As businesses are constantly looking for ways to improve the way they function, there seems to be an array of tools and methodologies being released every year. This can make it difficult to choose which ones are going to provide the best results for your business, but sometimes, it’s the older solutions that have proven their worth. With this in mind, we’re going to take a look at total quality management (TQM) and how you can use it to ultimately deliver customer satisfaction.
What is Total Quality Management?
The total quality management definition instructs companies to follow the kaizen methodology of continuous improvement via an array of small, ongoing changes made by employees throughout all levels of business. These changes should be undertaken with both immediate and long-term goals in mind, to maximise productivity and provide the best products and services possible to consumers. The entire workforce will be expected to deliver high-quality work while keeping best practices in mind to ensure that every process functions to its full capabilities.
The principles of total quality management
When asking “what is total quality management” it can be important to understand the principles involved. First of all, it presents a framework that employees and managers will need to adhere to for continuous improvement. This will include TQM strategies, data management, streamlined communications protocols and more to promote quality without impeding productivity. Secondly, total quality management principles will prompt businesses to take a closer look at the current processes in place that allow them to achieve their goals, with the aim of refinement, monitoring, measuring and upgrading in mind. The last principle focuses on minimising waste and maximising overall efficiency. This can refer to products, processes and even the time spent undertaking tasks (which can be improved using the Pitman schedule).
Primary elements of total quality management
It doesn’t matter how well your business functions or how up to date you stay with the latest trends and technologies, if your audience doesn’t receive your products and services in the way you hope, you simply won’t achieve success. This means that all of your total quality management implementations should be customer focused at their core.
Fact-based decision making
When total quality management is implemented across your business, you will have the ability to continuously collect and analyse critical performance data to improve decision-making, allow for future forecasting and more. This includes deeper insights into the data provided by KPIs such as sales records, schedule variance, cost variance and your cost performance index.
The complete involvement of employees
Total quality management is a company-wide solution that aims to encourage a more productive, yet inclusive working environment. With total quality management examples including employee value proposition and self-managed teams, employees will have the benefit of working independently and setting their own best practices, while knowing that input from management will be flexible and supportive.
Why is TQM crucial for your business?
As there is a strong focus on teamwork, total quality management can be a crucial implementation to promote cross-functional teams and knowledge sharing. This can break down the barriers commonly experienced when sharing institutional knowledge and can promote a more diverse workforce that performs well for both businesses and consumers. Be sure to increase the work/life balance for employees by implementing software like work time trackers and business trip management software to boost productivity.
How to properly implement total quality management?
1. Curate a well-defined vision, mission and values for your employees to follow
To properly implement TQM, it can be worthwhile to curate a well-defined company vision, with a succinct mission statement and clear values that all employees can follow to achieve the same goals. As you scale your business down the line, be sure to update these focuses to align with your needs and keep everything functioning as you expect.
2. Consider the best ways to measure success
When you understand the most beneficial ways to manage success for your business’s specific needs, you will be able to recreate the processes that perform the best in areas that may be underachieving. As these will vary, it may be worthwhile to pick the top performance indicator, for example market shares, process improvement, employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, or product quality and go from there.
3. Create a plan for improvement
Alongside measuring success, it can be worthwhile to use customer feedback to create worthwhile improvement plans for the future. You can prompt users to leave reviews or complete surveys to assess your performance (or the performance of your products) and even get a better look at brand sentiment. With this relevant consumer information in mind, identify the areas that could do with improvement and create a plan with both short and long-term goals that your employees can refer to.
4. Monitor data
Once you have curated and implemented your improvement plan, it will be time to monitor how well your new products and services are being received. Keep a close eye on newly updated reviews and offer more surveys to the customers who took part originally. Doing this can help them to feel more valued while increasing brand awareness and sales - and you will have a more relevant referral for newer marketing strategies.
How does total quality management perform better than newer methodologies?
The simplest answer is that it was first introduced to businesses in the 1920s and has grown and evolved into a well-functioning business principle that has proven to be successful in a host of industries time and time again. Total quality management is sustainable for even the most modern needs and while some methods and implementations will vary across businesses to better suit niche needs, the overall elements can provide a level of functionality and productivity that is otherwise unseen in newer business models.