Total Quality Management

Total Quality Management

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Definition of Total Quality Management
To understand and appreciate Total Quality Management, one needs to first be given the definition. Claude W. Burnhill and Johannes Ledholter offer the following definition in their textbook “Achieving Quality through Continual Improvement” published in 1999:
“Total Quality Management is a [holistic] business management methodology that aligns the activities of all employees in an organization with the common focus of customer satisfaction [to be achieved] through continuous improvement in the quality of all activities [processes], goods and services. (Burnhill and Ledholter, 1999)
Impact of Globalization on Quality
To study the impact of globalization on quality is paramount to the success of an organization which wishes to expand into international markets, participate in international investment and/or utilize international resources to augment domestic production. A key resource to achieve international expansion is the concept of export management companies. For example, if a garment manufacturing company is located in Florida and wishes to expand internationally, it may use an export management company. If the owner of the garment company is focused on Total Quality Management, it would be wise of this owner to align themselves with like-minded export management companies. Additionally, the garment company owner may participate in Six-Sigma. “Six Sigma at many organizations simply means a measure of quality that strives for near perfection” (six sigma website) A characterizing mechanism to achieve this is by not producing “more than 3.4 defects per million” (six sigma website)
In the context of the garment business owner, the company would therefore not produce more than 34 mis-sized shirts per 10 million produced. Though this is a high goal, it is one which is achievable provided management at all levels made six-sigma a guiding philosophy. How this transitions into utilization of like-minded export management companies is simply by selecting representation which has a proven and verifiable track record of on-time payment history, references from other satisfied business owners, and extremely minimized offshore delivery dates.
Traditional management styles VS. Quality management styles
The four functions of management are planning, leading, organizing, and controlling. By this definition, there is little room for difference between traditional style and quality management style. However, if traditional management is focused solely on business expansion and profit, then quality management would likely be overlooked. In this instance, identifying product demand, followed by manufacturing of the product, then followed by deployment of the product to as many sales channels as possible as quickly as possible would be the standard operating procedure.

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This method while historically proven effective does not consider how employing the teachings of quality management would therefore result in increased profitability due to less defects. Less defects means less returns. Less returns ultimately leads to less warranty work, less blemishes in consumer reporting journals, less negative advertising, and so on. Hence, the company which focuses on quality management will see less hassle with its product.
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The concept of total quality management at University of Phoenix is multi-faceted just as the organization is equally multi-faceted. To begin, potential students submit inquiries through one of various channels. Quality Management begins at this stage by ensuring that the enrollment department and representatives are given accurate information by potential students who meet at least the minimum qualifications for enrollment. If one of these inquiries were to arrive to enrollment with a birth year of 1990, this potential student would only by 17 years old and not eligible for enrollment. Filtering out these types of erroneous inquiries so enrollment never sees them and wastes time identifying them is the first step. Next, the national qualifying center in Phoenix, Arizona makes attempts to contact these potential students to ask them 8 questions. Based upon the answers to the questions, the student is directed to the appropriate enrollment department. Quality Management is again used in this step, because a person who wishes to advance their degree to a BS/Nursing needs to first have their RN license. If a qualifying representative were to skip this crucial information or ignore the wrong response and forward this potential student to an enrollment representative, what actually occurs is a waste of time of both the potential student as well as the enrollment representative. Feedback is solicited from the qualifying center from enrollment representatives, enrollment managers, as well as from electronic reports. Based upon the results of this feedback is how the qualifying center determines how it is in compliance with the university goals for quality management. Further steps are taken at the enrollment level, followed by finance and academics, faculty services, business liasons, facilities management, procurement and vendor relationships, etc. Suffice it to say, University of Phoenix is dedicated to total quality management to the extent it will soon be participating in the facilitation of six-sigma black belt trainings.
In conclusion, the concept of quality management is a proven sound methodology which focuses on the business’ commitment to quality in addition to volume and profit. This methodology has proven to be sound in reducing costs as well as increasing brand name trust. With continued focus on quality and six-sigma, organizations which participate have a higher chance of continued success in an increasingly globalized marketplace.

Burrill, C.W. & Ledholter, J. (1999) Achieving quality through continual improvement. Wiley. New York. NY.
Six Sigma Website, retrieved January 23, 2007 from
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