Evolution Of Total Quality Management Tqm Management Essay

In today’s global competitive marketplace, the demands of customers are forever increasing as they require improved quality of products and services but are prepared to pay less for their requirement.

The chapter introduces the development of Total Quality Management (TQM) in construction industry, the definition, principles, standards and application of TQM are being discussed to gain more insight. Besides that, the interaction of TQM with the construction industry is being discussed to comprehend more regarding the application of these standards within the industry.

The chapter opens by examining the different interpretations which are placed on the word ‘quality’. The evolution of quality management is described through the stages of inspection, quality control, quality assurance and to TQM.

TQM is a revolutionary approach to effective management. In the construction industry, the application of TQM is not significant although it has been widely implemented in other industries and the success by implementing the TQM can be seen. TQM aimed at achieving customer satisfaction and efficiency, and improving the quality products.

The first part is to describe the application of TQM in the construction industry and the general perception of why TQM is not widely implemented in this industry. Key implementation issues of accomplishing TQM will also be addressed in the review.

History and Evolution of Total Quality Management (TQM)

In the eighteenth and nineteenth century, quality control did not exist as we can see today. However, some activities of quality control were carried out informally at workshop level (Garvin, 1988.3). Quality Control started to develop and spanned in the twentieth century (Feigenbaum, 1983:15). JC Penney was the first person who presented the importance of Total Quality Management (TQM) in 1913 when he proposed principles such as “customer satisfaction”, “quality”, “fairness”, “value”, “related training” and “rewards for performance” play an important role in an organisation (Jablonski, 1994:20-30). Moreover, in the early 1900s, “father of scientific management”, Fredrick W. Taylor, also suggested other quality principles (Garvin, 1988:5).

In the US, the development approach to quality control went through four significant stages: operator QC, inspection QC, statistical QC and total QC (refer Figure x).


Basic Concept of Quality

The Building Research Establishment (BRE) in attempting to define quality related to buildings as:

“The totality of the attributes of a building which enable it to satisfy needs, including the way in which individual attributes are related, balanced and integrated in the whole building and its surroundings.”

The BRE report considered quality in the context of three main aspects:

External attributes – the effect of the project on its surrounding and vice versa

Performance attributes – aspects of the project which make it operationally efficient and provide reasonable conditions for users

Aesthetics and amenity – internal and external attributes of a standard higher than is needed just to meet mandatory and performance requirements.

Quality has nine different dimensions. These dimensions are somewhat independent, which means that an end product can be excellent in one dimension but poor in others (Besterfield, 1998). Below shows these nine dimensions and their terms:-




Primary products/service characteristic such as time, cost and workmanship aspect.


Secondary characteristic, added consideration such as creativity in design and attractiveness.


Meeting specification or industry standards, workmanship and client’s requirement in contract.


Consistency of performance over time, average time for the unit to fail.


Useful life period with less maintenance or repair.


Resolution of problems and complaints, ease of repair.


Human to human interface such as efficiency during meeting, fast decision making, effective human resource management.


Sensory characteristics in design such as exterior finishes.


Past performance such as being ranked first in the tendering process.

Table 2.2: Nine dimensions of quality and their terms

Adapted from Garvin, 1988, Managing Quality: The strategic and Competitive Edge.

2.2.2 Type of Quality

Other than that, there are few types of quality which play the role in different field such as:

Quality Assurance (QA)

Quality Control (QC)

Quality Improvement (QI)

Quality Management

Quality Parameter Quality Assurance (QA)

According to the Manual of professional Practice for Quality in the Constructed Project,

“Quality Assurance (QA) is a program covering activities necessary to provide quality in the work to meet the project requirements. QA involves establishing project related policies, procedures, standards, training, guidelines, and system necessary to produce quality.”

Assurance of quality can be gained by the following steps as shown in figure 2.2 (Hoyle, 1998).














Notification Feedback results

Figure 2.2: An example of steps for quality assurance (Adapted from Hoyle, 1998) Quality Control (QC)

Quality Control is the operational techniques and activities that are used to fulfil requirements for quality and a process for maintaining standards and prevents any undesirable changes. Standards are maintained through a process of selection, measurement and correction of work so that only those products or services which emerged from the process meet the standards. QC can be applied to particular products and processes which produce the products. Besides, it can be applied to the output of the whole organization by measuring the overall quality performance of the organization (Besterfield, 1998).

Effective QC minimises the chances of alterations, mistakes and omissions which will result in fewer conflicts and disputes







Remedial Action

Corrective Action


Figure 2.2: A simple form of quality control process

(Adapted from Besterfield, 1998) Quality Improvement (QI)

This acknowledges that the nature of something can be improved, and therefore grades of excellent can be aimed for. Continuous quality improvement, which forms the basis of TQM, refers to the notion of ‘never being satisfied’ with the current degree of quality and success in meeting customers’ identified needs, requirements, interests and expectations. This is why TQM encompasses the search for opportunities for improvement, rather than maintaining the current performance.




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Figure 2.3: The sequence in quality improvement (QI) adapted from Hoyle, 1998. Quality Management

The basic goal of quality management is the elimination of failure: both in the concept and reality of products, services and processes to achieve customer satisfaction by prevention of nonconformities. Hence quality management is a mean for planning, organizing, and controlling the prevention of failure. All the tools and techniques that are used in quality management serve to improve our ability to succeed in our pursuit of excellent, this include inspection (Juran, 1989).

However, what inspection does is to measure quality in a way that allows us to make decisions on whether to release a piece of work in production processes but this is not enough to deliver quality products. Thus, we have to adopt practices or other means that enable us to prevent failures from occurring (Juran, 1989).






Figure 2.4: Three main aspects in quality management

(Adapted from Garvin, 1988) Quality Parameter

Difference in design can be denoted by grade or can also be the result of poor attention to customer needs. It is not enough to produce products that only conform to the specifications or supply services that meet management’s requirements. Quality is a composite of three parameters (Hoyle, 1998):

Quality of Design: The design reflects a product or service that satisfies customer needs. All the necessary characteristics need to be designed into the product or service at the beginning.

Quality of Conformance: The product or service conforms to the design and standard. The design has faithfully translating the client’s needs and it now depends on the processes to take in the design into an actual end products.

Quality of Use: The user is able to secure continuity of use from the product or service. Products need to have a low cost of ownership, must be safe and reliable and maintainable in sue.

Products or services that do not possess the right features and characteristic either by design or construction are products of poor quality. Those which fail to fulfill customers’ satisfaction or costly to build are also products of poor quality. These products, regardless of their conformance of specifications are unfit to use (Hoyle, 1998).


The British Standards Institution (BSI) defines TQM as the management philosophy and company practices that aim to harness the human and material resources of an organisation in the most effective way to achieve the objectives of the organisation (BS 5750). TQM is not only implementing a few procedures, but it is more to embracing a new philosophy. In the case of construction, TQM may therefore be seen as a top-down management philosophy focused on monitoring process variation, employee involvement, and continuous quality improvement in order to meet customer need. The TQM philosophy provides the overall concept which fosters continuous improvement in an organisation. This philosophy stresses a systematic, consistent and organisation-wide perspective involving everyone and everything. It focuses primarily on total satisfaction for both internal and external customers within a management environment that seeks continuous improvement of all systems and processes. The philosophy emphasises the use of all people, usually in multi-functional teams, to bring about improvement from within the organisation. It stresses optimal life cycle cost and uses measurement within a disciplined methodology to target improvements. The key elements of the philosophy are the prevention of defects and an emphasis on quality in design. Apart from eliminating losses and reducing variability, TQM also advocates the development of good relationships between employees, suppliers and customers. Its philosophy is based on an intense desire to achieve victory.

TQM is a comprehensive management system which:

Focuses on meeting owners’/customers’ needs by providing quality services at a cost that provides value to the owners/customers

Is driven by the quest for continuous improvement in all operations

Recognizes that everyone in the organization has owners/customers who are either internal or external

Views an organization as an internal system with a common aim rather than as individual departments acting to maximize their own performances

Focuses on the way tasks are accomplished rather than simply what tasks are accomplished

Emphasizes teamwork and a high level of participation by all employees


TQM is a managerial methodology. Therefore, it is a framework of principles as well as a systems approach. It acts as a tool to measure and improve quality and productivity. The principles of TQM embrace customer/supplier relationships existing both within companies and between companies. Principles of TQM were suggested which enable an organisation to breach traditional barriers and to identify if the company implementing TQM. Issues to be addressed as common principles of TQM as shown in Malcom Baldrige National Quality Award (NIST, 1999) in the USA or the European Quality Award (EFQM, 1999) established by the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) are as follow:

Customer Orientation

Continuous Improvement

Prevention rather than inspection

Fact-based decisions

Leadership (total commitment of top management)

Employee Involvement

Customer Orientation

The primary condition for a success business is customer satisfaction (Galgano, 1994:15). Therefore, in guiding an organisation’s activities and enhancing the customer’s satisfaction, quality management take into consideration the customer focus policy such as increase effectiveness in the use of the organisation’s resources.

In addition, a customer need should be focused as an essential input for the designing and production process and influences the decision-making process to the extent that the customer is at the top of the pyramid.

Further, to empower individuals to self manage their work and satisfy their customers, Suzaki asserts that they all should learn to manage their own “mini-company,” where everybody is considered president of his or her area of responsibility. By upgrading people’s skills, focusing on empowerment, and streamlining processes, Suzaki illustrates that an organization will realize concrete improvements in quality, cost, delivery, safety, morale, and ultimately, its competitive position (Suzaki, 1993).

Continuous Improvement

Continuous improvement should be a permanent process of an organization. Improving results is not the only thing to deal with in continuous improvement, but more essentially with improving the capabilities to produce better result in future. (Khurram Hashmi)

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With organisation constantly facing challenges, prompt response to action is crucial. A Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle had been detailed by Deming as a problem analysis procedure for narrowing the gap between customers needs and present performance. It is a systematic process to improve methods incrementally by focusing on the correction and prevention of defects.

The PDCA cycle as illustrates in Figure 1 which consists of the four steps, occurring over a period of time that are continuously rotating.

Figure 1: The PDCA Cycle (Matthews and Burati, 1989)

Prevention rather than inspection

Inspection is carried out at the end of the project for the traditional method of management. Ishikawa (1985:77) noted that this approach had been abandoned at an early period in Japan. The approach had been criticised as:

Too costly to carry out inspection.

Inspection carried out does not ensure product and process improvement,

The similar problem will gradually occur.

Inspection is too late, ineffective and costly. ‘Do it right the first time’ is the main TQM approach rather than to react after the problem occurs. Prevention can be assured by controlling all processes, discovering problems, identifying the causes and improving the process.

Fact-based decisions

Decision making is not based on quality but on opinion or personal experience of different roles in a project in the absence of data (Juran, 1980:8). Blaming and finger pointing at each other to shift responsibilities arise when any mistake occurs to shift responsibilities

Ishikiwa (1985:109) proposes the right basis for decision-making:

Clearly indentify facts

Analyse accuracy of information

Apply statistical method for data analysis

Facts can be recognised by identifying everyone within and outside the organisation in the process. All individuals contribute to a mutually benefiting solution relates to their specialities. (Jablonski, 1994:48)

Leadership (total commitment of top management)

Leaders establish unity for the purpose and direction of the organization. They should create and maintain the internal environment in which people can become fully involved in achieving the organization’s objectives. By adopting this principle, people will understand clearly and be motivated all the time towards the goals. Miscommunication between levels of management will be minimized.

Many a time TQM initiatives have failed to fulfil their potential due to lack of senior management commitment to the quality process. Thus, for TQM, commitment by the management is essential. Without it; there is no need to proceed further. (Bhimaraya A. Metri)

Employee Involvement

Employee should be provided with knowledge and training and must clearly understand the organisation’s objectives and processes and their role in the organisation. This allows them to commit efficiently in the improvement of the organisation.

In achieving a quality employee contribution, management should (Juran 1989:261-2)

Motivate the employee to make contribution

Training provided to apply newly learned skills to their jobs


Several surveys had been carried out in identifying several major inhibiting factors associated with implementation in the construction industry.

Insufficient commitment by top management

Systems, people, and resources are three vital elements of TQM. Successful implementation is relying on top management developing and responsible on these key elements. The lack of top management commitment has failed the TQM from implementing as there was no person responsible for the implementation and no sharing knowledge among the top management and the employees. (Pheng and Teo, 2004; Dahlgaard et al., 1994; Oakland, 1993; Tenner and de Toro, 1992)

‘TQM requires total commitment, which must be extended to all employees at all levels and in all departments’ (Oakland 1993:25).

Hence, it is essential for top management to be fully committed to the implementation to provide all resources required for the TQM initiative.

Incorrect corporate culture

A culture based on trust among everyone in the organisation and ability to recognise and solve problems is crucial for a TQM implementation to improve the production processes. Ahmad and Sein (1997) stated that in a short lifespan project, the culture cannot be changed. Hence, when a project team is formed, it is important that attention should be concentrated to the issues of culture

No formal implementation strategy

A proper planning is crucial for the implementation. TQM is a continuous process and therefore need to be planned as a project. It often leads to failure if TQM was treated as a bolt-on for an organisation. Some of the organisation only implemented a small part from the system by picking up a few tools and technique (Deleryd, 1997; Hoerl, 1995) as they do not treat TQM as a whole system.

TQM improves the effectiveness, competitiveness, and flexibility of an organisation. Thus, in achieving these benefits, the organisation has to plan every activities at all stages. This process must be taken among everyone in the organisation.

Narrowly based training

Every employee must be competent to carry out their allocated tasks properly by possessing all the necessary skills and competencies under the TQM implementation, and should also understand the underlying principles of TQM (Ahmad and Sein, 1997). Without any training and awareness of the TQM to the staff, they can’t execute work in the way it should be.

In a construction organisation, ‘training and education in teamwork’ should be implemented (Hellard 1993;154) to gain competitive advantage. Every employee should also be provided training and given the opportunity to learn in order to be able to achieve the maximum effectiveness in implementing the TQM process.

Lack of effective communication

There is often a poor communication and coordination between the principal parties in contract which leads to confusion and cost related delays. This is because the communication in the construction industry becomes increasingly complex. Kajewski cited an example of a large project which consists of 50 contracts with five different consultants, 200 tenders and even more number of drawings, contract variations and site instructions (Kajewski, 2006). Since a project involves a large number of activities and parties, without the presence of an efficient and effective communication can lead to poor communication and coordination.

Besides that, various problems had been encounter during the implementation of TQM in the construction industry. Some of the problems are resistance to change; misconception of the TQM; quality perceived as something secondary to the business; scheme may have appeared too complex; high cost especially in the initial cost; loss of productivity of the workforce due to the effort exerted in learning and implementing the new system besides their regular duties; absence of special regulation that make it incumbent upon contracting companies to establish TQM; no encouragement from the construction industry client; and difficult to apply to the construction industry. (Low and Goh, 1994)

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There are tremendous advantages for implementing TQM in the construction industry.

2.11.1 External Benefit

External benefits are benefits concerning the organization in relation to its environment. Examples of the external benefits are:

Increase customer satisfaction and confidence

First, standards facilitate and promote third party auditing and certification. It can increase the image for an organization then raising the confidence of purchaser on the supplier’s organization quality assurance system that is conforming to a recognized standard. Besides, the standards contain quality assurance criteria which are generic, comprehensive and implementable.

Competitive advantages

By implementing quality TQM, it can improve the competitiveness of an organization by focusing on customer needs and providing quality training for all levels in an organization in order to meet the customer requirements. Customer’s satisfaction is fulfilled and customer is willing to grant more projects for the excellent services provided by contractors. Relationship between supplier and customer will become closer as the responsibility of each party is defined clearly and mutually agreed and accepted by each other.

Finding new customers

The organization has to do research and understand customer needs and expectation as to meet the new customers. The new customers may have confidence on the certified organization compare to non-certified organization.

Increase in company reliability and reputation

The alignment of improvement activities at all levels to an organization’s strategic intent to increase in company reliability and reputation.

Keeping customer relations

Keeping the good relationship with the customers is important to increase the ability to create value for both parties. To achieve this aim, the organization needs to communicate with the customer’s needs and expectations, and systematically managing the relationships with the customer.

2.11.2 Internal Benefit

Internal benefits are related to the internal functioning or organization. These benefits are related to the process and structure of the organization. These are:

Improvement in information flow

All information will be distributed between all participants under the implementation of TQM through team building and pro-active management strategies. (Paul Watson)

Support in decision making

The implementation also increase the ability to demonstrate the effectiveness of past decisions through reference to factual records and also increase the ability to review, challenge and change opinions and decisions on any decision making.

Increase in productivity

The organization has lower costs and shorter the cycle times through effective use of resources as to increase in the productivity.

Improved co-ordination structure

Creating and sustaining shared values, fairness and ethical role models at all levels are important as the improved the co-ordination structure within the organization.

Clearly-defined organizational task structure and responsibilities

People in the organization have to understand and be motivated towards the organization’s goals and objectives as to achieve the innovative and creativity in the future. This may help everyone in the organization to clearly define the organizational task structure and responsibilities that exist in the organization.

Reduction in cost, time and waste

Inspection carried out at every stages of the work rather than at the completion of the work and through minimisation of potential causes of errors and corrective actions (Paul Watson) reduces its cost, time and waste for an organization.

Increase personnel motivation

By increasing the personnel motivation, people are being accountable for their own performance. This may also motivated, committed and involved people within the organization.

Better management control

The management control is important as to minimize the miscommunication between levels of an organization. Proper documentation control can help the organization to have identical working procedures as to increase the efficiency of the work.

The Case Study of The Structural Engineers LTD.

The Company

The Structural Engineers Ltd. (SEL) in Dhaka City formed in 1983 has significant contributions in construction and major in the field of civil engineering. The company has approximately 450 people workers.

The Steps to Implementation TQM

Top management attended training and seminar programme.

A library for the staff was set up and books on Quality available for one to go through and enhance the knowledge in modern management techniques.

Meetings were held in the Head Office weekly involving the Engineers, Sub-contractors and senior officers. These meetings are aimed to motivate everyone’s concerned and educate them on Quality Control Tools.

On the other hand, problems at work are identified and solutions will be defined as well.

Achievements Implementing TQM

Before the company implementing TQM, one of the problems in the company was the over running cost due to excess consumption of cement in all the projects. After implementing TQM for three months, the major causes of the problem were identified and solutions were brought up in the meeting.

Moreover, the implementation also improves substantially the mutual understanding among the staff at all levels.

It also developed a good sense of responsibility at all levels within the organisation. Before the company opting for the TQM, the employees relied heavily and wait for the instruction from the superior and not taking any initiative in getting work done.


The following benefits had been achieved throughout the implementation of TQM in The Structural Engineers Ltd.:

Increase in competitiveness

Improved in quality and productivity

Excellent customer satisfaction

Improved in internal atmosphere (working environment)

Satisfaction among staffs with their jobs

Increased in profitability

Although journey of TQM had only been embarked for a couple of years in this company, but it is significant that the improvement in quality and productivity of an end work and the employee have become highly motivated towards their work.

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