PQR Ltd. operates a chain of supermarkets. Its strategy has been to adjust product prices to accommodate differences in customers, products, locations and other variables. The market has become increasingly competitive and PQR Ltd. has decided to change its strategy. In future, it will provide a high quality service by introducing Total Quality Management (TQM) techniques in every supermarket. Explain the relevance of a programme of TQM for PQR Ltd. in the implementation of its new strategy

The meaning of TQM
TQM is relevant for PQR Ltd because TQM is designed to achieve customer satisfaction. The key to TQM is for everyone to have well defined customers – an extension of the word, beyond the customers of the company, to anyone to whom an individual provides a service.

Quality has to be managed in TQM, it will not just happen on its own. TQM aims at getting quality right the first time.

Staff recruitment – especially additional personnel may be needed to meet the requirements of TQM.

Training and development is also part and parcel of TQM, which requires that employees and suppliers be trained to know what is expected of them. Management should also encourage education and self-improvement at every level.

Implementing TQM
There is no one best way to implement TQM; each organization has to implement it in the manner that suits it the most.

Many firms start with an awareness program to educate both managers and other employees on what TQM means and how it will affect their jobs. This involves encouraging managers to attend seminar and discussions on TQM, read about TQM and visit other firm already practicing TQM.

The next step is a customer survey to find out their expectations about the firm and identify areas where these expectations aren’t being met.

The results of the survey will form the starting point of implementing a quality program. Implementation will be done step-by-step beginning with departments of greatest weakness.

The process of TQM
1. Analysis of customers’ needs. They may need quality products efficient services etc. Needs assessment may be carried out through a market survey using interviews and the questionnaire.
2. Assessment of the degree to which these needs are being met.
3. Establishment of the gap between the current state and the desired.
4. Establishment of quality standards capable of satisfying customers’ needs.
5. Putting in place programmes necessary to meet the standards. These programmes may include training and development, incorporating quality objectives into strategic plans, forming quality teams (quality circles) and rewards for quality improvement.

Elements of companies that follow TQM
• There is absolute commitment by the chief executive and all senior managers to doing what is needed to change the culture. Alongside this is total commitment to the program at every level.
• Quality is everybody’s responsibility and it is customer driven not organization driven.
• There is customer satisfaction.
• There is real commitment to a continuous improvement of all processes.
• Communication is excellent and multi-way.
• Attention is focused first on the process and second on results.
• There is an absence of strict control systems.
Implementation of TQM as a new strategy will help PQR Ltd greatly. The operations of the organization will be strengthened, team spirit will improve, the competitive strength of PQR will improve and all in all, PQR will meet its customer needs, which will make it remain very competitive.

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