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Managing Quality in an Organization

Jay C
The management approach of an organization, centered on quality, based on participation of all its members, and aiming at long-term success through customer satisfaction, and benefits to all members of the organization and to society, is called Total Quality Management.
"The customer is king". As the quality of life improves, demand for better quality services and products also increases.
Customers all over the world now demand that they be assured and satisfied that the product or services for which they are paying will meet their specifications and expectations, and will perform as anticipated. In this changed environment of the economy and the industry driven by the customers, the business is open to competition worldwide.
With the transformation of the entire world into a boundary-less global village, echoing the new mantra of 'World-class Product/Services', the factors that contribute to competitiveness―quality, competitive pricing, and timely delivery―play a primordial role.
This emphasis on quality in product and services is forcing industries to adopt internationally recognized and proven quality management systems in their operations to stay in the business.

Defining Quality

"Quality is the degree of excellence of a thing" (Webster's Dictionary)

"Quality is the totality of features and characteristics that satisfy needs" (ASQC)

"Quality is fitness for use―as measured by the customer"
J.M. Juran, the quality guru of the world, said that business in 21st century should be decided by 'Quality' and industries ignoring this fact shall be wiped out. Juran brought concept of quality importance through TQM.

Total Quality Management

TQM is defined as a management approach of an organization, centered on quality, based on participation of all its members, and aiming at long-term success through customer satisfaction, and benefits to all members of the organization and to society.
TQM is not only limited to product quality improvement, but also widely covers aspects of quality in the service sector too. In India, more than manufacturing, it is the service sector that took its time to recognize the importance of TQM.

Product Quality

In terms of product quality improvement, Garvin highlighted different important dimensions of product quality.

Performance―basic operating characteristics
2. Features―'extra' items added to basic features
3. Reliability―probability product will operate over time
4. Conformance―meeting pre-established standards
5. Durability―lifespan before replacement
6. Serviceability―ease of getting repairs, speed & competence of repairs
7. Aesthetics―look, feel, sound, smell, or taste
8. Safety―freedom from injury or harm WHEN PROPERLY USED
9. Other perceptions―subjective perceptions based on brand name, advertising, etc

Service Quality

With the relation of products, we understood the meaning of quality. Then what is service quality?

Time & Timeliness―customer-waiting time, completed on time
2. Completeness―customer gets all they asked for
3. Courtesy―treatment by employees
4. Consistency―same level of service for all customers
5. Accessibility & Convenience―ease of obtaining service
6. Accuracy―performed right every time
7. Responsiveness―reactions to unusual situations
Total Quality Management covers the four guiding principles to improve quality at par in either sectors.

1. Delight the customer
2. Management by fact
3. People-based management
4. Continuous improvement
1.Delight the Customer
This focuses on the external customer and asks, "what would delight them?" Delight means being best at what really matters most to the customers, and this can change over time. Being in touch with these changes and always satisfying the customer are an integral part of TQM.
2.Management by Fact
Knowing the current quality standards of the product or service in customer's hands is the first stage of being able to improve. We can only mean improvement if we know the base we are starting from.
3.People-based Management
If people understand what to do, how to do it, and obtain feedback on their performance, they can be encouraged to take responsibility for the quality of their work. The more people feel involved, the greater will be their commitment to customer satisfaction.
Systems, standards, and technology themselves will not provide quality. The role of people is extremely important in the continuous improvement of quality within an organization.
4.Continuous Improvement
TQM is not a short-term activity that will finish when a set target has been achieved. It is not a programs or a project. It is a management process that recognizes that however we may improve, our competitors will continue to improve and our customers will expect more and more from us.
Here, continuous improvement is an incremental change and not a major breakthrough, which shall be the aim of all who wish to undertake the total quality management journey.

Impact of TQM

Impact of TQM throughout the organization is crucial to understand. TQM doesn't mean shop floor quality. It has total impact on organization at whole.
1. Marketing, Sales, R&D―Primary contact with the customer
2. Engineering―Translates the quality characteristics from the customer into manufacturing instructions. This includes materials, drawings, manufacturing instructions, etc.
3. Purchasing―Purchases the right materials at the right time
4. Personnel―Hiring and training the right employees
5. Management―AT ALL LEVELS implement the plans to produce the product packing, storing, shipping―Delivers the product to the customer in its intended form undamaged and on time
6. Customer service―After sale follow-up
Well, the following chain can best explain the process of TQM.

1. Service as Partner
2. Employees as Assets
3. Customer as Guides
'Contributors of Japanese Quality' by Garvan (1988) states that many Japanese companies have demonstrated a high improvement of product quality, reliability, and customer service through TQM. Japanese management gurus have evolved many other strategic models to improve and achieve excellence with quality.
Managers of the past faced growing quality demands from customers, together with increased capacity of overseas competitors to meet these demands. Today, however, managers face a growing array of demands in new areas, such as labor practices and supplier relations, from a range of stakeholders stretching beyond customers and shareholders.

Total Responsibility Management

To cope with this complexity a set of interdependent managerial practices that parallel TQM, which we refer to in their whole as Total Responsibility Management, is emerging.
We can identify three main elements that make up the emerging TRM approach.

1. Inspiration, or the vision setting and leadership systems.
2. Integration of responsibility management into strategies, as well as employee and other operating practices.
3. Innovation and improvement, including assessment and measures (or indicators), and learning systems.
TRM can be said an extension of TQM in today's scenario, where the market is not static and highly dynamic. According to market situations new concepts will be evolved continuously. So there is only one sentence we need to remember always, and that is 'Customer is a King'.