The goal of any manufacturing based going concern is to have amongst other things, a proper product quality control. This is only natural as it is expected that every manufacturing outfit pays very close attention to its total quality management regime if the ultimate goal (cost minimization and profit maximization are to be attained). As a matter of fact, top management of various firms is beginning to allocate more resources to ensure the firm has adequate quality control.
Around the early 90’s, the term and practice known as Total Quality Management (TQM) were birthed. It was first championed by the Japanese who experienced tremendous growth and success with it that the rest of the world (Europe in particular), began to adopt it.
Despite the seemingly obvious merits/advantages that this practice endears to the firm as a whole, there are issues/problems which have been threatening to dampen and downplay the effectiveness of this practice. Such issues if left unaddressed, can take the firm by surprise which is sure to birth highly negative consequences.
After extensive research, there are about five (5) issues which have been deemed the most noteworthy by the firm. These issues range across various manufacturing tiers/levels.
Quality Management Issues/Problems
Below is a list of some pressing quality management issues experienced by manufacturing firms today;
Furthermore, the next line of action will then be to examine these issues in detail especially on how they affect the organization.
In a bid to have and implement what firms refer to as ‘the perfect total quality management regime’, they tend to go a bit overboard and concentrate on the wrong things. In recent times, organizations have somewhat begun to fixate on theory exclusively. As a result of this, they no longer strive to put theory into actual practice. The reality, however, is that there is really no ‘perfect total quality management regime’. Each firm should focus on improving and bettering its own TQM. With putting it into practice, the theory itself is useless as it is not an end but rather a means to an end.
Furthermore, the firm’s over_ dependency on theory alone poses as a clog in the progressive wheel of TQM. Firms should exact practice as this is actually what will make the organization more effective, and allow it to achieve its goals, all culminating in the increase of the firm’s value.
Due to the elaborate nature of TQM, a whole lot of documentation might be needed for its functionality. However, when the emphasis placed on documentation becomes too much, that said functionality is then threatened and affected. It has even been discovered that employees and even the top management can sometimes get overwhelmed with the excess documentation which then makes them become disillusioned with the whole process. The ultimate end product of this is that the TQM process can no longer serve the purpose/goal for which it was intended.
Paperwork in itself is useful for the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the process. However, it should not be made the focal point of the TQM process. The TQM process is not aimed at creating excess documentation. Documents are to be used for communication, proof of the result, and for knowledge management in the organization.
When a firm’s total quality management regime is proving to be too rigid, problems are sure to arise. One of the downsides of this rigidity is the inability to adjust when necessary. This can ultimately affect the organization’s effectiveness and goal accomplishing ability.
TQM requires a free_ flowing organizational structure in order to be implemented successfully. When the firm’s structure is too rigid, the overall effectiveness of TQM will be dampened. Research has shown that the reason why many European firms have shaky TQM is that of their very tight/rigid structure.
The business world and the market (inclusive of customer needs and requirements) are constantly evolving, as such, it is expected of the firm to evolve alongside them. However, the evolution of a very rigid firm is a task that proves very difficult. Moreover, static and backward firms cannot exploit the various new emerging opportunities in Total Quality Management practice.
Most times, manufacturing firms tend to make the mistake of adopting TQM practices only because of some outward/external factor. Such factors include competitors’ adoption of TQM, a request by customers, the pressure to evolve with the industry, etc. When this happens, there will be no inward drive/motivation from the employees to make sure that the TQM process is top notch. Ultimately leading to the failure of the process.
Whatever the top management of the firm chooses to adopt should not be to the detriment of the employees. All policies and practices adopted should be done in line with the employees as they are the ones who will be the chief executors of any project. The management needs to always keep them motivated. Platforms for both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards should be provided. Some intrinsic rewards may include a deep sense of fulfillment while extrinsic reward may include financial bonuses.
For a Total quality management process to achieve its intended goals, it must be a strategic and best fit for the company. Such a strategic fit is achieved when the company goals and objectives, also it’s policies, is in tune with the TQM process. No matter how ‘ready to use’ a TQM process may seem, if it is not in line with the firm’s policies then it is already bound not to achieve it’s intended goal.
The company needs to establish the best way to achieve it’s TQM goals and it should be aligned with company policies. Some TQM models such as ISO 9001, has been criticized on the ground of being too result oriented and leaving out how such results can be achieved in line with the company policies and objectives.
Quality Management issues need to be tackled and fast if the organization wants to reap the full benefits of the TQM process. The first way to combat a problem is to first identify it. The quality management issues discussed can act as a checklist for a firm determined to have an excellent TQM process.
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