Total Quality Management (TQM) is an important theory of management that seeks to safeguard the long-term survival of businesses by ensuring that the entity continuously improves its culture, products, operations, and services in a way that enhances customer satisfaction. TQMs focus goes beyond being holistic since it touches the performance of individual departments and employees within an organization. Thus, TQM begins from the lowest level of an organization to the uppermost one. The collective TQM efforts by different departments are what result in overall organizational improvement. Further, TQM is used to ensure that businesses remain relevant in an era when globalization has led to increased competition. Total Quality Management is a versatile business philosophy that applies to a wide variety of business settings that result in a firms success.
TQMs versatility can be seen in the way it solves an organization's problems and improves the various business functions that are related. One of the biggest assets that a company has is its manpower. A study by Izvercian et al. (2013) examines the way human resource and total quality management can be applied together to improve the overall business performance. The authors conduct a qualitative study and literature review and note that TQM can improve HR functions and HR can promote TQM principles. The HR function is concerned with ensuring optimal use of a companys workforce while TQM is a management philosophy that strives to minimize wastage. A qualitative and quantitative study by Gharakhani et al. (2013) examines companies expenses before and after implementation of TQM. They find that TQM reduces expenses by cutting down on the number of product returns, reworks, and by minimizing wastage that is caused by improper processes and employee error. Thus, HR and TQM can be integrated in the following ways. First, HR can apply the basic principles of TQM in its operation. By doing so, HR becomes a fundamental component of driving TQM practices in an organization. Secondly, since TQM aims at ensuring that each department is involved in quality improvement, the HR department can employ TQM to inculcate a culture of innovation on the workforce.
When employee needs are proactively addressed, they become motivated and focus on a businesss needs rather than theirs (Izvercian et al., 2013). Thus, the study by Fening et al. (2013) examines manufacturing companies in Ghana to determine whether the implementation of TQM results in better survivability of businesses. The researchers use a survey to collect data from various market leaders. The results of the study show that most interviewed business leaders hold the view that implementing TQM has helped them to keep their business afloat over time (Fening et al., 2013). The findings of the scholars are synonymous with expectations that by improving different business departments a business will succeed in its overall functions. Further, the research paper by Fening et al., (2013) shows that a well-motivated workforce is critical to an organizations long-term survival.
Additionally, Bon and Mustafa (2013) conduct a literature review on various scholarly articles that examine TQM with regards to innovation. They find out that TQM acts as an enabler for innovation. TQM goes beyond challenging each department in a company to improve. The philosophy serves as an enabler for innovation. TQMs continuous improvement in HR activities provides employees with a conducive environment to work (Izvercian et al., 2013). Such a situation is likely to foster innovation since TQMs drive for collective improvement calls for the development of new ideas that go beyond the norm. An investigation by Pattanayak and Punyatoya (2015), shows that innovative ideas are largely meant to improve a customers satisfaction on using a companys product. The conceptual framework by Bon and Mustafa (2013), shows that different aspects of the service industry such as employee empowerment can incorporate TQM practices to improve process and administrative innovation. Noteworthy, TQM is mostly associated with manufacturing, but it is very much applicable in the service sector as well.
Once a company has a well-motivated and innovative workforce, it is probably a matter of time before customers begin to experience positive customer service. When employees are better trained on customer service due to TQM initiatives, then clients are likely to notice the improvement in service (Izvercian et al. 2013). However, TQM goes beyond a companys staffs performance as seen in the 2015 study by Pattanayak and Punyatoya. The researchers examine the effect of implementing TQM on client satisfaction. In their study, they note that customer perception of the bank improved when the five TQM elements (HR focus, customer focus, technological improvement, service dimensions, and leadership) were implemented. In the study by Pattanayak and Punyatoya (2015), the bank improved its e-banking system as part of its TQM initiatives and received positive customer feedback. Therefore, TQMs actions can affect the satisfaction levels of clients. Also, an improvement in the e-banking platform would probably have not been possible if employees were unmotivated or were not innovative.
The study by Izvercian et al. (2013) shows that when workers are well trained, they are less likely to make defective products. TQMs cost cutting capacity goes hand in hand with its promotion of innovation and improvement of HR practices. The innovative nature of TQM ensures that companies come up with new and improved techniques of production that reduce the risks they face during production (Pattanayak and Punyatoya, 2015). Gharakhani et al. (2013) add that TQM supports cost prevention (through the use of innovative techniques) by preventing incidences of damage that could have been caused by improper procedures. TQMs focus on continuous improvement ensures that processes happen in the right way the first time.
As literature has shown, TQM can have a variety of positive effects on businesses. By coming up with innovative operations, businesses remain relevant in their respective industries (Bon and Mustafa, 2013). TQM ensures that leaders are committed to enhancing business operations, and a firm has closer ties to its clientele. Also, it keeps employees empowered and well-trained (Izvercian et al. 2013). These traits are essential in guaranteeing the long-term success of businesses.
TQM is an all rounded business philosophy that has multiple applications in any business setting. It is applicable in optimizing HR functions, improving customer satisfaction, promoting innovation, cutting down costs, and ensuring that a company survives in the long run. TQM is beneficial since it affects all the departments in businesses through micro-targeting. TQM is a relevant technique that should be used by companies to improve operations
Bon, A. & Mustafa, E. (2013). Impact of total quality management on innovation in service organizations: literature review and new conceptual framework. Procedia Engineering, 53(1), pp.516-529.
Fening, F., Amaria, P. & Frempong, E. (2013). Linkages between total quality management and organizational survival in manufacturing companies in Ghana. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 10(4).
Gharakhani, D., Rahmati, H., Farrokhi, M., &Farahmandian, (2013). Total quality management and organizational performance. American Journal of Industrial Engineering, 1 (3), pp 46-50
Izvercian, M., Radu, A., Ivascu, L. & Ardelean, B. (2014). The impact of human resources and total quality management on the enterprise. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 124, pp.27-33.
Pattanayak, D. & Punyatoya, P. (2015). Impact of total quality management on customer satisfaction in Indian banking sector. International Journal of Productivity and Quality Management, 16(2).
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