TQM, Total Quality Management, is the continuous process of striving for improvement involving everyone in an organization. TQM guides us by focusing on first-time quality and customer satisfaction. This improved performance is directed toward satisfying such cross-functional goals as quality, cost, schedule, and suitability. The effort is ultimately focused on increased customer satisfaction.
On a daily basis, our customers ultimately define quality for us. If our customers are satisfied with what we produce, it is a high-quality product. Most customers define quality as getting a product with no defects, on time, and at a competitive price. We want to exceed our customers expectations.
This stance on quality is the way to satisfy customers today, and to ensure that our team is a step ahead of our competitors in satisfying customers tomorrow.
Supplier Partnerships for TQM
Quality is a basic but powerful idea. Quality is what our customers pay for, expect, and deserve. But quality is not a new idea. In a continuing search for quality, Management recognized we must adopt a continuous improvement philosophy to realize our goals. An integral part of that philosophy is a focus on total quality. Furthermore, TQM is an operating philosophy that promotes customer satisfaction through achieving the highest quality at the lowest possible cost. At the heart of TQM is customer satisfaction as the customer defines it.
Like you, we want to delight our customers — so much that they keep coming back to us because we have gained a reputation for excellence and they can count on us.
We face a challenging future in the current business climate. To meet the challenge and succeed, we have advanced our corporate culture by embracing TQM. Because of our commitment we reevaluate the way we do business. As we change the way we deal with our employees, we are changing and improving how we deal with our suppliers.
Supplier involvement is vital. Suppliers are a major part of our team, now and in the future. Suppliers are an extension of our enterprise. As our business partner, we ask suppliers to join with us as we reshape our thinking and restructure how we work to satisfy our customers with first-time quality, on-time, at the lowest possible cost.
The issue we face is, how do we continually improve our performance. But just as important — and maybe more so — is, how do we improve our suppliers'performance? Supplier input represents from twenty to thirty percent of our product content. It makes sense to focus on our supplier relations as an area in which to achieve total quality.
Customer satisfaction is the goal of TQM, but to provide that satisfaction we must know who the customer is, understand what they expect, — seek ways to improve their satisfaction, and establish channels for communicating with them. Typically, Pandjiris has looked at the end users of our equipment as "the customer". In reality, we have many other customers. This includes everyone on our team starting with each other as fellow employees, our outside sales representatives and distributors, our suppliers, insurance broker, attorney, banker, and consultants. We are all responsible for providing each other with first-time quality. We provide each other with drawings, materials, work definition, reports, information, communication, and so forth, so that we can, in turn provide each other with goods and services.
When we supply products or services to each other, it is our job to ask, "what are your expectations and are we satisfying them?" When a teammate asks us for assistance, we must respond. When a teammate suggests methods to improve our quality, we must react. To do a quality job, we must understand each other's needs and be committed to meeting them.
With TQM, we break down any barriers that hinder strong partnerships. We work with each other to determine what specifically we can change to make our product better.
We encourage suggestions and want to communicate with each other. Establishing teammates as customers and furnishing everyone with first-time quality is a vital part of our success. Together, we can learn from each other. And, together, we will develop alliances that will move us into the future.
Customer satisfaction can be achieved by addressing three areas simultaneously:
The way we work together.
The way our work is done.
The atmosphere or environment in which we work.