Using TQM in manufacturing
TQM, or total quality management, is an organized management system that-as the name implies-works to improve the overall, or total, quality of a business. This is done by helping manufacturing employees to look for areas within their process than needs to be improved, and then working through steps on improving their entire manufacturing process.
Using TQM in manufacturing will result in a number of improvements, including increased profits, more satisfied customers, and better business practices in general.
Total quality management involves everyone, but it is up to the managers to set the standards and be proactive in leading it. The following are some tips for applying TQM to your business.
- Focus on your customers. Your customers should be involved in decisions or actions that will have a direct effect on them. This is important for a number of reasons. By providing your customers with what they want, your profits will not only increase, but the overall customer satisfaction will as well. The customers' involvement also increases the chances of the customer buy-in of the final decision or product.
- Focus on internal operations. Your employees, or internal customers, should have a large impact on your business practices as well. It is important to ask them for feedback on your role as a manager with such questions as:
- What work output as a manager am I doing that helps you to complete your tasks effectively?
- What work output am I doing that is not helping you do your job or hindering its process?
- What could I be doing that will help you to do your job better?
Not only do these questions help you to determine what your internal customers require, it helps to establish good, effective communications with them as well. This will result in a more pleasant work environment and enhance your overall business.
- Focus on yourself as a manager. You should evaluate your own performance as a manager from time to time. Consider things from your internal customers' points of view and ask yourself if you were them, would you choose yourself as the manager? Would you be hired as a supplier if given the choice? Consistently re-evaluating your practices can help improve performance overall.
- Make requirements and expectations clear. You won't be able to obtain overall quality if no one knows what is required. Make requirement statements clear and concise so there is never any question what is expected. In addition, make sure your requirements are doable. Setting these expectations can help to reduce waste and save time and resources while at the same time delivering quality products and services.
- Set high standards. TQM involves setting high standards with regards to production. Work to eliminate waste by pointing out and praising those who are executing your requirements correctly the first time. You should reward your internal customers accordingly. Again, one of the best ways to achieve these high standards the first time around is to set manageable goals and tasks and train personnel appropriately.
- Get to the root of the problem. As you apply TQM, you will find processes or areas that are not working as well as you had hoped. When errors occur, it is important to seek out the root of the problem and then work to eliminate it in order to prevent the waste from occurring again.
Total Quality Management can have a great impact on your overall quality.