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Total Quality Management Essay

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Free Essay on Total Quality Management

Total Quality Management (TQM) is a strategic approach to run an organization that meets the customers’ needs and wants. It also helps to determine the right things to make changes and improvements. “Quality is a journey, not a destination.” (David K. Carr) TQM focuses not only just on quality, but also on long, medium and short process. It can improve efficiency, raise economic effectiveness, and motivate employees. In the present essay, I shall try to discuss the argument that no business can succeed without a total quality management system.

The business environment is changing so fast today. Those successful companies have built or are in the process of building a useful management system. A good management system gets more market share, higher customer retention and increases customer satisfaction. Total Quality Management is one of those good management systems. Like any tool or method, TQM can be a success or a failure. It depends on how well it is planned, implemented, measured, and encouraged.

“If TQM is to be successful in a company, it must become a part of the business.” (Peter Capezio and Debra Morehouse, 1995) For example, Xerox Corporation, the famous photocopy machine company, used TQM as a competitive strategy. TQM played an important role in the success of the corporation. TQM in the Xerox Corporation included programs such as benchmarking, reduced supplier base, and forming leadership teams (Evans-Correia, 1991). By implementing these programs, the corporation won the prize for quality in 1980 and gained the support from employees and customers. Another effect of TQM is the corporation had gained a lot of knowledge from using this new strategy.

As we can see, TQM can play an important role in the company’s development. Although it can benefit some organizations, its members and society, many companies have difficulties in implementing it. According to John Stark (1998), by consulting firms some surveys have found that only 20-36% of companies that used TQM had obvious improvement. TQM does not always work for foreign companies. Does it always work for Chinese companies?

After the open market policy in the late of 1970s, the Chinese Government had a lot of efforts in promoting TQM. A survey (Yu, Cochran and Spencer 1998) reported that 96% of the state-owned enterprises claimed that they had implemented TQM. But traditional Chinese management system sometimes does not work with the modern concept. Some drawbacks and problems appeared in the process of implementing TQM in China.

The main drawbacks and problems are as follow:

  • Chinese managers and workers do not have a good understanding of TQM principles. There are different TQM concepts in different parts of the country. Some managers still cannot define them.
  • The government force companies to implement TQM. So the companies force the employees to participate rather than encourage them to get involved. This leads to low participation and creates more problems in companies.
  • China is too big to implement ONLY one TQM model.
  • Company provided very limited training to employees, specially to the bottom-line employees. They lack of the skills in solving problems.
  • Although the Chinese government made policies in improving quality for companies to follow, there is a lack of actual government support in technology and other resources.
  • Earning quick money is very popular in China. It is another drawback in improving quality. People would rather give up high quality for higher productivity and cheaper price so that they can gain the highest profit in the shortest time.

In conclusion, I have found that TQM can be a powerful tool for using employee creativity, reducing costs, and improving service to customers and the public. However, the concept of TQM was weak and the quality of many products was still poor in China, and the implementation of TQM is not always a worthwhile investment. So I disagree that no business can succeed without the TQM system. It is not necessary for every business to use TQM, especially in China business environment. If it is implemented properly, TQM can keep an organization at the leader in the international market. If managers stick to planning and implementing TQM carefully, it can become easier to make the company successful year after year.

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