TQM (Total Quality Management) is a very complex management method that puts emphasis on the quality management in all dimensions of the organizational life. It goes beyond quality management and it is also a method of strategic management and it is a management philosophy for all of the organization activities. There are many different forms and interpretations of TQM, however common features can be seen from the initials:
- Total - the total involvement of all employees of the organization
- Quality - the concept of the quality principles throughout the ogranization
- Management - principles cut across all levels of the management and all managerial functions
The basic ideas can be found in Armand Feigenbaum. The thoughts were further developed by W. Edwards Deming, Joseph M. Juran and others. Although the idea originated in the fifties in the US, the most fertile soil it found later in Japan.
The Japan concept of TQM works with four basic principles (ideas):
- Kaizen - idea, that it is necessary to continously improve processes, clearly describe them, measure them and ensure their repeatability
- Atarimae Hinshitsu - idea, that the things will work as they are supposed to (for example a knife will cut)
- Kansei - idea, that an examination of how the customer uses the product leads to the product improvement
- Miryokuteki Hinshitsu - the idea, that things must have an aesthetic quality (the look of the product must bring to its user pleasure and ergonomics)
These common principles of TQM are applied in different organizations and countries differently, always according to their social, culture, personal, legislative, technical and other conditions. TQM promotes the general application of the general principles of management, the application of modern process-oriented or service-oriented management. It also promotes the involvement of top managers in the form of leadership. It promotes the involvment of all workers, strong customer orientation and quality of the products and services, efficient use of enterprise resources and the eliminating of unnecessary costs. It also promotes an effort for continuous improvement based on clear facts and indicators.
ISO (International Organization for Standardization) defines TQM as follows:
“TQM is a management approach of an organization based on the participation of all its members and aiming at long term profitability through customer satisfaction including benefits to the members of the organization and society.”
From the definition we see that the TQM philosophy includes and integrates a number of mutually different dimensions - marketing, leadership, innovation, strategy and stakeholders satisfaction. We can say, that the Total Quality Management is a holistic approach to the quality similar to the approach of the ISO 9000 (which has the largest application in Europe). The introduction of TQM is, however, more difficult because it contains more soft factors.