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Keshav Ram Singhal

Various information, quotes, data, figures used in this blog are the result of collection from various sources, such as newspapers, books, magazines, websites, authors, speakers etc. Unfortunately, sources are not always noted. The editor of this blog thanks all such sources.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Understanding Total Quality Management


Keshav Ram Singhal

An American, W. Edwards Deming, developed the concept of Total Quality Management (TQM) after World War II for improving the production quality of goods and services. TQM is a philosophy of management based on total quality and customer satisfaction. Fulfilling customer requirements and improving the way work is done to improve performance is TQM.1 U.S. Department of Defense (1991) states Total Quality Management (total quality approach) as: “TQM consists of continuous activities involving everyone in the organization in a totally integrated effort toward improving performance at every level. This improved performance is directed towards satisfying such cross-functional goals as quality, cost, schedule, mission need and suitability. TQM integrates fundamental management techniques, existing improvement efforts and technical tools under a disciplined approach focused on continued process improvement.”2

Dr. K. K. Anand (Past President, National Centre for Quality Management) describes TQM, “Total Quality Management as understood by me is a comprehensive concept underpinning excellence. It involves coordination amongst various levels/layers and parts for an organization. An organization cannot achieve excellence, unless there is this coordination between its resource and talent at various segments.”3 Suresh M Mody tries to explain TQM, “Total Quality Management is quality everything one does. It concerns not only the quality of products and services provided to the ‘external’ customers, but quality in everything one does. Thus it concerns the quality of the output of all processes, not just manufacturing processes, which was the focus of traditional quality control/assurance.”4

In 1993 when India was passing through many economic problems, some due to adverse balance of trade, D. L. Shah categorically suggested, “If we can make ‘Made in India’ label a certificate of quality, our exports will certainly pick up. To achieve this, our industries need to take up Total Quality Management (TQM) on a war footing.” He suggested, “The need of the hour is Total Quality Management.”5 Total Quality Management as a management strategy to achieve and improve quality suggested by D. L. Shah is relevant today for Indian industry.

Gopal K. Kanji says, “TQM is about continuous performance improvement. To improve performance, people need to know what to do and how to do it, have the right tools to do it, be able to measure performance and to receive feedback on current levels of achievement (Kanji, 1998).”6 Dr. R. H. G. Rau, Past President, National Centre for Quality Management opines, “Changes in the market place may leave any business floundering. TQM can alert the business to these changes when it is focused based on customers’ expectations. It helps in our always knowing what customer wants and needs.”7

Total Quality Management (TQM) has two major attributes. First, the customer is the final judge of quality and second, that quality is built into the design of a product rather than merely having it inspected after the product has been manufactured. The major objective of TQM is customer satisfaction with products and services. Dr. Mahesh Chandra says that innovative customer driven organizations are using Total Quality Management (TQM) to provide customers with quality products and services in a fast and responsive manner.8

ISO 8402:1994 defined TQM as the management approach of an organization, centred on quality, based on 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. TQM brings to quality concepts a long-term global management strategy and the participation of all members of the organization for the benefit of the organization itself, its members, its customers and society as a whole. TQM is a concept that goes beyond ISO 9000. ISO 9001:2008 QMS standard and TQM are not two different alternatives, nor is there any contradiction between them. ISO 9001:2008 QMS standard provides a strong base on which an organization can build a TQM culture with a focus on the customer involving all employees and demanding continual improvement. It is advisable for organizations to first provide a formal quality framework in the form of an ISO 9001:2008 QMS standard to create stability in the organization and achieve consistency in quality. When the system is well in place and has attained certification, the organization can start using advanced concepts and tools to enhance employee motivation and operational efficiency. Organizations can use ISO 9004:2009 standard, which provides guidelines on managing for sustained success of an organization. ISO 9004:2009 standard provides guidance to support the achievement of sustained success for any organization in a complex, demanding and ever-changing environment, by a quality management approach.9

Total Quality Management (TQM) is an enhancement to the traditional way of doing business. It is a proven technique to guarantee survival in world-class competition. Dale, Carol and Glen, the authors of Total Quality Management (Third Edition, 2010) analyze three words as: Total – Made up of the whole, Quality – Degree of excellence a product or service provides, Management – Act, art, or manner of handling, controlling, directing, etc. Therefore, the authors sum up, “TQM is the art of managing the whole to achieve excellence.” TQM requires six basic concepts: (1) A committed and involved management to provide long-term top-to-bottom organizational support. (2) An unwavering focus on the customer, both internally and externally. (3) Effective involvement and utilization of the entire work force. (4) Continuous involvement of the business and production process. (5) Treating suppliers as partners. (6) Establish performance measures for the processes.10

Total Quality Management is a comprehensive and integrated way of managing any organization in order to: (a) meet the needs of the customer consistently; (b) achieve continuous improvement in every aspect of the organization’s activities. TQM is fundamentally about change. For some organizations this may be very slight, perhaps only shifting the emphasis. For other organizations the change may be massive.11 Thus we come to a conclusion: “Total Quality Management is a demanding, disciplined yet humane way of managing an organization.”11

P. N. Mukherjee suggests eleven TQM steps to be a world-class organization – (1) TQM overview, (2) Set mission, (3) Identify customers, (4) Identify customer’s needs, (5) Define critical process and measures, (6) Set organizational vision, (7) Develop strategic plan for 10-20 years, (8) Develop annual plan for breakthrough, (9) Revise roles and responsibilities, (10) Form ‘quality council’ to set change strategy, (11) Annual review.12

Courtesy References:
1. Article – Management Education – A Challenge: TQM as a solution, Habiba Abbasi and Pratiksha Rai, Quality Management Practices, Excel Books, New Delhi, 2008, p. 450
2. Article – Imbibing Ethics in Technical Education: The TQM Approach, M. G. Bhatt, Quality Management Practices, Excel Books, New Delhi, 2008, p. 418
3. Pearls From The President, Quality Striving for Excellence, National Centre for Quality Management, Mumbai, May-June 1999, p.1
4. Article – Total Quality Management in Financial Sector, Suresh M Mody, Quality Striving for Excellence, National Centre for Quality Management, Mumbai, May-June 1999, p.6
5. Foreword, Total Quality Management, National Centre for Quality Management, Mumbai, May 1993, p. 3
6. Article – Excellence in Business Excellence Models, Gopal K. Kanji, Quality Striving for Excellence, National Centre for Quality Management, Mumbai, November-December 2000, p. 17
7. Article – Customer Sovereignty Management, Dr. R. H. G. Rau, Quality Striving for Excellence, National Centre for Quality Management, Mumbai, November-December 2000, p. 27
8. Article – Technological Innovations and TQM, Dr. Mahesh Chandra, Quality Striving for Excellence, Mumbai, March-April, 1999, p. 10
9. Implementing ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System – A Reference Guide, Divya Singhal and Keshav Ram Singhal, PHI Learning Private Limited, New Delhi, p. 10-11
10. Total Quality Management, Dale H. Besterfield, Carol Besterfield and Mary Besterfield-Sacre, Pearson, 2010, p. 13-14
11. Total Quality, David Jeffries, Bill Evans and Peter Reynolds, Crest Publishing House, New Delhi, 2005, p. 2-3, 19
12. Total Quality Management, P. N. Mukherjee, Prentice-Hall of India Private Limited, New Delhi, 2006, p.48-50

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Friday, October 5, 2012

‘Correction’ and ‘Corrective Action’






There has been confusion among many people about the terms ‘correction’ and ‘corrective action’ as both terms relate to an action that is taken on a nonconforming product.

‘Correction’ is an action to eliminate the detected nonconformity. There may not be any necessity to do root cause analysis. Just eliminate the detected nonconformity, so that product conforms to requirements. Take an example – it is observed that the length of the rods manufactured is 3.001 meter, while the customer desired rods of length 3.000 meter. A further process of cutting the extra made length of rods will make the rods conforming to the requirements. This can be stated as ‘correction.’ As per Clause 8.3 (control of nonconforming product) of ISO 9001:2008 QMS Standard, the organization may deal with the nonconforming product by taking action to eliminate detected nonconformity.




‘Corrective action’ is an action that is taken to eliminate the cause of detected nonconformity or other undesirable situation. Accordingly, it is an action that is taken to prevent the existing problem from recurring. It requires root cause analysis of the problem. You should ask the question in the instant case – why rods are manufactured 3.001 meter instead of 3.000 meter? When you inquire why, you get an answer. You come to know that the manufacturing process is using a equipment/scale that is not measuring correct length. The equipment/scale requires calibration and verification. This action of calibration and verification when taken can be said to be an action to prevent the existing problem to happen again. This can be stated as ‘corrective action.’ Corrective action is a requirement of ISO 9001:2008 QMS Standard (Clause 8.5.2).

With best wishes,

Keshav Ram Singhal

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