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Operations Management Take home Exam

Identify and discuss the key features of Total Quality Management as an Approach aimed at quality improvement? Answer) quality or the lack of quality is usually one of the many reasons that affect an organization on every quartile of the managerial dynamics within the organization. The entire organization from supplier to customer and from product design to maintenance can get affected. Total quality management a very important concept of quality management is an approach that tries to improve effectiveness and flexibility of the organization.

Some of the key features that are encompassed in this approach towards quality improvement that goes on and is a continuous function are learned from the Japanese concept of Kaizen. Kaizen refers to a culture and philosophy that focuses on constant improvement. The key features of TQM derived from the concept of Kaizen and other western methods of implementing this cultural change are 1) Continuous Improvements, 2) Six Sigma, 3) Employee Empowerment, 4) benchmarking, 5) just in Time 6) Taguchi Concepts and 7) knowledge

Continuous Improvement as a concept is the core feature of TQM that dictates the main idea of this quality management culture. The philosophy of this aspect of TQM dictates that everything and every function

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can be improved. It also dictates that the end goal is perfection and must be the motive of every one in a TQM practicing organization. Although perfection can never be achieved but is always sought and should be focused on. Japanese managers have achieved this Kaizen based process by focusing on zero defects in the processes and products which is the highest level of perfection achievable.

Six Sigma is another concept known to western management that is necessary for an effective total quality management program. Six sigma popularized first by Motorola and its engineers. It emphasizes the fact that statistical concepts are very important to use and setting benchmarks plus clear targets is very important. Constant measuring of goals and requirements is very important and analyzing it so as to get clear directions as to what the problems are and what needs to be fixed is understood, this strategic quality monitoring tool is a good way to achieve near perfection, efficiency and continuous improvement.

Everything kept constant it should be kept in mind that implementing Six Sigma is very difficult and should be led by the management carefully, team based and led by the experts so as to make it perfect and pay off. Autonomy and Employee Empowerment is a necessary feature for implementing TQM as employees involvement is a must for achieving TQM goals. Business literature as cited in the book has constantly suggested that 85% of the time quality problems are because of some processes and not any employees fault. Read how is six sigma defined SSD1

According to many studies TQM programs that involve lower level employees and laborers and give them autonomy to act as seen fit in an ambiguous situation are twice more likely to succeed than other programs. Benchmarking is another important feature that helps us attain TQM objectives. By selecting a goal and a demonstrated standard of performance one can fine tune the processes and related objectives so as to attain better quality and efficiency. Benchmarking can both be internal and external i. e. benchmark another function or another company respectively.

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