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Today s marketplace is changing at a rapid pace, with new technologies, increased competition, more governmental regulation, a changing workforce and new customer requirements. To survive in the face of these and other challenges, many companies are working hard to reduce costs, downsize, reorganize, and improve service and customer satisfaction. Total quality management is an important competitive weapon, and is a way of managing the whole organization to ensure complete customer satisfaction at every stage, both internally and externally.
TQM is an approach to improving the effectiveness and flexibility of a business as a whole. It is a quality process involving every person in every department of an organization, working together to eliminate errors and prevent wastage in any form. The benefits of making sure that things are done right the first time are enormous in terms of greater efficiencies, lower costs, improved quality, and a better reputation (Hansen, Total 4).
TQM is a management philosophy, based upon a set of principles, and supported by a set of proven methodologies and tools (Dean, Total 2). These principles include:
h Focusing the organization on satisfying customers needs.
h Developing and bringing out the full human potential of all employees.
h Involving everyone in efforts to find better ways out of difficulties or problems.
h Managing business processes, not just functions or departments.
h Managing by fact, using reliable data and information.
h Adding value to society, as well as achieving financial goals.
Dr. W. Edwards Deming successfully used the idea of an integrated, human oriented systems approach to management in the 1950 s. Deming told the Japanese that they could become world-class leaders if they followed his advice. He lectured top Japanese business leaders methods for management of quality and proposed a system that would change the approach to management in many ways. During the 1970 s and 1980 s, the Japanese and their U.S companies demonstrated that high quality is achievable at lower costs and greater customer satisfaction. It was the result of using the management principles of total quality management. Today that system is the pillar of TQM philosophy (Ravichandran, Quality 19).
Dr. Deming s book, In Out of Crisis, outlines his fourteen points for management. He understood that a manager of people needs to comprehend that all individuals are different. Below we can see what Dr. Deming taught in his style of management. Deming s fourteen points of management are as follows (Deming, 1986):
1. Create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service, with the aim to become competitive and to stay in business, and to provide jobs.
2. Adopt the new philosophy. Western management must awaken to the challenge, must learn their responsibilities, and take on leadership for change.
3. Eliminate the need for inspection on a mass basis by building quality into the product in the first place.
4. Minimize total cost. Move toward a single supplier for any one item, on a long-term relationship of loyalty and trust.
5. Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service, to improve quality and productivity, and thus constantly decrease cost.
6. Institute training on the job.
7. Institute leadership. The aim of supervision should be to help people and machines to do a better job. Supervision of management is in need of overhaul as well as supervision of production workers.
8. Drive out fear, so that everyone may work effectively for the company.
9. Break down barriers between departments. People in sales, research, design and production must work as a team to foresee problems of production and in use that may be encountered with the product or service.
10. Eliminate slogans and targets for the work force asking for zero defects. Such sayings only create adversarial relationships thus promoting pressure and low quality results.
11. Eliminate work standards and substitute it with leadership. Eliminate management by objective and substitute it with leadership.
12. Remove barriers such as merit ratings that rob hourly workers and management workers of their right to have pride in their work.
13. Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement.
14. Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish a transformation. The transformation should include all level of workers and their unlimited effort.
Deming (1986) built a case for treating the organization as a total system and credited the differences in observed quality performance to the capability of the organizational system. He argued that factors unique to individual workers only account for very minimal differences in the quality of the performance and the real cause of these variations are system factors. Included in one of the system factors is the idea that when employees work in an organizational system, their individual behavior can be maneuvered through changes in the building blocks of the organizational system as a whole. In its place, the attention of managers should be concentrated on constructing a total system in a way that it is competent of achieving a preferred level of quality performance (Ravichandran, Quality 14).
Many people think that equipment and data processing is what establishes a system. But very few of them know that recruitment, training, supervision and assistance to production workers are all part of the organizational system. Deming s perception of an organization is a behavioral system that consists of major sub-units such as leadership, structural procedures and organizational processes that are all ingredients of an organization and are used to attain favored behavior and results (Melcher, 1976). Deming defines structure as actions taken to bring about patterns of behavior among people. This definition includes organizational policies, procedures and rewards that persuade the behavior of organizational members.
When TQM is successful employees at every level participate in decisions affecting their work. The most common tool for employee participation is a team. Teams range in capacity and responsibility from problem solving to scheduling work and hiring members (Ravichandran, Quality 18).
The philosophy of TQM promotes the idea that everyone is your customer and a business leader wishing to succeed must satisfy all their needs and wants. According to Ron Kurtus, that idea is incorrect. Ron states that there is a difference between a customer, a user, and a supplier, and it s important to deal with each in an appropriate manner that will enhance your bottom line (Kurtus, Satisfy 2). The expectations and needs of the customer may not be clearly expressed and may be very difficult to measure. Yoji Akao addressed this issue by distinguishing three basic classes of customer wants (Schlenker, Total 6):
1. What customers say they want. Customer demands are frequently translated into specifications without exploring their meaning in regard to how the product or service will be used. Neglecting to explore how the customer intends to use the product or service can lead to poor or improper design.
2. The customer’s expected quality consists of expectations the customer does not verbalize because they assume them to be evident: such as the safety of the product. Extensive interviews may not even elicit these expectations. Yet, customers will be dissatisfied if the product or service does not meet these assumed expectations. Even so, if the expectations are built into the product, customers will hardly notice.
3. Exciting quality consists of attributes of the product or service contributed by the supplier. The customer may not expect them as characteristics, but they recognize them as improvements and like them. For example, a car with an electrical system that shuts off the
headlights when the ignition is turned off, even when the driver forgets, have such an attribute. A customer will appreciate that safeguard many times over and be grateful for the manufacturer s foresight while driving and owning the automobile.
According to Judith Ann Schlenker, employees in total quality management will continually improve their systems by working with other managers in order to excel at meeting the needs of customers both inside and outside of the organization. To do that effectively, workers must go to their customers to gather information. The clarification of customer expectations must be interpreted into product and service requirements. In the end, the executive staff, must make tactical choices about the expectations that the company is prepared to meet. The author recommends that due to the above concerns, an Employee Involvement program should be implemented (Schlenker, Total 8). Organizational decision-makers should do the following:
h Conduct an assessment of the organization’s existing attitudes, structures, culture, systems and barriers to the desired change;
h Develop a vision statement for the future;
h Involve management in the design of the E.I., strategy to increase ownership;
h Publish the E.I., policy, goals and objectives;
h Communicate the above to employees at all organizational levels;
h Train employees in problem solving, group skills and other skills needed to identify problems, make decisions and problem-solve.
h Evaluate the Employee Involvement strategies to determine that the program: methods are working; is implemented as intended; is producing the results as expected.
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