What is Total Quality Management? Objectives, Principles, Application, Techniques

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What is Total Quality Management?

Total Quality Management (TQM) is a comprehensive management philosophy and approach aimed at continuously improving the quality of products, services, and processes within an organization. TQM focuses on meeting or exceeding customer expectations by involving all employees in the pursuit of quality and by emphasizing data-driven decision-making and process improvement. TQM is not limited to any specific industry or sector and can be applied to manufacturing, services, healthcare, education, and other fields.

In the 1980s to the 1990s, a new phase of quality control and management began. This became known as Total Quality Management (TQM). Having observed Japan’s success of employing quality issues,western companies started to introduce their own quality initiatives. TQM, developed as a buzzword for the broad spectrum of quality-focused strategies, programmes and techniques during this period, became the centre of focus for the western quality movement.

TQM provides a framework for implementing an effective quality and productivity initiatives that can increase the profitability and competitiveness of organisations. According to Deming, the central problem in management, leadership and production is failure to understand the nature and interpretation of variation. Quality improves productivity and competitiveness.

Total Quality Management is a method by which management and employees can become involved in the continuous improvement of the production of goods and services. It is a combination of quality and management tools aimed at increasing business and reducing losses due to wasteful practices. Total Quality Management (TQM) refers to management methods used to enhance quality and productivity in business organisations.

TQM is a comprehensive management approach that works horizontally across an organisation, involving all departments and employees and extending backward and forward to include both suppliers and clients/customers. TQM is only one of the many acronyms used to label management systems that focus on quality. Toyota, an automobile manufacturer, is one example of TQM. The adoption of TQM resulted in higher productivity and work quality at all levels of the organisation. Another example of TQM is Tata Steel, an India-based steel-making company and a subsidiary of the Tata Group.

Tata Steel adopted TQM principles in the 1980s to gain a deep understanding of customers. The company was awarded the Deming Application Prize in 2008. Total Quality Management is the constant course of identifying and decreasing or killing blunders in assembling, smoothing out inventory network management, further developing the client experience and guaranteeing that representatives are up to speed with preparing.

A middle significance of total quality management portrays a management approach to managing long stretch achievement through purchaser dedication. In a TQM exertion, all individuals from an alliance look at extra-making cycles, things, associations and the way of life wherein they work.

Objectives of Total Quality Management

Total Quality Management is an approach to integrate all aspects of quality assurance with managerial efforts towards enhanced customer satisfaction and employee contentment meanwhile safeguarding and increasing the shareholder’s interest. The word ‘total’ in TotalQuality Management differentiates this approach from the traditional inspection, quality control, or quality assurance approach. TQM is an overall approach formulated at the top management level and diffused throughout the organisation.

All employees right from the CEO to daily rated workers at the lowest level are involved in the TQM process. TQM gives the quality affirmation that customers will get what they anticipate, similarly as a cycle for administering unsatisfied customers, make required changes and thwart practically identical reoccurrences. TQM controls all activities and endeavours expected to keep an optimal level of significance inside a business and its exercises.

This consolidates the confirmation of a qualitative methodology, making and doing quality masterminding and certification and quality control and quality improvement measures. The main aim of TQM approach is to integrate all aspects of quality assurance through managerial efforts.

The following are the important objectives of TQM:

  • To detect, reduce and eliminate errors in the manufacturing process:
  • To prevent problems before they occur
  • To streamline supply chain operations
  • To improve customer service
  • To ensure that employees are trained in quality
  • To increase employee productivity
  • To focus on continual process improvement

Principles of Total Quality Management

Total Quality Management (TQM) is a management approach focusing in on the improvement of quality and execution in all limits, divisions and cycles across the association to offer quality kinds of help that outperform customer suppositions. TQM extends the extent of quality of each division from top management to bring down level representatives. It empowers management to embrace an essential way to deal with quality and put more exertion on avoidance instead of an assessment.

Through TQM, all representatives are prepared in an expert way and urged to settle on choices all alone to work on the general quality and accomplish better expectations. This is vital to accomplishing the TQM results wanted, in light of the fact that without your workers ready and feeling engaged, you should be swimming upstream. Through TQM, organisations increment consumer loyalty, diminish expenses and cultivate collaboration.

Organisations can likewise acquire more significant yields on deals and speculation. The capacity to offer quality types of assistance takes into account greater costs to be charged. Total quality means better admittance to worldwide business sectors, more prominent client reliability, more extensive acknowledgment as a quality brand and so forth.

TQM is comprehensively founded on the accompanying principles:

Customer-Centric Approach

Consumers are definitive adjudicators to decide if the items or administrations are of prevalent quality or not. Regardless of the number of assets are pooled in preparing workers, redesigning machines and PCs, fusing quality plan interaction and norms, bringing new innovation and so forth; by the day’s end, it is the clients who have the last say in making a decision about your organisation. Organisations should make sure to carry out TQM across all fronts remembering the clients.

Employee Involvement

Ensuring total representative inclusion in accomplishing objectives and business targets will prompt worker strengthening and dynamic interest from the representatives in dynamic and resolving quality-related issues. Representative strengthening and association can be expanded by making the work area more open and without dread.

Continual Improvement

A significant part of TQM is persistent improvement. Persistent improvement will prompt improved and more excellent cycles. Persistent improvement will guarantee organisations will discover new ways and strategies in creating better quality items, creation, be more serious, just as surpass client assumptions.

Strategic Approach to Improvement

Businesses should embrace an essential methodology towards quality improvement to accomplish their objectives, vision and mission. An essential arrangement is exceptionally important to guarantee quality turns into the centre part of all business measures.

Integrated System

Businesses contain different offices with various useful purposes. These functionalities are interconnected with different flat cycles TQM centres around. Everybody in the organisation ought to have an exhaustive comprehension of the quality approaches, norms, destinations and significant cycles.

Advance a quality work culture as it assists with accomplishing greatness and outperform client assumptions. An incorporated framework guarantees persistent improvement and assists organisations with accomplishing a strategic advantage.


Data from the exhibition estimation of cycles demonstrates the current wellbeing of the organisation. For proficient TQM, organisations should gather and break down information to work on quality, dynamic precision and estimates. The dynamic should be genuinely and situational situated to stay away from any space for enthusiastic based choices.


Communication assumes a critical part in TQM as it assists with propelling representatives and work on their assurance during the routine day-by-day activities. Workers should be included, however much as could reasonably be expected in the everyday activities and dynamic cycle to truly give them a feeling of strengthening. This establishes the climate of progress and solidarity and helps drive the outcomes the TQM cycle can accomplish.

It requires massive endeavours, time, fortitude and tolerance to effectively carry out TQM. Organisations effectively carrying out TQM can observe worked on quality across every significant cycle and division, higher client maintenance, higher income because of further developed deals and worldwide brand acknowledgment.

Applications of Total Quality Management

Successful incorporation of Total Quality Management model demands elaborative planning and most importantly, participation of every single member associated with the company. Usually, the TQM is applied to every aspect of an organisation, including its functions, products and services, and customer satisfaction. This eventually results in maximum quality. TQM calls for employee involvement for quality management.

Although TQM originated in the manufacturing sector, it can be applied to various industries. With shift in industry focus from shortterm goals to long-term vision, TQM provides a cohesive vision for systemic change. With this in mind, TQM is used in many industries such as banking, finance, pharmaceuticals and so on.

Total Quality Management Models

Total Quality Management is an organisation-wide philosophy to satisfy customers. It is continuously improving the quality of its product and services as well as the quality of processes. The main focus is to meet and exceed customers’ desired expectations. TQM is the task of everyone in the organisation (from top to bottom). Teamwork plays a key role in providing quality of products, services and processes.

Total Quality Management is the exhibit of regulating all activities and endeavours expected to keep an optimal level of significance. Quality management incorporates the supportability of a quality arrangement, making and executing quality getting sorted out and attestation and quality control and quality improvement.

Total Quality Management: various models

  • Deming Application Prize
  • Malcolm Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence
  • European Foundation for Quality Management
  • ISO quality management norms

These models have various normal components.

Conventional Strategy Model for Implementing TQM Systems

TQM is recognised as one of the association’s procedures. The affiliation overviews current culture, purchaser dependability, and quality management systems. Management administers the advancement of gatherings for measuring improvement tries.

Total Quality Management Principles

No single acknowledged collection of information exists for total quality management, as does, for instance, the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) for the Project Management Institute. Essentially, no recommended activities exist for executing TQM strategies and instruments. Associations have been allowed to convey and adjust TQM as they see fit, offering an approach to numerous meanings of the system.

Notwithstanding these difficulties to normalisation, it’s feasible to portray commonly acknowledged principles:

  • Employee Commitment: This makes strengthening through preparing and idea systems.

  • Fact-Based Decision Making: Teams gather information and interaction insights to guarantee that the work meets details.

  • Effective Communications: There ought to be an open discourse all through an association.

  • Strategic Thinking: Quality should be important for an association’s drawn-out vision.

  • Integrated System: A common vision, including information on and obligation to principles of quality, stay with everybody in an associated. Taiichi Ohno perceived that even providers are a significant piece of the framework.

  • Process-Centred: One can deconstruct each action into measures, and, consequently, find and rehash the best interaction.

  • Continuous Improvement: Every worker ought to consistently be pondering how to all the more likely play out their work.

Four P’s and Three C’s

The TQM model provides a simple framework for excellent performance, covering all aspects of an organisation and its operations. The model is based on four Ps and three Cs. The four Ps, which are planning, performance, processes and people, represent hard management necessities. On the other hand, three Cs i.e. culture, communication and commitment, are soft outcomes. A successful TQM model is one that is based on the integration of these four Ps and three Cs.

Let us discuss these four Ps and three Cs in detail.

  • Planning: It involves formulating and employing policies and strategies, establishing partnerships and resources and designing a quality plan.

  • Performance: It involves developing an organisation’s balanced scorecard, i.e. a performance measure framework, performing self-assessment, audits, reviews and benchmarking.

  • Processes: They involve management understanding, designing and redesigning of quality management systems and achieving continuous improvement.

  • People: This aspect involves managing human resources, embracing culture changes, maintaining team environment and promoting innovation and learning.

  • Culture: Culture in an organisation is formed through various components, such as behaviours based on people interactions, working group norms, dominant organisational values, and so on.

  • Communication: It involves conveying the vision, values, mission, policies and strategies to each employee.

  • Commitment: It is crucial for the top management of an organisation to be actively involved in quality and improvement activities.

  • Customers: It involves fulfilling customers’ (internal and external) needs and addressing their concerns on time; thereby maintaining their satisfaction levels.

Philosophies and Approaches to Quality

Noted quality gurus Shewhart, Deming, Juran, Feigenbaum, Ishikawa, Crosby and Taguchi had made several contributions for developing the principles, practices, tools and techniques of quality management. It must be understood that TQM cannot be implemented overnight.

It is implemented in a phased manner, and hence, takes time. The way of thinking of quality has customarily centred upon the turn of events and execution of a corporate-wide culture that underlines a client centre, nonstop improvement, worker strengthening and information-driven dynamic. In the event that this activity is performed erroneously, a quality outcome can’t be accomplished.

Edward Deming

William Edwards Deming (1900-1993) is broadly recognised as the main management scholar in the field of quality. He was an analyst and business advisor whose techniques hurried Japan’s recuperation after the Second World War and then some.

J. Juran

Dr. Juran’s quality management approach depends on three key principles. These three components are quality arranging (the planning stage), quality control (continuous examinations to guarantee that cycles are in charge) and quality improvement (counting proactive refinement of cycles to further develop measures).


Kaizen is a Japanese business reasoning that spotlight on step by step further developing the usefulness by including all representatives and by making the workplace more effective. Kaizen means “improve” or “persistent improvement.”

P. Crosby’s

Crosby’s methodology spins around Zero Defects. Doing things right at the initial time is consistently less expensive than attempting to fix deserts. after they have been made. Consequently, quality is free. As per Crosby, expenses of low quality are higher than associations figure it out.

TQM Techniques

Total Quality Management (TQM) is a management philosophy of perennial improvement of product/service quality through everyone’s commitment and involvement to gratify customer needs. It is a comprehensive approach to enhancing a product quality and customer satisfaction. TQM can be achieved only when an entire organisational structure focuses on quality and customer satisfaction through an integrated system of management.

The following tools and techniques are generally used for total quality management:


It is one of the most widely used terms in quality management. In quality management, benchmarking deals with identifying the ‘best practices’ in terms of service/product design, quality improvement and maintenance, safety and reliability, etc. In today’s competitive world, it is imperative for organisations to consistently measure and evaluate their performance from time to time.

To ensure effective monitoring of their performances, every organisation should compare its performance with that of the best performing organisations. Six Sigma is a well-known quality management approach that aims at improving the quality, productivity and competitiveness of an organisation. It also helps in reducing costs.

In usual organisations that do not follow Six Sigma, the inspections are conducted to assess the quality of the products or services. However, whenever an inspector or quality assessor inspects any service or product, they are actually carrying out an activity for which customers do not want to pay. However, with the implementation of Six Sigma, the excessive costs and time spent on such activities can be reduced drastically.

Pareto Chart

These charts are based on the Pareto principle or the 80-20 rule. According to the Pareto rule, about 80% of the problems are a result of the most critical 20% problems. If these 20% issues are resolved, 80% of the system can be corrected. The Pareto charts help in identifying the problem areas and reporting the areas having the greatest number of issues.

Quality Inspection

It is the practice of measuring or verifying or testing one or more product characteristics against the compliance parameters. The inspection work is performed by specialised personnel who are usually called Quality Inspectors and belong to the quality department. This work does not fall within the ambit of the responsibilities of the production area workers. After the inspectors have finished their inspection, products that do not comply as per the compliance specifications are either rejected or returned for rework.


It is one another technique of TQM. A company can have a competitive edge by being better, astute and faster than their competitors at doing valuable things for their customers. Responsiveness often distinguishe the winner from the losers in the world of competition. If a company can respond swiftly to the customer requests, it is likely to gain vantage over others.

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