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4.07 - What is Total Quality?


The term “Total Quality of Performance” relates not just to the technical quality of products but rather to the quality of performance of every function in an organisation. This is in recognition of the fact that the quality and cost of a product depends upon its design, the lead times and reliability of processes operated by many contributory departments (both manufacturing and administrative), the choice of materials and the effectiveness of supporting structures.

Total Quality

Total Quality

The basic supporting elements required to ensure a total quality approach in order of implementation are:-

  1. The creation of a simple effective organisation structure, with natural cellular groupings of people and facilities around material and information flows. Relevant measures of performance for each team in each group must reflect the overall business targets.
  2. The application of all relevant techniques to help continuous improvement and the control of quality performance (e.g. SPC, FMEA, etc)
  3. A first-rate and well managed communications system in every part of the organisation. It should be possible to periodically measure the performance of the communication system.
  4. Effective supplier development schemes reflecting points 1-3 above, in each supplying company and regularly reviewed against targets.

The Thirteen Principles

The following 13 Principles have proved effective in practice, following the pioneering work of Dr W E Deming, Dr J M Juran and Dr K Ishikawa:-


Innovate in all areas including training and provide resources to assist. Maintain an innovative and vigorous training programme.


Learn the ‘Zero Defect’ philosophy and the need for continued improvement


Do not rely on mass inspection for quality. Put quality prevention on-line via SPC etc.


Reduce the number of suppliers and develop them for continuous improvement of service as well as cost.


Use statistical techniques to identify sources of waste and cure both system faults and local faults at source.


Ensure that organisational and management systems support innovation and continuous improvement.


Provide supervision with on-line techniques for problem identification and problem solution via their teams.


Create openness by encouraging questions and the reporting of problems.


Attack waste by the use of multi-disciplinary teams.


Avoid exhortative slogans as a substitute for team approaches.


Beware of over-bureaucratic imposition of work standards


Provide elemental statistical training to all employees


Make maximum use of statistical data to focus on priority problems.

Further Reading