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What is Total Quality Management? Explain its significance in educational management.

What is Total Quality Management? Explain its significance in educational management.


Total Quality Management (TQM) is a management framework based on the belief that an organization can build long-term success by having all its members — from low-level workers to its highest-ranking executives — focus on improving quality and, thus, delivering customer satisfaction.

Importance of TQM

TQM can have a beneficial effect on employee and organizational development. By having all employees focus on quality management and continuous improvement, companies can establish and uphold cultural values that create long-term success for both customers and the organization. TQM’s focus on quality helps organizations identify skill deficiencies in employees, along with the necessary training, education or mentoring required to address those needs.

With a focus on teamwork, TQM leads to the creation of cross-functional teams and knowledge sharing. The increased communication and coordination across disparate groups deepens institutional knowledge and gives companies more flexibility in deploying personnel.

Principles of TQM

TQM prescribes a series of ways for organizations to accomplish this, with the pathway to successful continuous improvement centered on the use of strategy, data and effective communication to instill a discipline of quality into the organization’s culture and processes.

More specifically, TQM highlights the processes that organizations use to produce their products, and it calls for organizations to define those processes, continuously monitor and measure their performance, and use that performance data to drive improvements. In addition, it requires all employees and organizational departments to be part of this process. The eight guiding principles that TQM uses to improve quality include the following:

  1. Customer focus. The customer determines the quality level of the products and services. Customer input is valued, as it provides a better understanding of what the customer needs.
  2. Employee involvement. All employees must participate in the processes and system. They must be properly trained and given the needed resources to complete their tasks on time.
  3. Focus on process. Processes must be continually analyzed to identify weaknesses. Every employee who takes part in the process should be properly educated in their contributions, ensuring the right steps are taken at the right time.
  4. Integrated business systems. All TQM processes should be integrated into a business process. Integrated systems convey potentially useful data across departments, enabling everyone to be on the same page.
  5. Strategic and systematic approach. Planning and management are required using a strategic plan with quality as a base component.
  6. Continual improvement. A focus on continually improving quality helps an organization adapt to changing markets and achieve competitive advantages.
  7. Focus on data. Data should be collected, documented and analyzed to improve decision-making accuracy and to predict trends based on previous history.
  8. Communication. Communication between teams with information such as strategies, methodologies or timeliness is essential to improving operations. Good communication can also motivate employees and improve morale.

Implementation principles and processes

The general process of implementing TQM follows these steps:

  1. The organization assesses its current culture and quality management systems and identifies core values.
  2. Management decides to commit to TQM and develops a TQM master plan.
  3. The organization identifies and prioritizes customer demands.
  4. Management maps the processes needed to meet customer needs.
  5. Management creates a team to oversee efforts to improve processes.
  6. Management starts contributing to the process by providing additional planning and training.
  7. Management creates a process to standardize daily process management.
  8. Management continually asks employees for feedback.

Implementing TQM is a long-term commitment, and the length of time needed for planning, development and implementation varies by organization.

Benefits of TQM

TQM offers the following benefits:

  • Less product defects. An objective of TQM is to create products and services correctly the first time. This means that products ship with fewer defects, reducing product recalls, future customer support overhead and product fixes.
  • Satisfied customers. High-quality products that meet customers’ needs result in higher customer satisfaction. High customer satisfaction, in turn, can lead to increased market share, revenue growth via upselling and word-of-mouth marketing initiated by customers.
  • Lower costs. As a result of less product defects, companies save money on customer support, product replacements, field service and creating product fixes. The cost savings flow to the bottom line, creating higher profit margins.
  • Well-defined cultural values. Organizations that practice TQM develop and nurture core values around quality management and continuous improvement. The TQM mindset pervades across all aspects of an organization, from hiring to internal processes to product development.



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