Total Quality Management (TQM) is a comprehensive and structured approach to organizational management that seeks to improve the quality of products and services through ongoing refinements in response to continuous feedback. TQM requirements may be defined separately for a particular organization or may be in adherence to established standards, such as the International Organization for Standardization's ISO 9000 series. TQM can be applied to any type of organization; it originated in the manufacturing sector and has since been adapted for use in almost every type of organization imaginable, including schools, highway maintenance, hotel management, and churches.
TQM processes are divided into four sequential categories: plan, do, check, and act (the PDCA cycle). In the planning phase, people define the problem to be addressed, collect relevant data, and ascertain the problem's root cause; in the doing phase, people develop and implement a solution, and decide upon a measurement to gauge its effectiveness; in the checking phase, people confirm the results through before-and-after data comparison; in the acting phase, people document their results, inform others about process changes, and make recommendations for the problem to be addressed in the next PDCA cycle.
(1) Commitment and direct involvement of highest-level executives in setting quality goals and policies, allocation of resources, and monitoring of results;
(2) Realization that transforming an organization means fundamental changes in basic beliefs and practices and that this transformation is everyone's job;
(4) Understanding of the changing needs of the internal and external customers, and stakeholders, and satisfying them in a cost effective manner;
(5) Instituting leadership in place of mere supervision so that every individual performs in the best possible manner to improve quality and productivity, thereby continually reducing total cost;
(6) Eliminating barriers between people and departments so that they work as teams to achieve common objectives; and