TQM (Total Quality Management) - A Starter Thread


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TQM - A Starter Thread

From an old post - just to get things started...


Date: Fri, 9 May 1997 10:28:15 -0400
From: [email protected]
Subject: TQM-Deming/Kaizen??

I'm currently taking a graduate course entitled Managing Quality which encompasses the entire issue of total quality management. I agree with John in that many of the buzzwords we hear today (i.e. benchmarking, quality circles, empowerment, self-directed teams, etc..) are actually a part of the entire quality evolution. Two books we're reading that may be helpful are 1) The Race Without a Finish Line by Warren Schmidt and Jerome Finnigan and 2) Improving Performance by Geary Rummler and Alan Brache.

Following are some points from the book that you may find interesting. Perhaps it would be a great opportunity to discuss some of these together in more detail.

* TQM involves a change of organization culture, with greater emphasis on collaboration and teamwork. TQM is a new way of organizational life. TQM is a new paradigm of management.

* 85% of quality problems in American industry are the fault of management (Deming).

* Basic beliefs that American managers still find hard to accept: 1) it actually costs less to make a high quality product than a product of poor quality, 2) increasing the reliability of a process reduces its cost, 3) the relationship between boss & subordinate is not inherently adversarial, 4) lack of education does not mean lack of intelligence

* Management Theories & Practices Contributing to TQM: 1) Scientific Management: Finding the Best Way to Do a Job, 2) Group Dynamics: Enlisting & Organizing the Power of Group Experience, 3) Training & Development: Investing in Human Capital, 4) Achievement Motivation: People Get Satisfaction from Accomplishment, 5) Employee Involvement: Workers Should Have Some Influence in the Organization, 6) Sociotechnical Systems: Organizations Operate as Open Systems, 7) Organization Development: Helping Organizations to Learn & Change, 8) Corporate Culture: Beliefs, Myths, and Values that Guide the Behavior of People Throughout the Organization, 9) The New Leadership Theory: Inspiring & Empowering Others to Act, 10) The Linking Pin Concept of Organizations: Creating Cross-Functional Teams, 11) Strategic Planning

* Management Theories & Practices Not Compatible with TQM: 1) Bureaucratic Management: Direction from the Boss; Compliance from the Subordinate, 2) Caveat Emptor: Let the Buyer Beware, 3) MBO & MBR, 4) Internal Competition: Encouraging Each Department to be Number 1, 5) The Strategy of Organizational Stability: If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It, 6) Antagonism Toward Union: Workers' Interests are Basically Different from Manager's Interests, 7) Bottom Line Driven: The First Test for Every Decision and Action

* Single Goal of TQM: Customer Satisfaction! Single Focus: A Process that Produces Consistent Quality! The basics of TQM philosophy and process can be stated simply: to design and manage a process that satisfies the customer in an increasingly effective way.

* TQM Manager's 4 Key Responsibilities: 1) provide vision and leadership, 2) document and standardize the processes and empower the workers to carry them out, 3) continuously improve the processes, 4) innovate, introducing substantial changes when necessary and feasible

* 8 Principles Underlying TQManagement: 1) Principle of Customer Satisfaction, 2) Principle of Challenge, 3) Principle of Process, 4) Principle of Continuous Improvement, 5) Principle of Collaboration, 6) Principle of Change, 7) Principle of Measurements, 8) Principle of Persistence

* Critical Behaviors of TQManagers: 1) Give priority attention to customers and their needs, 2) empower rather than control subordinates, 3) emphasize improvement rather than maintenance, 4) emphasize prevention by inspection of the process, 5) encourage collaboration rather than competition, 6) train and coach rather than direct and supervise, 7) learn from problems rather than minimizing them, 8) continually try to improve communication

* Walk the Talk! CEO & executives must walk their talk every day. Their actions, rather than their words, will communicate their level of commitment.

Hope this gives some insight for you!!

Carie Andree Muskegon, MI
[email protected]


Date: Fri, 9 May 1997 10:42:03 -0400 From: [email protected] Subject: Finance Dept/TQM

As I mentioned in my previous message, a couple of the key principles underlying TQM Management are 1) the Principle of Collaboration and 2) the Principle of Measurements. For your Finance Manager to indicate that you should be focusing your time on some other "bigger" department is a clear sign to me that collaboration is not happening here. In fact, the book I'm reading indicates "no part of an organization is self-sufficient and independent....interdependence is the new cornerstone of the customer-driven organization. Each part (including finance) is privy to the data that the others need to do their job in the most effective and efficient manner."

Further, I would believe that the Principle of Measurement would directly affect your Finance department. The book indicates "the principle of measurements was one of Deming's most important contributions and is at the heart of managing by fact and Kaizen. Goals that cannot be measured are merely slogans...measurable goals not only serve to keep people accurate in their assessment of success but also serve to energize people through feelings of accomplishment and challenge."

What greater opportunity exists for a department that hopefully contains individuals with an analytical mind?? Most often the numbers will paint a picture that is more helpful than anything else! Who is closest to the numbers??? Your Finance Department! I would suggest getting them on board!

Carie Andree Muskegon, MI
[email protected]
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Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!
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Good postings.

Almost a forgotten site I see. Perhaps the fact that ISO is the "latest and greatest thing since sliced bread" eclipses that fact that regardless of what label the Quality System is given--it is just that--a Quality System. Personally speaking, this site interests me much more than any of the ISO or QS forums, but saddly I find myself going to those sites almost exclusively. I realize that I am caught up in the whirl-wind as well, as they are the current mandates for the company I currently work for.

Having read many books and articles on Quality Management Philosophy from many of the notable gurus (Deming, Crosby, Feigenbuam, Juran, etc.) I feel the common stress is on the essence of Quality and not on documentation. While I would agree that ISO, or just about any other Quality System standard, has the potential to unlock the essence of Quality Management, organizations get bogged down with the documentation systems. Perhaps I should have used the term 'overwhelmed' rather than 'bogged down'. Either way the point of the standard is obscured by the mounds of paperwork and perceived work increases. In my experience, most of management will sing high praises to ISO while senior management is around, condemn it to myself or others when they aren't. Major contributing factor to this I feel, Making Money with the Western Management Paradigm. Management of all levels are content on: using antiquated systems, taking on the caretaker role, and planning by the seat of their pants (I steal these thoughts from Deming, Crosby, and Juran). I think they're right. Anyhow, I still hold out some hope that the essence will come through and Quality will emerge.

What is the Plan? The trouble sets in when an organization actually move forward with these antiquated systems, confusing favorable market situations as accomplishments of management. Doing this all without Strategic Quality Planning. Who needs it? Right?

Well perhaps some of my thought will rekindle this topic. I would be curious to hear how many others out their would rather seek the Deming Prize, Malcom Baldridge Award, or the like over ISO Registration. Personally I feel these are notable achievements since they are Customer focused and create 'win-win' scenarios. The fact that many companies will never earn the award itself is a mute point. The point is is that they are heading in the right direction.


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I see ISO/QS as requirment of a minimum set of defined systems. Documentation does not have to be unbearable, but where there was none (or where it wasn't followed before) it will always seem so.

I agree with what you say. I see 'quality' as a combination of many factors. Each company and facility has it's 'personality'. Each is different. There are sweat shops and there are well run businesses. Your lament is in order.

Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!
Staff member

Thanks for the words. You make a good point that the documentation system need not be unbearable. I try to sell the position that ISO in itself is some minor percentage of the Quality System as a whole. But it is still a necessity.

ISO appears to me as a forced set of rules. In itself, it does not do much to foster a Quality Minded culture as does TQM. Interestingly enough, some of the best Management Review material for our organization is directly related to TQM influence, such as internal customer/supplier relationships. Information, such as understanding Production's need for materials, allows Receiving to adjust systems to meet their customer needs. While ISO requires systems to comply and be 'effective', I have noticed that Registrars are less likely to fault your system on effectiveness as long as an Element's bullets are satisfied. Perhaps it is not the Standard itself, but the activities of the Registrar at fault here. Never the less, it is perhaps why ISO carries such a stigma for me. I expect more from the process. Perhaps I am expecting too much.

With our movement toward a QS system, I am more pleased with the framework of the requirements. Perhaps because they begin to explore the need for proactive tools and process measurement requirements. I have used these requirements on a broad scale across the organization, not just limiting SPC to the traditional manufacturing environment. As a matter of fact, we are very limited in the manufacturing sense and have to find other ways to apply statistical techniques. The next few months should be pretty interesting.

Don Winton

Kevin and Marc,

You have brought up some very valid points, which I for the most part agree. I would like to add my two cents and see if any additional comments pop up.

The statement that “perhaps the fact that ISO is the ‘latest and greatest thing since sliced bread’”, I believe, hits the nail right on the head. One of the primary problems organizations had (have) when implementing a TQM (or whatever) program were that programs of this type require a change in thinking. It is more of a ‘philosophical’ type of change. When the ISO 900x series of standards came along, organizations took a look and immediately said, “At last, something I can do now.” In other words, most modern managers did not want to wait for the improvements TQM would bring and thought ISO 900x would provide a more immediate return. The only problem was (is), many organizations went about implementing ISO for the wrong reasons. A TQM program, if implemented correctly and effectively, would give real improvements, given time. ISO does NOT, in and of itself. It takes more thought and planning, in most cases. It gives basic requirements for a quality management system, it does not guarantee solutions to quality problems. While elements of TQM are included in the standard, it does not REQUIRE that they be used, although smart companies do.

Perhaps an equivalent scenario might be this: During the TQM fad (I use the word fad because that is how most organizations treated it, not because that is what it was) of the 80’s and early 90’s, Deming’s 14 points were quoted like gospel, but most failed to see that the 14 points were a whole, not a series of parts. Therefore, they would review the points and see “trained in statistical techniques.” Immediately, with something they could actually grasp, SPC training became one of the most popular growth industries in the quality field during this period. Mass training in statistical techniques were conducted, some to the point where EVERY employee had to be trained in SPC, regardless of their responsibilities. What resulted, in a majority of cases, were lots of charts and graphs at work stations, but no improvement effort to make things better. A ‘p’ chart that had an average of 5% nonconforming would run for months and months without significant change. An Xbar - R chart would run with process limits that exceeded the specification limits, but still nothing is done. Sure they were in control, therefore no one thought to make improvements. Management by the old paradigm and ‘learned ignorance’ prevailed.

I guess I could sum this all up with one phrase:

“Most people would rather live with a problem they cannot solve than accept a solution they cannot understand.”


Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!
Staff member

Really enjoyed your Summary line! You bring up a very good point regarding Deming's 14 Points. They are a whole. It is funny how management takes parts of the whole and tries to implement them expecting grand results. It may be because they are still too near sighted.

Being a Deming disciple myself (for better or worse), I try to live the 14 points to the fullest extent and try to stay away from the 7 Deadly Sins of Management. I realize that this places me in the minority as far as management philosophy goes, but Deming thought of some pretty basic stuff that still knocks my socks off. So basic, I wonder how it could be overlooked for so long. The philosophy as I understand it tries to create winners out of everyone. What could be wrong with that? A process like this should be an easy sell-through to any organization. So what is the problem? We live in a society based on winners and losers. Too bad.

Fortunately for me, I am able to implement this philosophy in my department, saving my soul a bit. I might add that I have had excellent results. This is also recognized by other managers and some senior managers in the company. Yet seeing the results is not enough for them. Still trapped by the paradigms of old. I don't think it is a training issue, I have spent many hours showing the benefits of statistical thinking. I even brought in notable consultants on the topic. Again, great reviews from everyone. So why haven't we committed to this philosophy? It falls back on the point you make regarding management acting on some of the points and not all of them.

With the recent troubles in Japan's economic structure, many are making correlations with the fact that Japan practices Deming's profound knowledge. I am not sure a correlation exists. These recent troubles confirm with an already skeptical majority that the Japanese aren't doing things correctly. This philosophy hasn't passed the test of time like our tried and true Western Management Philosophy. Right? Logic like this suggests to me that we still have a long way to go. Again, too bad.

Once we have figured out that the world is a big enough place to share and that it doesn't really matter if your organization is #1, just competitive and in business, I think we will have found my favorite point, Constancy of purpose!

Thanks for letting me be winded here. I have been saving up quite a bit for a longtime. I am glad I found the Cove! Thanks Marc.


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I'm not convinced Japan's problems are so directly related to management techniques as opposed to financial systems failures. The short of it for me is that a company has to look at ISO, TQP, TPM, Kaizen and other methodologies and marry concepts. You can't do it all at once, either. No one methodology is an answer.

Don spoke about the time frame involved vs expectations. I tell my clients up front that it takes a year to 2 years for cultural changes to occur and that it has to start (as does about everything) with upper management. Nothing happens over night. I also stress that there is no 'magic bullet' which will solve all their problems, not to mention solving them over night.

Mike Hilliard

That there is such an investment in time and resource is a great roadblock in many instances. Surely someone can come up with a doable step by step reasonable process to gradually bring a company into the fold.


Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!
Staff member
I agree that Japan's rough times are related to financial systems failure and not of manunfacturing management failures. Yet Western Management is based on visual numbers. Dollars first, perhaps Quality as an ancillary benefit. Is this how the incorrect correlation is created?

In two organizations I have worked for, I am amazed to find that many believe that Japan's failures are directly as a result of the way they do business. The inference here is that their techniques are to blame. Techniques such as JIT, SPC, and Kaizen. This is where I can establish some type of connection. I can only assume they believe that their success was a passing fad as any of the techniques I mentioned.

To the point of cultural change, 1 to 2 years for a company driven by financiers with the goal of short-term profit, that payoff is too far out. I have even read that some successful companies will tell you that it will take upto 5 years (baldridge winners). Can this environment foster TQM? There are no magic bullets unfortunately. Just a ton of necessary commitment to TQM and some upfront hard work from all levels of the organization. I would love to see it work in an organization I work for. Time will tell. Thanks for your thoughts.

Don Winton

I also do not believe the current Japanese “problem” is due to management methods, but rather a failure of financial systems. I agree with you, Kevin, that there are those who would to choose to use the current Japanese dilemma to try to highlight, what they perceive, are short-comings in the Japanese Management Methods. After all, is it not much easier to be critical than to be correct?

I also agree with Marc in his assessment of the time frame involved. One to two years is, in my estimate, a minimum for cultural change. As Marc stated, this needs to be explained up-front. If you do not receive a committment, you are wasting time. No amount of time is adequate if top management is not committed, from the start and thru the entire lifetime of the process. Continuous improvement requires this commitment from the start.

Mike, there are such a doable step by step process guides already defined in print. You could do worse than the book “Integrated Process Management” by Roger Slater and the accompanying workbooks. He defines a six step process that consists of:

1) How to Create a Positive Environment
2) How to Develop a Process Model of Key Control Variables
3) How to Develop an Effective Process Control Standard
4) How to Communicate Process Control Standards
5) How to Statistically Monitor the Process
6) How to use Diagnostics to Improve Standards

It is an excellent read for those who believe (as I do) that the key to an effective quality management system is in the PROCESS, not the product. Be advised. Slater’s book does not improve upon the time frame involved, but rather extends it. But, using his outline, a plan can be prepared, with milestones, to present to an upper management team that may (or may not) be persuasive. I have even used Slater’s techniques in other ventures such as ISO 900x.

Another good step-by-step guide is “Total Quality Management Handbook” by Jack Hradesky. This model is more in-depth and may not be suitable for some operations, altho, IMHO it can be applied to most operations with minimul changes. Hradesky’s method may also not be suitable for those not very familar with TQM concepts before opening this book.

Marc, your statement that companies must marry the varying quality concepts (ISO, TQP, TPM, TQL, SQC, Kaizen, Poka-Yoke, etc.) is right on target. There is no one “magic bullet.” Take the most applicable of each and apply them in an organized, structured manner.

And for those organizations who are not willing to take the “long view.” They are probably looking at the bottom line, seeing that things are going OK, and do not worry about it. It does not even occur to them that things could be any better.

Kevin, I am glad you enjoyed the summary line. But, it is not mine. That must be attributed to Lloyd S. Nelson. Another line I like to use when trying to bring TQM concepts to the masses is this:

“You Must Unlearn What You Have Learned.” Yoda, Jedi Master

As far as organizations not accepting or understanding the concepts of TQM (or whatever), How could they know. Who taught them?


[This message has been edited by Don Winton (edited 11-16-98).]
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