TQM is the implementation of very comprehensive management techniques with very organized and structured approach to constantly improve the quality of products from continuous feedback from customers.
Impact of Globalization on Quality
There are several ways to ensure that information technology (IT) has been implemented into a business process with respects to Total Quality Management (TQM). TQM has many distinct features as compared to a traditional management system. Studying TQM’s different requirements will allow us to assess the credentials of an ideal IT system in a business management process.
Customized to suit customer needs
An effective IT system in the context of TQM must enable customers to partake in transactions. Clients must be able to retrieve the information that they require immediately. For example, a retail banking institution must have a system that allows customers to extract personal information such as: account information held with the bank, account balances and transaction history, 24 hours a day.
In the cases where the clients are not privy to the actual IT system, the system itself should extract data that records the clients’ needs and wants and is able respond to requests instantaneously (Powers & Gregory, 2004).
An effective IT system is not a burden to the client but at the same time assures confidentiality.
Focused on long-term planning
It is difficult to design an IT platform geared for the long-term, as obsolescence is inevitable in the IT industry. However, a generous and intelligent resource allocation on an IT system would allow easy upgrades in the future. Management must understand changes in their clientele’s market – they would specifically have to foresee market demands in relation to their clients’ changing expectations (Asay, 1998, p 345).
In the fashion industry, for instance, apparel changes with the seasons. An efficient retail clothing store would have to ensure that their systems allow inventory to be rotated as seasons come and go. Their system will also be able to add new items every few months. If a system can only accommodate stagnant or limited data for long periods of time, it has not been customized to suit TQM’s long-run focus.
Flexible in producing reports
The ideal IT system that adheres to TQM standards must furnish management with statistics. Additionally, the operating system must be able to translate statistics into applicable graphs, charts, tables and illustrations to act as a guide for management decision making.
Business decision making under TQM is based on statistics rather than instinct. Therefore, the ideal IT system stores perpetual data and is able to massage figures into decision making tools.
Reliable and eliminates manual work
A paperless industry is an important TQM goal. Reliance on an IT system that does not falter is ideal for a management team employing TQM standards. With a dependable system, TQM eliminates manual work and preferably eliminates waste that is incurred through an industry that is highly dependant on paper.
A pro-active system that requires minimal supervision
A reliable and automated system is also a proactive one. For example, a human resource division recording public holidays into their system, should only need to access the program once a year. When employees apply for leave online, they would automatically be alerted of the public holidays of that month. A system that is not proactive would require employees to manually check up on public holidays. If errors are made, the human resource would have a double job to do – recording leave and manually informing employees of their application errors (Powers & Gregory, 2004).
Able to accommodate cross-border teams
Information transparency is a key attribute in a TQM environment. An IT system should accommodate different divisions in the use of the same system. Different teams are able to share information with their colleagues to facilitate efficient decision making (Asay, 1998, p 345).
The sales team, for instance, uses the system as a sales log providing the accounts department sales pipeline figures to forecast their financial reports.
Eliminates hierarchy protocol to tackle problems
Related to information transparency, an effective IT system allows employees, regardless of their designation, communication to solve problems.
In a manufacturing line where lower ranked employees work in processing departments, an ideal IT system would allow them to alert the management team should there be an error in their processes – for example, machinery begins to churn out flawed microchips. The management team should be able to shut down the equipment immediately (cited in Frank & Frank, 2001).
Additionally, subordinates should be able to view their supervisors’ projects and tasks through the system, just as a measure to maintain an organic management structure.
Compare and contrast a traditional management style with a quality-focused management style
|S.No||Traditional Management||Quality-focused Management|
|1||Organization’s attitude toward employees||Employee selection is hierarchical. Employees are selected by just seeing their degrees and qualification without realizing their skills and actual practical experience.||In quality-focused management employees are constantly encouraged to perform their best. In order to achieve company’s goal. Hiring of employees is also very tough procedure where only qualified individuals are selected who are skilled enough to perform their jobs in well-mannered and best possible way to produce best outcomes.|
|2||Organizational focus||Organization goal is to reach standards and compete in the market. Only by reaching certain standards it is thought that organization goals have been achieved.||TQM focuses on all aspects organization from product inventory to delivery & customer support services.|
|3||How quality is measured||Quality is measured with certain standard goals, if met, it’s said to be good quality without realizing what consumer’s requirements, needs and changes would be.||Quality is not just measured with the products itself, but it is a prerequisite for attaining company’s goal of quality, consumer choice and information and constant regulation of products by adding more features.|
|4||How quality is achieved||Quality is achieved with certain set goals to meet certain standards set by the company. It’s not regulated or improved by constant feedback.||Quality is achieved with first setting goals for attaining quality by taking into consideration consumer’s requirements, planning, and then achieving each and every step with quality focused environment.|
|5||Attitude toward defects||Sometimes products are delivered with defects or product is not improved with the constant feedback from customers and organization’s other departments.||In TQM products are always tested before bringing into market. Thoroughly checked and rechecked. Goals are set forth to avoid any further detective production. Constant feedback to quality control department from customers and product testing section enhance improvement in product.|
|6||Supplier Relationships||Any supplier who can provide with the required product is given the contract sometimes even the cheapest suppliers are accepted in order to compete the market price. Though products offered are cheap but not of good quality.||In TQM only top-notch suppliers are selected who have good reputation in making top-quality products, reliable and trustable production, honest dealing and regular delivery on time.|
Hence, TQM is much better than traditional management. Its successful implementation would give a long-lasting business relationship with consumers.
Asay, R. (1998). How IT can affect TQM. Journal of Management, 23, 345-357.
Frank, S. & Frank, T. (2001). Information technology and management perspective. New York: Nerd Press.
Powers, T., & Gregory, A. (2004). The organization culture and how it related to total quality management. .London: Oxford UP.