INTRODUCTION TO TOTAL QUALITY MANAGEMENT
The current approach to Japan’s quality improvement programme has changed the balance of the present trade situation between Japan and the rest of the world. Improving quality is very often regarded as an activity which is going to increase cost. In this competitive world, organizations and countries as a whole must achieve recognition from consumers about their top quality activities at all times in order to conduct business successfully. Many large organizations are now trying to emulate that Japanese achievement in their commitment to quality.
- Improving quality is very often regarded as an activity which is going to increase cost.
- This view confuses the terms used in industry concerning quality and grade. Improving or raising the grade of products relates to the use of more expensive materials or processes to produce a product and will raise product costs.
- Improving quality means, among other things, making less faulty products with the same amount of effort or cost which usually gives a lower unit cost.
- Improving quality aims to reduce this cost. This cannot be achieved overnight but requires an investment to be made in activities which are designed to avoid defective production, not activities designed to detect defects after they have been made.
- The problem is knowing in what to invest (systems, technology, people) and it is this which seems to have bewildered Western industrialists.
- The search for the key to quality has been going on since the Japanese made us aware that we had missed something out along the way. Various analyses of Japanese success have attempted to condense the effect to one particular activity; hence fashions of ‘quality circles’ and ‘statistical process control’.
- The latest analysis has developed the concept of Total Quality Management’, which may well provide an answer to the problem. The keynote here is that the achievement of quality should not be considered to be a separate activity from the achievement of production.
Japanese Theory Applications:
- Many large organizations are now trying to emulate that Japanese achievement in their commitment to quality.
- Each is developing its own approach and may give a different title to its efforts but each has similar elements to Total Quality Management’ (TQM).
- The development of Total Quality Management in America started at the beginning of the 1980s when American companies realized that not only Japan but also Korea and Taiwan were coming forward with quality products and services to capture the American market.