The Psychology of Quality and More

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Total Quality Control (TQC) is not a new concept, nor was it invented by the Japanese. The orginal book entitled 'Total Quality Control' was written by Armand Feigenbaum, in 1951, where he noted the universal importance of quality to customers:

"Quality is the basic customer decision factor for an explosively growing number of products and services today--whether the buyer is a housewife, an industrial corporation, a government agency, a department store chain or a military defense program."

As a result, he proposed that quality be move out of the factory floor, where it mostly lived then, and into the rest of the company. In his words (and his italics):

"Quality is in its essence a way of managing the organization."

It was thus an extension of Quality Control (QC) to the totality of the whole company.

The term TQC was not, however, a term that sat well with American management, so some kind soul converted it into TQM, or Total Quality Management. BS.4778:Part 2(1991) described it as:

'A management philosophy embracing all activities through which the needs and expectations of the customer and the community and th4 objectives of the organization are satisfied in the most efficient and cost effective way by maximizing the potential of all employees in a continuing drive for improvement.'

TQM was well accepted and became a very popular worldwide fad. However, as with most fads, the basics were sound but the implementation in the majority of companies was fundamentally flawed. So, for many firms, the round of blaming took its usual course, with most fingers pointed on the fad and any handy consultants or internal people who had nailed their colors too high on the mast.

This, of course, is excellent news for companies who are serious about quality. Whilst the benefits of a temporary quality focus fade into the cost-cutting dust, the real players will reap the real rewards. 

TQC also stands for Time, Quality and Cost, three items that often traded off against one another, although with suitable attention to quality, time and cost may both be reduced.

See also:

Process improvement, Quality Control

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