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Development of Quality Management and Its Significance to an Organization in a Service Industry Essay

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Updated: Jan 30th, 2020

Introduction

Total Quality Management (TQM) is regarded as the ongoing process of to improve the way individuals, groups and organizations perform in business operations (Kanji, 1995).

It is all about the kind of service that a customer receives and the desire to constantly satisfy the customer (Domingo, 2003). TQM follows a set of guidelines to achieve its key object which is to enhance performance. There is a need for everyone in the organization to be fully aware of what they have to do, the way to accomplish their tasks and in addition, they must have the right tools for the job.

It is also critical to put in place mechanisms for measuring performance as well as collecting feedback (Kanji, 1995). According to Talib & Rahman (2010), the main drive behind adopting total TQM is to meet the ever increasing demands of customers. With a good TQM system, it is possible to get all employees be involved in the success of the business (Edgell, 2008).

Janpen, Praneetpolgrang and Horadal (2006) consider Total Quality Management to be a way of thinking directed at improving processes and one that is universally accepted.

The techniques that are used in TQM offer a set of standard guidelines that have to be followed to delight customers, improve management processes and that the organization knows what has to be addressed (Janpen et al., 2006). To be effective, TQM must receive support at every level in the organization and if implemented properly it will lead to amazing benefits (CliffNotes.com, 2011).

Principles of Quality Management

TQM’s guiding principles include; delighting in the customer, managing by fact, implementing people based form of management and insisting on continuous improvement. All these principles play a major role in helping to improve business operations (Kanji, 1995). All these principles are meant to jointly provide the standards that should be followed by management in the journey to achieving better quality of products or services.

Quality Experts

As TQM evolved, a number of experts were involved at different stages and in different ways starting with Edward Deming whose study of quality management started with the use of statistical theories in controlling quality (Sowerbutts, 2004). Another key person in matters of quality is Joseph Juran who built the concept of TQM around the issues of quality planning, control and improvement.

Both Deming and Juran emphasized the need to ensure that everyone in the organization was involved in quality improvement (Sowerbutts, 2004). Others experts recognized for their contributions in this area are Kaoru Ishikawa and Philip Crosby.

Development of Total Quality Management

The genesis of Total Quality Management (TQM) dates back to the 1920s when it was first used to control production quality (BPIR, 2010). This was further boosted by the work done in Japan by Deming, Juran and Feigenbaum to reconstruct Japan’s manufacturing industry (BPIR, 2010). Under the guidance of General Douglas McArthur who saw the need for radical changes, Dr. W. Edwards Deming was invited to present his ideas to top business leaders in Japan (Sowerbutts, 2004).

The outcome was the introduction of different methods of management in various Japanese manufacturing companies and top on the list was TQM. Unlike in the United States where Deming’s ideas met with a very cold reception, Japan highly embraced his ideas and put them to work almost immediately. What followed later was the development and improvement of TQM in different Japanese companies and this made Japan to become the world leader in the area of quality and production (Sowerbutts, 2004).

By adopting TQM, other issues in organizations such as employee motivation started to receive concern from management and this greatly encouraged employees who then begun to feel that they were really part of what was happening in the organization (BPIR, 2010). At first, the main focus of TQM was on the quality of products but slowly, the scope was widened to cover every quality issue that is deemed relevant to the success of an organization (BPIR, 2010).

According to Ade-Onojobi-Bennett (2008), the quality function has been a concern of all improvements that organizations ever wanted to do and over the years, it has developed from being simple inspection procedures to what we now know as Total Quality Management.

During the manufacturing period before 1920s, the work of employees would be inspected and later a decision will have to be made to accept or reject it. This, however, changed in the years that followed and as the process of manufacturing got more complex there arose a need to intensify inspection by using more sophisticated means. Murray (2011), however, gives a different view regarding the development of Total Quality Management.

He explains that TQM evolved due to the fact that the methods used to warrant quality in the early days of the First World War had a lot of short comings. This became even clearer during the war when manufacturers were forced by demand to generate huge volumes of products that ended up being of substandard quality. The advent of Total Quality Management provided a great solution to this problem (Murray, 2011).

Application of Statistical Theory to Quality Control

The process of quality control begun to use statistical theory in the 1920s and the first model chart to control quality was made in 1924 by Shewhart (Ade-Onojobi-Bennett, 2008). This helped to get rid of variations in the production process and ensured that the end products were of good quality (BPIR, 2010).

Statistical quality control stressed number of issues such as control and detection of problems related to quality, testing and using statistical parameters to make sure that all products met the recommended standards and it was done in various stages. Specialist production experts were used at each stage. These ideas by Shewhart were further developed by Deming but were not fully used until in the late 1940s (BPIR, 2010)

Cost of Implementing TQM

According to Murray (2011), quite a number of companies are concerned about the cost of implementing TQM and if this will generate an equivalent amount of benefit. They will therefore hesitate to have it implemented in the business (Murray, 2011). According to research, these are allegations that are not founded on solid ground and the total costs of production; both direct and indirect are far much more than the entire cost of implementing TQM (Murray, 2011).

Significance of TQM to the Service Industry

According to Wiley (n.d), the way quality is defined in the manufacturing industry is completely different from the way it is defined in service organizations. Whereas in manufacturing, organizations will produce products that are tangible and can be seen or even measured, the service industry does give such products.

As such, the definition of quality in manufacturing will focus more on the features of products that are visible. On the contrary, the service industry deals with intangible products such as the delivery of health care and the services offered in a learning institution. More often than not, the completed product in a service industry is invisible or untouchable and this makes quite a challenge to define in this industry (Wiley, n.d).

Although Total Quality Management is considered to be very critical for a manufacturing industry, the benefits that result of using TQM are better realized through a rigorous customer focused service industry whether in fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), retailing, hospitality industry, telecommunication or even in the banking sector (Pandian, 2011). It is a very common experience for one to make a call to some service industry and wait for too long before the call is eventually answered.

For a serious service company, the business opportunity a telephone call may represent should never be taken so lightly. It may just be a call that could make the business turn around. This has seen organizations administer stern corrective actions that could lead to an employee being replaced or being sacked to please a grieved customer. Sadly though, many businesses do not strongly associate customer complaints with poor performance (Pandian, 2011).

When TQM is applied to the service industry, the main challenge is ensuring that a smooth relationship is set up between the different business processes to allow the organization to acquire new customers and retain existing ones (Pandian, 2011).

Even though the main focus in a service industry is to be able to satisfy the customers at every point, this is usually not very practical given that customers will encounter problems that are related to delays during business transactions and in most cases, the top management does not get this kind of feedback from the customers save for a few loyal ones (Pandian, 2011).

It is therefore advisable that an organization puts in place a customer complaint control system to deal with any complaints from the customers. This should be a friendly and transparent system that should make it possible for customers to interact directly with management.

Steps to Quality Assurance in the Industry

Pandian (2011) identified some steps that should be followed to ensure that customers receive the best quality at all times. As a start, a good management system will seek to improve quality by making sure that if any complaint is received from a customer, it is linked to the defective business process and the process should then be subjected to scrutiny (Pandian, 2011). This essentially helps the management to figure out what measures to put in place to improve the current system to the benefit of the organization as well as the customers.

Secondly, is very essential for the management team to have an attitude that will encourage employees to freely share any ideas they may have. This is a problem that mainly affects organizations that have a hierarchical structure and ideas from employees at lower levels may be resisted by senior management. This must never be entertained and any idea from any employee in the organization should be consider before being turned down (Pandian, 2011).

It is also a good idea to ensure that the human resource team in the organization is well prepared to advise staff at all levels on issues that relate to TQM and its importance to the operations in the organization. TQM should be regarded as being a collaborative engagement and as such, any resistance from the management team in the organization should be avoided as much as possible as it can easily kill initiatives from employees.

This becomes even more critical in the service industry where the task of winning customers to the organization is a really tough one and efforts need to be made to keep all the existing customers while attracting others (Pandian, 2011). Finally, Pandian (2011) also argues that an organization must have a TQM system that can cover all processes well. Generally, the idea of quality control is emphasized more in the manufacturing industry while being neglected in the service industry.

This should never be the case and it is important to note that TQM has many benefits for the service industry as well. For a service industry, the problem of quality is meant to be a concern for every employee in the organization (Pandian, 2011). It is, however, worthwhile noting that for an effective TQM system to be established in a service industry, patience and commitment from all within the organization is necessary as everyone works hard towards meeting the customer demands (Pandian, 2011).

Conclusion

Although not many companies are today using TQM, it is considered very helpful by those who have decided to make it their way of managing their business. It is no longer just a program but a way to measure how successful the organization generally is (Sowerbutts, 2004).

Other organizations have chosen to take TQM principles and customize them to fit their needs. The principles of TQM are still relevant today as they were before. Whilst there are those who want to benefit from the full implementation of TQM, some have realized that they can still gain from a tailored approach that will let them come up with applications to help solve specific problems (Sowerbutts, 2004).

Reference List

Ade-Onojobi-Bennett, M. 2008. The Development of Total Quality Management. Ramona, CA: AuthorsDen, Inc. Web.

Business Performance Improvement Resource (BPIR). 2010. . New Jersey: BPIR.com Limited. Web.

CliffsNotes.com. 2011. Total Quality Management (TQM). San Francisco, CA: Wiley Publishing, Inc. Web.

Domingo, R. T. 2003. . Denver: RTDOnline. Web.

Edgell, R. 2008. . USA: Managers-Net. Web.

Janpen, P., Praneetpolgrang, P. & Horadal, P. 2006. Development of Total Quality Management (TQM) Model for Thai Communities Knowledge Management Systems. USA: IAMOT.

Kanji, G. K. 1995. Total Quality Management: Proceedings of the First World Congress. London, UK: Chapman & Hall.

Murray, M. 2011. . New York. Web.

Pandian, T. K. 2011. . Mumbai: The Hindu Business Line. Web.

Sowerbutts, D. 2004. . Roseville, MN: PHS Managment, LLC. Web.

Talib, F. & Rahman, Z. 2010. Studying the Impact of Total Quality Management in Service Industries. International Journal of Productivity and Quality Management, Volume 6, Number 2 / 2010, 249 – 268. Web.

Wiley. . San Francisco, CA. Web.

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