Re: TQM-Is it a fad?

Subject: Re: TQM-Is it a fad?
From: Chuck Banks <chuck -at- ASL -dot- DL -dot- NEC -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 3 Nov 1993 15:19:29 CST

TQM=work, and lots of it.

TQM is not a mystic mantra to be chanted as part of
lip service to the newly anoited business gods of excellence
and quality.

TQM is just one of several systems that can guide a
firm toward improvement of the quality of the organization and
the product. All these systems have similar sets of requirements
if they are to help at all.

1 - All levels of management must buy in to the process,
learn its particulars, and lead their subordinates
in invoking those particulars

2 - Everyone in the firm must be trained and practiced
in invoking the particulars

3 - Management-worker teams must write the particulars
into the firms standard operating procedures

4 - Worker teams must be set up and encouraged to
identify less than optimum operations and situations
in the firm and to develop and present/recommend
corrective acctions (ala quality circles)

All of this effort is directed at improving the quality
of the product and the quality of life within the firm. The
result can be an ongoing, incremental spiral of ever improving

The reality is that TQM and like programs take a long
time to make changes, years in fact. People usually slip back
into old, customer-blind habits several times during the process
of establishing TQM and its ilk as the new SOP for a firm.

Like a good, proven weight loss program, TQM requires
behavioral changes and all involved must be trained to expect
and deal with slipages. TQM systems are based on customer
conciousness and positive reinforcement. Few sticks, mostly
carrost. No finger pointing, no blaming, no us versus them.

Without complete management support, or sufficient
training, or change and maintenance teams, TQM becomes nothing
but one more management fad.

Remember, your asking everyone in a firm to change the
way they do business. Everyone, every way, every day. This
takes a LOT of coaching, selling, convincing, work, and time.
Look for results in 5 years minimum. 7 to 10 years is more the

Does your firm need TQM? Maybe, maybe not. You have
to decide that for yourself. Try comparing your firm to such
standars as those for the Malcom Baldrich Award. If you find
your firm is seriously wanting, maybe signing on to a TQM
program will clean up your act, reduce the number of product
rejects, improve your profitability and survivability, earn
your firm a top notch reputation. Maybe not. It's up to your

Contact the winners of the Malcolm Baldrich award.
They'll give you some pointers on how to make your firm a
better producer, designer, and employer. If you're already
doing what they are, or doing it better, and you still aren't
profitable, maybe you've got the wrong product. TQM has
processes for analyzing your situation.

Whether or not you employ TQM methods its up to you.

Best Regards!
Chuck Banks
__ ________ ______
|\\ | || // Chuck Banks
| \\ | ||_______ || Senior Technical Writer
| \\ | || || NEC America, Inc.
| \\| \\______ \\______ E-Mail: chuck -at- asl -dot- dl -dot- nec -dot- com
America, Incorporated CompuServe: 72520,411

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