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A core definition of total quality management (TQM) describes a management

approach to longterm success through customer satisfaction. In a TQM effort, all

members of an organization participate in improving processes, products, services,
and the culture in which they work.
Total Quality Management TQM, also known as total productive maintenance,
describes a management approach to long-term success through customer
satisfaction. In a TQM effort, all members of an organization participate in improving
processes, products, services, and the culture in which they work.
Total quality management can be summarized as a management system for a
customer-focused organization that involves all employees in continual
improvement. It uses strategy, data, and effective communications to integrate the
quality discipline into the culture and activities of the organization. Many of these
concepts are present in modern Quality Management Systems, the successor to
TQM. Here are the 8 principles of total quality management:
1. Customer-focused
The customer ultimately determines the level of quality. No matter what an
organization does to foster quality improvementtraining employees, integrating
quality into the design process, upgrading computers or software, or buying new
measuring toolsthe customer determines whether the efforts were worthwhile.

2. Total employee involvement

All employees participate in working toward common goals. Total employee
commitment can only be obtained after fear has been driven from the workplace,
when empowerment has occurred, and management has provided the proper
environment. High-performance work systems integrate continuous improvement
efforts with normal business operations. Self-managed work teams are one form of

3. Process-centered
A fundamental part of TQM is a focus on process thinking. A process is a series of
steps that take inputs from suppliers (internal or external) and transforms them into
outputs that are delivered to customers (again, either internal or external). The
steps required to carry out the process are defined, and performance measures are
continuously monitored in order to detect unexpected variation.

4. Integrated system
Although an organization may consist of many different functional specialties often
organized into vertically structured departments, it is the horizontal processes
interconnecting these functions that are the focus of TQM.

Micro-processes add up to larger processes, and all processes aggregate into the
business processes required for defining and implementing strategy. Everyone must
understand the vision, mission, and guiding principles as well as the quality policies,
objectives, and critical processes of the organization. Business performance must be
monitored and communicated continuously.
An integrated business system may be modeled after the Baldrige National Quality
Program criteria and/or incorporate the ISO 9000 standards. Every organization has
a unique work culture, and it is virtually impossible to achieve excellence in its
products and services unless a good quality culture has been fostered. Thus, an
integrated system connects business improvement elements in an attempt to
continually improve and exceed the expectations of customers, employees, and
other stakeholders.
5. Strategic and systematic approach
A critical part of the management of quality is the strategic and systematic
approach to achieving an organizations vision, mission, and goals. This process,
called strategic planning or strategic management, includes the formulation of a
strategic plan that integrates quality as a core component.

6. Continual improvement
A major thrust of TQM is continual process improvement. Continual improvement
drives an organization to be both analytical and creative in finding ways to become
more competitive and more effective at meeting stakeholder expectations.

7. Fact-based decision making

In order to know how well an organization is performing, data on performance
measures are necessary. TQM requires that an organization continually collect and
analyze data in order to improve decision making accuracy, achieve consensus, and
allow prediction based on past history.

8. Communications
During times of organizational change, as well as part of day-to-day operation,
effective communications plays a large part in maintaining morale and in motivating
employees at all levels. Communications involve strategies, method, and timeliness.
What is Quality?

The term "quality" has a relative meaning. This is expressed by the ISO definition:
"The totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bear on its
ability to satisfy stated or implied needs". In simpler words, one can say that a

product has good quality when it "complies with the requirements specified by the
client". When projected on analytical work, quality can be defined as "delivery of
reliable information within an agreed span of time under agreed conditions, at
agreed costs, and with necessary aftercare". The "agreed conditions" should include
a specification as to the precision and accuracy of the data which is directly related
to "fitness of use" and which may differ for different applications. Yet, in many cases
the reliability of data is not questioned and the request for specifications omitted.
Many laboratories work according to established methods and procedures which are
not readily changed and have inherent default specifications. Moreover, not all
future uses of the data and reports can be foreseen so that specifications about
required precision and accuracy cannot even be given. Consequently, this aspect of
quality is usually left to the discretion of the laboratory. However, all too often the
embarrassing situation exists that a laboratory cannot evaluate and account for its
quality simply because the necessary documentation is lacking.

In the ensuing discussions numerous activities aimed at maintaining the production

of quality are dealt with. In principle, three levels of organization of these activities
can be distinguished. From the top down these levels are:

1. Quality Management (QM)

2. Quality Assurance (QA)
3. Quality Control (QC)
1.2 Quality Management

Quality Management is the assembly and management of all activities aimed at the
production of quality by organizations of various kinds. In the present case this
implies the introduction and proper running of a "Quality System" in laboratories. A
statement of objectives and policy to produce quality should be made for the
organization or department concerned (by the institute's directorate). This
statement also identifies the internal organization and responsibilities for the
effective operation of the Quality System.

Quality Management can be considered a somewhat wider interpretation of the

concept of "Good Laboratory Practice" (GLP). Therefore, inevitably the basics of the
present Guidelines largely coincide with those of GLP. These are discussed below in
Section 1.5.

Note. An even wider concept of quality management is presently coming into

vogue: "Total Quality Management" (TQM). This concept includes additional aspects

such as leadership style, ethics of the work, social aspects, relation to society, etc.
For an introduction to TQM the reader is referred to Parkany (1995).