Total Quality Management

TQM is a philosophy of management driven by the constant attainment of customer satisfaction through continuous improvement of all organizational processes, including employee participation, teamwork, and leadership.


There are five key principles:
-MANAGEMENT COMMITMENT
1) Plan (drive direct)
2) Do (deploy, support, and participate)
3) Check (review)
4) Act (recognize, communicate, revise)
-EMPLOYEE EMPOWERMENT
1) Training
2) Suggestive Scheme
3) Measurement + Recognition
4) Excellence Teams
-FACT BASED DECISION MAKING
1) Statistical process control
2) Team oriented problem solving (TOPS)

-CONTINOUS IMPROVEMENT
1) Systematic measurement + focus
2) Excellence Teams
3) Cross-functional process management
4) Attain, maintain, + improve standards
-CUSTOMER FOCUS
1) Supplier partnership
2) Service relationship with internal customers
3) Never compromise quality
4) Customer driven standards

Implementation of TQM
Total Quality Management emphasizes detecting potential problems before they occur. There are five major areas of TQM, which are:
Focus on quality and prevention of problems
Cooperation with suppliers and customers
Continuous improvement
Encouragement of proper climate and employee empowerment
Use of measurements to back decisions
In the process of TQM customers are the ones who define a quality product. Not only should employees inspect products or services while performing duties, but companies must design quality products. During the design process there should be input from customers, marketing and those who assemble the final product. A company implementing TQM should cooperate with suppliers and have a focus on customer satisfaction. Vendors should be treated as business partners with all parties working to deliver a quality product. In order for TQM to be successful suppliers must also implement it.

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When implementing TQM one must remember that it is continuous improvement, while eliminating wasteful steps. In order to implement it employees must be empowered to make decisions, so they are willing to operate in an environment of trust and respect. TQM is the use of the PDCA (plan do check act) cycle in order to see problems and fix them accordingly. The last article of TQM is to have a process of statistical data to evaluate success, and to see how well the company is doing.


The Application of Total Quality Management into the Construction Industry
The construction industry is often viewed as disorganized and plagued with constant problems, cost overruns, unkept deadlines, disputes, and lawsuits. Construction management is a very difficult task with numerous variables that must be dealt with; such as dealing with many different types of highly skilled and specialized laborers, thousands of different materials, complex and highly technical designs and management systems, many different suppliers, and also completely uncontrollable factors such as weather and ever changing regulations that must be followed.

In recent years the construction industry has turned its attention to the implementation of TQM to try to increase productivity and efficiency. The construction industry is highly competitive and is hurt by adverse relationships, absenteeism, low morale, and high turnover. Total Quality Management is a method that can be used by the industry to improve the construction process.
In a study led by Farzad Shahbodaghlou and James Adrian of Bradley University (Peoria Illinois) for the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) a plan for how TQM could improve their department was developed. Shahbodaghlou and Adrian developed three key areas in which using TQM strategies could greatly improve the construction industry.

The first issue in which TQM can help the construction industry is through customer relations. The construction industry does not focus on the detailed needs of the customer, but rather getting the job done how the particular construction company knows how to do it. Using TQM techniques the construction companies can work together with their clients to eliminate confusion and mistakes through higher levels of communication. The more the client is involved the less likely the work will not be to their satisfaction.

The second application of TQM has to do with the various technical skills and management know how of the diverse parties involved. In the current construction process these parties are not integrated into a team for problem solving. The construction industry involves many different leaders working independently and controlling large portions of construction projects. TQM theories require that we bring these leaders together to form a team so that the entire construction project in is sync with all of its components, thus resulting in more fluid results.

The final and arguably most important application of TQM into the construction industry is a new system of measures. The construction does not have system of statistically monitoring themselves, except for total cost results. It can be argued that since the industry does not have a statistical standard of measurement it cannot improve itself. Instead of focusing on processes and causes of problems, the industry has focused on monitoring and inspection of end results. As an example, the construction industry does not monitor the amount of non-productive time at a project for the amount of redo-work that takes place due to mistakes. This lack of measurement leads to acceptance of the defects and non-productive time. Using a TQM approach, the cause of these “defects” are quantified and analyzed. This data can then be used to analyze the efficiency of projects as they are on going. This results in the ability to make beneficial changes by eliminating the cause of the defects while the project is still in its construction phase.


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