Thetotal quality management is a management philosophy that aims atintegrating all the functions of an organization. These functionsinclude finance, marketing, engineering, production and design.Integration of these organizational functions focuses on meeting theorganizational objectives as well as the customer needs. The totalquality management entails management methods used in enhancingquality as well as productivity in organizations (Charantimath2012, p.3).It can also be referred to as a comprehensive system approach thatoperates horizontally across an organization. It involves all theemployees and departments and also extends backward and forward toencompass both the customers/clients and suppliers.
Toyotaacknowledged quality as one of the most crucial factors affecting thecustomer’s satisfaction. It has thus strove to acquire excellencein the manufacture of quality products. The quality of products isenhanced by ensuring zero defects in final product. Toyotaestablished a quality assurance system across different division. Thedivisions include purchasing, development and globalization. Toyotainitiated the "ToyotaWay" which is a set of management principles. They communicatedthese principles to all its manufacturing plants across the globe. Asa result of efficiency in manufacturing, Toyota gained overwhelmingtrust in the world automobile industry (Hino2006, p.7).The application of the quality management in Toyota did not come on asilvery plate. There were a number of problems they faced before itsrealization as the document discusses.
Qualitymanagement is very essential when adopted and operating in a givenorganization. It incorporates three major prevention mechanisms. Oneof the mechanisms is preventing defects or mistakes to occur when aproduct is being manufactured. The second mechanism is that wheremistakes cannot be prevented, the system detects them as early aspossible to prevent them from being passed down the value added chain(Liker2004, p.7). The final mechanism is where mistakes recur, the system stopsproduction until the process gets corrected to avoid production ofmore defects. It is hence very essential in any manufacturing unit.These principles encouraged Toyota to adopt the quality managementsystem so as to remain competitive in the market. The adoption ofthis system has, however, been hindered by a number of internalfactors in Toyota’s system of management. These obstacles are asdiscussed below.
Accordingto Joseph Jablonski, the author of TQM implementation, three featuresessential for the success of total quality management within anorganization calls for continuous process improvement, utilization ofteams as well as participative management. The participativemanagement entails the intimate involvement of all the company’smembers in the management process. This aspect deemphasizes thetraditional top-down managerial methods. In other words, theorganization’s managers set policies and also makes crucialdecisions only with the guidance and input of the subordinates. Thesesubordinates will in return implement as well as adhere to the issueddirectives (Hino2006, p.8).This technique tends to improve the grasp of the upper managementoperations. It is also a crucial motivator for the workers who startsfeeling as having ownership and control of the process in which theyare participating actively.
Toyotalacks effective senior management leadership an aspect that createdproblems in implementation of quality management. It is clear thatfor a quality management system to be effective in an organizationall the levels of management of that organization have to be activeparticipants. If one managerial level is inefficient, the adoption ofthe quality management system might fail. The senior managementlevels starts with the organization’s CEO and the president. AkioToyoda, the president of Toyota has not revealed efficiency in hismodes of management. His performance as Toyota’s leader to date hasbeen abysmal. There is a discrepancy in his mode of management. Forexample, after Toyota had recalled approximately 6 million vehicles,he called for a press conference that seemed as a disaster (Shang& Low 2014, p.25).He seemed as if he was defending the company saying that Toyota’scar is safety although they would try to improve their productsrather than first apologizing and giving its customers hopes on howthey would improve their products.
Theparticipative management aspect one of the key promoters of thequality management indicates that there should be an intimateparticipation by all management parties from the top most to thesubordinates. The total management is, however, the most crucialparty in this aspect in that they make crucial decisions and alsoformulates policies to be executed by other members of theorganization. If the total management fails to play its role as it isought to, the quality management system in that organization islikely to fail. Akio Toyoda has revealed some inconsistencies in hismanagement skills (Charantimath2012, p.5).This has thus affected the harmony of the management system of Toyotaas a whole. This has in turn affected the implementation andexecution of quality management in Toyota.
Thesecond issue that has affected the success of quality management inToyota is lack of continuous process improvement. A continuousprocess improvement is very essential not only in the adoption ofquality management but also in sustaining it. It entails recognitionof small incremental gains towards achieving the total quality goal.Large gains are realized by small but sustainable improvements over along period of time. This idea necessitates the manager’s long termapproach as well as willingness in investing in the present for thebenefits that will become manifest in future. Toyota has over aperiod maintained quality products (Liker2004, p.8).This fact attributed to their overwhelming success in the automobileindustry.
Toyotafailed to appreciate the power of continuous process improvement. Tosome extent they started making complicated and substandard product.There have been complaints across different parts of the globerelated to the quality of Toyota’s products. Consumers have beencomplaining on the complexity of the Toyota model’s accelerationand braking systems. Analysts indicated that this problem could becaused by the programming codes that are being used in controllingcomplex computer based systems (Daft2008, p.23).Computerization has become an important aspect in the world today. Ifone tries to use the manual system in the computerized system, theprocess is likely to fail. However, if a thorough research could bedone on which system could be compatible with the computerized systemand improvements are done to make the systems compatible, it will bedifficult to hear quality complaints.
Thisis an aspect that Toyota have failed to appreciate thus creatingproblem in the success of quality management in their organization.Technology is advancing day after day. Similarly, the world is on aconsistent transformation (Seaver,2003).If one sticks to one particular thing, the thing may easily becomeirrelevant. The irrelevance entails the quality of that thing is onproblem. Failure to incorporate new changes consistently has thusaffected the quality management of Toyota adversely. The inconsistentin improving their products could be what led to the return of 6million vehicles that were recalled due to quality matters.
Theother aspect that have brought problem in the quality management inToyota is lack or inconsistent teamwork. Teamwork is a very essentialfactor for the success of each organization. If all the workers arein harmony even with their leaders there is no likelihood of eruptionof inconsistencies in the production system. The teamwork aspectsprovides the workers with an opportunity to identify problems andopportunities, share knowledge and derive a broad understanding oftheir role in the general process (Daft2008, p.24).It also helps the workers to align their goals with those of theirorganization. Lack of team work will automatically lead to thecontrary of these aspects.
Casesof inconsistencies in teamwork among the Toyota’s workers have beenevident in the past few years. A dysfunctional organization structureis likely to adversely affect teamwork in that organization. This isbecause the organization is likely to operate to the advantage ofsome employees consequently disadvantaging others. In the year 2008the Toyota’s European unit faced and detected problems with suddenslowing down and surging of cars. This unit discovered that theproblem erupted from the accelerator pedal’s plastic part. Toyotaredesigned the pedals but they failed to alert their American unit ofthe situation in Europe. There have also been other documentedcommunication problems between the American unit’s seniormanagement and their Japanese counterparts (Seaver,2003).
Americanunit produces Toyota brands. Failure to advise them on a problem thatneed to be rectified implies that these two units are not in harmony.The American unit is therefore likely to continue manufacturingfaulty products while their Japanese counterparts are making qualityproducts. However, both products are Toyota brands and if a model ofa given unit is detected as substandard, the general name andreputation of Toyota will be tarnished. The dysfunctionalorganization structure is distorting the teamwork between these twomanufacturing units. This is likely to give room to manufacture ofsubstandard products from one unit while the other unit is producingquality products (Shang& Low 2014, p.26).This inconsistency is likely to affect the overall quality of theToyota brands. The same factor is likely to affect the quality ofproducts in the departments in an organization are not in harmony.These teamwork inconsistences in Toyota has created problem inquality management in this organization.
Thereare some strategies that can be put in place by Toyota and act as asolution for these issues affecting quality management. One of thestrategies is that senior management of Toyota need to increase theirparticipation. It is clear that the participative management isessential in ensuring quality management. Since it entails anintimate participation of all the parties in all the levels ofmanagement, the CEO and all the top level managers of Toyota shouldincrease their participation and interaction with the rest of theorganization workers (Daft2008, p.25).The junior workers at times have solutions to some problems as wellas ideas that can help the company to improve the quality of theirproducts.
Toyota,therefore, needs to initiate a program that will create an open forumof discussion and sharing of ideas among all the members of theorganization. The sooner the organization will discredit thetraditional top to down management system, the better so as to enjoythe full benefits of the of the quality management. It will also beessential if the company can establish a clear and effective waythrough which the subordinate and other workers in lower manageriallevels can be able to share ideas and opinions with the seniormanagers (Seaver,2003).These strategies will greatly help the effectiveness of qualitymanagement in Toyota.
Continuousprocess improvement is another aspect that needs to be catered for ifthe company is to remain relevant in the market. Relevance is themarket is solely brought about production of standard goods that meetquality. Toyota needs to establish a very strong department that willbe concentrating in researching the latest technology that need to beadopted so as to improve the quality of their products. Thedepartment should also be obligated to give ideas and insights of howthe organization structure should be restructured so as to give roomfor quality management (Shang& Low 2014, p.27).
Thisdepartment should be financed to travel to wherever they wish as longas they will come up with substantial ideas that will see to it thatToyota has forged a step ahead. Improvement is a very crucial aspectfor any organization. Toyota, therefore, need to take it seriously soas to realize the full benefits of quality management. Technology isa crucial aspect that is playing a vital role in improving theproducts that are being produced and manufactured in the industriestoday. Toyota therefore needs to be vigilant so as to be using thetechnology that is up to date always (Koontz& Weihrich 2007, p.14).This will help it to be under continuous improvement and thusenjoying full benefits of quality management.
Teamworkshould also be enhanced in the entire Toyota’s workforce.Strategies that will help the employees to be in harmony with oneanother need to be formulated. Quality products can only be acquiredif all the workers are interrelating with one another in a peaceablemanner. The social structure of Toyota needs to be structured in sucha way that all departments are working and relating together. Thiswill help all the goals of these departments to be in harmony withthe organization’s goals (Hino2006, p.10).Similarly, if the departments in the entire organization are relatingcordially, the products that will be produced will be definitely ofhigh quality.
Theorganization’s management needs to develop a functionalorganization structure that will incorporate and integrate all unitsof Toyota. The communication breakdown like the one that waswitnessed between the American and the Japanese units should beremoved completely. The top management of all the Toyota’s unitsneeds to be in harmony so as to enhance teamwork among all the unitsworking for Toyota (Rother2010, p.21).When all the units are working together cordially, the productsproduced will be in harmony and of quality irrespective of the unitsthey have originated from. Toyota, therefore, need to develop a veryfunctional organizational structure for quality management to berealized.
Qualitymanagement is a very essential aspect for the development of everyorganization. However, for it to be fully effective in a givenorganizations there some issues that need to be handled first. Toyotais among the leading companies that exercised quality management.Numerous challenges in its processes have however, affected thesuccess of the quality management. There are, however, measures thatcan be adopted to enhance the successful implementation of qualitymanagement in organizations. It is essential for companies to adoptquality management so as to remain competitive in the market asToyota have been.
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