Total Quality Management (TQM) is a management philosophy which focuses on the work process and people, with the major concern for satisfying customers and improving the organizational performance. It involves the proper coordination of work processes which allows for continuous improvement in all business units with the aim of meeting or surpassing customer’s expectations. It emphasizes on totality of quality in all facets of an organization with the aim of reducing waste and rework to reduce cost and increase efficiency in production.
The TQM philosophy focuses on teamwork, increasing customer satisfaction, and lowering costs. Organizations implement TQM by encouraging managers and employees to collaborate across functions and departments, as well as with customers and suppliers, to identify areas for improvement, no matter how small. Teams of workers are trained and empowered to make decisions that help their organization achieve high standards of quality. Organizations shift responsibility for quality control from specialized departments to all employees. Thus, total quality management means a shift from a bureaucratic to a decentralized approach to control.
An effective TQM program has numerous benefits. Financial benefits include lower costs, higher returns on sales and investment, and the ability to charge higher rather than competitive prices. Other benefits include improved access to global markets, higher customer retention levels, less time required to develop new innovations, and a reputation as a quality firm. Only a small number of companies use TQM because implementing an effective program involves much time, effort, money, and patience. However, firms with the necessary resources may gain major competitive advantages in their industries by implementing TQM.