Total Quality Management: What it is, principles and examples

Total Quality Management allows us to offer top-quality goods and services and increase customer satisfaction. It is a popular and effective management strategy used in sectors such as manufacturing.

Managers define company objectives and provide training on process standards to workers in different departments as part of the quality improvement planning process.

Total quality management helps the company exceed customer expectations and reduce operating expenses by minimizing wasted resources caused by ineffective procedures. When management and staff adhere to the eight principles of quality management, quality becomes embedded in the overall culture of the company.

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What is Total Quality Management?

Quality management is the exercise of monitoring the activities, tasks, and processes (inputs) used in the creation of a product or service (outputs) so that they can be maintained at a high and consistent level.

Organizations must prioritize continuous improvement, instead of emphasizing only immediate financial rewards, you should focus on long-term process improvement. 

It is an improved method of doing business, and companies can depend on it to stay in business in today’s fast-paced and fiercely competitive market. It needs management to update and modify its behavior, changing its behavior and its culture. Three words make up quality management:

  • Total – All in one.
  • Quality – High quality goods and services.
  • Management – The method of management.

Total quality management is based on quantitative methods and human resources to improve processes, satisfy customers and obtain new requests. It is a method or art of organizing the whole to achieve an objective successfully. TQM requires a more structured strategy, management strategies, updated efforts and a set of tools.

Principles of Total Quality Management

Although there is no single method that everyone agrees on, the most popular definition of management consists of the following eight concepts.

1-Customer orientation

Total quality management focuses on current and potential customers. 

Customers justify the quality of the product. 

Therefore, the company must ensure that customers believe that they have purchased a quality product if it can meet their expectations. Knowing what a customer wants is key to exceeding their expectations. 

Successful companies adjust objectives to customer demands.


Leadership maintains staff cohesion to achieve interdependent objectives. 

Leaders can create an atmosphere in which people can work successfully to achieve the organization’s purpose. Thus, leadership is a quality management concept. 

Although there are three leadership styles in the sector, democratic leadership is the one that obtains the best results.


3-People involvement

People at all levels contribute to the organization’s revenue. The total dedication of the staff helps to create assets and increase income. 

Therefore, all staff must be well trained, dedicated and determined to meet a deadline. Additionally, the sector must establish a responsive workplace in which each person feels driven to do their job well.

Customer satisfaction can improve with employee motivation, engagement, and retention. 

People’s attention creates productive teams. Cooperation can be vertical, horizontal or between organizations.

4-Process approach

The company needs to improve its procedures to produce high quality results. Therefore, total quality management focuses on the process method to ensure the quality of the product or service. 

Customer satisfaction is possible with a satisfactory outcome of the procedural approach.

5-Systemic approach to management

Total quality management emphasizes the methodical implementation of the plan. The sector develops an appropriate enforcement strategy and collects data while implementing these procedures.

6-Continuous improvement

Every industry must continually improve its processes to satisfy its customers. Total quality management helps the company to track the continuous development of the system to improve the service and goods of the industry. 

Continuous improvement, the most important of the eight principles, helps the company gain a competitive advantage. 

This is also the most important principle.

7-Factual approach to decision-making

Another essential component of total quality management is the factual approach to decision-making.

 Decision-making is simplified in light of data-based knowledge. 

It is possible to satisfy customers by making decisions based on facts. This concept uses the collection and analysis of real data to create judgments that move the organization forward.

8-Mutually beneficial relationship with the supplier

Total quality management focuses on establishing cooperative relationships with suppliers. The word “reciprocity” is another. Although their functions are interconnected, each department has specific tasks to perform. 

The company uses organizational charts and visual tools to better understand employee performance. Helps achieve a common goal for all divisions. Management is difficult to execute because it requires a cultural transformation. Therefore, the organization must do it carefully.


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Examples of total quality management

Let’s look at some well-known examples of TQM (Total Quality Management):

  • Healthcare organization
  • All hospitals in our society try to increase their income. Total quality management is essential to improve the healthcare system. 
  • Around the world, public and commercial healthcare institutions must increase quality management.
  • Management minimizes costs, improves efficiency and provides high-quality treatment to patients. 
  • Customer satisfaction is the most crucial issue; In healthcare, customers can be vital in many ways. 
  • A healthcare company must investigate all areas of benefit; Only then can both customers and companies benefit from a significant market share.

  • Multinational companies
  • Total quality management helps maintain profitability. 
  • Multinational companies employ a large team to analyze and apply growth methods. 
  • Management is mindful of management and moves quickly to benefit from new technologies.
  • Management helps track the growth or decline of the company. 
  • The organization cares about workers and consumers; Discussions are broad so that all topics can be covered, and team members share responsibilities. Human resources are confidential; The organization listens to customer concerns, asks questions, and takes note of what has gone wrong.

  • Developing economies

Total quality management is used internationally to maximize project revenue 


  • After World War II, Japan adopted quality management. All managers have to endure the Japanese economic recovery. In a competitive environment, managers work quickly to reduce costs, accelerate development and delivery, and delight consumers.

The Japanese are sensitive to quality due to their traditional quality and attention to detail. Japan only acquired food because it sold cheap, high-quality items during its years of survival. Quality helped the Japanese obtain food and supplies throughout their years of survival.

  • The U.S. economy depends on imported goods and technology to compete with foreign companies. To balance their products, American companies use total quality management, in which quality is crucial.

  • Construction Industry
  • Construction is an innovative but one-time process, so it is recognized that it is costly and laborious to duplicate a structure (or similar).
  • Total quality management can reduce costs, increase productivity, and track efforts when performance is improved. Designer, builder and owner satisfaction levels are used in the construction industry to measure quality.

Tools for total quality management

Quality is not just an aspect of production, but a philosophy that permeates the entire organization. To effectively implement TQM, it is necessary to have various tools and techniques. Here are some total quality management tools:

  • Ishikawa Diagram (Fishbone or Cause and Effect Diagram): Used to identify and analyze the possible causes of a problem or an unwanted effect. Helps understand cause-effect relationships.
  • Process Flow Diagram: Graphically represents the steps of a process to identify opportunities for improvement and eliminate inefficiencies.
  • Pareto Diagram: Used to identify and prioritize the problems or causes that have the greatest impact on quality.  
  • Histogram: Shows the distribution of a data set and helps understand the variability in a process. It is useful for identifying quality problems.
  • Statistical process control (SPC): Employs statistical tools such as control charts, control charts, and process capability analysis to monitor and improve process quality.
  • Statistical Sampling: Sampling is essential for quality inspection. Techniques such as simple random sampling and attribute sampling are used to make decisions based on sample data.
  • Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA): Helps identify possible failure modes in a process or product, evaluate their impact, and prioritize mitigation actions.
  • 5S: This organization and cleaning approach focuses on five principles: Sort, Sort, Clean, Standardize, and Sustain. Contributes to a more efficient work environment and improved quality.
  • Hoshin Kanri (Objective Deployment): It is a strategic planning tool that links the organization’s strategic objectives with tactical and operational actions. It makes it easier to implement the strategy and track its progress.
  • Quality circles: Groups of employees who meet regularly to identify and resolve quality problems in their work areas.
  • Benchmarking: Compare the organization’s performance with that of other leading companies in its industry to identify opportunities for improvement.
  • Continuous Improvement (Kaizen): It is a philosophy that promotes constant improvement in all aspects of the organization, from production processes to corporate culture.

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Total quality management promotes customer satisfaction by ensuring the regular supply of high-quality goods or services. These management ideas will be successfully implemented overnight. Since management often involves significant cultural change, you may want to adopt these changes gradually to mitigate the effect.

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