How To Improve Processes Using 9 Total Quality Management Principles

Do you ever try to shop online from a company with great products, but you just don’t get their interface? How disappointed do you feel when you realize that although their products are the best you could find in the market, they just couldn’t be bothered enough to make their interface user-friendly?

You must agree that it is essential for companies to improve not just their products but their services as well, to meet the expectation of their customers.

Organizations like Toyota have survived decades of competition, inflation, and a global financial crisis. Still, they somehow manage to produce standard products and keep up with the changing needs of their consumers.

How do they do this? They adopt Total Quality Management (TQM) principles to continuously improve their processes and provide products and services that will be of value to their consumers.

Total quality management ensures that all the employees, from low-level workers to high-ranking officials in an organization, work together to improve their processes and the products and services they provide to satisfy their consumers.

What Is Total Quality Management?

Total Quality Management

Total quality management is an organization’s combined effort to achieve continuous improvement in processes and provide quality products and services that satisfy their consumers’ needs.

It ensures that all employees work together to improve the quality of their processes, products, and services.

William Edwards Deming, a man, considered to be the father of Total Quality Management, had a combination of skills as an electrical engineer, statistician, professor, author, statistician, and management consultant. This combination of skills allowed him to recognize the importance of the role of every employee in an organization to increase total quality and productivity.

TQM recognizes that it is not only the responsibility of the high-ranking employees to ensure that the products and services are of superior quality.

It involves steps and principles that contribute to your organization’s growth and helps you to build a long-lasting business.

When you use Total Quality Management principles, you satisfy your customers and improve your process of production and rendering of services.

Why Should You Use Total Quality Management?

Every business owner knows that customer satisfaction is what is most important. To keep your customers from moving to your competitors, you must provide them with quality goods and services.

As the name suggests, Total Quality Management ensures that you use the effort of all the employees in an organization to provide your customers with what they expect. With it, you can optimize your resources and improve your production processes to make more profit.

Total quality management improves your processes and helps you make more profit by using fewer materials to provide more products for your consumers.

Here are some benefits of using Total Quality Management to improve your processes:

Healthy Work Environment

A healthy work environment is essential to motivate all employees. TQM ensures that all your workers are heard and included in your organization’s decision-making

TQM relieves your employees of the stress of production by continuously looking for ways to improve processes. It enhances employee interaction and recognizes low-ranking workers’ roles in your organization.

Increased Customer Satisfaction

To have a successful business that stands the test of time, you must satisfy your customers and adapt to their changing needs.

TQM puts your customers’ satisfaction first. It helps you please your customers by improving your products and services to satisfy their needs.

It also helps you build better customer relationships by interacting with them and listening to their complaints.

Reduced Operation Cost

Reduced Operation Cost

The goal of every business is to make profit. What better way to do this than to reduce the operation cost?

Total quality management cuts costs by providing improved processes for your employees to carry out production.

It reduces the time and personnel your organization spends correcting defects by spotting them before they happen, increasing the profit you make.

Improved Productivity

You can improve your organization’s productivity by engaging your employees and helping them understand their roles better.

Happy employees make efficient employees. When you improve their production processes, employees become as efficient as possible.

You also end work duplication among your employees as they only perform tasks assigned to them. 

Quality Improvement

When you adopt this management approach, you improve your processes continuously and provide better products and services for your customers.

Imagine if companies like Ford did not improve their products and still produce the same kind of vehicles they used to decades ago. The company would have died a natural death long ago as most users would not be willing to buy a car with outdated features.

TQM helps you build a continuously improved business to stand the test of time.

Quality Communication

When you adopt Total quality management in your organization, you improve the quality of communication you have with your employees. 

You get to hear from your employees and monitor all production operations. You can also improve your processes by testing different ones your workers suggest and choosing what works best.

TQM promotes customer relationships. It also helps you to satisfy your customers by improving your products based on customer feedback.

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This article will discuss how to improve your processes using 9 management principles. But first, let’s examine how to implement them.

How To Implement a Total Quality Management System

Clarify Your Organization’s Visions

You can not implement a total quality management system if your employees do not know where your organization is headed.

Employ a process that educates your employees on what you hope to accomplish in your organization and the principles you want them to operate.

Your employees must know how their actions are essential to the organizational strategy. They must understand how their combined efforts would help to fulfill your company’s goals.

Identify Your Customers

Identify Your Customers

How can you satisfy your customers when you don’t know who they are and what they need?

For example, your company produces head ties. And although it is of the most outstanding quality in the market, you notice that you barely make any sales. It takes some research to discover that your target customers are women and young girls, and the colors you make your head-ties in are just too dull to satisfy them. 

You have to know your customers and understand them to ensure that you provide products and services that satisfy them.

Identify Your Critical Success Factors

How would your employees know they are on the right path to fulfilling the organization’s goals if they have no standard to measure it?

Critical Success Factors (CSF) helps engage your employees and keep them on the right path with customers’ satisfaction in mind.

Employing Critical Process Factors like process improvement, market share, and customer satisfaction helps you know if your company has successfully achieved its goals.

Collect Customer Feedback

Since TQM centers on customer satisfaction, you have to be sure that your company provides products and services that are satisfactory to your customers.

You can only be sure you meet your customers’ requirements when receiving positive customer feedback.

Some companies make the mistake of assuming what their customers need. You must create a process to collect feedback and identify what is essential to your customers.

Adapt to Current Technology

Since technology helps you get work done, you must use it to your advantage to simplify your production process when you adopt the total quality management approach.

For example, instead of trying to hold in-person meetings, you could use task management software to assign tasks to your employees and help them work together digitally to achieve a common goal.

Updated technology helps your company to improve continuously. The older your technology, the harder it is for you to satisfy your customer’s current needs.

9 Total Quality Management Principles

Focus on the Customer

Your customers determine whether your products and services are of good quality or not. 

With this TQM principle, you let your customers decide if your organization’s efforts to provide quality goods and services were worthwhile.

Customers only pay for products and services that satisfy them, and you can not meet your customers’ requirements if you do not know their needs.

For example, your company produces seats for luxury cars, and you work so hard to ensure that it meets all the safety standards and protects your users in the event of a car accident. But while focusing on safety, you neglect comfortability and style. Your target customers will opt for other brands that provide car seats that are safe, comfortable, and stylish.

You must ensure that you know what your customers require from you. You should not assume what they need when you could just ask them. 

Customers’ feedback helps you improve the quality of your company’s products by providing information on customers’ complaints about your products and how to fix them. It also enables you to build a good relationship with your customers. 

With this principle, you can adopt new tools and improved processes like the Help Desk Software to respond to customers’ complaints and requests.

For instance, Front acts as a hub for specialized customer service. The help desk software unifies coworkers, programs, and emails into a single view for quick customer support. By ensuring that your team is coordinated and has a quick turnaround, you will provide VIP treatment to all of your customers.


TQM’s leadership principle helps you build a business environment where all parties are willing to play their part and support each other.

The leadership principle unites all your employees to fulfill your organization’s goals with customer satisfaction as a focus.

Providing leaders at all business levels is a tip to ensuring that you improve your processes faster in your organization.

For example, your Information Technology department has a leader who makes your graphic designer,  Bob’s job easier. Bob can report any problem to his leader, who understands him better. He also improves his processes faster because he does not have to spend much time explaining to an overall leader.

This principle ensures that everybody in your organization is treated equally and included in the decision-making process. Your leaders also uphold the values and ethics that you require from all other employees.

You must build a leadership system that empowers your employees and allows them to take pride in their work. Every leader in your organization must treat their workers with respect..

As a leader, you must work with your employees to improve your business’s productivity and processes.

Total Employee Involvement

With this TQM principle, all the parties involved in the production process are held accountable for the quality of products and services.

So, you involve every employee regardless of their rank or department.

You must educate your employees about their roles and how they are essential for your organization to provide quality goods and services. 

When you involve all your employees, it encourages them to express their opinions and observations about the company’s shortcomings and makes it easy to find solutions.

Imagine you own a cosmetics packaging company, and your customers always request that a particular material be used to pack their cosmetics. Your factory workers overhear a conversation among your customers discussing how their favorite material doesn’t crease or wrinkle as much as others do and remains the same no matter how far they ship it to their consumers. This worker can come to you with this information if they believe you will take their observations seriously.

You must acknowledge that your employees experience different parts of your organization and would therefore have important information about how you can improve processes and satisfy your customers’ needs.

Total employee involvement ensures that all your employees have a feeling of belonging in your organization. It also helps you build a healthy working environment because you do not look down on low-ranking workers. 

You can use tools like HR software to assign tasks to your workers and ensure they are committed to providing quality services.

For example, Paylocity offers cutting-edge workforce solutions through payroll and HR software. The platform makes it easier and more comfortable for businesses to organize and complete business activities.

Focus on the Process

Focusing on the process makes it easy for your employees to spot and fix production mistakes faster. It also helps you to foresee the problems that have not occurred yet and prevent them.

Your production process involves a series of steps to transform your suppliers’ inputs into quality products that satisfy your customers.

The better the production process, the easier it is to provide quality products and services for your customers. 

This TQM principle helps you to use improved processes to satisfy your customers’ requirements. 

You must first identify your company’s present processes to implement this principle. You can do this by breaking the entire process down into smaller pieces. You then work on individual processes to improve the overall quality of your products and services. 

When you focus on the process, you get to identify the working processes and the ones you need to improve. 

Consider a situation where your information technology technicians monitor your web pages and access how long smoothly they run on different devices. 

From customer feedback, they notice that your website generally takes longer to load when customers visit it with their mobile phones. This observation helps them know that they need to work on your website and make it more mobile optimized.

System Integration

Most organizations have different departments with specific functions and unique processes. These departments connect with processes that focus on customer satisfaction.

An integrated system helps the departments in your organization to be in sync and function like the different parts of a machine.

It provides a quality management system that ensures all the employees in every department of your organization understand its policies, standards, and processes.

You can quickly improve your processes when you run a fully integrated system.

This total quality management principle ensures you combine different organizational functions and processes and connect them into an integrated business system. 

To successfully implement this principle, you must educate your employees about your organizational strategy and make them understand how their roles determine if you will accomplish your business goals.

You can also make training available to your employees to help them improve their department processes and increase the quality of your organization’s products and services.

A fully integrated management system helps you connect all the processes involved in the production and allows you to pass information from different parts of your business. 

Continuous Improvement 

Successful organizations like Coca-Cola did not reach optimal efficiency in a day. They struggled with sales but kept improving on the quality of their products until they eventually could satisfy their customers’ needs.

Continual improvement leads to improved processes and higher quality of services and products.

If you do not improve the quality of your products, your competitors that have improved theirs will steal your customers.

Your business needs to improve continuously to provide products that satisfy its customers’ changing needs. 

Imagine if a company like Toyota, founded before the invention of the internet, did not improve its processes. They would have died a natural death as their customers would move to their competitors who provide modern products that satisfy their needs.

As your company improves, it discovers improved processes and achieves competitive advantages that attract customers to you. You must manage and improve processes to increase your organization’s productivity and efficiency.

You must encourage your employees to be innovative and ensure that they participate in training that keeps them updated with new technology to improve their processes and the overall quality of products and services in the organization.

Factual Approach to Decision Making

As a business owner, you must make many decisions that determine the quality of your products and processes and how fast your business grows.

Decision-making is a complicated process requiring you to consider many factors. Because of its complexities, most business owners make wrong decisions that affect their business negatively.

Total quality management ensures you only make business decisions based on facts and data collected from your business’s internal and external sectors of your business.

Facts do not lie. So you can not go wrong when you make decisions based on facts and logic.

When you gather and analyze data, you can make accurate decisions to improve your processes based on your information.

Data analysis helps you assess the effectiveness of previous business decisions. Then you can identify the ones that have yielded positive results and improved your processes.

You can use customer engagement software to collect customer feedback about your services. When you analyze this feedback, you can then decide the parts of your production process that you can improve to provide a higher quality of services to your customers. 

You can not defend making decisions intuitively to your stakeholders. You must provide the facts that lead you to make every business decision.

This TQM principle helps your organization profit by ensuring you do not make many mistakes and spend less correcting them. You get to produce more output with less cost. 


How will your workers and stakeholders know your company’s goals and the strategy you have created to achieve them if you do not communicate with them?

Everybody involved in the production process of your business must know its vision, goals, and strategy. 

Employees must understand how their roles and functions contribute to achieving the organization’s goals. You risk your organization failing to achieve its goals if your workers do not know them.

You must establish a line of communication that updates your workers on changes in your organization’s policies and processes.

Proper communication with your employees helps you know how to improve processes and makes it easy for you to let them know if they are doing a good job. 

Good communication builds a healthy work environment in your organization. It also boosts your employees’ morale when you listen to their contributions.

When you communicate with your customers, you get to understand their requirements and provide a  better quality of products and services. It also helps you build a good relationship with your customers.

Positive customer feedback also helps you to motivate your workers and lets them know they have done an excellent job.

Relationship Management

Not only should you provide quality products and services to your customers, partners, employees, and other parties, but you should also support it with a good relationship.

Successful organizations that have stood the test of time maintain a good relationship with their customers, suppliers, and employees.

As a business, you achieve longevity by gaining new customers and managing your relationship with the old ones. How you treat your old customers determines if you will gain new ones.

Satisfied customers will refer other potential customers to your organization and help you grow your business with word-of-mouth.

You can maintain a good relationship with your customers by collecting their feedback and responding to their complaints. Customers are more likely to make more purchases from your company when you solve their problems.

Conflict resolution is a skill you must have to manage business relationships. You need to be able to solve problems that arise from a conflict of interest between your business and other parties like your customers or stakeholders.

Building a good relationship with your customers makes it easy for you to understand what they require from your organization.

In Conclusion 

Total quality management has worked for many famous and successful organizations for decades. It provides principles that help your organization to improve its processes to satisfy your customers.

Although it takes a lot of effort to implement Total Management Principles, it is always worth it as it improves all aspects of your business. It allows you to provide products and services of more quality.

This management approach helps you to build a thriving organization that grows continuously. You get to improve your processes to make it easier to provide quality products and services and achieve customer satisfaction.

You can also use TQM alongside other management systems like Six Sigma to grow your business.