Total Quality Management | Meaning | Important elements

What is Total Quality Management?

Total quality management is related to maintaining and controlling the quality of people, quality of technology, quality control and the quality of infrastructural facilities. The aggregation of these essential aspects helps in managing the over all quality of services. In short, the concept of total quality management focuses on managing everything that is instrumental in improving the quality of services.

Dimensions or Elements of TQM

So, the elements of Total Quality Management include

  1. Managing people
  2. Managing technologies
  3. Managing infrastructure and
  4. Ensuring Quality control

All these elements of TQM need an in-depth analysis in service organizations. In the face of mounting competition and increasing expectations from customers, a service organization should effectively manage the different dimensions of TQM to ensure customer satisfaction and to stay ahead of competition.

1. Management of people: “People” are the dominating sub-mix of the marketing mix. All human actors namely, the firm’s personnel, the customer and others in the service environment play a big part in service delivery. They influence the buyer’s perceptions. If quality people are absent in an organization, all development-oriented efforts of the organization will become futile. While developing quality people, emphasis is placed on developing people with commitment and ethical values. The service organizations should promote a good work culture. Education and training programmes are essential to develop effective human resources. Only quality staff members are chiefly instrumental in toning up efficiency of the service organization.

2. Management of technologies: Inventions and innovations pave the way for technology up gradation. The banking companies, insurance companies, transport organizations, hotels, tour operators are some of the leading organizations who use the latest technology for improving the quality of their services.

For example, use of electronic fund transfer system, direct pay roll, credit and debit cards, per-authorized transfers, automated clearing houses, billing machines, ATMs, credit deposit machines, super computers, fax machines, internet, e-mailing etc., have revolutionized the service characteristics of banking organizations. Effective management of technologies offers the following advantages.

Advantages of managing Technologies

1. The frontline personnel in reservation counters, reception centres, complaints and grievances redressal cells, operation counters, etc. promptly serve the customers.

2. The records become clear and the information transmitted can be authentic and accurate.

3. Professionals can have access to information relating to the changing needs and requirements of customers.

4. The communication process can be made effective with the help of technology-driven services.

5. The computers simplify the task of evaluating the performance of employees. Identifying high performers and rewarding them suitably result in performance orientation.

6. Technologies make qualitative improvement possible in the services offered and minimizes the cost.

3. Managing infrastructure: The service generating organizations should effectively manage the existing infrastructure. Provision and maintenance of infrastructure play an important role in improving the quality of services. Maintaining and operating technologies as per the required norms, making available the required working conditions for power, temperature, ventilation, light, furnishing, water and sanitation facilities, safety provisions etc., are all important ingredients. Effective management of infrastructure promises the availability of quality services to-the ultimate users.

4. Quality control: The main focus of quality control is monitoring and controlling the variables related to the offering of promised services. Quality control covers identification of errors and devising ways to correct them. Standards or specifications of quality are per-requisites of quality control. Sometimes, services specifications are given by the buyers themselves. For several products, the Bureau of Indian Standards, International standards organizations (ISO) and International Electro chemical Commission (IEC) lay down their specifications. Control of quality is best exercised by controlling the process of offering the promised services to the users. Quality control is a per-requisite for competing successfully in the highly competitive market.

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