Total Quality Management is very different from these and other management systems. It recognizes that quality as determined by the service provider might be much different from quality as perceived by the service receiver. If the customer is not satisfied with a service, then the service does not have quality and the processes that produced the service have failed.
Total Quality Management requires an organizational transformation-a totally new and different way of thinking and behaving. This transformation is not easy to achieve; it is not for the weak or the statistically untrained. At first glance, many TQM techniques may seem simple and based on common sense, but they must be understood and used correctly for TQM to function properly. Knowing the history of Total Quality Management may help in understanding its techniques.
History of TQM
Total Quality Management was developed in the mid 1940s by Dr. W. Edward Deming who at the time was an advisor in sampling at the Bureau of Census and later became a professor of statistics at the New York University Graduate School of Business Administration. He had little success convincing American businesses to adopt TQM but his management methods did gain success in Japan.
After World War II, General MacArthur took 200 scientists and specialists, including Dr. Deming, to Japan to help rebuild the country. While working on the Japanese census, Dr. Deming was invited by the Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers to give lectures on his statistical quality techniques. One of the attendees was a past professor to many of Japan’s CEOs. After attending the lectures, the professor told his CEO students that, if they wanted to turn Japan’s economy around in five years, they should attend Dr. Deming’s lectures on using statistics to achieve quality at a reduced cost. Many of the CEOs took the professor’s advice and attended the lectures. Eventually, many Japanese manufacturing companies adopted Dr. Deming’s theories and were able to produce quality products at reduced costs.