Quality Management

Reviewed by Annapoorna | Updated on Sep 30, 2020

What is Quality Management?

Quality management refers to the act of supervising all operations and tasks to be done to achieve a desired degree of excellence. The method involves developing a quality strategy, establishing, and enforcing quality preparation and monitoring, as well as quality management and enhancing quality. It is is also popularly termed as Total Quality Management (TQM).

Quality control typically focuses on long-term goals through the execution of short-term programs.

Total Quality Management Explained

TQM is, at its core, a business philosophy which champions the concept that a company's long-term success stems from customer satisfaction and loyalty. TQM needs all of the stakeholders of a business to work together to enhance the company's own processes, goods, services, and culture.

Although TQM appears to be an intuitive method, it proceeded as a groundbreaking concept. The 1920s saw the increase of business dependence on statistics and statistical theory, and in 1924 the first-ever recognised control chart was developed.

People began to build on statistical theories and ended up collectively developing the Statistical Process Control (SPC) system. It was during this period when Japan faced a harsh global industrial climate. The people were thought to be mostly illiterate, and it was recognised that their goods are of poor quality.

Key companies in Japan noticed these shortcomings and tried to improve them. Centred on pioneers of statistical analysis, businesses like Toyota have incorporated the concept of quality management and quality control into their processes of production.

By the late 1960s, with some of the most coveted goods, Japan totally flipped its narrative and became recognised as one of the most productive export countries. Efficient quality control resulted in improved goods, which could be manufactured at a lower price.

Examples of TQM Applications

The most prominent example of total quality management is the Kanban method introduced by Toyota. A kanban is a physical signal causing a chain reaction which results in a specific action.

Toyota used the idea to introduce its inventory mechanism for Just in Time (JIT). The company wanted to keep only enough inventory on hand to fill customer orders as they were produced to make its assembly line more effective.

Therefore, a physical card that has a corresponding inventory number is allocated to all parts of Toyota's assembly line. The card is removed and transferred up the supply chain, essentially demanding another of the same component, just before a component is mounted in a vehicle. It helps the organisation to keep needless assets lean in its inventory and not overstock.

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