Tqm Essay, Research Paper
Incorporating TQM in All Activities
The personnel in a small company are analogous to the famous “20-mule team” that pulled Borax raw materials out of Death Valley. If a single team member is not doing his or her best, the performance of the entire team is negatively affected. Quality and customer satisfaction is everyone’s job!
Small companies are often sales-driven, instead of market-driven or customer-driven. Strong sales talent is the most common way a small company grows. So it is natural for a sales-driven company to think about TQM improvements in terms of “where it counts the most,” in sales. But the sales force cannot succeed without good quality products and services that are distinct from and valued by customers when compared to what competitors provide.
Sales also needs good support from manufacturing and shipping in terms of correctly filling the order, on time, every time. Sales may need quality technical support to help obtain the sale and to service the customer after the sale. What about proper billing of invoices and credit terms from the accounting department? And does anyone assume the role of customer relations to follow up with the customer after the sale?
Small companies are often too busy trying to find and close new customers. They may not think about or have the time to follow up on current customers to see if they are indeed satisfied.
Problem: how can small businesses incorporate quality and concern for customer satisfaction into every company function? Often, even critical tasks, like monthly closings for company P&Ls (profit and loss statements), get delayed because there are not enough hours or people to do everything.
Total company commitment begins at the top. The head of the company must commit to total quality marketing and customer satisfaction, live it every day, and institute procedures and information systems to ensure all employees do the same.
Customer service, customer satisfaction, and customer commitment become the top company priorities. The entire company must work to support the sales staff and customers. For example, Nordstrom Department store personnel will never be criticized for doing too much for customers. They will be criticized for doing too little!
Employee hiring and training programs for quality work and customer orientation need to be implemented and enforced. For example, Nordstrom want ads seek employees who are “people-oriented” and who find satisfaction in going out of their way to help others. Regular training programs, with weekly department meetings to discuss customer problems, solutions, and complaints and next step actions for customers, are necessary.