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Total Quality Management (TQM) can be traced back to as early as the down of the last century but some believe that the importance of quality aroused as soon as the industrial revolution took place. In the early days, quality was observed and guaranteed by inspection. This approach was developed and modified with the passage of time to become Quality Control then later, Quality Assurance and at recent time it has become Known as Total Quality management. It is important to realize that TQM is a dynamic process not a static process that is based upon continuous efforts to improve quality. Since there are no deadlines or targets to be met, in this regard TQM can never be considered complete as it should become a way of life. (Mehra& Ranganathan, 2008). The objective of this assay is to describe in brief how the concept of TQM was developed.
Interpretation of the TQM concept
Definition and descriptions of TQM are changing every year. Dale (1999) defined TQM, in accordance with ISO 8402, as “a management approach of an organization, centered on quality, based on the participation of all its members and aiming at long-term success through customer satisfaction, and benefits to all members of the organization and to society”. Dale et al. (2001) further describes it as an umbrella of concepts and ideas from various contexts related to the quality field. In contrast, Dahlgaard et al.  describe TQM as “a corporate culture that is characterized by increasing customer satisfaction through continuous improvements involving all employees in the organization”. Oakland  claims that “TQM can be seen as an approach for improving the competitiveness, efficiency, and flexibility of a whole organization”. Others have other definitions, such as Hellsten&Klefsjö  who define TQM “as a continuously evolving management system consisting of values, methodologies and tools, the aim of which is to increase external and internal customer satisfaction with a reduced amount of resources.
The gurus and TQM
The origins of what is today known as Total Quality Management may be traced back to the early 1950s. These concepts were derived from the ideas established by writers such as W. Edwards Deming, Joseph M. Juran and Kaoru Ishikawa. Inspired by their ideas, Japanese top managers and their companies extended and customized the integrated approach and culture of TQM. Japan’s enormous post-war achievements in the quality field put pressure on the Western business world to put quality back on the agenda. Juran and Deming were without doubt key figures in the Japanese development. The work of Sarasohn, together with Protzman and others who began a series of seminars on “The Fundamentals of Industrial Management” was of great value to the western world (Foley, 2004). All of these authors were considered as the gurus'of TQM
During the early years of manufacturing, inspection was used as a tool to decide if a worker’s job or a product met its requirements. In fact, at that time inspection was not done in a systematic way, yet it worked well when the volume of production was low. However, as organizations became larger and more complicated, the need for more effective operations became obvious. (Montogomery, 2001)
In the early 1900s, “The Father of Scientific Management” Frederick W. Taylor helped to satisfy this need. He proposed a framework for the effective use of people in industrial organizations through his book ‘The Principles of Scientific Management’ which was republished yet again in 2008. One of his concepts was clearly defined tasks performed under standard conditions. Inspection was one of these tasks and was intended to ensure that no faulty product left the workshop or the factory, it also focuses on the product and detection of problem in the product, and testing every item to ensure that the product match as the requirements or specifications. This process is carried out at the end of the production process and requires specially trained inspectors. The need to performing this process was the reason that led to the emergence of a separate inspection department which resulted in the emergence of defect prevention concept which led to quality control(Montogomery, 2001).
The quality inspection stage started early nineties when the Ford Motor Company, then one of the world’s largest manufacturers, employed teams of inspectors to check the quality of their cars (Bergman &Klefsjö. 2003). The idea behind quality inspection was that poor-quality products could be found by inspection and then either scrapped, reworked or sold as lower quality products.
By the 1920s and 1930s, Statistical Quality Control (which was developed, mainly by Walter A. Shewhart), was being adopted by Ford and many other manufacturing companies in order to identify problems earlier and control the manufacturing process, instead of rejecting or repairing afterwards. However, despite the work of Shewhart [1931, 1939] which highlighted the variation which might result in the produce as a result of relying on inspection and statistics, these two approaches have played a fundamental role in the evolution of quality management.
When Dr W. Shewhart developed the application of statistical methods for the management of quality. He demonstrated that variation in the production process leads to the variation in the product, thus by eliminating the variation of the process a good standard of end product can be achieved. The theory of Statistical Quality Control focuses on the product and detection and control of quality problems that involves testing samples and statistically inferring compliance of all products. This process is carried out throughout the production process and requires trained production people as well as quality control professionals. Towards the end of 1920s the theory was further developed by Dodge, and Romig(1959) who developed statistically based acceptance sampling as an alternative to 100% inspection. To this day quality inspection continues to be used in many companies (Bergman &Klefsjö, 2003).
In 1940s, the quality guru Deming with his peer co-workers Juran and Feigenbaum continued with the improvement of the theory. However, instead of focusing just on quality of products the concept rapidly widened to evolve quality of all issues within an organization i.e. Total Quality Management (Feigenbaum,(1956); Deming, 1982).
In the late 1950s, quality control management developed rapidly and became the main theme of Japanese management. Interestingly, the idea did not stop at the management level. In the early 60s the concept of the quality control circle was first introduced in Japan by Ishikawa (1985). A quality circle is a group of workers who meet and discuss issues to improve all aspects of workplace and make presentations to management with their ideas for improvement. In this way workers were motivated because they felt that they were involved and listened to (Cole, 1980). Another advantage was the idea of improving not only the quality of product but also all aspects of organizational issues, which probably was the start of Total Quality. The term Total Quality was first used by Feigenbaum at the first international quality control conference in Tokyo in 1969. (Juran, 1988)
Experts in the area of quality control, including Feigenbaum, asserted that implementing Statistical Process Control system on its own could not effectively control product quality and cost(Feigenbaum, 1956). It is worth mentioning that the concept of “quality assurance” was “users‐oriented,” implying that “product possesses the fitness for purpose of use based on its functions” and hence “quality is zero defects and meeting the specifications 100%” (Crosby, 1979).
Feigenbaum emphasized that quality assurance could not be achieved by placing the control just on production processes. Thus, the concept of total quality control, TQC, was introduced in 1959. TQC emphasizes that product quality needs to be implemented at all stages of the product life cycle. The sequence of quality activities is briefly shown as:
- product design,
- incoming quality approval,
- process quality control,
- product reliability,
- delivery, and
- customer service.
Actually, Feigenbaum's quality concept and ideas were similar to those described by Deming, Juran, and Crosby (Dotchin& Oakland, 1992).
The Quality Assurance stage focuses on pre-production activities and relies on quality standards [most notably, ISO 9000] or instructions to assist with the reduction of the risk of failures and mistakes in the processes used to produce a product or service. ISO 9000, which was first published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 1987, is now used extensively throughout the world. Today, more than 670 000 organizations worldwide are third party certified to ISO 9001:2000 (ISO. 2004).
The fourth and current stage, TQM, involves understanding and implementing quality management principles and concepts in every aspect of an organization, including its customers and suppliers. This development, which has a clear systems approach, has been described by Bergman &Klefsjö  as “a constant endeavor to fulfil, or preferably exceed customer needs and expectations at the lowest cost. This could be achieved by continuous improvements of work, to which all involved are committed, focusing on the processes in the organization”. Although for the most part the four stages have largely replaced each other during the evolution, to some extent the stages have overlapped and have continued in parallel.
The origins of the term TQM
There is some discussion over the origin of the name TQM; see, for instance, Bergman &Klefsjö . Some argue that the term TQM was coined in 1984 when the NALC [Naval Aviation Logistics Command] was about to implement quality improvement according to the ideas presented by Ishikawa (1985) but did not like the word “control” to be adequate. It was suggested that the term “management” should be used instead. The Japanese argue that in their language there is no difference inmeaning between the terms for “control” and “management” [Xu, 1994]. In Japanese there is no difference inmeaning between the terms for “control” and “management”.
In a highly globalized economy, it is widely recognized that “innovation” has become the key force for achieving business excellence, which in turn reflects as competitive advantages, growth, and development. Only the pursuit of product quality and service quality is not enough to achieve the business objectives. The enterprises should alter their quality concepts from the narrow definition of quality to include customer value and innovation.
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