TQM is the way of managing for the future, and is far wider in its application than just assuring product or service quality – it is a way of managing people and business processes to ensure complete customer satisfaction at every stage, internally and externally. TQM, combined with effective leadership, results in an organization doing the right things right, first time. The core of TQM is the customer-supplier interfaces, both externally and internally, and at each interface lie a number of processes.
This core must be surrounded by commitment to quality, communication of the quality message, and recognition of the need to change the culture of the organisation to create total quality. These are the foundations of TQM, and they are supported by the key management functions of people, processes and systems in the organisation. The building blocks of TQM: processes, people, management systems and performance measurement
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Everything we do is a Process, which is the transformation of a set of inputs, which can include action, methods and operations, into the desired outputs, which satisfy the customers’ needs and expectations. In each area or function within an organisation there will be many processes taking place, and each can be analyzed by an examination of the inputs and outputs to determine the action necessary to improve quality. In every organisation there are some very large processes, which are groups of smaller processes, called key or core business processes.
These must be carried out well if an organisation is to achieve its mission and objectives. The section on Processes discusses processes and how to improve them, and Implementation covers how to priorities and select the right process for improvement. The only point at which true responsibility for performance and quality can lie is with the People who actually do the job or carry out the process, each of which has one or several suppliers and customers. An efficient and effective way to tackle process or quality improvement is through teamwork.
However, people will not engage in improvement activities without commitment and recognition from the organization’s leaders, a climate for improvement and a strategy that is implemented thoughtfully and effectively. The section on People expands on these issues, covering roles within teams, team selection and development and models for successful teamwork. An appropriate documented Quality Management System will help an organisation not only achieve the objectives set out in its policy and strategy, but also, and equally importantly, sustain and build upon them.
It is imperative that the leaders take responsibility for the adoption and documentation of an appropriate management system in their organisation if they are serious about the quality journey. The Systems section discusses the benefits of having such a system, how to set one up and successfully implement it. Once the strategic direction for the organization’s quality journey has been set, it needs Performance Measures to monitor and control the journey, and to ensure the desired level of performance is being achieved and sustained.
They can, and should be, established at all levels in the organisation, ideally being cascaded down and most effectively undertaken as team activities and this is discussed in the section on Performance. In recent years, numerous individual organizations in industrialized economies have begun to rethink and reformulate the nature of their competitive strategies. And one of the most “high profile” directions of proposed and actual change in this regard has been the discussion and implementation of total quality management
These TQM programmes have been viewed as an instrument of organizational development and change which have potentially greater staying power than their linear predecessor, quality circles. At the same time, however, human resource management and industrial relations practitioners and researchers have variously suggested that such programmes frequently underemphasize the importance of human resource considerations, and/or involve or pose certain tensions and potential contradictions in relation to the existing human resource policies and practices of many organizations.
In practice, however, such assertions, although having considerable intuitive appeal, have frequently been rather limited in terms of their empirical content. That is, they provide only limited detail concerning the precise nature of the human resource management effects and implications of introducing and operating TQM programmes. Organization Change and TQM Traditionally, organization change has been overwhelmingly viewed as a top-down, senior management- led and organization-wide process, which was conceptualized as involving the three distinct and sequential stages of )unfreezing; 2)change; 3)refreezing. Such a framework was for long popular with both researchers and practitioners, although there were considerable debate and disagreement as to which were the most powerful individual levers of change and what was the appropriate order in which they should be used for maximum possible effectiveness. TQM is not a completely homogeneous entity TQM programmes typically having the following elements: •continuous problem-solving activity (usually organized around workplace teams); •a quality organization or structure (to focus the process, usually through steering teams); •statistical control and measurement of quality; •identification of customers (internal and external); •extensive training COMPANY # 1 XYZ Company is in rubber-manufacturing industry. It was established keeping in mind the ever-expanding demand for good quality rubber, with a vision to consolidate the rubber industries to attain a world standard rubber quality. An efficient research and development unit is led by a team of highly skilled rubber technologists.
And to assist them has a modernized fully equipped laboratory with equipments such as Monsanto Rheometer, Universal testing machine, surface. Using state of the art machinery and the latest in technology the company has been serving the nation in many sectors like the Defense and the Ministry of Railways. It has also had excellent professional relationships may industry giants. All its products conform to International Engineering Standards & Certifications gained from ISI, JIS, ASTM, BS, ISO etc.
Major Engineering Organizations have approved there products. There state of the art lab comes with the latest equipments for testing and conforming the quality standards. Constant adherence to quality check has helped its products to gain the respect and confidence, to the extent that it has achieved excellence in the field of development and supply of Submarine equipments Its outstanding growth has been fuelled by superlative production facilities, right from the time of launch. They are strongly dedicated to investing in the most modern technology.
They also have faith in persistent upgrading of know-how and manufacturing amenities, keeping in tune with the up-to-the-minute trends in the industry. All there advanced facilities are manned by a team of vastly enthusiastic and capable professionals. They ensure that the premier standards of quality are upheld, throughout all the stages of production. Superior facilities always guarantee prompt delivery schedules. Customer-focused approach combined with methodical modus operandi has been propelling magnificent progress.
It has about 1,000 employees on site and is a highly unionized organization. The pressures to introduce a TQM programme came from corporate headquarters and from a number of leading customers of one of the business areas on the site. There are in fact four separate business or manufacturing areas (separate profit canters) on the site and the decision was taken to introduce TQM into one business area and then to diffuse it to the other three areas on the site over time.
The individual business in which the TQM programme was launched was the growing, high value-added part of the site, with some important preliminary points about the organization as a whole being as follows: (1) Collective bargaining is the traditional centerpiece of the human resource management set-up at the site. (2) It is a relatively conventional arms-length collective bargaining relationship with little evidence either historically or currently of “integrative” joint problem-solving bargaining attitudes or behavior. 3) There is little in the way of prior experience with individual employee involvement initiatives. (4) Senior line management decision-making circles are very much dominated by individuals with backgrounds in accountancy and engineering who view the human resource management function’s responsibility and expertise as being limited to dealing with the union in collective bargaining, disciplinary and grievance-related matters. Prior to launching the TQM programme it was decided to build a new factory on the existing site to rehouse the particular part of the business where the programme was to be initially based.
This decision reflected a view that the physical and technical limitations of the old plant were such as to hinder the effective operation of a TQM programme. As the first phase in the launch of TQM, organization adopted a relatively conventional approach to the introduction of new technology, namely a design phase overwhelmingly dominated and led by engineers and senior line managers. That is, there was essentially no input at the design stage from the production employees in the relevant business area, the union or the HRM function.
This particular approach essentially reflected the view that the design stage required an input only from technical specialists e. g. engineers, although the senior line managers did make some attempt to anticipate any adverse employee reactions. In their judgment, any unfavorable employee reaction to the new plant’s operations was likely to be relatively minimal as there would be no resulting adverse effects on pay levels, job security and skill levels. Moreover, they believed that employees would respond positively to the improved physical surroundings and environment of the new plant.
A system of team briefing arrangements was, however, initiated in order to inform employees about the state of progress throughout the design stage. “Problems” were beginning to emerge on the shopfloor Were these assumptions and actions adequate for and appropriate to an organization seeking to embark down the TQM road? The answer is almost certainly “no”, as it soon became apparent to management in the new plant that problems were beginning to emerge on the shop floor.
The most obvious indicator in this regard was a sharp rise in absence levels, with supervisors also reporting that individual employees were less willing to co-operate with other members of the workforce in carrying out any minor variations in day-to-day working practices and arrangements. In general, they reported few adverse changes in the nature of their individual jobs. At the same time, however, they: •Were highly critical of the lack of employee consultation at the planning/design stage Reported a marked absence of a sense of “team spirit” (and an associated sense of low morale) throughout the new plant • Felt that they had limited capacity to influence any aspect of day-to-day working arrangements • Pointed to tougher management controls concerning a variety of on-the-job behaviour In short, there was a great deal of dissatisfaction on the shopfloor, particularly concentrated in the finishing area of the operation which was manifesting itself in the form of both an instrumental orientation to work and on-the-job withdrawal symptoms – i. . minimum cooperation with management and minimum cooperation across the workforce as a whole. Specific issues emerged from it are : (1) There was considerable dissatisfaction, particularly among long-serving employees, that little attempt was made to consult with them and seek their views, opinions and input at the design and planning stage of the new factory. In one sense this is “water under the bridge”, although employees still report only limited ability to influence the nature of their day-to-day working arrangements. 2) Related to the above, there has been dissatisfaction at some of the initial start-up and teething problems in the new factory. These may naturally die down over the course of time, although seeking some employee input may assist in this regard. (3) Some of the physical design features of the new factory, particularly its open-plan nature and the close physical proximity of workstations, are not well regarded by some employees.
These may now in part be physical “givens” which have to be regarded as a fact of life, but where scope for modification exists (e. g. in the finishing area) this might be viewed as an improvement, particularly if employees are consulted about any possible changes. (4) The overwhelming impression was of supervisors who were very production – as opposed to employee – centred in their orientation. (5) The new factory is inevitably a factory within a larger workplace.
This is a particularly important perspective to individual employees in the new factory, whose sense of equity and fairness will be very much influenced and shaped by comparisons with what used to occur in the old factory and by what occurs elsewhere currently on the site. This places a particular premium on ensuring that management is perceived as both predictable and consistent in its handling of, for instance, disciplinary and grievance matters. 6) Under the production pressures of bringing the new factory on line, there has emerged a sense among employees that management has become somewhat remote in nature. Various references were made to things just being put on notice boards and not explained, the team briefings becoming more irregular and infrequent in occurrence, management staying closeted in their offices, questions to supervisors not being answered or followed up, etc. Although interested and concerned about the problems senior management viewed them essentially as a “shortterm blip” i. e. he inevitable teething problems consequent on bringing into operation a new plant that would wash out over the course of time, particularly as a result of a “booming” order book and once the TQM principles imparted through training began to be understood, applied and appreciated on the shopfloor. However, there was a basic inconsistency of approach in the processes and underlying assumptions between the way in which the new plant was designed i. e. no employee/union consultation and the purpose of the new plant i. e. to be the home of a TQM programme involving team working, employee participation, etc.
The following developments and changes have occurred in organization: •An experienced quality manager has been appointed and is in-post. • A three-day training programme in TQM principles has been started, with the plan being to train one group of employees each month. The full training programme was initially scheduled to be completed by the end of year. However, under the pressure of production needs the pace of training was much slower than expected. Employees who had been trained provided positive feedback to management on the experience, although all employees had still not been trained at the end of next year. The order book in the business area where the TQM programme is based is in an extremely healthy position, with the result that some new employees have been hired. •This particular business area has now become a separate operating company with its own designated human resource management function. • A just-in-time system has been introduced into the finishing area the centerpiece of the initial employee dissatisfaction of the new factory, which has dramatically increased productivity and output levels and enhanced the speed of delivery to customers. A major new capital investment is under way in one working area of the new plant. After 15 months management made following observation : (1) Morale still remains poor on the shop floor, particularly in the finishing area. Moreover, the process of work intensification associated with the operation of the Just in Time system has apparently added to the extent of dissatisfaction in this particular area. (2) Those shop floor employees a minority who had gone through the three-day TQM training programme were overwhelmingly enthusiastic about both the content and the presentation of the material.
However, there is very considerable frustration among them that the principles and practices covered in the training session have not, as yet, been incorporated into their day-to-day working arrangements. (3) Four quality improvement teams are currently in operation (designed to address specific problem areas) which senior management hope will be a useful “show-case” device i. e. yielding quick, tangible improvements which will demonstrate the potential power of the process.
However, there is a strong sense that they lack a supportive infrastructure throughout the organization, with some concern also being expressed that one of the teams is addressing a task i. e. improve employee-management communications that is not appropriate for such an early- stage team. (4) The booming order-book and consequent increases in productivity and output have not been an unmixed blessing. In addition to disrupting the planned training schedule, employees in general report an intensified pace of work which has not yielded any tangible benefits to them i. e. o quid pro quos, and has raised questions in their minds about the extent of management’s commitment to quality relative to quantity considerations. The employees also report that the production pressures on management have meant continuing limited (management) attention to consultation, discussion and explanation of changes. (5) In this very technically dominated management/supervisory structure there is still a strong tendency to believe that the economic realities of organizational life speak for themselves, and that anyone who does not see these “facts” is simply unwilling to accept change. 6) The establishment of a separate company in a growing market area and the elimination of across-the-site “last in first out” criteria in redundancy situations has strongly enhanced the employees’ sense of future income and job security. However, the increased gaps in market circumstances and prospects, and in technological innovation between the individual business areas on site, together with the creation of separate management structures, must raise important questions about the likelihood of the original aim of an across-the-site diffusion of TQM principles occurring in practice.
COMPANY # 2 The company ABC is a manufacturer of engines. It is having state of the art manufacturing facilities. This is amalgamated with skilled manpower to meet any specialized and customized requirements of clients besides the standard needs of the industry. With over 25 years of experience and willingness to respond exactly in tune with the industrial demands, quality commitment has been there hallmark. There entire production is far famed for quality excellence and user friendliness. They constantly incorporate latest technologies in all our production processes.
It currently employs some 620 employees, and has virtually 100 per cent unionization on the shop floor. It has had a total quality management system in place since long, with management was very positive organizational outcomes from the programme. However, important point from this particular case concerns the organizational position prior to the launch of the TQM programme. In marked contrast with company ABC, this organization has had considerable previous experience with organizational change initiatives which have particularly emphasized employee involvement.
Before the introduction of TQM the organization removed two organizational layers reduced its many shop floor pay grades to few, introduced some team-working arrangements, eliminated many of the differences in the terms and conditions of employment between blue-collar and white-collar employees, did away with individual employee appraisals, substantially increased the level of workforce training and introduced a pay-for-knowledge scheme.
Although there is an understandable tendency in the literature to argue that too many short-run changes by management can lead to cynicism among the workforce towards any new change, this particular experience seems to point up the potential advantage of having a workforce that is relatively used to, and hence responsive to, the notion of organizational change. The organization has continued to introduce human resource innovations which are omplementary to the operation of a TQM programme; for instance, a programme of monthly team briefings to enhance employee management communication has operated, a much more training needs/development oriented system of performance appraisal was introduced and targets for workforce training have been raised over time COMPANY # 3 Company PQR is manufacturer of computer peripherals. It has established itself as a leading manufacturer of computer peripherals. The Research and Development department at PQR Peripherals equipped with the latest Design tools for product designing.
These facilities enable the manufacture of precision products as per customer’s requirement. It is a non-union organization, has some 500 employees and has had a total quality management programme in operation for the last two years. It is fully equipped with the state-of-the art manufacturing CNC Machines Of particular interest in this case is the fact that certain complementary to TQM changes in the human resource management policy mix were made both before and after the introduction of TQM; some of the human resource management policies from the outset of the plant e. g. ingle-status or an all salaried workforce would also appear to have been an asset in this regard. For instance, a profit sharing scheme was introduced then a pay for- knowledge scheme and then appraisal scheme was radically reformed with the previous 1-5 rating scale for all employees being eliminated in favor of a much more development/training needs orientation. In addition, the organization embarked on a major management reorientation programme which was variously concerned with: (1) Breaking down functional identities (2) Establishing a reasonably common framework of management thinking and vocabulary 3) Ensuring that the engineers who are heavily represented in the management ranks understood, and were committed to, certain fundamental TQM principles, such as the need to embed responsibility for quality into the jobs of production employees. In the view of some senior managers it was this management reorientation programme that was the single most important step in the successful launch and subsequent operation of TQM. It is also clear, however, that the kinds of human resource management change which they have introduced were highly consistent with following checklist: 1) In selection decisions, the willingness of employees to learn new skills should be tested. (2) Training programmes must reach beyond specific job skills to cover topics such as teamwork, time management, decision making skills, etc. (3) Career development must seek to provide employees with a systems orientation which means that greater emphasis must be placed on cross-functional experience obtained via horizontal rather than vertical work assignments and moves. (4) The strong individual orientation and emphasis of the performance appraisal process needs to be changed.
More emphasis needs to be given to evaluating contributions to team performance, involving peers in the appraisal process, and making the process less competitive between individuals. (5) Pay systems centered on individual job descriptions, job worth and individual merit increases are inconsistent with TQM’s emphasis on collective responsibility, horizontal relationships and learning. Instead, skills-based payment systems, profit-sharing or group-based performance pay arrangements are more appropriate. 6) Differences in terms and conditions of employment based on hierarchical position need to give way to all-salaried workforce arrangements. (7) Adversarial arms-length collective bargaining needs to be replaced by much more of a joint problem-solving approach. (8) Much more emphasis needs to be given to establishing channels of two-way communication concerning strategy and performance. (9) It is important to identify individuals who can function well in group settings, and a realistic preview of expected behaviors needs to be provided.
One obviously does not want to go to the extreme position of arguing that any and all TQM programmes exclusively pivot on human resource management issues. Nevertheless the cases presented here do usefully illustrate that human resource management considerations are important both in the introduction and operational phases of TQM. More specifically, they highlight the need for: (1) Consistency in the management approach towards human resource issues with employee consultation needing to be addressed as early as possible in the process 2) Complementary changes in the human resource management policy mix (3) Recognition of the intra-management dimensions of human resource management, with communication concerning the possible concerns of technical and support group staff being particularly important in this regard. More generally, case of company XYZ is an excellent illustration of the fact that the processes of organizational change are essentially “messy” and rarely involve discrete, static stages.
However, the really interesting question posed by this particular case is whether the adverse effects of early-stage errors or mistakes can be remedied by later actions and developments. Questions: (1) What was the difference between TQM implementation strategies among company ABC, PQR and XYZ? (2) Can TQM be implemented in isolation? If no then what are factors which drives it? (3) Why TQM was accepted greatly in case of company XYZ and ABC? Whereas company PQR is experiencing opposition from employees ?