Total Quality Management

May 11, 2012

Concept of Continuous Improvement

Continuous improvement is based on a Japanese Concept called Kaizen, is the philosophy of continually seeking ways to improve operations. It invloves identifying benchmarks of excellent practices and instilling a sense of employee ownership of the process. The focus can be on:

  • Reducing the length of time required to process requests for loans in bank
  • The amount of scrap generated at a milling machine or the number of employee injuries.
  • Continuous improvement can also focus on problems with customers or suppliers, such as customers who request frequent changes in shipping quantities and suppliers that to maintain high quality.

The bases of the continuous improvement philosophy are the beliefs that virtually any aspect of an operation can be improved and that the people most closely associated with an operation are in the best position to identify the changes that should be made. Consequently, employee involvement plays a big role in continuous improvement programs.

Getting Started with Continuous Improvement

Instilling a philosophy of continuous improvement in an organization may be a  lengthy process, and several steps are essential to its eventual success.

  1. Train employees in the methods of statistical process control (SPC) and other tools for improvement quality.
  2. Make SPC methods a normal aspect of daily operations.
  3. Build work teams and employee involvement.
  4. Utilize problem-solving techniques within work teams.
  5. Develop a sense of operator ownership of the process.

Here employee involvement is central to the philosophy of continuous improvement. However, the last two steps are crucial if the philosophy is to be the part of everyday operations.A sense of operator ownership emerges when employees feel as if they own the processes and methods they use and take pride in the quality of product or service they produce. It comes from participation on work teams and in problem-solving activities, which instill in employees a feeling that they have some control over their workplace.

Source: Operations Management, Strategy and Analysis, Fourth Edition, Karajewski/Ritzman, Page151-152


May 21, 2009

Employee Involvement: Its Magical Benefits

Involving employees, empowering them, and bringing them into decision making process provides the opportunity for continuous process improvement. The untapped ideas, innovations, and creative thoughts of employees can make the difference between success and failure. Competition is so fierce that it would be unwise not use every available tool. (more…)

September 21, 2008

Human Resource Management in TQM


Total quality management (TQM) has far-reaching implications for the management of human resources. It emphasizes self-control, autonomy, and creativity among employees and calls for greater active cooperation rather than just compliance.

Indeed, it is becoming a maxim of good management that human factors are the most important dimension in quality and productivity improvement.

Involvement: A central idea of Human Resource utilization

At the heart of the TQM is the concept of intrinsic motivation-involvement in decision making by the employees. Employee involvement is a process for empowering members of an organization to make decisions and to solve problems appropriate to their levels in the organization.

The Lean (Toyota) systems, utilizing JIT techniques are more productive, smaller and more efficient, increases worker pride and involvement on shop floor.

Define Employee Empowerment

The dictionary definition  of empowerment is to invest people with authority

Empowerment should not be confused with delegation or job enrichment. Delegation refers to distributing and entrusting work to others. Employee empowerment requires that he individual is held responsible for accomplishing the whole task. The employee becomes process owner- thus the individual is not only responsible but also accountable. Employee empowerment requires that the individual is held responsible  for accomplishing a whole task.

Suggestion System

Suggestion systems are designed to provide the individual with the opportunity to be involved by contributing to the organization. The key to an effective system is management commitment. It is the responsibility of management to make it easy for employees to suggest improvements. Stimulating and encouraging employee participation starts the creative process.

Five Ground Rules for Stimulating and Encouraging Suggestion System are:

1. Be Progressive by regularly asking your employees for suggestions

2. Remove fear by focusing on the process and not on the person.

3. Simplify the process so it is easy to participate

4. Respond Quickly to suggestions and within specified period of time

5. Reward the idea with published recognition so that everyone knows the value of contribution.

Why Training is important in TQM based organizations?

As, at the heart of TQM is the concept of intrinsic motivation-involvement in decision making by the employees, it means more responsibility, which in turn requires a greater level of skill.
This must be achieved through TRAINING.

Basic Steps of Effective Training Plans

  • The first step in training process is to make everyone aware of what the training is all about. Thoughts suggestions should be gathered.
  • The second step is to get acceptance. The trainees must feel that training will be of value to them.
  • The third step is to adept to adapt the program. Is everyone ready to buy into it? Does everyone feel they are a part of what is going to take place?
  • The fourth step is to adept to what has been agreed upon. What changes must be made in behavior and attitudes. (more…)

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