What is Total Quality Management?
Total quality management, or TQM, is a management method that’s primary goal is the integration of all functions within a company in order to focus on meeting customer needs and administrative objectives. Total quality management looks at the overall quality measures used by a company and strives to ensure all employees work toward the common goals of improving product or service quality. Keeping up with this process can often be a daunting task for many organizations. However, utilizing a quality management software like ENSUR can make the process of achieving total quality management in your organization smooth and painless. Reference our three-step guide to total quality management below to learn how you can easily implement TQM at your company.
3 Steps to Achieving Total Quality Management
Step 1: Set quality standards
Having a clear, well-defined set of standards is crucial for every company. In many industries, you may have to meet regulations and standards set by an outside governing body such as a safety and health inspector or a regulatory agency like the FDA. In others, you will need to set your own.
By setting a high-quality standard to work towards, you increase your organization’s ability to manufacture a perfect product and increase customer satisfaction. These standards should include product details and stages of production, individual employee responsibility, and your company’s training processes. Most importantly, every standard created must be objectively measurable. For example, if you are developing quality control regulations for your customer service team, “being friendly” is not a quantifiable standard. Measurable standards might include:
- Responding to live chat questions within 5 minutes
- Responding to voice mails within 24 hours during business hours
- Answering customer calls by the second ring
When defining these standards, it is important to maintain your overall focus. It is easy to get lost poring over every statistic coming from your production team. And while details are important in maintaining quality, total quality management requires an integration of every process within an organization, not just one or two. Setting standards based on your organization’s major goals and focusing on the bigger picture can help keep you on track in maintaining total quality.
Step 2: Act when quality standards are not met (and when they are)
Once your quality standards have been outlined and your organization is going about business, it is important to pay attention to your set benchmarks and determine if they are being met. Many organizations use inspection to ensure their processes are lining up with their determined quality regulations. A simple way to complete a thorough inspection is to compare data from before standards were put in place to results after. Having each department perform this quality check regularly will help you test if your product and processes are meeting set standards. And if they are not, inspection results will give you valuable information that will allow you to resolve production issues moving forward.
Gather Customer Feedback
In addition to inspections, it is important to look outside of your organization and gather feedback from your customers. TQM is meant to allow your company to bring as much satisfaction to your customer as possible. By surveying them for information regarding experience, you receive first-hand evidence demonstrating just how well your set quality standards are aligning with your product. And if inconsistencies arise from the information received, you know there is an issue somewhere in your quality processes.
Revise and Modify
If any problems are spotted, it is important to mitigate them as soon as possible. A fool-proof TQM approach involves constant revision and modification, so it is natural to have certain aspects of your organization falling below expectations. What matters most is how your company chooses to approach these issues. On the other hand, the successes of your quality management process should also be emphasized. For example, if the customer service team of an organization reaches their set standards, sales and marketing employees can use these achievements when working with prospective customers. It is beneficial to make these quality victories known throughout your organization as much as the pitfalls.
Step 3: Plan for improvement in your quality standards
Lastly, it is essential that your company never allows set standards to plateau. As previously mentioned, keeping up with your TQM strategy requires modification and improvement. Even if your processes are running smoothly, your company should be brainstorming new ways to improve your set standards and developing methods to meet stricter regulations. For example, if your customer service team has been easily meeting its “respond to live chat questions within 5 minutes” restriction, try cutting it down to 2 minutes. If your product is always delivered within 6 days, try reducing it to 5. By continuously advancing your standards your company can remain competitive and continuously exceed customer expectations.
How Can ENSUR Help?
As demonstrated, total quality management is a complex business method. Luckily, using a document control software like ENSUR can help your company prevent and solve any quality issues that may arise during this process. In the act of setting standards, keeping up with customer expectations, and adapting to the ever-changing business world, ENSUR’s quality management and document control solution will enable your company to execute a TQM strategy effortlessly through features like:
- Incident Management: create waivers, investigations, complaints and deviations that may arise through audits, product returns, and customer reported issues
- CAPA Management: easily create corrective action and preventive action requests, track nonconformities, collaborate on and perform root cause analysis, develop appropriate Action Plans, link CAPAs to any other quality item within the system and attach supporting material such as videos, audio, and email
- Change Control Management: get approvals to change current content with changes requests and manage changes to multiple documents with a change order so they are reviewed, approved and made current in a synchronized group, identify reference documents, categorize your changes, document the reason for change, attach affected documents through unique change links, and create default review/approval routings for different categories of changes
- Read & Acknowledge Training: define training requirements, manage rosters, test comprehension and track results
Check out our other resources on this topic:
- The Ultimate Guide to Implementing Quality Management
- Best Practices from an Expert on the Quality Audit Process
- 6 Tips to Effectively Manage Your CAPA Workflow
- Interview With a Quality Expert
- How Quality Management Helps You Adhere to ISO 9001 Standards