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What is Total Quality Management (PDF): Definition, Principles, Advantages, Disadvantages, & Implementation

Total quality management is a term that was coined in the 1950s. Nowadays it is mainly used in Japan. TQM is the corresponding of what other communities or organizations may call a company-wide quality management system, enterprise quality management system, or united quality management system, to name a few.

The term ‘total’ defines the entire organization—all parties, departments, and functions are involved in quality management. The system refers to the managerial and technological approaches to obtain quality requirements and business objectives throughout an entire organization.

The TQM embodies organizational principles and habits set forth in policies and processes to promote a culture trained in designing and distributing products and services that will exceed customer, regulatory, business and societal aspirations.

Total quality management desires to hold all teams involved in the manufacturing process accountable for the overall quality of the final product or service.

Definition Of Total Quality Management (TQM)

Total quality management is a growing process of detecting and shortening or eliminating errors. It is a series of management practices throughout the organization adapted to assure the organization consistently meets or exceeds customer requirements.

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Principles of Total Quality Management

We can summarize TQM as a management system for a customer-focused system that concerns all employees in continuous improvement. It uses data, strategy, and effective communications to integrate the quality discipline into the culture and activities of the organization. These concepts are present in modern quality management systems.

Here are some principles of TQM:

A. Customer Focused:

Finally, the customer’s feedback determines the level of quality. No matter what a system works to foster quality improvement—training employees, unifying quality into the design process, or upgrading software—the customer controls whether the efforts were important.

The ultimate goal of any quality improvement initiative should be to meet or exceed customer expectations. By actively listening to feedback, addressing concerns, and consistently delivering high-quality products and services, businesses can build strong customer relationships and ensure long-term success. In the end, it is the customer who ultimately determines the success of a business, making customer-focused quality improvement efforts crucial for growth and sustainability.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Partnership with Suppliers.
  2. Never compromise with quality.
  3. Service connection with internal customers.
  4. Customer-driven standards.

B. Total employee Involvement:

All employees take part in working toward common goals. Total employee engagement can only be obtained after fear has been dragged from the organization, when empowerment has occurred, and when management has served the proper environment. High-performance work systems integrate continuous improvement efforts with normal business activities. Self-guided work teams are one form of empowerment.

By involving employees at all levels of the organization, companies can benefit from a range of perspectives and ideas that can lead to increased innovation and productivity. When employees feel empowered and valued, they are more likely to be motivated and engaged in their work. This sense of ownership can also lead to higher levels of job satisfaction and retention within the organization. In order to fully realize the benefits of total employee involvement, companies must prioritize creating a culture of trust, respect, and collaboration among all employees.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Training.
  2. Excellence team.
  3. Analysis and recognition.
  4. Suggestion scheme.

C. Process-Centered:

A major part of TQM is a focus on process thinking. A process is a set of steps that take inputs from suppliers (external or internal) and transform them into outputs that are handed over to customers. The steps needed to carry out the process are defined, and performance measures are continuously observed in order to detect unexpected errors.

Continuous improvement is at the core of process-centered thinking. By constantly analyzing and refining processes, organizations can identify inefficiencies and opportunities for enhancement. This focus on continual improvement helps ensure that customer needs are consistently met and that the organization stays competitive in the ever-evolving marketplace.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Thinking of the process.
  2. Deal with the process.
  3. Processes that are result-oriented.

D. Integrated System:

An organization should have an integrated system that provides effective total quality management. This may be an implied system or one based on a quality standard such as ISO 9001, but it should be understood and applied across all functions and divisions of the organization.

Having an integrated system in place not only streamlines processes and improves efficiency, but also ensures consistency in quality and customer satisfaction. By aligning all functions and divisions with the same quality management principles, organizations can work towards a common goal of delivering products and services that meet or exceed customer expectations. This leads to improved performance, increased competitiveness, and ultimately, long-term success.

Key Takeaways:

  1. A system that provides effective TQM.
  2. Implied System.
  3. Applied across all functions and divisions.

E. Decision Making Based on Facts:

In order to know how well an organization is operating, data on performance measures is mandatory. Total Quality Management requires that an organization frequently collect and analyze data in order to improve decision-making accuracy, get consensus, and allow prediction based on history.

It is essential for organizations to make informed decisions based on facts rather than assumptions or emotions. By analyzing data on performance measures, organizations can identify areas for improvement, track progress, and make strategic decisions to achieve their goals. Without this data-driven approach, organizations may struggle to effectively measure success, address challenges, or capitalize on opportunities for growth. In today’s fast-paced and competitive business environment, data-driven decision-making is crucial for organizational success.

Key Takeaways:

  1. An integrated, strategic and systematic approach to assure the entire organisation is associated.
  2. Communication must be clear at all levels of the organisation.

F. Strategic and Systematic Approach:

A significant part of the management of quality is the strategic or systematic approach to achieving an organization’s visions and goals. This process, called strategic planning or strategic management, includes the formation of a strategic plan that combines quality as a core component.

By incorporating quality into every aspect of the organization’s strategy, from product development to customer service, the organization can ensure that quality is at the forefront of decision-making. This systematic approach helps align all departments and employees towards a common goal of delivering high-quality products and services to customers.

Key Takeaways:

  1. A significant part of achieving organizational goals.
  2. Includes the formation of strategic plans.
  3. Recognize, communicate and revise.

G. Communication:

During day-to-day operation and times of organizational change, effective communication plays a significant part in maintaining morale and motivating employees at all levels. Communication involves strategies, practice, and timeliness.

In times of uncertainty, clear and transparent communication can alleviate fears and foster a sense of unity within the organization. By providing regular updates, listening to feedback, and ensuring that information flows freely, leaders can cultivate a culture of trust and collaboration. Effective communication is not just about the words spoken but also about active listening and empathy towards the concerns of employees. When communication is prioritized and executed thoughtfully, it can strengthen relationships, boost productivity, and drive success in the face of challenges.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Plays a role in maintaining the morale of the employees.
  2. Motivating employees.
  3. Involves strategies and Practices.

Advantages of Total Quality Management

The Advantages of TQM include:

What is Total Quality Management (PDF): Definition, Principles, Advantages, Disadvantages, & Implementation

Cost Reduction

Total Quality Management can reduce costs throughout an organization when implemented consistently over time, especially in the areas of scrap, rework, field service, and warranty cost reduction. Since these cost reductions flow straight through to the bottom-line profits with no added costs being incurred, there can be a startling rise in profitability.

Productivity Improvement

Productivity rises significantly, since employees are giving much less of their time chasing down and correcting errors. Increased productivity produces more output per employee, which often results in increased profits.

Customer Satisfaction

Since the company has better services and products, and its interactions with customers are nearly error-free, there should be fewer customer objections. Fewer objections may also mean that the resources given to customer service can be reduced. A higher level of customer satisfaction may also lead to a raised market share, as existing customers act on the company’s side to bring in more customers.

Defect Reduction

Total Quality Management has a strong significance in improving quality within a process, rather than checking out quality into a process. This not only reduces the time required to fix errors but makes it less significant to employ a team of quality assurance personnel.

Improve employee Morale

The ongoing and proven success of Total Quality Management can lead to a noticeable improvement in employee morale, which reduces employee turnover, and accordingly reduces the cost of hiring and training new employees.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Fulfillment with the customer/owner is the measure of quality.
  2. Everyone is considered an owner.
  3. A report of the process is the key to quality improvement.
  4. Constant TQM is not possible without logical, active, and empowering leadership by managers at all levels.
  5. It is essential to regularly improve the quality of the products and services which we are supposed to present to our customers/owners.
  6. Continuous Quality improvement requires to be there.

Disadvantages of Total Quality Management

TQM also requires a considerable training period for those employees involved in it. Since the training can take people away from their usual work, this can actually have a negative effect on costs, which is a short-term effect. Also, since TQM results in a continuing series of incremental changes, it can develop a negative reaction from those employees who choose the current system, or who feel that they may lose their jobs because of it.

Total Quality Management PDF

Strategy Model For Implementing TQM

  •  Total Quality Management is identified as one of the organization’s strategies.
  • Top management studies about and commits to TQM.
  • The organization evaluates the current culture, customer fulfillment, and quality management techniques.
  • Top management recognizes core values and principles to be used and delivers them.
  • The organization determines and prioritizes customer requirements and aligns products and services to meet those requirements.
  • Management maps the strategic processes through which the organization meets its customers’ desires.
  • Management supervises the formation of teams for process improvement efforts.
  • The steering committee manages the momentum of the TQM effort.
  • Managers contribute personally to the effort through exact planning, training, or other methods.
  • Everyday process management and regularity take place.
  • Progress is assessed, and the plan is modified as needed.
  • Constant employee awareness and reaction on status are provided, and a rewarding process is established.
What is Total Quality Management (PDF): Definition, Principles, Advantages, Disadvantages, & Implementation

Examples Of TQM System Strategies

The Element Approach

The TQM element approach takes key business processes that use the tools of TQM to foster improvements. This technique was broadly used in the early 1980s as companies tried to enforce parts of TQM as they learned them. Some of the examples of this approach include quality circlesstatistical process control, quality function deployment, and Taguchi methods.

The Guru Approach

The guru approach utilizes the teachings and writings of one or more of the leading quality thinkers as a guide against which to figure out where the organization has weaknesses. The organization changes to remedy those weaknesses. For example, managers might attend Crosby College. Thereafter, they would work on implementing the method they learned.

The Organizational Model Approach

In this approach, individuals or units visit organizations that have chosen a leadership role in Total Quality Management and complete their processes for success. They then combine these ideas with their own ideas to build up an organizational model suitable for their specific organization. This technique was used widely in the late 1980s and is represented by the initial recipients of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

The Award Criteria Approach

When applying this model, an organization adopts the criteria of a quality award to identify areas for improvement. Under this approach, Total Quality Management implementation concentrates on meeting specific award criteria. Although some claim that this is not a proper use of award criteria, some organizations use this approach and it can cause improvement.


Total Quality Management (TQM) is more than a set of principles; it’s a philosophy that transforms an organization’s approach to everything it does. While its origins might lie in the manufacturing sector, TQM’s impact extends far beyond factory floors. In today’s dynamic business environment, where customer expectations are constantly evolving, TQM offers a powerful framework for achieving and sustaining excellence.

The core strength of TQM lies in its relentless focus on continuous improvement. It’s not about achieving a state of perfection and then coasting; it’s about fostering a culture of innovation and problem-solving where every employee feels empowered to contribute. This commitment to ongoing improvement fosters adaptability, allowing organizations to navigate change and stay ahead of the curve.

Customer centricity is another cornerstone of TQM. By truly understanding their customers’ needs and expectations, organizations can tailor their offerings and processes to deliver superior value. This not only leads to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty but also fuels positive word-of-mouth marketing, a powerful tool in today’s digital age.

TQM’s emphasis on data-driven decision making ensures that choices are based on facts and insights, not guesswork or intuition. By leveraging data analytics, organizations can identify areas for improvement, track progress towards goals, and measure the true impact of their quality initiatives.

However, implementing TQM successfully requires a long-term commitment from leadership. It’s not a quick fix or a fad; it’s a cultural transformation that demands investment in training, employee empowerment, and a supportive infrastructure. Organizations that embrace TQM with genuine commitment are the ones that reap the long-term rewards of a quality-focused approach.

In conclusion, Total Quality Management remains a relevant and powerful philosophy in today’s business landscape. By prioritizing continuous improvement, customer focus, data-driven decision making, and a commitment to quality culture, organizations can achieve sustainable success and solidify their competitive edge in the ever-evolving marketplace.

Terms Related To Total Quality Management

Project Management

The primary challenge of it is to obtain all the project objectives within given constraints. The primary constraints are time, budget, and opportunity. The secondary challenge is to optimize the quota of vital inputs and apply them to meet pre-planned objectives. The major focus of project management is to create a determined project that complies with the client’s objectives.  Read more>>>

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In human resource management, human resource (HR) managers take on a range of roles, including bringing in and retention of quality employees, supporting participation, managing conflict, and even working with leaders to set the purposes of an organization. Read More>>>>


Stakeholders can be internal or external to an organization. Domestic stakeholders are people whose responsibility in a company comes through a direct relationship, such as employment, ownership, or investment. Extraneous stakeholders are the persons who do not directly work with a company but are affected anyhow by the activities and outcomes of the business. Read More>>>

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