Total Quality Management

Total Quality Management is a systematic approach to quality control, aiming to improve efficiency and customer satisfaction through continuous improvement.

Total Quality Management

Total Quality Management (TQM) is a systematic approach to managing and improving the quality of products, processes, and services within an organization. In this article, we will explore the key principles of TQM and how it can drive innovation and transformation projects.

Where did Total Quality Management come from?

Total Quality Management (TQM) is an approach to managing organizations that aims to improve the quality and efficiency of products, services, and processes. The concept originated in the 1920s with quality pioneers such as Walter Shewhart and W. Edwards Deming. However, it gained widespread popularity in the 1980s as Japan's manufacturing industries thrived using TQM principles. Since then, TQM has been adopted by numerous organizations worldwide across various sectors, leading to enhanced customer satisfaction and business success through continuous improvement efforts.

What are the key concepts?

Some of the key concepts involved in Total Quality Management include:

  • Total Quality Management (TQM) is an approach that focuses on continuous improvement and customer satisfaction.
  • TQM emphasizes the involvement of all employees in the organization to achieve quality objectives.
  • The key concepts of TQM include customer focus, process improvement, employee empowerment, and data-driven decision making.
  • Customer focus involves understanding and meeting customer needs and expectations.
  • Process improvement aims to enhance efficiency, reduce defects, and optimize workflows through identifying and eliminating waste.

What's the process?

Total Quality Management (TQM) is a systematic approach that aims to improve the overall quality of products, services, and processes within an organization. The typical process involved in TQM includes several key activities. Firstly, organizations need to establish a strong commitment from top management towards quality improvement. This is followed by defining customer requirements and identifying areas for improvement. Next, employees are trained in quality concepts and techniques to ensure their active involvement in the quality improvement process. Organizations then collect data on performance indicators, analyze it using statistical tools, and implement corrective actions as needed. Finally, continuous monitoring and evaluation of results are done to sustain the improvements made.

What outcomes can you expect?

Some of the outcomes you can expect from working with Total Quality Management are:

  • Improved customer satisfaction: Total Quality Management focuses on meeting customer needs and expectations, resulting in higher levels of customer satisfaction.
  • Increased efficiency and productivity: By identifying and eliminating waste, streamlining processes, and improving employee involvement, TQM enhances overall efficiency and productivity.
  • Enhanced decision-making: TQM provides a framework for data-driven decision-making based on accurate information and analysis.
  • Stronger employee engagement: TQM encourages employee participation, empowerment, and ownership of processes, leading to increased motivation and engagement.
  • Continuous improvement culture: TQM fosters a culture of continuous improvement where organizations constantly seek to enhance their performance.

Are there any debates or criticisms to be aware of?

  • Some experts argue that Total Quality Management (TQM) can be too time-consuming and resource-intensive for organizations to implement effectively.
  • Critics suggest that TQM may focus too much on statistical analysis and process improvement, while neglecting other important aspects of business performance.
  • There is ongoing debate about whether TQM is suitable for all industries and organizational cultures, as it requires a strong commitment from top management and employees.
  • Implementing TQM can lead to resistance from employees who may fear job losses or feel overwhelmed by the changes involved in the transformation process.
  • Skeptics question the long-term sustainability of TQM initiatives, arguing that maintaining high levels of quality improvement over time is challenging.


Total Quality Management (TQM) is a powerful management approach that focuses on continuous improvement and customer satisfaction. It has proven to be effective in enhancing customer satisfaction, increasing efficiency and productivity, promoting data-driven decision-making, fostering stronger employee engagement, and creating a culture of continuous improvement. However, there are challenges associated with implementing TQM, such as resource requirements, potential neglect of other business aspects, organizational suitability, employee resistance, and sustainability concerns. Despite these challenges, organizations can benefit from TQM if they are committed to the process and adapt it to their specific needs and circumstances.


  • Total Quality Management (TQM) seeks to improve quality by involving all employees and continuously enhancing processes.
  • Benefits of TQM include increased customer satisfaction, improved efficiency, and higher product quality.
  • Challenges with implementing TQM can include resistance to change and the need for ongoing commitment from management.
  • Key principles of TQM include customer focus, data-driven decision making, continuous improvement, and teamwork.
  • Successful implementation of TQM requires a supportive organizational culture and effective communication channels.


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