Total Quality Management

September 12, 2008

Organizing for Total Quality Management: Structures and Teams

When we talk about organizing for Total Quality Management, we mean preparing and organizing people in such a manner that they could work according to the philosophies and practices of TQM. One such way is to compare the traditional organization and the organization based upon
TQM philosophy.

The traditional organization of employees in a company is based upon cascading of authority that can best be illustrated in a pyramid, on the apex of which lies top management, then comes middle management, functional management, supervisors, and employees. This organization of employees, though traditionally accepted and most  appropriately defined way to express the employee organization in a company, does not fit well with the TQM philosophy.

Interestingly, when you view organizing of staff based upon TQM philosophy, the traditional pyramid turns upside down. Why? because TQM is highly customer focused philosophy. If you see the inverted pyramid you would notice that customer comes first, which is followed by the employees, front-line supervisors,and so on and so forth.

Why is that so? The answer is simple. The organization need to give particular emphasis on the development of its front-line staff and supervisors since they are the company in the eyes of their customers. For example front-line staff may be a flight attendant, the bank taller, the sales person, a call center operator, etc.

This first and second level of employees is of the prime importance in a TQM based company. Therefore, if an enterprise wishes to embark upon TQM program, it is necessary change the paradigm from traditional pyramid based on cascading of authority to the one called inverted pyramid. The paradigm that will make the top management of an enterprise  view its employees as the key factor in achieving excellence. Developing and empowering the employee will be instrumental in transition of an enterprise into the one based on Total Quality Management.

How can an enterprise involve its workforce in achieving TQM objectives?

The most popular technique is formation of Quality Control Circles (or simply QC circles) in an enterprise. The Quality Circle Concept was started in Japan by Prof. Ishikawa who is known as ‘The Father of Quality Circle Movement’. The contribution of the Quality Circles in making Japan an economic superpower has led many countries to adopt this concept.

In Japan, the activities have been practiced more throughout industry from manufacturing to services, and in the world more than 70 countries and territories have introduced and promoted QC Circles.
The QC Circle Headquarters of Japan is located within Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers (JUSE), and there are 9 branch offices throughout Japan to facilitate and assist QC Circle activities as follows

What are the characteristics of QC circles?

A Quality Circle is a small group of individual working in an organization or living in the same area coming together voluntarily to solve their work related problems or improvement of their work environment, relations or even their personal problems inside their organizations.

.Quality Circles foster a spirit of teamwork and cooperation and bring about a sea change in the attitudes of people. Quality Circles unleash the creativity in people and bring out the best in them. Continuous improvement is the credo of the Quality Circle Movement’. Kaizen is the product of QC Circles.

Small Teams: Quality Circles Explained by Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers (JUSE)

These small groups. They operate autonomously and utilize quality control concepts and techniques and other improvement tools Tap members’ creativity, and Promote self- and mutual development.
Quality Circles activities aim to develop members’ capabilities and achieve self-actualization, Make the workplace more pleasant, vital and satisfying, Improve customer satisfaction, and Contribute to society.

Executives and managers ensure that QC Circle activities contribute to improving the health of the enterprise by Treating QC Circle activities as an important part of employee development and workplace vitalization, personally practicing company-wide improvement activities such as TQM, and providing guidance and support for total participation while respecting the humanity of all employees


1 Comment »

  1. Very nice article.
    It is very useful for my exam preparation

    thanks for share this one !

    Comment by Kashif Awan — July 21, 2009 @ 4:34 pm

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