What Is Quality Management?
New Direction (ND) looks to Quality Management (QM) as a method by which management and employees can become involved in the continuous improvement of the production of goods and services. It is a combination of quality and management tools aimed at increasing business and reducing losses due to wasteful practices.
Quality management is the act of overseeing all activities and tasks that must be accomplished to maintain a desired level of excellence. This includes the determination of a quality policy, creating and implementing quality planning and assurance, and quality control and quality improvement. It is also referred to as total quality management (TQM).
In general, quality management focuses on long-term goals through the implementation of short-term initiatives.
Understanding Quality Management
At its core, TQM is a business philosophy that champions the idea that the long-term success of a company comes from customer satisfaction and loyalty. TQM requires that all stakeholders in a business work together to improve processes, products, services, and the culture of the company itself.
While TQM seems like an intuitive process, it came about as a revolutionary idea. The 1920s saw a rise in reliance on statistics and statistical theory in business, and the first-ever known control chart was made in 1924. People began to build on theories of statistics and ended up collectively creating the method of statistical process control (SPC). However, it wasn’t successfully implemented in a business setting until the 1950s.
It was during this time that Japan was faced with a harsh industrial economic environment. Its citizens were thought to be largely illiterate, and its products were known to be of low quality. Key businesses in Japan saw these deficiencies and looked to make a change. Relying on pioneers in statistical thinking, companies such as Toyota integrated the idea of quality management and quality control into their production processes.
By the end of the 1960s, Japan completely flipped its narrative and became known as one of the most efficient export countries, with some of the most admired products. Effective quality management resulted in better products that could be produced at a cheaper price.