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A Brief Survey of the Development of the Concept of Total Quality Management and Its Importance

Autor:   •  January 11, 2014  •  Essay  •  348 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,151 Views

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A brief survey of the development of the concept of Total Quality Management and its importance.

Since the beginning of the twentieth century the quality function has developed from what at best could be described as a cursory inspection of products, into a concept of Total Quality Management (TQM) - a management philosophy in which the needs of the customer are exceeded and which encourages all employees to strive towards continuous improvement in the quality of the products and services of their organisations. The primary objective of the quality function is ‘to ensure that all products are manufactured free from defects, conform to all specifications and satisfy the customer's requirement' (NCI Quality Management Module 3 Handout, 2005). This function is the main underlying concept behind quality control, quality assurance and TQM and all the main developments, innovations and theories down the decades to the present date have kept this function in focus.

Since the 1920's mathematicians and engineers have used the word ‘sigma' as a symbol for a unit of measurement in product quality variation. ‘Six Sigma' is an advanced form of TQM. American Motorola engineers first used the expression in the context of quality improvement in 1986 as an informal name for an in-house initiative for reducing defects in production processes. By 2000 it had effectively ensconced its quality and process improvement standards in organisations worldwide.

In the pre-1920 manufacturing period, when an employee's work was inspected a decision was made whether to accept or reject it. But in the years that followed and manufacturing became more sophisticated, full time inspection jobs had to be created because more specialized skills, which most production staff did not have, were needed to cope with the more complex and more technical problems that cropped up. Since most inspectors

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