Total Quality Management (TQM) is a concept of continuous improvement that perceives quality as the most important aspect of the business strategy. It has been noted that “the TQM philosophy helps in organising the entire work force into small improvement groups, and creating a mind set of continuous improvement” (Davis, 2009, p.44).
TQM elements are applicable by all businesses regardless of industry, geographical location, and even the volume of budget, although application of TQM elements needs to be taking into account a set of company-specific factors.
There are differences in dimensions of quality between products and services and these differences have direct and substantial implications on LSC quality improvement initiatives. Specifically, for manufacturing businesses dimensions of quality include performance, features, reliability, conformance, durability, and serviceability.
Quality dimensions of services, on the other hand, consist of timeliness, completeness, courtesy, consistency, accessibility, accuracy and responsiveness. Implementing all elements of TQM discussed below will have positive effects on the improvement of LSC quality dimensions above.
Possible impact of all elements of TQM philosophy to LSC can be explained in the manner provided below.
Meeting and exceeding customer expectations is one of the primary elements and ultimate outcome to be derived from TQM initiatives. Meeting and exceeding expectations students has positive contributions of LSC brand image and the amounts of profits in short-term and long-term perspectives.
Quality priority covering all parts of the organisation is another integral element of TQM. Adoption of this principle by LSC would involve quality improvement initiatives not only in relation to content and delivery of teaching materials, but also constant and systematic quality improvements of campus facilities, internal customer services, marketing materials etc.
By implementing constant quality improvement initiatives in relation to all parts and departments, LSC management will be able to re-reinforce positive impact to its image and increase the numbers of its students.
Engagement of each person in the organisation in quality initiatives also belong to the list of TQM elements. Importance of this element relates to the idea that any individual within the organisation with lack of interest on quality initiatives may have negative influence on the attitude of their colleagues ads well. However, it has to be acknowledged that implementation of this TQM principle in practice at LSC is not a straightforward task and it may require certain changes in organisational culture.
Moreover, relevant changes in organisational culture in LSC can be best introduced by appointing a change agent amongst members of a senior management staff. The change agent needs to communicate revitalisation of organisational focus on quality improvement initiatives to employees at all levels in an effective way.
Regularly examining quality-related costs as an important TQM element plays an instrumental role in identification and elimination or reduction cost of failures due to quality issues in various organisational processes within LSC. Specific types of costs to be analysed during this process in an in-depth manner include cost of prevention, cost of appraisal, cost of internal failure and cost of external failure.
Regular analysis of quality-related costs can be implemented in LSC with the cooperation between head of relevant department and the finance manager of the educational institution.
Getting things ‘right first time’ is one of the core elements of TQM and it advocates adoption of proactive approach on quality improvement. Adoption of this TQM element allows LSC to reduce the levels of its operational costs by eliminating expenses of addressing mistakes and faults.
Developing systems and procedures which support quality and improvement as a TQM element relates to addressing the issues of quality in a systematic manner. This principle is already adopted by LSC to a certain extent by range of measures such as regular lecturer assessments by students in an anonymous way, however the potentials of developing systems and procedures supportive of quality are far from being fully utilised at LSC.
Developing continuous process of quality improvement is another element of TQM. According to this approach quality improvement should not be an occasional initiative and quality improvement measures need to be introduced by management at all levels at all times. LSC management can adopt this principle by prioritising quality at a strategic level and devoting a specific amount of time and other resources for quality improvement initiatives in regular staff meetings and other initiatives conducted in a regular basis.
Implementation of TQM elements by LSC as explained above may be associated with a range of challenges that may relate to the lack of employee motivation, inability to deal with resistance to changes associated with TQM, and inefficiencies in implementation of the program.
Successful implementation of TQM elements is associated with effective teamwork at LSC. Moreover, efficient cooperation would have to be achieved with suppliers in order to ensure quality improvement initiatives are introduced in all departments and organisational processes with high levels of effectiveness.
While TQM elements discussed above offer great potentials for LSC in terms of achieving customer satisfaction and contributing to its primary objective of profit maximisation, the extent at which these potentials are realised directly depends on the level of enthusiasm and competency of LSC management.
Therefore, it is critically important for LSC strategic level management to fully appreciate the importance and potential benefits to be derived from TQM and exercise an adequate level of commitment to the implementation of its principles.
Moreover, it has to be stressed that although the concept of TQM represents proven and effective strategy for quality improvement initiatives it is not free of limitations. According to Oakland (2012), TQM requires high level of standardisation of various business processes, and therefore may discourage the level of creativity of employees in relation to these processes.
Moreover, positive effects of TQM initiatives can be observed after months if not years after their implementation, and effectiveness of TQM to deal with short-term quality issues is compromised.
Davis, M. (2009) “The Fundamentals of Branding” AVA Publishing SA