Total Quality Management

What Is TQM?

A core definition of total quality management (TQM) describes a management approach to long–term success through customer satisfaction. In a TQM effort, all members of an organization participate in improving processes, products, services, and the culture in which they work.

TQM focuses on continuous improvement of organizational processes resulting in high quality products and services. The ideal goal of TQM is do things right the first time and every time.

The customer is the ultimate judge of quality

Key Elements of TQM

To be successful implementing TQM, an organization must concentrate on the eight key elements:

  • Ethics.
  • Integrity.
  • Trust.
  • Training.
  • Teamwork.
  • Leadership.
  • Recognition.
  • Communication.

Organizations that aim to be successful in the long term need to maintain a culture of integrity and compliance, and to consider the needs and expectations of stakeholders.

Integrity and compliance are therefore an opportunity, for a successful and sustainable organization.

The key principles of Total Quality Management

Commitment from the management:

  • Plan (drive, direct)
  • Do (deploy, support, and participate)
  • Check (review)
  • Act (recognize, communicate, revise)

This also referred to as the PDCA cycle.

Planning Phase: This phase is the most crucial phase of total quality management. Under this phase, employees have to come up with their respective queries and problems which need to be addressed. The employees apprise the management of different challenges which they are facing in their day to day operations and also analyze the root cause of the problem. They need to do the required research and collect significant data which would help them find solutions to all the problems.
Doing Phase: In this phase, a solution for the identified problems in the planning phase is developed by the employees. Strategies are devised and implemented to crack down the challenges faced by employees. The efficiency and effectiveness of solutions and strategies are also evaluated in this stage.
Checking Phase: Under this phase, a comparison analysis of before and after is done in order to assess the effectiveness of the processes and measure the results.
Acting Phase: This is the last phase of the cycle, in this phase employees document their results and prepare themselves to address other problems.

What are the benefits of TQM?

The advantages of total quality management (TQM) include:

** Cost reduction. When applied consistently over time, TQM can reduce costs throughout an organization, especially in the areas of scrap, rework, field service, and warranty cost reduction. …

** Customer satisfaction. …

** Defect reduction. …

** Morale.

Total Quality Management principles:

  • Focus on customer.
  • Employee involvement.
  • Process centered.
  • Integrated system.
  • Strategic and systematic approach.
  • Decision-making based on facts.
  • Communication.
  • Continuous improvement.

What is a management system?

  • A management system is the way in which an organization manages the inter-related parts of its business in order to achieve its objectives.
  • These objectives can relate to a number of different topics, including product or service quality, environmental performance, operational efficiency, health and safety in the workplace and many more.
  • In highly regulated sectors, as in case of Pharma and Healthcare Industry may need extensive documentation and controls in order to fulfil their legal obligations and meet their organizational objectives.
  • For some organizations, it may simply mean having strong leadership from the business owner, providing a clear definition of what is expected from each individual employee and how they contribute to the organization’s overall objectives.

The Six Cs required for proper implementation of a TQM:

  1. There must be a quality improvement commitment from all employees.
  2. Organization must follow a modern quality improvement culture on a constant basis.
  3. Continuous improvement must take place in all policies, procedures, and activities laid down by management for the organization.
  4. Cooperation and experience of employees must be utilized to improve strategies and enhance performance.
  5. Focus on customers’ requirements and satisfaction of their expectations.
  6. Effective controls must be laid down to monitor & measure the real performance.


TQM is mainly concerned with continuous improvement in all work, from high level strategic planning and decision-making, to detailed execution of work elements on the shop floor. It stems from the belief that mistakes can be avoided and defects can be prevented. It leads to continuously improving results, in all aspects of work, as a result of continuously improving capabilities, people, processes, technology and machine capabilities.

Continuous improvement must deal not only with improving results, but more importantly with improving capabilities to produce better results in the future. The five major areas of focus for capability improvement are demand generation, supply generation, technology, operations and people capability.

A central principle of TQM is that mistakes may be made by people, but most of them are caused, or at least permitted, by faulty systems and processes. This means that the root cause of such mistakes can be identified and eliminated, and repetition can be prevented by changing the process.

A successful TQM implementation requires a significant training for the employees involved in it. Since the training program can take employees away from their day to day work, this eventually can have a negative short-term impact. Also, since Total Quality Management tends to result in a consistent series of incremental changes, it can lead to creating an unpleasant response from those employees who prefer existing system, or employees who are afraid of losing their jobs because of it.

Total Quality Management works best in an environment where there are strong support and commitment from the management.

Written by:


A Pharma professional with width and depth of experience spanning 39 years across key functions in the pharma space (start-up/Large Indian Co / Growing / MNC) having Excellent track record of providing leadership with Core competence in Sales, Business Development/Marketing, Distribution/Logistic at All India Level. Currently Heading Compliance Department at Jagdale Industries Pvt Ltd. Also Mentoring in Pharmaceutical Consulting & Market research.


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