FOCUS ON THE CUSTOMER AND THE EMPLOYEE
It is the part of the TQM pyramid. Focusing on the customer and the customer’s requirements and expectations is neither new nor revolutionary. For some specific quality attributes we sometimes experience that customers become dissatisfied if the attribute is inherent in the product/ service and the customers become satisfied if it is not. It is seen that these attributes have a reverse effect on customer satisfaction.
Two messages in TQM:
1. In addition to focusing on external customers and their expectations and demands, it is necessary to focus on so-called internal customer and supplier relations:
- The first point is meant to show that employees are part of the firm’s processes and that improving quality at lower and lower costs can only be achieved if a company has good, committed and satisfied employees.
- Before you can satisfy external customers, however, you must first eliminate some of the obstacles to the internal customers (i.e. the employees) and create the conditions necessary for them to produce and deliver quality.
- One such obstacle that must be eliminated in an organization is fear, while an example of the latter is education and training.
- Deming’s 14 points contain the most important obstacles to eliminate and conditions to institute in order to improve quality at lower and lower costs.
2. To create customer satisfaction, it is not enough just to live up to the customer’s expectations.
- The second point is attributed to Professor Noriaki Kano of Tokyo Science University, whose expanded concept of quality, formulated in 1984, contains the following five types of quality:
1. Expected quality, or must-be quality.
2. Proportional quality.
3. Value-added quality (‘exciting/charming quality’).
4. Indifferent quality.
5. Reverse quality.
- In order to deliver the expected quality, firms have to know what the customers expect. When/if firms have this knowledge, they must then try to live up these expectations—this is so obvious that the Japanese also call this type of quality ‘must-be quality’.
- One must always ensure the customer’s satisfaction.
- Satisfied customers today are a condition for a satisfactory business result tomorrow.
- It is therefore imperative that firms establish the means to check customer satisfaction. On this score, Western firms leave a lot to be desired.
- This can be seen from the international survey on the use of TQM (the QED project), from which the above figures on the existence of systems for continuous monitoring of customer satisfaction are taken.