The concept of Total Quality Management is rooted in the idea of providing all of the tools, training, and experience necessary to measure the entire quality control of an organization. It can also provide the intercommunication required to avoid departmental problems and quarrels that would otherwise bog down the process and result in costly delays or mistakes. In order to understand the concept of Total Quality Management, or TQM for short, there are a number of advantages and disadvantages that must be considered.
TQM lowers costs throughout the business infrastructure and organization. Because it is an all-encompassing quality management program, TQM helps different departments to communicate their needs, problems, and desires with each other, so that workable solutions can be found that will help the organization cut costs throughout the supply chain, distribution chain, shipping and receiving, accounting and management departments without losing productivity or the ability to operate rapidly in the face of change.
Workers may feel that their jobs or occupations within the company are at risk under a comprehensive TQM program, and as a result, they may be slow or resistant to making the necessary changes for the TQM program to work properly. In addition, skilled workers may be lost as they decide to leave because of their unease at the direction that things are headed within the company, or they may not implement things properly, causing increased costs.
TQM programs have the advantage of improving corporate as well as product reputations in the marketplace, because errors and defective products are discovered much more rapidly than under a non-TQM system, and often before they are ever sent to market or found in the hands of the public.
The high cost of implementing a TQM program, and the fact that it may take several years for the program to be fully implemented before results and benefits are seen, can be a huge disadvantage to a TQM program, especially in today's uncertain economic conditions. TQM should be considered a long-term investment.