and bake", in which the product is mounted on a vibrator in an environmental oven, and operated at progressively more extreme vibration and temperatures until something fails. The failure is then isolated and engineers design an improvement.
A commonly-discovered failure is for the product to disintegrate. If fasteners fail, the improvements might be to use measured-tension nutdrivers to ensure that screws don't come off, or improved adhesives to ensure that parts remain glued.
If a gearbox wears out first, a typical engineering design improvement might be to substitute a brushless stepper motor for a DC motor with a gearbox. The improvement is that a stepper motor has no brushes or gears to wear out, so it lasts ten times or more longer. The stepper motor is more expensive than a DC motor, but cheaper than a DC motor combined with a gearbox. The electronics is radically different, but equally expensive. One disadvantage might be that a stepper motor can hum or whine, and usually needs noise-isolating mounts.
Often, a "TQMed" product is cheaper to produce because of efficiency/performance improvements and because there's no need to repair dead-on-arrival products, which represents an immensely more desirable product.
See also[edit | edit source]
- Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA)
- European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM),
- Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers (JUSE),
- Management models and Business models,
- Process improvement
- Business Process Improvement Pattern
- Quality Function Deployment
References[edit | edit source]
- Bergman, Bo & Klefsjö,Bengt, Kvalitet - från behov till användning, ISBN 91-44-01917-3, Studentlitteratur: Sweden, Lund,2001.
- "A Few Words about TQM" by John Stark, John Stark Associates, retrieved December 5, 2005.
[edit | edit source]
- Practicing Continuous Improvement in the Classroom – paper by Sid Sytsma, Professor of Statistics and Quantitative Methods College of Business – Ferris State University
- Total Quality Management in Libraries
- PHS TQM Training Article
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