TQM –What, How, and Why?
The concept TQM (Total Quality Management) has long roots in the history of quality professionalism. Originally the concept TQC (Total Quality Control) was launched by Dr. Feigenbaum’s famous book Total Quality Control, first published in 1951 under the title Quality Control: Principles, Practice, and Administration. TQC means a system that integrates quality development, maintenance and improvement of the various parts of an organization to enable it economically produce and deliver products to full customer satisfaction. In Japan practically the same concept got the name CWQC (Company Wide Quality Control) mainly by Dr. Ishikawa.
The term TQM (Total Quality Management) was initially coined by the US Naval Air Systems Command to describe its Japanese style management approach to quality improvement. Since then, TQM has taken on many different meanings and definitions in quality related literature and by different quality specialists around the world. Even in Japan CWQC has been changed to TQM. TQM concept was also defined in the first ISO standardized quality vocabulary in standard IS0 8402:1987. This ISO definition – although it is rather complicated – is well aligned with most other TQM definitions: TQM is a management approach of an organization based on the participation of all its members and aiming at long term profitability through customer satisfaction including benefits to the members of the organization and society. Later in TQM concept the value also to organization’s all other stakeholders (or interested parties as it is stated in the ISO 9000:2000 standards) is emphasized.
Today the term TQM does not any longer exist in the ISO 9000 standard vocabulary. One reason may be that it was seen too much as consultant-used term and therefore not very suitable to be used in the international standard, and in fact, TQM was not really used in the ISO 9000 standard texts. Also in general nowadays TQM is no more very popular term in quality literature, and ISO 9000 standards are now using concept QM (Quality Management) that according to its formal definition and also in practice is equal to quality of management. Also meaning of the above mentioned TQM definition is essentially exactly the same. Thus, as the conclusion one can say that TQM = QM, and the attribute “total” is no more needed, it may only cause confusion.
Sometimes in the context of TQM also the term “Total Quality” has been used and defined e.g. like as “A strategic integrated system for achieving customer satisfaction that involves all managers and employees and uses quantitative methods to continuously improve an organization's processes”. Difference between this concept and ISO 9000 “Quality Management System” concept is, however, nonexistent. Therefore this term is not necessary and it is neither any more used in practice. Both QM and TQM are based on the good management principles as described in my previous blog-text.