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Total Quality Management

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This paper will examine Total Quality Management, TQM, with focus on the impact of globalization to TQM standards within an organization as well as an examination of traditional management styles as compared to those based on TQM principles. In order to fully understand these principles it is necessary to gain comprehension through defining Total Quality Management. "Total Quality Management (TQM) is a comprehensive and structured approach to organizational management that seeks to improve the quality of products and services through ongoing refinements in response to continuous feedback. TQM requirements may be defined separately for a particular organization or may be in adherence to established standards, such as the International Organization for Standardization's ISO 9000 series. TQM can be applied to any type of organization; it originated in the manufacturing sector and has since been adapted for use in almost every type of organization imaginable, including schools, highway maintenance, hotel management, and churches. As a current focus of e-business, TQM is based on quality management from the customer's point of view." (Search Data Center, 2006)

Globalization has affected quality simply because different countries and cultures have varying standards when describing quality. Many products, made for US consumption, are produced throughout the world and in countries with lower quality standards than those observed within the United States. In order to participate in global exchange, suppliers in the country of production must strive to conform to the strict quality standards of the United States consumer. Methods to assure that levels of quality are understood and attained are outlined by TQM experts, Burrill and Ledolter "One method is for the customer to review each supplier's system. This method is costly and time-consuming for both the customer (who has many suppliers, and the supplier (who has many customers)." (Burrill/Ledolter, Achieving Quality, 1999)

A more practical alternative for addressing quality management by a foreign supplier requires that the supplier meet the standard designated as acceptable to the customer. Within the United States the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) works with foreign entities, evaluating foreign manufacturers' quality systems to determine if that manufacturer meets the standards put forth by the UL. When UL standards are met the product is then issued a "UL" label that signifies that the product has come from an approved quality manufacturer. In this respect globalization has encouraged manufacturers, who may have previously produced inferior products, to improve their standards or methods of production if they wish to compete with the US and other developed nations. (Underwriters Laboratories, 2006)

Globalization has also affected the total quality management process by addressing the need to examine all aspects of successful managing within cross-cultural situations. TQM managers must be cognizant of employee and consumer beliefs as well as cultural traditions as they expand sales to areas outside of the local US market.

The Total Quality Management model is in many respects different from traditional management styles still in use by many organizations. Within production, the focus is no longer placed on producing as much product as possible within observable time periods. Conversely, Total Quality Management focuses on production levels that meet the organization's quality standards within a given time period. The organization's reputation is paramount, therefore, the necessity to produce quality products and or services, in conjunction with maintaining a quality based reputation, are the primary areas of focus of within the TQM model.

Managers utilizing TQM methods "seek to improve the quality of products and services through ongoing refinements in response to continuous feedback." (Search Data Center, 2006) The level of involvement by management with staff and end line consumers is exemplified in an effort to continually fine-tune the production process. Managers utilizing TQM methods believe that superior products will foster a healthy relationship between the company and their customers, a relationship that translates to increased sales and customer retention.

Traditional management cares for and places emphasis on quality, however that emphasis does not compare to the premium placed on quality efforts by TQM managers. The difference, in level of emphasis or commitment to TQM principles, may result in a lower quality of product produced by an organization that promotes a traditional management style.

The use of TQM principles is evident within the 24 Hour Fitness organization. TQM is used as a foundation for activities that the fitness industry leader utilizes to "meet



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