Total Quality Management (TQM) is a management approach that focuses on quality delivery of products and services. The approach does this through the incorporation of all the parties and departments involved in product development and service delivery for customer satisfaction and accrual of benefits to the organization and society. Organizations that implement TQM achieve quality standards by a continuous review of the level of performance in all the areas of responsibility. TQM appreciates the technical tools under a disciplined structure, fundamental management techniques, and existing improvement efforts to ascertain improvement in all the processes. TQM, therefore, applies specialized human resources at the specific point of production where there will be maximum utilization of human capital expertise to achieve the desired results in relation to quality for the overall satisfaction of customers. Any organization that adopts the approach will see the minimization of cost and a consequent increase in profit-making and delivery of quality products and services; therefore, a satisfied customer base. Most importantly, it will see the completion of organization tasks at a scheduled time. The image and reputation of the organization are built through quality product and service delivery, which TQM delivers, hence a win to the organization as a unit. This, therefore, influences the organization’s profit margin positively through the retention of customers due to quality and an improvement in organizational performance. TQM, therefore, has a great impact on organizational performance, customer satisfaction, leadership, and overall knowledge and process management; it improves these in an organization, leading to better resource management.
TQM involves the implementation of different organization-wide practices. One of the practices is top-level management commitment. The delivery of important organizational change through TQM requires top management commitment to these changes. The top-level management is where the decisions that greatly influence the organization are made (Wasif 2). This, therefore, means that the better the decisions made by the top management, the higher the chances of the organization flourishing. Apart from the decision-making aspect, the top management should also be committed to the empowerment of the employees. As part of TQM, employee empowerment brings about job satisfaction, which, in turn, enhances the quality and productivity in service and product delivery. Therefore, there is assurance in the TQM goal of customer satisfaction and quality provision of products and services.
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The empowerment of employees and job satisfaction leads to the creation of an atmosphere of oneness and responsibility, which prompts the spirit of working together for organizational success. The room for airing ideas and suggestions created by the top management plays an important role in the participation of the employees in the welfare of the organization (Smith 2). This ensures inclusivity in the organization and freedom for the employees, hence keeping them at ease as they work. The ease in working and sense of inclusion ensures optimum product and service delivery aimed at customer satisfaction, which is the cornerstone of TQM.
The proper working of the entire organizational team to achieve the objective of the organization requires an elaborate process that needs good process management. Process management bases its focus on the individual steps involved in production and service delivery to ensure quality (Talibu, Rahman, and Azam 232). It ensures efficiency as the errors that occur along the lines of production are corrected immediately. This largely saves time and the cost required for correction to the finished product. Therefore, the organization minimizes cost on production and maximizes profit.
Even as the organization tries to minimize cost and maximize profits in the process management, customer satisfaction is the primary goal. As part of TQM, organizations achieve customer satisfaction through an examination of customers’ preferences, tastes, expectations, and needs (Sadikoglu and Olcay 2). TQM, therefore, involves a study of the demographic set up of the organization’s environment, translating into better product quality and prompt services delivery according to customers’ preferences.
The kind of customer base that an organization is working on greatly influences the kind of resources it will apply. This is in terms of human resources, technological resources, and the materials for the products and services to be produced (Sadikoglu and Olcay 5). If the organization’s surrounding is more demanding for the products and services offered, the organization will be prompted to either employ more human resources for service provision or use of machines for large scale production of products. Quality raw materials are required to deliver quality products. TQM allows an organization to do a proper evaluation of the resources required and source the top-quality resources for customer satisfaction.
The resources (human) of a particular organization have a way in which they handle their day to day activities. Organizations achieve this through an ethical orientation, which varies from one organization to another (Sadikoglu and Olcay 2). An organization that practices TQM focuses on the quality of the products to be produced and the end goal of customer satisfaction. The only way to achieve this is through the involvement of all the employees in a particular organization.
Together, TQM practices have a great impact on an organization. One of the impacts is organizational leadership. In TQM, leadership is key as there is a need to oversee how things are done in an organization (Sadikoglu and Olcay 4). In managing the quality that is to be achieved in the end, the leadership has to consider the support of employee development, use information efficiently and effectively, and establish a midpoint communication among the employees, managers, and customers. The support of employees in TQM is achieved by the recognition and rewarding of employees’ efforts, which boosts morale and provides feedback in real-time and not just during annual reviews, thus ensuring inclusivity.
TQM requires leaders to use a learning management system. Through such a system, leaders ensure that there is a value addition to the employees, translating to the organization’s ability to maintain its quality production of goods and services. Value addition also involves identifying and developing soft skills, which ensure success in the day to day running of the organizational activities. According to Mohammed, such a management system improves organizational performance by 72 percent (146). Leadership through such a system also organizes cross-departmental training programs, which break communication barriers within the organization, thereby facilitating the effective sharing of valuable information. Through the implementation of TQM practices, leaders facilitate the empowerment and inclusion of employees in matters regarding decision-making in the organization (Kaynak 409). This ensures that everyone feels like part of the organization. Leadership through inclusion as demanded by TQM, therefore, positively impacts the levels of job satisfaction among employees, and ultimately organizational performance.
Having established proper leadership, the monitory and dissemination of vital information to the organization’s employees is the next critical aspect. The knowledge and process management sector play an important role in facilitating organizational success. It entails the sharing of timely, reliable, consistent, accurate, and necessary data and information to the employees for efficiency (Choi 62). As TQM focuses on the quality of the product and the satisfaction of the customer, the process through which the products are developed and services delivered is reduced to the activities in each step as opposed to results. There is, therefore, close monitoring of the processes and timely correction of errors. Close monitoring ensures that time and cost are saved while focusing on the bigger picture, which is customer satisfaction. Through the knowledge and process management of the data and information, the organization can increase the turnover hence a corresponding significant positive impact on the financial performance (see table 1). Studies into knowledge management indicate that implementing it causes a 3.38% spike in the storage of knowledge, 3.87% improvement in the creation of new knowledge, 3.92% percent improvement in the acquisition of new knowledge, and 3.99% improvement in the application of the new knowledge efficiently (Raudeliūnienė and Mirna 257). Knowledge and process management, herein, not only allow the organization to acquire more knowledge about the industry and the economy but also use the information to suit organizational processes to the prevailing conditions better.
Table 1: Impact of TQM on financial performance. Source Sadikoglu and Olcay 11.
Apart from the increased profit and quality control, knowledge and process management also accord organizations a competitive advantage. Raudeliūnienė and Mirna inform that knowledge and process management accords organizations competitive advantage through training and development programs, thus building employees’ capacity (257). The training imparts tacit and explicit knowledge to its employees. Therefore, the organization can continue producing high-quality products and delivering better services.
Knowledge and process management and training have a complementary relationship in that, as knowledge and process management provides the information required to maintain and improve quality, training uses the resultant information in practice. Different organizations have adopted different methodologies in enhancing and maintaining quality through their human resource. While some organizations resort to hiring to obtain the desired skill set, other organizations train their employees to acquire the desired skillsets. Research into employee training shows that there is a 74.7 percent increase in employee performance after undergoing training (Bhat 293). Research additionally states that training has a significant impact on employee performance (see table 1). Training essentially allows employees to acquire varied skill sets that are beneficial to the organization other than hiring an employee to satisfy only one need. Moreover, such training boosts employees’ morale seeing that the organization invests in them, in turn causing better organization financial performance as research indicates (see table 3). Training, in this case, can involve junior employees as apprentices to senior employees, thereby maintaining the quality of the organization (Morhman et al. 30). Besides, such a move breaks the barriers between senior and junior employees, bringing better collaboration and communication, while at the same time helping junior employees to create and expand their professional networks.
Table 2: impact of training on employee performance. Source: Sadikoglu and Olcay 10.
Table 3: impact of training on financial performance. Source: Ngambi and Nkemkiafu 78
As training puts into use the materials required for the quality production, it is equally important to scrutinize the type of materials and establish an understanding that ensures the organization gets the quality products it deserves, and the suppliers are well remunerated. The relationship between the suppliers and the organization should be smooth. Organizations implementing TQM improve the relationship by working hand in hand with the suppliers to ensure proper quality (Montes 303). Organizations can achieve this through supplier training on the quality needed. Training and improved quality of the relationship between suppliers and organizations show a 50% increase in the quality of materials supplied (Kim, Son, and Kim 6). The efforts in ensuring quality all culminate towards achieving a system that works best for both sides. Customer satisfaction depends on the type of material supplied. TQM emphasizes the quality and prompt delivery from prospective suppliers as opposed to the price of the material. Quality of the end product focuses on the tiny details, such as the management of supply, ensuring the quality of products and customer satisfaction.
Customers are the basis of the existence of organizations. There is an absolute need to study the customers of a particular organization to learn the needs that require satisfaction. TQM allows organizations to focus on customers and work towards satisfying their needs. Satisfying customers’ needs proves especially profitable for organizations as it cements customer loyalty (Llusar 932). Companies such as Apple, Amazon, Nike, Starbucks, and Southwest Airlines have some of the highest ratings in brand loyalty. Organizations should, therefore, take up the initiative to examine and know what kind of people they are dealing with while keeping quality in mind. In a show of the positive effect of focus on customers, Amazon’s stock spiked 4%, lifting its market value to $477 billion after it announced its acquisition of Whole Foods (Egan n.p.). At the same time, Whole Foods’ stock rose to $42 a share from $32 following the announcement, a proof of Amazon’s customer loyalty. Focus on customers, therefore, allows companies to establish a market base for their products and services and retain the customers, thereby increasing profit margin.
The strategic quality planning points the company to the direction it should be moving. This is in reference to the mission and vision of the organization. Therefore, all the members of the organization must ensure that the organization has achieved its mission, and ultimately the vision. Sadikoglu and Olcay suggest that while pursuing the success of strategic quality planning, the side effects that are to occur in the process concerning the environment should be considered (5). Strategic planning also involves organizational social responsibility, whose effect is readily seen in organizational performance, employee commitment, and brand image (Sadikoglu and Olcay 5). In a study on the impact of social responsibility on employee commitment, results showed that there was a 54% increase in employee commitment where an organization had CRS programs (Mensah, Agyopong, and Nuertey). Strategic quality planning, therefore, involves an organization’s overall direction with plans that involve not only the internal outlook but also the general environment in which the organization operates.
Despite the general advantage that TQM accords an organization, it may have united negative impacts with the potential of harming organizational performance and culture. One of the most evident features in the implementation of TQM is a company-wide commitment to quality improvement. Often, company-wide commitment requires an overhaul of organizational culture; this is difficult to achieve, and many fail, thus resulting in a wastage of time. Moreover, the transformation also requires resources, much of which may not be available for the organization. Implementing change half-prepared and not availing the requisite resources for the change implementation mean not only wastage of valuable organization and employee time, but also valuable and scarce resources.
Aside from its resource-intensive nature, TQM also calls for a complete overhaul of organizational culture, which often meets resistance from employees. Most employees are comfortable with the way an organization is run. Implementing TQM means a change in the status quo, which some see as a threat to their status (Yilmaz and Kılıçoğlu 16). Under such circumstances, such employees can easily sabotage the change process. Such resistance to change from the workers negatively affects organizational performance. Studies into the impact of change on organizational performance showed that there was a 28.8 percent dip in organizational performance where employees resisted changes (Al-Raggad, Alsawalhah, and Alshaar 47). The percentage is huge, considering that even a one percent dip in organizational performance impacts its profitability.
TQM, as an approach, looks to the overall improvement of organizational processes. At its core, TQM looks to improve customer satisfaction while at the same time improving employees’ levels of job satisfaction. The approach encompasses several core practices, including customer satisfaction, employee empowerment, and process management, among others. These practices affect organizational performance, improvement in product and service quality, as well as according the organization a competitive advantage. However, the practices are especially resource and time-intensive to the organization. If the organization fails to fully implement TQM, it suffers great losses in time resources. Additionally, some employees’ resistance to change can negatively impact overall organizational performance. However, TQM greatly improves organizational performance, especially when properly executed by involving all the facets and personnel in an organization.
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