Firstly, I would like to give few definitions of total quality management (TQM) in order to get a better understanding in this topic. Different authors have given various definitions of TQM. As defined by ISO, TQM is a management approach of an organization, centered on quality, based on the participation of all its members and aiming at long-term success through customer satisfaction, and benefits to all members of the organization and to society. According to Dr.Vadim Kotelnikov, TQM refers to an integrated approach by management to focus all functions and levels of an organization on quality and continuous improvement. It is a very important tool for improving a firm’s process capabilities in order to achieve fit and sustain competitive advantages. TQM focuses on encouraging a continuous flow of incremental improvements from the bottom of the organization’s hierarchy. In his study of ‘Managing the Total Quality Transformation’, (1991), Berry defined the TQM process as a total corporate focus on meeting and exceeding customers’ expectations and significantly reducing costs resulting from poor quality by adopting a new management system and corporate culture.
On the other hand, Dr. Gomathi Viswanathan defines TQM as an approach to improving the effectiveness and flexibilities of business as a whole. It is essentially a way of organising and involving the whole organisation, every department, every activity and every single person at every level. TQM ensures that the management adopts a strategic overview of the quality and focuses on prevention rather than inspection.
Competition is getting harder and becoming global. Companies now have to be more responsive, offer a better product and keep improving. TQM increases customer satisfaction by boosting quality. It does this by motivating the workforce and improving the way the company operates. In an increasingly competitive market, firms with a continuous improvement culture and external focus are more likely to survive and prosper. TQM is considered an important catalyst in this context. Moreover, total quality management has proven to be more than just a quickly disappearing management fad or fashion. It has been considered one of the most influential management innovations of the 20 th century.????
According to Agus and Hassan (2011), quality creates not only a price/value advantage over competitors but also enables the firm to charge a higher per/unit sale price through differentiation. A strategy of high quality leads to a sustainable competitive advantage. Firms competing on quality pursue an operational strategy that controls quality of the product/service and seeks continuous improvement. At that point, TQM provides a set of practices that emphasizes, among other things, continuous improvement, meeting customers’ requirements, reducing rework, long-range thinking, increased employee involvement and teamwork, process redesign, competitive benchmarking, team-based problemsolving, constant measurement of results, and closer relationships with suppliers.
In her study, Dr. Gomathi Viswanathan listed objectives of TQM : -Meeting the customer’s requirements is the primary objective and the key to organisational survival and growth. -Second objective is continuous improvement of quality. The management should stimulate the employees in becoming increasingly competent and creative. – Third, TQM aims at developing the relationship of openness and trust among the employees at all levels in the organisation.
Furthermore, she states the importance of TQM lies in the fact that it encourages innovation, makes the organisation adaptable to change, motivates people for better quality, and integrates the business arising out of a common purpose and all these provide the organisation with a valuable and distinctive competitive edge. In a nutshell, in today’s globally competitive market, the situation is to buy whichever is of good quality and low cost. The organisations have started with a rigour to have an edge over the global competition and in the process some have become successful. The quality movement, which drives every organisation towards the global market, seems to increase its competitive advantage for better market acceptance.
CASE STUDY OF IBM
During my researches, I realised that many of the companies that have implemented TQM are large multinational corporations (MNCs) such as IBM, British Airways, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, etc. In my study, I will analyse IBM’s total quality management system.
Briefly about IBM
IBM or International Business Machines is a well known known American computer manufacturer, founded by Thomas J. Watson (born 1874-02-17). IBM is also known as “Big Blue” after the color of its logo. The company has made everything from mainframes to personal computers and has been immensely successful selling business computers. On June 16, 1911, three successful companies decided to merge, marking the beginnings of IBM history.
The Tabulating Machine Company, the International Time Recording Company, and the Computing Scale Company of America joined together to incorporate and form one company, the Computing Tabulating Recording Company. In 1914, Thomas J. Watson Senior joined CTR as CEO and held that title for the next twenty years, turning the company into the multi-national entity. In 1924, Watson changed the company’s name to International Business Machines Corporation or IBM. From the beginning, IBM defined itself not by selling products, which ranged from commercial scales to punch card tabulators, but by its research and development.
In July 1980, Microsoft’s Bill Gates agreed to create an operating system for IBM’s new computer for the home consumer, which IBM released on August 12 1981. The first IBM PC ran on a 4.77 MHz Intel 8088 microprocessor. IBM had now stepped into the home consumer market, sparking the computer revolution.
IBM’s current “8-bar” logo was designed in 1972 by Paul Rend It was a general replacement for a 13-bar logo that first appeared in the public on the 1966 release of the TSS/360. Logos designed in the 1970s tended to be sensitive to the technical limitations of photocopiers, which were then being widely deployed. A logo with large solid areas tended to be poorly copied by copiers in the 1970s, so companies preferred logos that avoided large solid areas. The 1972 IBM logos are an example of this tendency. With the advent of digital copiers in the mid-1980s this technical restriction had largely disappeared; at roughly the same time, the 13-bar logo was abandoned for almost the opposite reason – it was difficult to render accurately on the low-resolution digital printers of the time.
As it is mentioned before, Big Blue is a nickname for IBM. There are several theories explaining the origin of the name. One theory, substantiated by people who worked for IBM at the time, is that IBM field representatives coined the term in the 1960s, referring to the color of the mainframes IBM installed in the 1960s and early 1970s. True Blue referred to a loyal IBM customer, and business writers later picked up the term. Another theory suggests that Big Blue refers to the Company’s logo. A third theory suggests that Big Blue refers to a former company dress code that required many IBM employees to wear only white shirts and many wore blue suits. In any event, IBM keyboards, typewriters, and some other manufactured devices have played on the “Big Blue” concept, using the color for enter keys and carriage returns. IBM has also used blue logos since 1947, making blue the defining color of the company’s corporate design, which might be another, more plausible reason for the term. IBM insists it must never change.
The company may have moved forward enormously from the days of industrial clock and meat slicer manufacturing but its pioneering spirit remains as strong as it was back in 1911. Over the last 5 years, IBM adapted its global supply chain and functional processes, resulting in $6 billion productivity savings. The company now accounting for tens of millions of shareholders, does business in over 170 countries and has invest $58 billion in research and design alone. This is ensured the company’s net income hit an all-time high of $14.8 billion, with gross profit rising from 37% to 46.1%.With the company continuing to innovate, the focus shifts to the next 100 years of IBM. Sam Palmisano says it all in his closing statement to all employees: To every single individual, thank you. We pledge boldness in IBM’s second century to create a company that never stops moving to the future.12 Ever onward. IBM has created a dedicated website to celebrate 100 years of innovation.
Here you can read all about how the company was formed, watch informative videos and view photos of IBM and its products over the past century. It’s truly impressive, if you get a chance, do make sure to check it out. The world’s emerging markets will drive more than 60 percent of global GDP growth in the next four years. IBM is investing in more than 100 of these countries, which are building out critical infrastructure, developing strategic industries and responding to massive demographic shifts, such as rapid urbanization. In 2011, IBM opened nearly 100 new branch offices to expand our presence beyond large cities and beyond the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China), and to participate in high-growth industries. IBM creating hubs of expertise around the world. These include the Institute for Electronic Government and the Energy and Utilities Solution Lab in China; Natural Resource Solution Centers in Perth and Rio de Janeiro; Banking Centers in Singapore and São Paulo; and a Latin American micro-financing center in Lima.
In Africa, IBM is investing to bring expertise in areas like financial services. For example, we are working with five leading Kenyan banks on infrastructure projects and helping Safaricom, through a partnership with Vodafone, provide its M-PESA mobile money service to more than 15 million customers. Organizations are reaching far beyond the structured tables of databases. They are analyzing the streaming, unstructured data generated by events as they occur in the world, and acting upon those insights—from customer preferences or patient outcomes, to process inefficiencies or safety—in real time. They are integrating analytics into the way they work. IBM has the world’s deepest portfolio of analytics solutions and software; a leading position in powerful optimized systems; and the business and industry expertise of almost 9,000 business analytics and optimization consultants, 400 researchers and eight analytics solution centers.
IBM has acquired 28 companies to build targeted analytics and information expertise since 2005. IBM has generated hundreds of patents a year in analytics, and invented breakthrough technologies like IBM Watson, a learning system that answers questions in natural language, and InfoSphere Streams, software that can correlate and analyze thousands of real-time data sources. Mazda Motor Corporation collaborated with IBM analytics, data modeling and traffic simulation experts to reduce human error in driving.
The result was an early warning system using IBM analytics software that identifies accident-prone areas, warns drivers of danger and learns as conditions change. Guangdong Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine worked with IBM Research to understand the effectiveness of traditional Chinese and Western treatments of chronic kidney disease. IBM information management and analytics software helps the hospital correlate patient information with demographics, such as age and gender, and relevant anonymized cases to improve outcomes, boost quality of care and reduce costs.
From its inception almost a century ago, IBM has been based on a set of fundamental values. IBM’s values shape and define our company and permeate all of our relationships-between IBM’s people and our shareholders, our clients, the communities where our people live and work, and among our network of suppliers. ‘Within our supply chain relationships, we know that our company’s sizable purchasing power is a unique resource that we must manage responsibly, and we do. IBM spends nearly $2 billion a year with diverse suppliers, for example, greater than any other technology company. Yet more than managing our spend, we have a responsibility to hold ourselves–and our suppliers–to high standards of behavior. This means complying with all applicable laws and regulations.
But it goes beyond that. It entails a strong commitment to work with suppliers to encourage sound practices and develop sound global markets. We have always maintained an open channel of communications with suppliers to set expectations. Today, in an increasingly interconnected world market, the expectations for all players across the entire supply chain go up. Therefore, we are both reaffirming our existing policies and instituting some new practices, which are spelled out in the following Supplier Conduct Principles. These principles establish for our suppliers the minimum standards we expect from them as a condition of doing business with IBM. IBM will have the right to take action with suppliers that fail to comply with these principles, including terminating our relationship with them.’
Each year IBM describes how the company manages its business and serves its shareholders in a detailed financial road map. A long-term perspective ensures IBM is well positioned to take advantage of major shifts occurring in technology, business and the global economy. It also galvanizes the company to deliver superior performance.
TQM in IBM
Automating information technology and business processes is helping organizations worldwide realize enormous savings. Consider, for example, Tivoli Development Labs, the IBM team responsible for testing Tivoli software prior to its release. Tivoli Development Labs develops enterprise-class software that supports numerous 65 heterogeneous operating system platforms.
Tivoli Development Labs, the IBM team responsible for testing Tivoli software prior to its release. Tivoli Development Labs develops enterprise-class software that supports numerous heterogeneous operating system platforms. Each product undergoes extensive, mandatory testing across the supported platforms. “Wehave to test every software product in a multiplicity ofenvironments to mitigate the risk of problems for our customers,” explains Phil Buckellew, program director, IBM Tivoli Developmnt Labs. In 2004, the organization launched an initiative to improve the quality and efficiency of its software release management process. Of greatest concern was the time and skill required to build each test environment, from bare metal to full installation.
With more than 5,500 heterogeneous servers spread across the lab in Austin, Texas, there are times when some teams are not using servers and other teams are scrambling to meet deadlines and could be aided by more resources. A typical operating system deployment required between 1.5 to 2.5 hours. And because this process was manual, the quality and consistency of systems could vary depending on how closely each tester followed the installation instructions. “Manually configuring test environments resulted in testing delays and an inefficient use of both our staff and our system resources,” says Buckellew. “We needed to find a way to shrink the timeframe for testing so that our product groups could go to market faster with highquality software.”
Manual processes also made it necessary for each tester to be familiar with the particular operating system being installed. This meant that specialized domain experts were often reduced to menial tasks to ensure that systems were installed and configured properly. And given the tedious nature of this process, staff often didn’t required. This increased the risk that configuration variations might contribute to problems in the environment. “Manually configuring test environments resulted in testing delays and an inefficient use of both our staff and our system resources,” says Buckellew. “We needed to find a way to shrink the timeframe for testing so that our product groups could go to market faster with high-quality software.” have the time to remove all software from each server every time a new test was required. This increased the risk configuration variations might contribute to problems in the environment. “Manually configuring test environments resulted in testing delays and an inefficient use of both our staff and our system resources,” says Buckellew. “We needed to find a way to shrink the timeframe for testing so that our product groups could go to market faster with high-quality software.”
This would help testers ensure consistency in the test environment and enable them to spend more time testing the software to improve product quality. To achieve this goal, the organization implemented IBM Tivoli Provisioning Manager software, an IBM IT Operational Management Product that is an integral part of IBM IT Service Management. Tivoli Provisioning Manager software is installed on the IBM System x platform running Red Hat Linux, chosen because it offers a costeffective platform with proven flexibility, scalability and security. Through the use of Automation Packages, Tivoli Provisioning Manager software provided the dynamic workflows the team required to automatically drive provisioning operations based on best practices and procedures. Using Tivoli Provisioning Manager software, Tivoli Development Labs has automated more than 800 tasks that were once performed manually across 415 systems.
This includes tasks for allocating and removing servers from the test environment; configuring servers; installing and uninstalling software and patches; and performing bare-metal builds. Doing so has helped the team minimize human errors, such as incorrectly setting a registry value or forgetting to remove an old file that may cause software conflict, and increase the accuracy of the testing environment.“By employing IBM IT Service Management software, we’ve been able to easily implement best practices for software provisioning,” says Buckellew. “This, in turn, is helping us better align our testing processes with business goals and significantly improve operational efficiency.”
Automating manual processes improves operational efficiency, driving expected savings of more than $2 million a year. Leveraging best practices drive greater consistency to help minimize human errors and speed the execution and accuracy of the testing process· Improving the reliability of the testing environment helps testers identify the source of code defects more quickly and retest with confidence.
Standards meet changing market needs and are customer driven. Businesses benefit from standards because they establish ground rules that help to guarantee quality. Achieving certification to a standard might add reassurance for its customers and enables a business to boost its sales performance.Consumers benefit because their safety and their satisfaction are both greatly enhanced. Governments benefit because such measures contribute to greater productivity and economic growth, and safer work, leisure and home environments. IBM was the world’s first national standards making body. Today it is the most prestigious international standards institution. It works with the British government, manufacturers and other stakeholders to create quality standards. These guarantee fitness for purpose, and help British manufacturers to gain a competitive edge both in the UK and internationally. IBM assists British businesses in all markets to grow and to concentrate on meeting customers’ requirements.