Principles of Total Quality Management (TQM):
The management scientists have derived certain principles of TQM. These are:
1. Leadership: Effective leadership is the foundation for TQM. Top management should provide the leadership for quality awakening in the organization. They should evolve effective plans and provide leadership in achieving the objectives.
2. Focus on the customer: TQM is customer-centric, and in a TQM environment, there are two categories of customers: internal and external customers. Customer focus involves internal customers such as employees who share their responsibilities for a common goal of their organization.
The external customers are the consumers of the products and services offered by the organization.
3. Customer Satisfaction: The customer has to decide what the standards should be and not the supplier/producer. If the organization decides the standards, the product may not satisfy the customer’s requirements. The philosophy behind this is that quality is not determined or defined by the organization producing the product or service. Rather, quality is defined, or is as determined by the customer. Therefore quality is the customer driven.
4. Teamwork: Teamwork is important for successful implementation of TQM. Every employee is responsible for what he is doing and also responsive to what is going on in the whole organization. This requires a continuous training of human resources in order to keep them up to the changing demands of both internal and external customers.
5. Performance measurement: Performance measurement needs to be based upon timely measures and feedback on performance through superior quality information systems. Every organization has to define what is the criterion for success in their operations and how to measure it.
6. Continuous improvement: Continuous improvement of all activities is at the heart of TQM. Once it is recognized that customer satisfaction can only be obtained by providing a high-quality product, continuous improvement of the quality of the product is seen as the only way to maintain a high level of customer satisfaction.
7. Attitude towards quality: Every employee should develop an attitude to improve the quality of the organization. Attitude towards quality implies understanding and support for quality management among top and middle managers and other key staff leading to the decision to implement TQM.
8. Employee involvement: A successful TQM environment requires a committed and well-trained employee that participates fully in quality improvement activities. To achieve this, the organization needs a TQM culture which encourages this behaviour. Everyone must understand that they contribute equally and can only succeed through cooperation and support.
9. Continuing education and training: Employees are an organization’s most important asset, and they should therefore be given the right tools, assistance, training and support to work. Their training should enable them to gain awareness of the principles, concepts and techniques of TQM. It should also enable them to identify and solve problems that cause customer dis-satisfaction. Continuing education and training of all employees supports the drive for quality.
10. Long term thinking: Long-term thinking requires patience in implementing TQM because it is a cultural transformation, something that certainly does not occur overnight. The process involves realizing that achieving excellence is not a one-time intervention, but the beginning of a journey that will last forever, because excellence is the journey rather than the destination.