Implementing total quality management (TQM) is best done as a revamping or overhaul of the culture of a business. This is so the focus becomes having everyone involved in making decisions that will improve the quality of products and services. While implementing total quality management, every person employed by the organization — including executives, managers, supervisors and non-management employees — should be given a chance to see how this system can help improve all aspects of their work. TQM, although typically instituted in businesses, also can be used in other settings, such as in schools and nonprofit organizations.
One important aspect involved in implementing total quality management is helping all members of the team see that they have a vital role in ensuring that the quality of services and products delivered is as high as possible. This includes everyone from the chief executive officer of the company down to part-time workers. When all people understand they are an integral part of the overall quality of the organization and feel their input is valued, they will likely work harder to ensure that they live up to the responsibility and trust that has been bestowed on them.
Businesses and other organizations that decide on implementing total quality management need to understand that things may change because it is a solutions-oriented system. Whatever the focus was before, the idea now is to focus on finding real solutions to problems. If orders are being shipped late, for example, a solution might be found to resolve delays in the production department, which might be behind because of having to wait for a certain vendor to deliver needed materials. Solving the problem with the vendor should help fix the entire problem, whereas before the implementation of TQM, all of the blame might have fallen on the shipping department.
TQM also is a measurement-oriented and goal-oriented long-term system. Businesses using this type of management plan must be devoted to the continuous setting and evaluation of goals, especially those that can be quantified. The assessment of quality under total quality management happens year-round. Even employee assessments, which often are a relatively meaningless annual event with general assessments and seldom-examined goals, become regular parts of the professional lives of employees, who are challenged to improve and to meet measurable goals set by them and their supervisors. When total quality management is implemented effectively, all members of the business or organization should stay focused on continuous improvement.