Total quality management (TQM) consists of organization-wide efforts to install and make permanent a climate in which an organization continuously improves its ability to deliver high-quality products and services to customers. While there is no widely agreed-upon approach, TQM efforts typically draw heavily on the previously-developed tools and techniques of quality control. TQM enjoyed widespread attention during the late 1980s and early 1990s before being overshadowed by ISO 9000, Lean manufacturing, and Six Sigma.
There is no widespread agreement as to what TQM is and what actions it requires of organizations,however a review of the original United States Navy effort gives a rough understanding of what is involved in TQM.
The key concepts in the TQM effort undertaken by the Navy in the 1980s include:
-"Quality is defined by customers' requirements." -"Top management has direct responsibility for quality improvement." -"Increased quality comes from systematic analysis and improvement of work processes." -"Quality improvement is a continuous effort and conducted throughout the organization."
The Navy used the following tools and techniques:
-The PDCA cycle to drive issues to resolution -Ad hoc cross-functional teams (similar to quality circles) responsible for addressing immediate process issues -Standing cross-functional teams responsible for the improvement of processes over the long term -Active management participation through steering committees -Use of the Seven Basic Tools of Quality to analyze quality-related issues