What Does TQM Mean?

TQM stands for Total Quality Management, which is a structured approach to improving the overall organizational output by refining processes, products, services, and culture. The focus of this system lies in producing high-quality goods and services through continuous improvement initiatives, which are aimed at making the organization’s internal practices even better than they already were beforehand.

The 5 Total Quality Management Principles

There are 5 principles that should be implemented into your company’s TQM plan for success:

  1. Customer focus
  2. Employee commitment
  3. Process approach
  4. Continuous improvement
  5. Fact-based decision making

We have written an in-depth article about the 5 total quality management principles. Read more about this here

What Does Total Quality Management Do?

TQM describes all activities and tasks required to maintain a desired level of excellence within a business and its operations. This includes creating of a quality policy, creating and implementing quality planning and assurance, and quality control and quality improvement measures.

There are several benefits of implementing TQM within an organization, including:

  • Fewer product defects: This means that products ship with fewer defects, which reduces product recalls, future customer support overheads, and product fixes.
  • Satisfied customers: High-quality products that meet customers’ needs result in higher customer satisfaction. 
  • Lower costs: As a result of fewer product defects, companies save costs in various areas. The cost savings flow to the bottom line, creating higher profit margins.

Reasons Why TQM Fails

There are many reasons why Total Quality Management implementation can fail, but research done over the years shows that 12 reasons are most frequently mentioned by quality professionals. The research was done a couple of years back, but by the results, it seems that most of these reasons still apply today.

Qooling | QHSE Management

The following three reasons are the most common. Handling these top three reasons will help the total quality management culture significantly. 

1. Insufficient Education and Training

Having properly trained employees has a huge positive impact on the quality within a company, and therefore, it is critical in total quality management. There should be a structure in employee competencies, and this can be handled in the four following steps.

Step 1. Define the Competence

Step 2. A Framework of Proof

Step 3. Finding the Gap in Competences

Step 4. Check the Training


2. Lack of Employee Involvement

Most employees understand the importance of quality management. Getting these employees involved and engaged is the challenging part. There are different ways to increase the involvement of employees. You could have frequent communication about the quality management and the impact of every action regarding quality. Making employees process owners increases the involvement drastically. 

3. Lack of Top Management Support

The impact of top-level management on the quality culture is huge. When top management doesn’t take part in changing and maintaining this culture, it will diminish over time. Top management needs to be involved and really show that it is important to them. We have written an e-book about this topic: “Quality Management: Why it should be important to top management

Successful Implementation of TQM 

Implementing TQM can be quite challenging, but it is well worth the effort. To help make this large cultural shift less overwhelming for your employees, it is better to implement these changes in processes, so that there’s enough time given for each phase. A cloud-based quality management platform is an efficient tool that can help to implement these changes.

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