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Process Improvement Essay

2370 words - 10 pages

Toyota Motor Manufacturing, USA, INC. Background

In the early 1980’s, Japanese automakers contemplated building cars in North America. Japan’s huge trade imbalance had caused political pressure to mount, while the economic feasibility of such investment had improved with a rapidly rising yen. At that time, however it was unclear whether cars produced outside Japan could live up to their hard-earned reputation of high quality at low cost. This issue was far from settled in 1985 when Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) unveiled its plan to open and $800 million Greenfield plant in Kentucky. Thus, the company’s endeavor to transplant to unique production system to Bluegrass Country ...view middle of the document...

In other words, TQM capitalizes on the involvement of management, workforce, suppliers, and even customers, in order to meet or exceed customer expectations. Considering the practices of TQM as discussed in six empirical studies, Cua, McKone, and Schroeder (2001) identified the nine common TQM practices as cross-functional product design, process management, supplier quality management, customer involvement, information and feedback, committed leadership, strategic planning, cross-functional training, and employee involvement. It is a comprehensive and structured approach to organizational management that seeks to improve the quality of products and services through ongoing refinements in response to continuous feedback. TQM requirements may be defined separately for a particular organization or may be in adherence to established standards, such as Toyota. TQM can be applied to any type of organization; it originated in the manufacturing sector and has since been adapted for use in almost every type of organization imaginable, including schools, highway maintenance, hotel management, and churches. As a current focus of e-business, TQM is based on quality management from the customer's point of view. Major Characteristics of Total Quality Management: 1. every company member, from the CEO to the lowest level employee is focused on product or service quality. If management is not behind TQM, then it will fail, 2. Everyone must have the required training and be familiar with the necessary TQM techniques, 3. Anyone can suggest areas for improvement - as general operatives will be more familiar with their workstation than anyone else is, valuable ideas for improvement at a production line level can, in many cases, come from line workers, 4. All departments are expected to focus on quality and productivity improvement and implement changes for their area, 5. In addition, all departments interact with each other to fix common problems in the product or process, 6. Collaboration on external issues (end-user defects for example) is expected from all departments, 7. Decisions made are based on the best solutions, not on hidden agendas or favoritism, 8. Quality becomes a governing part of operations, with decisions that impact on quality, rejected immediately; despite perceived cost-savings involved. Follow these TQM vs. Six Sigma Business leaders and managers often are torn between TQM and Six Sigma while trying to choose the best management and quality control approach for their organizations. Understanding the differences between the two is the most important thing in such situations. TQM refers to Total Quality Management. This approach has been around for sometime before Six Sigma was introduced. Whereas proponents of either approach would prefer mutual exclusivity in business, the two could actually complement each other, and can be very compatible in various business situations. Where TQM will facilitate quality improvement of processes, products and...

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