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The history of Total Quality Management (TQM) was initially a term used to describe its Japanese-style management strategy to quality management. Being a methodology for continually improving the quality of all processes, it draws on knowledge of the principles and practices of behavioural sciences, analysis of quantitative and non-quantitative data, economics theories and process analysis.

Implementing Total Quality Management (TQM) within an organization isn't without some attending challenges that tend to affect its purpose. These challenges include:

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  • Poor quality culture

 When an organization fails to place high priority to quality and/or is not genuine about it, implementation of TQM tends to be affected. 

  • Poor leadership style

 If autocratic style of leadership is adopted by the management, an environment of fear is created. This hinders creativity among employees which may demoralize them. This will lead to an employee not contributing their entire ability. This in turn degrades their productivity ultimately affects quality of products and/or services. 

  • Lack of employee commitment

 When employees fail to show the right level of commitment to TQM the whole process of quality management becomes ineffective. This TQM is implemented by people, nothing else. 

  • Poor communication channel

 When communication plans are not in existence quality results may be affected. Everyone needs to be aware of the happenings in the organization. When this is missing, the whole concept of TQM would be rendered ineffective. 

  • Challenges in identifying customer needs

When an organization fails to identify the needs of customers as a result of inaccurate data, improper survey, and wrong interpretation of facts etc. supply of defective product to the customer may be made, hence defeating the main objective of customer satisfaction.

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Recommended Solutions

  1. The organizations should focus on developing the right organizational quality culture that provides a support in improving the quality of the operations or activities. 
  2. Top management should seek the participation of all persons working in the organization before taking the final decisions. 
  3. Creating a sense of belongingness among the employees can boost the morale of the employees. 
  4. A workable communication plan should be formulated with a proper path for exchange of information.
  5. All the activities in the organization should be undertaken to serve the customer in best possible way.

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About the Author

Adebayo is a thought leader in continuous process improvement and manufacturing excellence. He is a Certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt (CSSMBB) Professional and Management Systems Lead Auditor (ISO 9001, 45001, ISO 22000/FSSC 22000 etc.) with strong experience leading various continuous improvement initiative in top manufacturing organizations. 

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