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What is Total Quality Management?

Total Quality Management (TQM) describes a management approach to long-term success through customer satisfaction and continual improvement. All members of a corporation participate in improving processes, products, services, and therefore the culture during which they work. TQM can be summarized as a pillar of Total Lean Management pillar and a management system that uses strategy, data, and effective communications to integrate the quality discipline into the culture and activities of the organization.

8 principles that govern Total Quality Management initiatives:
  1. Customer-focused: The customer ultimately determines the level of quality and whether the improvement efforts were worthwhile.
  2. Total employee involvement: All employees participate in working toward common goals. Self-managed work teams contribute towards Quality Excellence
  3. Process-centric: A fundamental part of TQM is a focus on process thinking. Performance measures are continuously monitored so as to detect unexpected variation.
  4. Integrated system: It is the horizontal processes interconnecting all other vertical functions that are the focus of achieving Quality Excellence.
  5. Strategic and systematic approach: A critical part of quality management is the strategic approach to achieving an organization’s vision, mission, and goals.
  6. Continual improvement: Being analytical and creative in finding ways to become more competitive and effective at meeting business expectations.
  7. Fact-based decision making: Continually collect and analyse data in order to improve decision making accuracy and precise forecasting.
  8. Communications: Effective communications of strategies, method, and timeliness plays a large part in maintaining morale and in motivating employees at all levels.


Total Quality Management (TQM) is a participative, systematic approach to planning and implementing a constant organizational improvement process through Lean Practices. Its approach is concentrated on exceeding customers’ expectations, identifying problems, building commitment, and promoting open decision-making among workers.

These objectives are achieved through systematic deployement of following quality improvement Lean Tools:
  • 7 Basic QC Tools
  • 7 New QC Tools
  • Lean Six Sigma
  • QC Story Boards


What are the Seven QC Tools?

The seven basic QC Tools are the Lean Tools that are focused towards quality improvement. 7 QC Tools is a designation given to a fixed set of graphical techniques identified as being most helpful in troubleshooting issues related to quality. They are called basic because they're suitable for people with little formal training in statistics and since they will be wont to solve the overwhelming majority of quality-related issues. The designation arose in post-war Japan, inspired by the seven famous weapons of Benkei.

The popular 7 QC Tools are:
  • Stratification (Divide and Conquer) is a method of dividing data into sub–categories and classify data based on group, division, class or levels that helps in deriving meaningful information to understand an existing problem.
  • Histogram, Introduced by Karl Pearson, is to study the density of data in any given distribution and understand the factors or data that repeat more often. Histogram helps in prioritizing the areas that needs utmost attention immediately.
  • Check sheet (Tally Sheet) is a metric, structured table or form for collecting data and analysing them. When the knowledge collected is quantitative in nature, the check sheet also can be called as tally sheet. Ithelps in understanding the progress, defect patterns and even causes for defects.
  • Cause-and-effect diagram introduced by Kaoru Ishikawa (for which it is also known as Ishikawa Diagram) helps in identifying the various causes leading to an effect (or problem) and also helps in deriving meaningful relationship between them to identify all root causes behind a problem. In manufacturing industry, to identify the source of variation the causes are usually grouped into 6 major categories in a structure which resembles the skeleton of a fish – the reason it being commonly referred as Fishbone Diagram also.
  • The categories are:
    • People
    • Methods
    • Machines
    • Material
    • Measurements
    • Environment
  • Pareto chart, named after Vilfredo Pareto, revolves around the concept of 80-20 rule which underlines that in any process, 80% of problem or failure is just caused by 20% of few major factors and vice versa with minor factors. 80-20 rule represents concept of “Vital Few – Trivial Many”.
  • Scatter diagram or scatter plot is basically a statistical tool that depicts the effect on one factor as a function of an independent variable or factor. The relationship can be linear, curvilinear, exponential, logarithmic, quadratic, polynomial etc.
  • Control Chart is also called as Shewhart Chart named after Walter A. Shewhart. It is basically a statistical chart which helps in determining if an industrial process or process variation is within control and capable to meet the customer defined acceptable specification limits.

Benefits of 7 QC Tools:

  • Improved quality of product
  • Encourages team fork through CFT brainstorming
  • Efficient ways to prevent potential problems
  • Promotes drive of continual improvement
  • Greater customer satisfaction
  • Helps in creating focused improvements and reap larger benefits
  • Highlights bottlenecks in organization


What are the New 7 QC Tools?

In 1976, the Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers (JUSE) understood the necessity for tools to market innovation, communicate information and successfully plan major projects. A team researched and developed the seven new quality control tools, to be used along with the 7 basic quality tools. These tools are often called the seven management and planning (MP) tools, or simply the seven management tools.

The seven new tools, listed in an order that moves from abstract analysis to detailed planning, are:
  1. Affinity diagram: Organizes a large number of ideas into their natural relationships.
  2. Interrelationship diagram: Shows cause-and-effect relationships and helps analyse the natural links between different aspects of a complex situation.
  3. Tree diagram: Breaks down broad categories into finer and finer levels of detail, helping to move step-by-step thinking from generalities to specifics.
  4. Matrix diagram: Shows the relationship between two, three, or four groups of information and can give information about the relationship, such as its strength, the roles played by various individuals, or measurements.
  5. Prioritization Matrix: A prioritization matrix is an L-shaped matrix that uses pairwise comparisons of a list of options to a set of criteria in order to choose the best option(s).
  6. Arrow diagram: Shows the required order of tasks in a project or process, the best schedule for the entire project, and potential scheduling and resource problems and their solutions.
  7. Process decision program chart: Systematically identifies what might go wrong in a plan under development.

Benefits of 7 New QC Tools:

  • Expression of verbal data diagrammatically
  • Information gets visible
  • Better interpretation of available information and ideas
  • Greater people involvement
  • Clarity of the larger picture
  • Increase in employees’ ability to foresee problem occurrence
  • Increase in people’s problem solving confidence and greater employee engagement

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