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What Is Total Quality Management?

So What is Total Quality Management (TQM) And How Can it Help Your Business?

Total quality management (TQM) is the process of identifying and reducing or eliminating errors in business, the technique aims to ensure employees continuously improve their ability to provide products and services that customers will find of value.

The TQM concept implies that all employees in the organisation, from development to production to fulfilment, need to commit to improving operations. Leadership should provide funding, training, staffing, and clearly defined goals to actively manage product and service quality on an ongoing basis.

There isn’t a single approach to TQM, but we can round up a few principles that define the concept.

1. Customer-Focused

man serving lady customer

The first of the Total Quality Management principles are the focus on the customers who are buying your product or service. Your customers determine the quality of what you offer.

When you understand what your customer wants or needs, you have a better chance of figuring out how to get the right materials, people, and processes in place to meet and exceed their expectations.

How to be Customer-Focused:

  • Research and understand your customers’ needs and expectations.
  • Align your organisation’s objectives with your customers’ needs.
  • Communicate with customers, measure satisfaction, and use the results to find ways to improve your processes.
  • Manage customer relationships.

The Benefits of Being Customer-Focused Include:

  • More sales, increased revenue, market share, and mindshare.
  • Strong customer loyalty leads to repeat business.
  • Word of mouth, satisfied customers will tell others about your products and services

2. Employee Commitment

To increase productivity, processes, and sales you need the commitment of all employees. Employees’ must know the company’s vision and goals and be sufficiently trained and given the proper resources to complete tasks in order to be committed to reaching goals on time.

How to Encourage Employee Commitment:

  • Clearly communicate and acknowledge the importance of each individual contribution to the organisation.
  • Give employees the responsibility and opportunity to solve problems when they arise.
  • Encourage employees to self-evaluate performance against personal goals and objectives and make modifications as necessary to improve workflow.
  • Acknowledge successes to build confidence in your employees.
  • Make responsibilities clear, provide adequate training, and make sure your resources are used as efficiently as possible.
  • Encourage people to continually seek opportunities to learn and move into other roles to increase their knowledge, competence, and experience.
  • Create an environment where employees can openly discuss problems and suggest ways to solve them.

The Benefits of Employee Commitment Include:

  • Employees are motivated, committed, and actively involved in working toward customer satisfaction, increasing employee retention.
  • Individual and team innovation and creativity in problem-solving and process improvement.
  • Employees who take pride and accountability for their own work.
  • Enthusiasm for active participation and contribution to continual improvement.

3. Processes and Procedures

facility management reports

Following procedures and processes are crucial in quality management. Processes ensure that the proper steps are taken at the right time to ensure consistency and efficiency.

How to Implement Processes and Procedures:

  • Create a process flowchart to define clear roles and responsibilities so everybody knows who does what at certain times.
  • Create procedures in software such as OpsPal, that all staff have access to.
  • Set tasks in smart facility management software, like OpsPal, so everybody can easily see the specific activities that need to be completed to achieve the desired result.
  • Analyse activities to see where improvements can be made or where steps in the process are causing blocks.
  • Evaluate the impact your processes and activities may have on your customers, suppliers, and all stakeholders.

The Benefits of a Process Approach Include:

  • Faster development and production cycles, lower costs and increased revenue.
  • More consistency and predictable outcomes.
  • Focus on continued improvements and success.

4. Communication

It is vital that everybody in your organisation is aware of plans, strategies, and methods that will be used to achieve goals. This is not only important for the leadership team but for staff at all levels.

How to Implement a Good Communication Plan:

  • Establish an official line of communication so that all employees know about updates, policy changes, and new processes. This is easy with a system like OpsPal in place that allows effective communication throughout the organisation.
  • Involve employees in decision-making whenever possible.
  • Ensure everybody in all departments understand their roles and how they fit in with the company as a whole.

The Benefits of Good Communication Include:

  • There is a strong sense of morale and motivation when employees understand how their contributions help the company achieve its goals.
  • Co-ordination and cooperation throughout the company.
  • Ability to measure the effectiveness of current procedures more accurately.
  • When employees are part of the decision-making process there is a greater motivation to achieve the goals of the company.

5. Continual improvement

staff meeting

Businesses need to continually improve and develop, working toward ways to adapt their products, services and processes to meet the changing customer needs.

How To Continually Improve:

  • Implement procedures that all staff has access to with reviews in place to ensure procedures are still working.
  • Recognise, acknowledge, and encourage innovation to improve processes and development.
  • Encourage employees to engage in training sessions to learn and take on new and additional roles.

The Benefits of Continuous Improvement Include:

  • Improved knowledge and capabilities to increase performance.
  • Achieving the goals of the organisation.
  • Quick reaction times to recognise and fix problems in the organisation.

6. Combined System

Most businesses have several departments, each with its own specific functions and purposes. To get combined systems in place these departments and functions should be integrated with horizontal processes that are the focus of Total Quality Management.

All staff in every department should have a thorough understanding of policies, standards, objectives, and processes.

How to Create a Combined System in Your Organisation:

  • Promote a work culture focused on quality.
  • Be clear with employees about how their functions fit in with the rest of the company.
  • Analyse continually to see where improvements can be made.
  • Make training available for employees who need to learn new processes and who want to explore opportunities for advancement.  Using OpsPal for an organisation’s procedures allows staff to access this knowledge base at any time, encouraging integrated systems.

The Benefits of Having a Combined System in Your Organisation Include:

  • Focus on the quality, this will help your business achieve excellence and meet or exceed customer expectations.

7. Strategic and Systematic Approach

Ensuring processes are in place to determine the identification, understanding and management of a system of interrelated processes for any goals that will improve the organisation’s efficiency.

How to Ensure a Strategic and Systematic Approach:

  • Ensure staff have the correct training and resources that will help them complete their individual steps in the process.
  • Continually improve processes and products, and upgrade equipment as necessary to reach goals.
  • Make continual improvement a measurable objective for all employees.
  • Recognise, acknowledge, and reward innovations and process improvements.

The Benefits of a Strategic and Systematic Approach Include:

  • The ability to identify, react and fix process problems quickly.
  • Overall improved organisational capabilities and improved performance.

8. Fact-Based Decision-Making

Analysis and data gathering leads to better decision making.  Making informed decisions will lead to a better understanding of customers and the market.

How to Implement Fact-Based Decision Making Within an Organisation:

  • Check the data to ensure that it is reliable and accurate.
  • Make relevant data available to all decision-makers.
  • Use tried and tested methods to gather and analyse data.
  • Use the facts you have and your experience and intuition to make decisions

The Benefits of Making Decisions Based on Facts Include:

  • The ability to make informed decisions.
  • The ability to analyse and defend past decisions by referencing factual records.

Implementing these principles will take time and often requires a full cultural change in the organisation.  It may be helpful to phase these changes over time to lessen the impact.

OpsPal is vital in an organisation to ensure effective communication, integrated procedures and much more.  To find out how OpsPal can help your business please get in touch at


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