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The Empuls Glossary

Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms

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Total Quality Management (TQM) is a comprehensive approach to management that aims to enhance the quality of products and services through continuous improvement initiatives, employee involvement, and customer focus. 

It is a philosophy that permeates every aspect of an organization, from top management down to frontline employees, emphasizing the importance of quality in all processes and activities. TQM is not merely a set of tools or techniques; it is a cultural shift that requires commitment, leadership, and the active participation of all members of an organization.

What is total quality management (TQM)?

Total Quality Management (TQM) is a comprehensive management approach that aims to continuously improve the quality of an organization's products, services, and processes. It involves the entire organization, from top management to frontline employees, in a concerted effort to meet or exceed customer expectations and achieve organizational goals. TQM emphasizes customer satisfaction, employee involvement, process improvement, and the use of data and analysis to drive decision-making.

What is total quality management in business?

Total Quality Management in business refers to the systematic approach of managing quality across all aspects of an organization's operations. It involves everyone in the organization, from leadership to frontline workers, committing to quality. TQM in business encompasses processes, people, and resources to ensure quality is built into products, services, and organizational culture.\

Is total quality management still relevant?

Yes, Total Quality Management is still relevant today. In fact, in today's competitive business environment, where customer expectations constantly evolve and organizations are under pressure to improve efficiency and reduce costs, TQM remains vital to achieving sustainable success. TQM provides a framework for organizations to continuously improve quality, enhance customer satisfaction, and drive innovation.

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What are the basic principles of total quality management?

The basic principles of Total Quality Management include:

  • Customer focus: Meeting or exceeding customer expectations is paramount.
  • Continuous improvement: Striving for ongoing improvement in all aspects of the organization.
  • Employee involvement: Empowering employees to contribute to quality improvement efforts.
  • Process approach: Understanding and optimizing processes to achieve quality objectives.
  • Data-driven decision-making: Using data and analysis to inform decision-making and drive improvement.

What do you mean by total quality management?

Total Quality Management (TQM) is a management philosophy and approach focused on continuous improvement, customer satisfaction, and employee involvement. It involves integrating quality principles and practices into every aspect of an organization's operations to meet or exceed customer expectations and achieve organizational goals.

What are the 4 steps of TQM?

The four steps of TQM, often represented by the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) cycle, include:

  • Plan: Identify opportunities for improvement and develop a plan to address them.
  • Do: Implement the plan and execute the improvement initiatives.
  • Check: Monitor and evaluate the results to ensure they meet quality objectives.
  • Act: Take corrective actions and adjust based on the evaluation to drive continuous improvement.

What are the 8 principles of TQM?

The eight principles of Total Quality Management are often derived from ISO 9000 standards and include:

  • Customer focus
  • Leadership
  • Involvement of people
  • Process approach
  • System approach to management
  • Continuous improvement
  • Factual approach to decision-making
  • Mutually beneficial supplier relationships.

These principles serve as guiding tenets for organizations implementing TQM to achieve quality excellence and customer satisfaction.

What are the components of total quality management?

The components of total quality management are:

  • Quality planning: This involves setting quality objectives and establishing processes to meet those objectives. It includes identifying customer needs, defining quality standards, and developing plans to achieve them.
  • Quality control: Quality control involves monitoring and inspecting products and processes to ensure they meet established quality standards. It includes techniques such as statistical process control, inspections, and testing.
  • Quality improvement: Continuous improvement is at the heart of TQM. This component focuses on identifying areas for improvement, implementing changes, and measuring the impact of those changes on quality outcomes.
  • Employee training and development: TQM emphasizes investing in employee training and development to enhance skills, knowledge, and performance. Well-trained employees are better equipped to contribute to quality improvement efforts.
  • Customer feedback and satisfaction: TQM strongly emphasizes understanding customer needs and expectations. Gathering customer feedback through surveys, complaints, and other channels is essential for identifying areas for improvement and enhancing customer satisfaction.
  • Supplier quality management: TQM extends its principles to supplier relationships, emphasizing the importance of selecting and managing suppliers based on their ability to consistently deliver high-quality inputs.

What are the key principles of total quality management?

The key principles of total quality management are:

  • Customer focus: The primary focus of TQM is to consistently meet or exceed customer expectations. This involves understanding customer needs, gathering feedback, and adapting processes to deliver products and services that satisfy those needs.
  • Continuous improvement: TQM emphasizes continuous improvement, also known as Kaizen. This involves constantly seeking ways to enhance processes, products, and services to achieve higher quality, efficiency, and effectiveness.
  • Employee involvement: TQM recognizes that employees are valuable resources in pursuing quality improvement. It encourages employee involvement at all levels in decision-making, problem-solving, and innovation processes.
  • Process-centered approach: TQM advocates a process-centered approach to management, where processes are carefully designed, monitored, and improved to ensure consistent quality outcomes.
  • Data-driven decision making: TQM relies on data and facts to drive decision-making processes. Data analysis helps identify areas for improvement, track progress, and make informed decisions to enhance quality.
  • Supplier relationships: TQM extends its principles beyond organizational boundaries to include suppliers and other external stakeholders. Building strong relationships with suppliers is essential for ensuring the quality of inputs and fostering collaboration towards mutual improvement goals.
  • Leadership commitment: Leadership plays a crucial role in implementing TQM principles within an organization. Top management must demonstrate a strong commitment to quality, provide resources and support, and actively participate in improvement initiatives.

What are the benefits of total quality management?

The benefits of total quality management are:

  • Improved product and service Quality: By focusing on continuous improvement and customer satisfaction, TQM helps organizations deliver products and services of consistently high quality.
  • Increased customer satisfaction: TQM ensures that products and services meet or exceed customer expectations, leading to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Higher efficiency and productivity: TQM emphasizes optimizing processes, leading to increased efficiency, reduced waste, and higher productivity.
  • Enhanced employee morale and engagement: TQM fosters a culture of collaboration, empowerment, and continuous learning, leading to higher employee morale, engagement, and job satisfaction.
  • Competitive advantage: Organizations implementing TQM effectively can gain a competitive advantage by differentiating themselves based on quality, customer satisfaction, and operational excellence.

What are the challenges of total quality management?

The challenges of total quality management are:

  • Resistance to change: Implementing TQM requires a cultural shift within an organization, which may be met with resistance from employees who are comfortable with existing processes and practices.
  • Resource constraints: TQM requires investments in training, technology, and process improvement initiatives, which may pose challenges for organizations with limited resources.
  • Complexity: TQM initiatives can be complex and time-consuming, requiring careful planning, coordination, and monitoring to ensure successful implementation.
  • Measurement and evaluation: Measuring the effectiveness of TQM initiatives and their impact on quality outcomes can be challenging, requiring robust metrics and data analysis capabilities.
  • Sustainability: Sustaining TQM initiatives over the long term requires ongoing commitment from top management, employee engagement, and continuous improvement efforts.

How to implement total quality management?

Implementing Total Quality Management involves several key steps:

  • Leadership commitment: Top management must fully commit to TQM and lead by example.
  • Employee involvement: Employees should be actively engaged in quality improvement efforts and empowered to contribute their ideas and expertise.
  • Customer focus: Organizations must understand and meet customer needs and expectations to deliver quality products and services.
  • Continuous improvement: TQM requires a commitment to ongoing learning and improvement through tools like PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) cycles and quality management systems.
  • Process approach: TQM emphasizes the importance of understanding and improving processes to achieve quality goals.
  • Data-driven decision-making: Organizations should collect and analyze data to identify trends, monitor performance, and make informed decisions about quality improvement initiatives.

Employee pulse surveys:

These are short surveys that can be sent frequently to check what your employees think about an issue quickly. The survey comprises fewer questions (not more than 10) to get the information quickly. These can be administered at regular intervals (monthly/weekly/quarterly).

One-on-one meetings:

Having periodic, hour-long meetings for an informal chat with every team member is an excellent way to get a true sense of what’s happening with them. Since it is a safe and private conversation, it helps you get better details about an issue.


eNPS (employee Net Promoter score) is one of the simplest yet effective ways to assess your employee's opinion of your company. It includes one intriguing question that gauges loyalty. An example of eNPS questions include: How likely are you to recommend our company to others? Employees respond to the eNPS survey on a scale of 1-10, where 10 denotes they are ‘highly likely’ to recommend the company and 1 signifies they are ‘highly unlikely’ to recommend it.

Based on the responses, employees can be placed in three different categories:

  • Promoters
    Employees who have responded positively or agreed.
  • Detractors
    Employees who have reacted negatively or disagreed.
  • Passives
    Employees who have stayed neutral with their responses.

How does total quality management work?

Total Quality Management integrates quality principles and practices into every organization's operations. It involves:

  • Establishing a customer-focused culture.
  • Setting clear quality objectives and standards.
  • Training employees in quality principles and techniques.
  • Empowering employees to identify and solve quality problems.
  • Implementing quality control measures and continuous improvement processes.
  • Collecting and analyzing data to monitor performance and identify areas for improvement.
  • Encouraging collaboration and communication across departments and levels of the organization.

How does just-in-time relate to total quality management?

Just-in-Time (JIT) is closely related to Total Quality Management (TQM) as both share common goals of improving efficiency, reducing waste, and enhancing customer satisfaction. JIT is often considered a component of TQM, as it focuses on delivering the right quantity of products at the right time to meet customer demand while minimizing inventory costs and waste. TQM provides the overarching framework for implementing JIT and other quality improvement initiatives within an organization.

How does Just-in-Time (JIT) relate to Total Quality Management (TQM)?

Just-in-Time (JIT) is a production strategy that aims to minimize waste by producing goods only as they are needed in the production process. JIT emphasizes efficiency, cost reduction, and responsiveness to customer demand. JIT and TQM are closely related as both focus on improving processes, eliminating waste, and meeting customer needs. JIT can be seen as a component of TQM, as it contributes to the overall goal of producing high-quality products efficiently and effectively.

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