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The total quality management process represents a series of steps or activities necessary to implement the plan. Overall, total quality management is an integrative philosophy that seeks to employ activities in all business operations that create improvements to goods and services. Individual activities start with selecting missions or goals, identifying key target markets, and making a determination of consumer needs. Advanced stages include developing changeover plans, seeking opportunities for improvements, and implementing the created plans. In most cases, the total quality management process is continuous.
A mission or goal should always be at the top of the total quality management process. Without the definition of a desired end goal, the entire process may result in wasted time and effort. Missions or goals can be lower product costs, reduction of wasted labor or capital, or improved customer relations, among others. Owners and executive managers often set these standards. Participative total quality management may involve more managers or employees in the process.
The identification of target markets and determination of consumer needs is also of importance in the total quality management process. In most companies, the purpose of total quality management is to increase customer satisfaction, hence the activity’s name. Identification of target markets helps a company understand best who will benefit from improved business activities. Consumer needs in this target market may be low-cost products or high-quality goods. Other needs may be present in part of this review.
Once the planning stage is complete, companies can move toward other advanced stages of total quality management process implementation. Defined goals lead to specific changeover plans. These plans specifically outline why and how a company will alter current operations in order to improve them. The changeover plan may be company-wide or departmental depending on the company. The extent of the plans also depends on the breadth of necessary changes.
As companies begin the total quality management process, owners and managers may discover new opportunities for change. This is often the case as plans change based on new information discovered. New opportunities, however, can result in more time and effort necessary for the total quality management process. Companies must ensure they do not let original implementation plans derail on new, unhelpful information. Owners and executives are responsible for managing changes.
Implementing total quality management changes are the final part of this process. Employees alter their current activities to account for the changes. The results need measurement to ensure they work as planned. Upper management often reviews financial or operational paperwork to assess the effectiveness of the changed operations.