Total Quality Management (TQM) is a management strategy that puts awareness of quality at the heart of all organizational processes. This is combined with a strong philosophy of lowering costs by eliminating waste and defects. So TQM can be described as a management system that aims at a continual increase in customer satisfaction while continually lowering real costs.
The father of TQM was William Deming, an American college professor, author, and consultant. Deming played a major role in improving production in the United States during World War II, but after the war he moved to Japan. There, from 1950 onwards, he taught top management how to improve design, product quality, testing and sales (the latter by entering global markets). Deming is regarded as having had more impact upon Japanese manufacturing and business than any other individual not of Japanese heritage. Deming's ideas were developed in America around the same time by Feigenbaum and others, and an early adopter of TQM in the States was the US Navy.
In the original Japanese model of TQM there are four steps to improving performance:
1 Kaizen: a focus on continuous improvement through making processes visible, repeatable and measurable.
2 Atarimae Hinshitsu: making sure that things work exactly as they are supposed to.
3 Kansei: examining the way the user actually uses the product in real life in order to improve the product.
4 Miryokuteki Hinshitsu: making sure that products have an aesthetic quality.
The slightly more restricted term 'quality assurance' refers just to product quality in a manufacturing operation, rather than wider issues of customer service, etc. Quality assurance involves sampling a random selection of the product and then testing this sample for whatever matters most to the end users. The causes of any failures are isolated and...