Total Quality Management

What is Quality?


A quality product needs to be ‘fit for purpose’.
This means the product must meet or exceed the customer requirements.”

There are several ways that a customer may define quality:
Fit for purpose

Why is Quality Important?

Quality is important for two main reasons: reputation and costs.

Quality Control

The objective of quality control is to ensure each finished product meets the standard set
out by the business for a quality product. The traditional method by which a firm tries to
achieve this quality standard is by having a separate Quality Control department whose
inspectors check the finished items and reject defective or substandard products.

This method therefore
detects quality problems at the end of the production process
before they reach the final customer.

Evidence shows that it has limited success at reducing the number of sub standard
products being produced and therefore wasting a firm’s resources.

Total Quality Management

An alternative and increasingly popular method of ensuring quality is known as
Total Quality Management” or “TQM”.

TQM is best described as being an “attitude” in a business where everyone in the
business is committed to achieving quality – not just the people in the Quality Control or
production departments. It means that quality is being checked at every stage of the
production process, as all employees are trained to check their own work (self-checking).

Two of the main aims of TQM are “
zero defects” and “total customer satisfaction”.

There are various advantages and disadvantages of introducing TQM:


- Improves reputation- faults and problems are spotted and sorted quicker (zero defects)

- Higher employee morale– workers motivated by extra responsibility, team work and
involvement in decisions of TQM

- Lower costs – Decrease waste as fewer defective products and no need for separate


- Initial introduction costs- training workers and disrupting current production whilst being

- Benefits may not be seen for several years

- Workers may be resistant to change – may feel less secure in jobs