Total Quality Management

E veryone has had experiences of poor quality when dealing with business organizations. These experiences might involve an airline that has lost a passenger’s luggage, a dry cleaner that has left clothes wrinkled or stained, poor course offerings and scheduling at your college, a purchased product that is damaged or broken, or a pizza delivery service that is often late or delivers the wrong order. The experience of poor quality is exacerbated when employees of the company either are not empowered to correct quality inadequacies or do not seem willing to do so.

We have all encountered service employees who do not seem to care. The consequences of such an attitude are lost customers and opportunities for competitors to take advantage of the market need. Successful companies understand the powerful impact customer-de? ned quality can have on business. For this reason many competitive ? rms continually increase their quality standards. For example, both the Ford Motor Company and the Honda Motor Company have recently announced that they are making customer satisfaction their number one priority. The slow economy of 2003 impacted sales in the auto industry.

Both ? rms believe that the way to rebound is through improvements in quality, and each has outlined speci? c changes to their operations. Ford is focusing on tightening already strict standards in their production process and implementing a quality program called Six-Sigma. Honda, on the other hand, is focused on improving customer-driven product design. Although both ? rms have been leaders in implementing high quality standards, they believe that customer satisfaction is still what matters most. In this chapter you will learn that making quality a priority means putting customer needs ? rst.

It means meeting and exceeding customer expectations by involving everyone in the organization through an integrated effort. Total quality management (TQM) is an integrated organizational effort designed to improve quality at every level. In this chapter you will learn about the philosophy of TQM, its impact on organizations, and its impact on your life. You will learn that TQM is about meeting quality expectations as de? ned by the customer; this is called customer-de? ned quality. However, de? ning quality is not as easy as it may seem, because different people have different ideas of what constitutes high quality.