Importance of Leadership, Customer Satisfaction and Benchmarking in Total Quality Management (TQM)

Importance of Leadership, Customer Satisfaction and Benchmarking in Total Quality Management (TQM)

Implementation of TQM:

* The management’s contribution is essential in any successful TQM implementation, especially of CEO.
* Next step is to form a quality circle, providing a vision, mission and quality statement. Middle managers are needed to be actively involved in the implementation.
* If there is any union present in the organization, representatives from it should be involved in the process.

Role of senior management:

Senior management must practice the philosophy of Management provided by Wandering Around or MBWA. They must let the employees think themselves. They must be informed of the topics of quality improvement by generating good reading habits. They must celebrate success in the organization. They must organize seminars, coaching etc. Customer listening is another parameter. Good and regular communication with feedback is again required with employees and consumers.

Characteristics of Quality Leaders

* The quality leaders take the matters with respect to customers and work on the changing requirements of the customers.
* Quality leaders are such that they have total control over the work of their sub-ordinates.
* Quality leaders believe in improvement more than in maintaining the current position.
* These leaders are more likely to prevent any mishap rather than waiting for them to happen.
* Quality leaders develop the skill of mutual co-operation rather than mutual competition.
* Quality leaders believe in working with the team, helping them from time to time.
* They believe in the concept of quality after learning from problems. They strive to improve the ability of dissemination of information.

Leadership Concepts

* A leader is well acquainted with the fact that all employees need independence along with security.
* Even though rewards and punishments matter to a large extent, self-motivation is highly followed.
* It is a common tendency that people like to hear well about themselves. They should be appreciated for their achievements.
* A leader is also required to make things easily understandable.
* Self-confidence is more trustworthy than the statistical data.
* People don’t obey a leader if his words contradict.

The 7 Habits of highly Effective People

* The first of these habits is to be proactive which means to look at alternatives and take decisions rather than wait for things to happen.
* Secondly, one must begin keeping the end in mind. One should be true to himself in taking any step in life.
* Thirdly, one must put first things first which is an inclusion of self-management.
* Fourthly, one must think win-win. This suggests that one should always be optimistic.
* Next, one must think such that he can understand what others say rather than seek to be understood by all.
* Sixth, one should believe in synergy such that he can achieve a goal with a feeling of togetherness rather than an individualistic approach.
* Finally, one must look forward to sharpen the saw. This means that one must enhance the four dimensions of nature namely-physical, spiritual, mental and social or emotional.

Quality Council:

Quality council comprises of CEO, senior managers of functional areas like finance, production etc. A regular meeting should be organized to discuss and plan issues like:

* Developing a vision, mission and quality statement,
* Developing a long term goal strategy
* Education and training plan
* Determining performance plan
* Determining processes that improves the present ones
* Establishing multifunctional project and group based work culture, developing a reward system etc.

Core Values and concept:

Some core values in TQM include customer driven quality which considers:

* It is end user who determines the quality of the product not any manager
* Second is leadership which states that
o Leaders need to set directions
o Continuous improvement and learning process in the organization and employees
o Valuing employees
o A more dynamic market response mechanism
o Emphasizing design quality and preventing waste through developing quality in the products
o Long term orientation rather than seeking short term opportunities
o Management by facts
o Developing partnership
o Understanding corporate and citizen responsibility and focusing on end result.

Shared Values:

Shared values process is composed of eight principles. They are:

* Treating others with truth
* plentiful trust on co-workers and associates
* Creating learning atmosphere with unselfish mentoring (employee to management and vice versa)
* Invites new ideas
* Take personal risks for the sake of organizational benefits
* Appreciate people wherever possible
* Honesty
* Put other’s interest before your own


Organization must leave cause of unethical behaviour and should manage ethical management program.
Quality Statement:

It includes vision statement: It is what an organization will seek to achieve in near future, mission statement: mission statement states that what is the organization is all about, who are the consumer, how it work etc. and the important one that is Quality policy statement: it is a type of guide for everyone in the organization to know how to provide service and service to the consumers.
Strategic planning:

Strategic planning is for about three to 10 years. It comprises of

* Goal and objectives: Goals are ultimate aim and objectives are intermediate checkpoints.
* Seven steps of strategic planning including consumer need, positioning, predicting future, gap analysis, alignment, closing the gap and implementation.
* Yearly quality improvement process


Interactive form is best when communication is between workforce and immediate supervisor, formal communication includes printed and electronic communication which includes graph, posters etc. Feedback adds to the soundness of effective communication.
Decision making:

Here seven habits are highly efficient:

* Being proactive
* Keep the result in the mind
* Prioritizing
* Think “win/win”
* Try to understand first than to be understood
* To be in race (sharpen the saw) and
* Synergy.

Leadership survey:

This is a tool to evaluate the leader’s performance.

Customer Satisfaction

Who are customers?

A person who employs the service or buys the product is often termed as consumer or customer. Two types of customers are identified by the customers: External and Internal.

* Internal customers are those lying within the organization like engineering, order processing etc and
* The external customers are those who are outside the organization and buy products and services of the organization.

Consumer perception of quality:

As the customer’s need, expectation and values keep on changing, there is no such picture of customer’s quality need. As according to ASQ, survey, important factors for purchase for the customer are:

* Features
* Performance
* Price
* Service
* Reputation and
* Warranty


TQM requires customer feedback to be continuously monitored. It is required to identify costumer dissatisfaction, needs, opportunities for enhancement and comparison with substitute in the market.

Methodology for feedback involves comment card, survey, focus group, toll free numbers, report card, internet, customer visits, employee feedback and using standard indexes like ACSI of “American Customer Satisfaction Index”. ASCI allow contrast in between company and industry averages.

Using customer Complaints:

Studies suggest that the customer who did not complain is most prone to switch to another product. Every individual complaint is needed to be entertained. Results also suggest that half of the dissatisfied-customers will buy again if they feel that their complaint had been addressed.

Service Quality:

Research suggests that elements of customer service are:

* Customer care: A firm must revolve around the customers.
* Communication: Communication with customers is essential.
* Organization: Such that same level of quality can be delivered to everyone.
* Front-line people: Only the best employees should be allowed to communicate with the customers.
* Leadership: Involvement of management is essential in any quality management process.

Translating needs into requirements:

Kano model is the most basic conceptualization of customer requirement. There are three lines-red, blue and green to explain its ideology. The red line shows innovation, blue shows spoken and expected requirement and green line shows unspoken and expected requirements.

Kano model is based on an assumption that a customer buys when he needs something, however is it not completely true, an organization must overflow the customer needs. This can be understood by “Voice of the customer” concept.

Customer Retention:

It is more powerful and efficient in company’s point of view as with customer satisfaction. It is involved with the activities which basically are related to customer satisfaction in order to increase the loyalty of the customers towards the company.

It moves customer satisfaction to next level by determining what is actually important for the customer.

Quality Management Systems

Quality Management Systems like the ISO are required to facilitate the exchange of goods between customers and sellers across different nations worldwide.

Benefits of ISO Registration

* After the inclusion of ISO in the products, it was observed that most of the attributes of internal quality like scrap were measured to be better.
* The reliability of the production also increases as a matter of fact.
* Even the external qualities that were measured by customers were highly improved after the inclusion of ISO standards.
* The time performance of the system also increased vastly as a result of this.
* The cost of producing poor quality also decreased after including ISO standards.

ISO 9001 Requirements

* Scope: ISO 9001 is essential to meet the customer’s requirements such that customer satisfaction is attainable.
* Normative Reference: The fundamentals and vocabulary provide the normative references.
* Terms and Definitions: In addition to the standard terms and definition, the chain starting from supply to organization to customer is required in the terms and conditions.
* Quality Management Systems (QMS): The organizations should look to establish, document, implement, and maintain a QMS for effectiveness.
* Management Responsibility: ISO 9001 guarantees management control, customer focus, quality policy, planning, responsibility, and a review by the management at the general level.
* Resource Management: This includes provision of resources, human resources, infrastructure, and a proper work environment in order to achieve the goals.
* Product Realization: This section of ISO 9001 secures planning of product realization according to the requirements of the QMS, customer related process, design and development, purchasing, production and service provision, control and monitoring and measuring devices.
* Measurement, Analysis and Improvement: In general, the statistical technique and the extent of use should also be reasonable by the concept of ISO 9001. Under the monitoring and control there should be customer satisfaction, an internal audit, monitoring and measurement of processes and also products and services. This also includes control of nonconforming products, analysis of data, and improvement continuously by taking corrective and preventive action.


The next important factor to understand in this context is the implementation of the quality management system. This can be done in the following steps:

* Top Management Commitment: It is highly essential that there is total support of the higher level authority of the organization.
* Appoint the Management Representative: After the top management is contented with the procedure, it is important that the correct representative is appointed so as to follow the quality system with care.
* Awareness: It is also required at this point of time that the organization spreads awareness of the quality systems as it effects all who are attached with the organization.
* Appoint an Implementation Team: Once the levels are all made aware of the quality systems, the organization should form an implementation team such that it is kept visible to all the employees in the future.
* Training: All the above mentioned teams should be trained in order to produce the best results.
* Time Schedule: There should be a time schedule such that the activity is followed in the correct time sequence and the results expected of the implementation of the quality systems are achieved as desired.

The other processes to follow are selecting of the element owners, reviewing the present system, writing the document, installing the new system, internal auditing, and management review, pre-assessment and registration.

One must appreciate the fact that the quality systems are meant to be recognized by all. This implies that it is very important to have simplicity rather than complexity in understanding. It should follow the following four principles:

* Policy: This defines as to what would be done and why would that be so. This should be done extremely carefully as it is the root of the documentation on which the entire quality system depends.
* Procedure: Next, one must decide the methods that would be required in order to achieve the task. It includes making decisions related to when the tasks are to be done etc.
* Work instructions: This gives the detail of the documentation. Based on the readings of the work instructions, the readers would come to know of the idea behind the quality systems.
* Records: In order to keep an account of the actions on a specific product, it is required to keep the record.
* Document Development: In order to provide a proper document, it is required to gather all the policies, procedures, work instructions and forms that are being used presently. This will form the basis of the new work.

Internal Audits

The purpose of internal audits can be seen as follows:

* It will compare the actual performance of the quality system with the one that had been documented.
* It would take the corrective measures for the same.
* All those items that were non compliant previously, would be followed
* It would provide continuous improvement through the feedback to the manager.
* It would also create a further chance of improvement by generating a cause to think.

This internal audit would be done by the auditor by using the techniques of examining the documents and following the procedure of the audit plan.

If Quality systems are assessed by a third party called as a registrar, it is referred to as registration.

A registrar is chosen based on the qualifications and experience, certificate recognition like approval from RAB, the registration process according to the organization’s needs under the time and cost constraints and the auditor’s qualifications.

It is essential to mention at this point that registration is not a compulsion. It is rather a provision such that the nonconformities are solved.


Finally Benchmarking is done to measure performance as a comparison with those adopted by the best organization in the industry.

Reason for benchmarking:

It is a tool to achieve competition and corporate goals. It is a tool for organizations to reduce its weakness and to enhance its strengths. Benchmarking requires external orientation as it greatly reduces the uncertainty offered by global and external competition.

It is time and cost efficient and provides working model of a better process.

The primary weakness of benchmarking is attaining the best practices is just like catching a moving target. Key threat is continuously improving technology.

Organization that adopts benchmarking, take the process to adjust with the present culture and needs. Six steps that are crucial are as follows:

* Estimate present performance
* Decide what the organization can benchmark
* Apply a study on others
* Try to understand form the data collected
* Plan
* And utilize the findings

Two famous industrial standards are those of Xerox and AT&T’s 12 step process. Let’s have a close discussion on the above headings.
Deciding what to benchmark:

Most organization has a strategy to decide that which benchmarking strategy to adopt. This is mainly highlighted in terms of vision and mission statement. These statements determine the “critical success factors”. Thus when deciding what to benchmark, it is best to start with analyzing vision statement and critical factors.
Understanding present performance:

To apply benchmarking that requires applying outside policies in organization, it is essential to analyze own policies and performance first. Current performance can be understood by various methods such as cause and effect diagram and flow diagram.

Exceptions should be identified. Units of measure must be determined and proper documentation is required here.

After identification of process and documentation, next step is to plan the way to conduct the study. A team known as benchmarking team is needed to be selected. It is the responsibility of the team to decide what kind of benchmarking is to be carried out. The team also prepares time-line for the process to decide the desired result from the study carried out.
Studying others:

Studies related to benchmarking concept seek two types of data. They are details of best practices and results that can be measured from these practices. Information needed form others in benchmarking may be present publicly and may not need to research down. But there remain few things that are tough to investigate form open sources. For these kinds of information, team can conduct site visits; questionnaire and can apply the focus group etc to determine the desired information.
Learning form data:

Benchmarking studies can reveal 3 basic kinds of outcomes like

* The result of external process’s supremacy over the internal process
* They may be equal
* Internal process can be better than the founded and explored external process

In this analysis, important thing is parameters of judgement of the process.
Using the findings:

If the study of benchmarking standards reveal the gap between the internal process and the observed process in negative, the next task to bridge the task by appropriate steps.
Pitfall and criticisms:

Most important pitfall is benchmarking is like copying others. Question here is how can an organization become the best if it copies from the best? Innovation is lagging in benchmarking.

Thus benchmarking is not a substitute of innovation but is just a source of successful ideas.

Overall, we can see that if the ultimate motive is customer satisfaction; leadership and benchmarking should be deployed in conformity with Quality Management Systems to manage the system well.