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Total Quality: mapping a TQM strategy.


The successful implementation of Total Quality Management (TQM) can lead to improvements in the quality of products and services, reductions in the waste of resources, and overall increases in efficiency and productivity. Such improvements contribute to good customer relations, growth in market share and sustained competitive advantage. However, the introduction of a quality strategy is a major strategic change which requires considerable research and planning and it is important to combine the "hard edge" of quality (its tools and techniques) with the "soft" side of cultural change. TQM involves everyone in the organisation and needs to become a way of life, if it is to be successful.

National Occupational Standards for Management and Leadership

This checklist has relevance to the following standards:

B: Providing direction, unit1


TQM is a style of managing which gives everyone in the organisation responsibility for delivering quality to the final customer, quality being described as 'fitness for purpose' or as 'delighting the customer'. TQM views each task in the organisation as fundamentally a process which is in a customer/supplier relationship with the next process. The aim at each stage is to define and meet the customer's requirements in order to maximise the satisfaction of the final consumer at the lowest possible cost.

Action checklist

1. Establish a planning team

You will need a quality team to drive through the changes. In a small organisation this will be the senior management team; in a larger one, it will comprise senior managers representing the major functions. Include known sceptics or mavericks in the team and ensure that minority views are represented.

2. Assess the need to change

Consider the competitive position of the organisation. Establish who your key customers are and find out what they expect of you: don't assume that you are currently meeting all their requirements. Finding out what customers need is a continuous, not a one-off, process. Establish how other groups--suppliers, competitors and employees--view the quality of your product/service.

3. Define the vision

Draw up a vision statement defining where the organisation wants to be in terms of serving its customers: this vision must be stretching but attainable. Define the principles and values which underpin the vision. Use other organisations as a model but make sure the statement reflects your culture and circumstances.

4. Define the standard of service you aim to provide

Translate the vision into realistic outcomes. Establish what customers, suppliers and employees expect the organisation to deliver in quality of product/service.

5. Review how you are currently failing to meet standards

There may often be a large gap between customer expectations and reality. Establish the reasons for this across the organisation. Key ones are: external constraints, being let down by suppliers and internal inefficiencies. It can happen that customers expect too little--you need to assess their needs, not only their overt wishes.

6. Conduct an assessment of current levels of waste

Quantify the quality failures by securing from heads of departments an assessment of current levels of waste. Ensure they involve all employees in the assessment. Collect data as widely as possible, cost the results and present the findings to the senior management team.

7. Establish the current cost of waste

Work out how much is currently spent on rectifying internal failure (for example, reworking of below quality goods) and external failure (for example handling customer complaints). Include appraisal costs--the time and money spent on inspection and checking.

8. Decide whether to go for third party certification

You need to decide whether to include a quality management system in your initiative. This will lead to third party certification (such as BS EN ISO 9000).

This may gain recognition from customers and suppliers or even be demanded by them.

9. Draw up your quality strategy

Use the results of the waste audit to draw up your quality strategy, covering:

* the goals of the strategy, including a revised statement of your mission

* the systems and tools needed to change processes

* the cultural changes needed to create the right environment for quality

* details of the resources that can be applied

* the time frames.

Secure senior management approval for the plan.

10. Draw up an action plan for change

Organisational culture will be a critical factor in the success or failure of the initiative. Strong and effective teams are essential, so plan for the introduction or strengthening of team-based working as appropriate.

11. Establish an education and training programme

Some staff will need in-depth training, others will need less, but everyone should be given a thorough introduction to, and familiarisation with what TQM means. Conduct an analysis of training needs in relation to TQM and cost the additional training required. This will need to be offset against the expected productivity gains. Plan for:

* general induction and training of all employees in the principles of TQM

* development of managers, supervisors and team leaders in the 'soft' skills needed to implement TQM

* job specific training in new techniques associated with TQM

* additional training in customer relations.

An external trainer or facilitator is almost always essential, especially in the early stages.

12. Opportunities and priorities for improvement

Set priorities for the introduction of TQM. Select key processes for early analysis and improvement. Do not start with more than three processes at the most. Choose at least one that is likely to demonstrate quick returns in business performance.

13. Goals and criteria for success

You will need to set both short- and long-term targets and establish measures of success both in business and cultural terms.

How not to introduce TQM


* try to go ahead without full support from senior management

* see TQM as a quick fix

* introduce TQM at the same time as other new initiatives

* use TQM (or even appear to use TQM) as a means of downsizing.

Additional resources


ISO 9001:2000 in brief, ed, Ray Tricker and Burce Sherring-Lucas

Oxford: Elsevier Butterworth Heinmann, 2005

Total quality management in a week, 3rd ed, John Macdonald

London: Chartered Management Institute, Hodder and Stoughton, 2003

Managing quality, ed, Barry G Dale

Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2003

Quality a critical introduction, 2nd ed, John Beckford

London, Routledge, 2002

This is a selection of books available for loan to members from the Management Information Centre. More information at:

Journal articles

Managing responsibility: what can be learned from the quality movement, Sandra Waddock and Charles Bodwell

California Management Review, Fall 2004, vol 47 no 1, pp25-37

Quality 21, John Oakland and Les Porter

Quality World, Jan 2004, vol 30 no 1, pp10-12

This is a selection of journal articles available from the Management Information Centre. More information at:

Related checklists

Total quality: getting TQM to work (030)

Preparing for ISO 9000 (004)

Internet resources

IQA Quality Information Centre

Includes fact sheets and other resources.


British Quality Foundation

32-34 Great Peter Street, London SW1P 2QX

Tel: 020 7654 5000

European Foundation for Quality Management

Brussels Representative Office, Avenue des Pleiades, 11 1200 Brussels, Belgium

Tel: +32 2 775 35 11

Institute of Quality Assurance

12 Grosvenor Crescent, London SW1X 7EE

Tel: 020 7245 6788
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Title Annotation:total quality management
Publication:Chartered Management Institute: Checklists: Operations and Quality
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 1, 2006
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