Sunday, March 16, 2008

Total Quality Management (TQM):

Total Quality Management (TQM) is a management strategy aimed at embedding awareness of quality in all organizational processes. TQM has been widely used in manufacturing, education, government, and service industries, as well as NASA space and science programs.

Total Quality provides an umbrella under which everyone in the organization can strive and create
customer satisfaction at continually lower real costs.

TQM is composed of three paradigms:

Total: Involving the entire organization, supply chain, and/or product lifecycle

Quality: With its usual Definitions, with all its complexities (External Definition)

Management: The system of managing with steps like Plan, Organize, Control, Lead, Staff, provisioning and suchlike

As defined by the
International Organization for Standardization (ISO):

"TQM is a management approach for an organization, centered on quality, based on the participation of all its members and aiming at long-term success through customer satisfaction, and benefits to all members of the organization and to society." One major aim is to reduce variation from every process so that greater consistency of effort is obtained. (Royse, D., Thyer, B., Padgett D., & Logan T., 2006)

In Japan, TQM comprises four process steps, namely:

Kaizen – Focuses on "Continuous Process Improvement" , to make processes visible, repeatable and measurable.

Atarimae Hinshitsu – The idea that "things will work as they are supposed to"
(for example, a pen will write).

Kansei – Examining the way the user applies the product leads to improvement in the product itself.

Miryokuteki Hinshitsu – The idea that "things should have an aesthetic quality" (for example, a pen will write in a way that is pleasing to the writer).

TQM requires that the company maintain this
quality standard in all aspects of its business. This requires ensuring that things are done right the first time and that defects and waste are eliminated from operations.

A Comprehensive Definition:

TQM Total Quality Management is the management of total quality. We know that management consists of planning, organizing, directing, control, and assurance. Then, one has to define "total quality". Total quality is called total because it consists of 3 qualities:

Quality of return to satisfy the needs of the shareholders,

Quality of products and services to satisfy some specific needs of the consumer (end user) and

Quality of life - at work and outside work - to satisfy the needs of the people in the organization.

This is achieved with the help of upstream and downstream partners of the enterprise. To this, we have to add the corporate citizenship, i.e. the social, technological, economical, political, and ecological (STEPE) responsibility of the enterprise concerning its internal (its people) and external (upstream and downstream) partners, and community. Therefore, Total quality management goes well beyond satisfying the customer, or merely offering quality products (goods and/or services). Note that we use the term consumer or end customer. The reason is that in a Supply Chain Management approach, we don't have to satisfy our customers' needs but the needs of our customers' customers' all the way to the end customer, the consumer of a product and/or service. By applying this definition an enterprise achieves Business Excellence, as suggested by the Malcolm Baldrige (American) and the EFQM (European) Performance Excellence Models. To do that, one has to go well beyond
ISO 9000 Standards series as suggested by these standards (ISO 9001, then ISO 9004, then Total Quality).

TQM in manufacturing:

Quality assurance through statistical methods is a key component in a manufacturing organization, where TQM generally starts by sampling a random selection of the product. The sample can then be tested for things that matter most to the end users. The causes of any failures are isolated, secondary measures of the production process are designed, and then the causes of the failure are corrected. The statistical distributions of important measurements are tracked. When parts' measures drift into a defined "error band", the process is fixed. The error band is usually a tighter distribution than the "failure band", so that the production process is fixed before failing parts can be produced.
It is important to record not just the measurement ranges, but what failures caused them to be chosen. In that way, cheaper fixes can be substituted later (say, when the product is redesigned) with no loss of quality. After TQM has been in use, it's very common for parts to be redesigned so that critical measurements either cease to exist, or become much wider.
It took people a while to develop tests to find emergent problems. One popular test is a "life test" in which the sample product is operated until a part fails. Another popular test is called "shake and bake", in which the product is mounted on a
vibrator in an environmental oven, and operated at progressively more extreme vibration and temperatures until something fails. The failure is then isolated and engineers design an improvement.
A commonly-discovered failure is for the product to disintegrate. If fasteners fail, the improvements might be to use measured-tension nut drivers to ensure that screws don't come off, or improved adhesives to ensure that parts remain glued.
If a
gearbox wears out first, a typical engineering design improvement might be to substitute a brushless stepper motor for a DC motor with a gearbox. The improvement is that a stepper motor has no brushes or gears to wear out, so it lasts ten or more times as long. The stepper motor is more expensive than a DC motor, but cheaper than a DC motor combined with a gearbox. The electronics are radically different, but equally expensive. One disadvantage might be that a stepper motor can hum or whine, and usually needs noise-isolating mounts.
Often, a "TQMed" product is cheaper to produce because of efficiency/performa nce improvements and because there's no need to repair dead-on-arrival products, which represents an immensely more desirable product.


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