Although not traditionally promoted within the ‘BP..’ family, TQM was in many ways the precursor of the focus on business processes as there were attempts to increase awareness of the ways that tasks were carried out. It provided an umbrella under which everyone in the organisation could strive for and create better customer satisfaction at continually lower costs.
TQM was the ‘fashion’ in the late eighties and well into the nineties, having evolved from Western recognition that one reason for achievement of radically different reject rates in Japanese manufacturing was the move from Quality Control to Quality Assurance. The Quality department became a proactive force, with quality engineers involved in organising office procedures, manufacturing processes and supplier relationships rather than simply inspecting components and products.
Many of the changes carried out throughout Western industry during this period were undertaken under the TQM banner since, of course, product quality is one of the key factors in productivity. In fact MLG conducted one of its first full-bloodied BPR projects under this title. In that case although BPR was the name used at the corporate level the Divisional Vice-President for the business unit in question was aware that the workforce had seen many successes come from TQM initiatives and wanted to build upon these. Another piece of jargon might have been seen as a ‘flavour of the month’ and therefore not received the commitment that we were seeking. To read more about this particular assignment click here.
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