What is Total Quality Management?
What does that mean, Total Quality Management? The essence of TQM is to ‘do business activities right the first time’. By eliminating possible errors, you can work more efficiently as a company and save costs. Total Quality Management originated in 1954 in the industrial sector in Japan, but it can be applied within any organization.
‘Total’ emphasizes that the entire organization is involved. Each department is expected to make proposals for improvement for their own processes.
Traditional quality management vs. Total Quality Management
TQM puts quality in a broader perspective than we are used to from the more ‘traditional’ quality management, which is often the responsibility of one department. Traditionally, quality measurements and audits are performed periodically, the results of which are determined by the criteria of the measurement.
Total Quality Management involves the entire organization in improving quality and is much more focused on the customer. It continuously tests whether the customer notices the effect of the measures that have been implemented. Here we see many similarities with Experience Management.
The Similarities Between Total Quality Management and Experience Management
At TQM we see many similarities with Experience Management, which has placed traditional customer satisfaction research in a broader context. Where Total Quality Management looks broader than just quality, XM looks broader than just customer satisfaction. Both principles are aimed at continuous improvement based on insights and data, whereby the end goal is always the customer.
Implement Total Quality Management
What is required for the implementation of Total Quality Management? Based on the above introduction, we can define three conditions for a successful TQM trajectory:
- TQM is data driven
- TQM is a continuous process
- TQM requires customer feedback
Let’s look at these three points separately.
1. TQM is data driven
To be able to make data-driven decisions, consistent input is essential. This means that every quality measurement must be completed in exactly the same way. You can only achieve that if you digitize all measurements. Filling in manually or using Excel is very error-prone and also takes a lot of time. Digitizing audits and checks is a precondition for being able to rely on your data.
Another important condition for data-driven Total Quality Management is bringing data together. As a quality manager you have to deal with multiple audits, multiple databases and maybe even multiple locations. Of course you want to be able to compare the results of all measurements across all locations, without having to fill in the background variables, such as location data, again for each audit. By combining data from different sources, you can automatically link background variables to the results of each (new) audit. And if these change, they are automatically updated everywhere.
2. Total Quality Management is a continuous process
In order to be able to implement quality improvements on a continuous basis, it is not only important to continuously collect insights, but also to report relevant insights. Relevant means: only that information that is interesting at that moment. This can be a total overview with aggregated results, but also an individual report per location or focus area. And if a measurement is taken today, I don’t want to have to wait until tomorrow for the results. Real time is another requirement.
Do measurements deviate from the standard? Then I, as the person responsible, want to know that immediately. Activate the organization by automatically creating a task and assigning it to the right person or sending trigger emails.
3. TQM requires customer feedback
As mentioned above, the ultimate goal of Total Quality Management is to promote customer loyalty. A distinction is made here between two types of customers:
- External customers: End customers who experience the end result of the quality system
- Internal customers: Employees who work with the quality system to deliver the final result
Total Quality Management requires collaboration with the HR department for employee feedback and Marketing (or in larger organizations Customer Experience) for customer feedback. Both customers and employees provide very valuable information for your TQM and thus improve quality.
How CYS can help
It does not matter whether you are responsible for Total Quality Management or Experience Management, because the ultimate goal is the same: satisfied customers and employees. Wouldn’t it be great if you have an environment where all three areas (Voice of Business, Voice of Customer and Voice of Employee) come together? In this way you have insight at a glance to what extent your quality improvements affect (internal) customer satisfaction.
The CYS software is such a system. Of course you can start small with one project, for example digitizing your quality measurements, and expand from there. But the software also offers the possibility to collect feedback from customers and employees, combine it with your quality measurements and ultimately visualize it.
Total Quality Management (TQM) puts quality in a broader perspective than we are used to from the more ‘traditional’ quality management, which is often the responsibility of one department. TQM involves the entire organization in improving quality and is much more focused on the customer. A successful TQM system is data driven, a continuous process and requires feedback from customers.