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Total Quality Management (TQM) functions on the premise that the quality of products and processes is the responsibility of everyone who is involved with the creation or consumption of the products or services offered by an organisation. In other words, TQM capitalises on the involvement of management, workforce, suppliers, and even customers, in order to meet or exceed customer expectations.

You have been assigned by your company to plan, implement and maintain TQM practices. This initiative must be completed within the next 12-18 months. As the Project Quality Manager of this organisation, plan and elaborate in detail the necessary steps that you will undertake to prepare your company for this initiative. Discuss the problems that you anticipate would occur and how you will overcome these problems without jeopardising the success of this initiative.

Literature review

Project quality management is a branch of project management that is mostly concerned with the giving deliverables of the best quality as per the requirements mainly focusing on activities that assess and controls the process to achieve the best product quality. Usually, quality, in this case, refers to the ability of the product to meet all the expected or intended purpose or customer requirements. Therefore, project quality management is a critical aspect of every business organization since it plays the role of producing the products that are fit for use and fully satisfies the customer (Chandra, 2012).

For example, in milk and dairy products manufacturing company that have decided to incorporate a new project of producing one more dairy products, right application of project quality management is critical to the project success. The company must establish a system that will monitor every step in production and release of the product. The project manager must ensure that the new milk product produced meets all the quality requirements of the market to ensure satisfaction. Also, the process must be implemented in the cost-effective way possible. The quality control process is continuous and must be considered all the time in the lifetime of the product production. This helps to improve customer satisfaction, built a brand name and also increase the overall profitability of the organization.

Quality management is inevitable for success product production in a given business organization. Quality is usually the measure or extends to which a particular product meets the expected requirements or characteristics without any deviation to meet the customer meet the client's expectations.  It ensures that the company produces the right product as per the customer's specification atin the right time and efficient cost. Failure to implement project control management process by a given business enterprise, the company is likely to deliver products that are not fit for use or provided out of the time scheduled or the cost budget. This wastes time and reduces the profitability of an organization.

There are various quality theories and standards that organizations use as a benchmark for their project management. These are mainly composed of bodies or other or other organizations that specialize in setting the project standards for agencies to use.  Some of these organizations and groups include the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and many others in various industries (Naveh & Marcus, 2007). They are used to control and direct the organizations about the quality of their processes. They play a significant role in giving out the standardization guidelines for agencies to comply and therefore, deliver quality and value to their customers (Juran & Joseph, 2010).

Some aspects are considered regarding product or service quality. These include a comparison of precision and accuracy. Usually, accuracy refers to how far the product is from the actual real expected value. On the other hand, precision is explained to be closeness to the accuracy if the exercise is repeated severally (Littlefield & Roberts, 2012). Also, quality is compared with the grade. Whereas quality measures the ability of the product to satisfy the customer, class focusses on the value that the clients put on these items. For example, a milk company may produce milk a dairy product that fully satisfies the customers but they may not consider it valuable because of a supplement or for some other reasons (Bosman, 2009).

Steps and plans for the initiative

In the search for establishing a robust quality management system, many people have come up with various theories that are used to explain project management concept. These include the Total Quality Management and the Six Sigma which are the most commonly used approaches. Others include the Continuous Improvement (Kaizen) Theory, Capability Maturity Model (CMM), The Deming Cycle or Plan-Do-Check-Act and Six Sigma (Pyzdek & Keller, 2009). These theories are important and are used to evaluate and control in organizations.

Regarding total management approach to project quality management, the management targets success in long-term mainly through satisfying the customers entirely. This is primarily achieved through collective effort to ensure that all actors in the project team make an effort towards achieving this goal (Alcorn, 2008). Usually, total quality management works on various operating principles. These starts with customer focus, where the emphasis is put towards satisfying the clients. It also emphasizes on total employee involvement where all people in the team are involved in achieving quality. The approach also advocates for an integrated system and being process centered through a systematic and strategic approach. Also, this method advocates for continuous process quality improvements, a lot of communications and fact-based decision making in the endeavor.

In six sigma approach to project quality management, the focus is on improving the customer experience, lowering the cost of the projects and building better project leaders. It usually concentrates on measuring the extent to which an organization is working towards achieving perfection. It establishes how far the organization or process is deviating from the expected point or level of quality (Taylor, 2008). Thus, six sigma approach mainly focusses on improving the process and also reducing the quality variations that may arise in the process. Therefore, the six sigma approach is critical for the success of project quality (Keller & Paul, 2010).

The six sigma approach has two sub-methodologies that are used in achieving quality. These are DMAIC and DMADV. DMAIC is an abbreviation for five phase process; Define the problem, Measure and establish key points, Analyze data, improve the current process and Control the process. On the other hand, DMADEV method is an abbreviation for Design strategies and processes, Measure and identify the critical quality parameters, Analysis and development of alternatives, Design processes and verify the methods. Therefore, this approach covers most aspects of the project quality to ensure the release of products that fully conform to the customer requirements (Lo & Chin, 2009).

In summary, project quality management is essential to the success of every business project. Various theories and methods can be applied to achieve quality in projects. These theories have specific points of applications, but in many cases they have similarities. When an organization performs project quality, it gets many benefits. These include delivery of value and fully satisfaction of the customers, increased teamwork, assurance of sustainability and profitability of the company and many other advantages (Boiral, 2007). It is, therefore, important for every organization to embrace various ways or approaches towards attaining quality in the project.

Ways of planning and implementing project quality

Quality in projects is usually handled in four main ways. These are quality planning, quality assurance, quality control and continuous improvement. These are critical ways that help the organizations deliver products as per their requirements. They are usually used to assess and manage the production process. Some teams employ either a single or multiple ways in the course of delivering quality in the projects (Pozzi et al., 2007).

Firstly, in project planning, the project manager comes up with a quality management plan that will act a guideline in the process of product implementation. It defines the standards that will be used in the project such the ISO expectations and directives that the company is expected to comply (Wahid & Corner, 2009). These guidelines are usually designed to guide in the project kick-off and them continuous to guide the process throughout its life. In project planning, customer opinions, needs, and requirements are critical and must be considered to ensure their satisfaction (Thareja, 2008).

Another way of handling quality is through quality assurance. This entails and assessment of the project's processes and the results that are done independently. In this case, a corporate quality team or audit team evaluates the current processes of the project to ensure that they are efficient. Quality assurance usually takes the place of the process, where the team looks into the existing process and then evaluates the weakness that might compromise with the quality. Therefore, this process is critical for every business organization because it is the filter of the products that might have compromised with the quality at some stage because it happens before the release of a product.

Besides quality assurance, there is also quality control. In this case, the evaluation is done by the project team on its own. The team conducts and internal individual assessment to ensure that the process adopted efficient (Glassey, 2009). This may involve trying out new things that seem to improve the process to ensure that it is efficient, customer satisfying and profitable. Lastly, companies also employ continuous improvement as a way of quality control. This quality control method involves a regular assessment to establish all the possible weaknesses in the process and thus come up with the appropriate way to use. This is critical in the course since it plays a significant role in the quality sustainability of a given company.

Implementing total quality management system has defined steps that can be followed to ensure that the employee is required, the process is centered, and customer focus is achieved. The fast action is a clarification of the vision, mission, and values. This helps the team to understand that quality expectations are part of the organizational strategy and the company expects its achievement (Littlefield & Roberts, 2012). The second step is identifying the Critical Success Factors (CSF). This is the various aspects that the organization needs to consider to achieve it quality process mission.  All factors that are likely to impact the process positively must be discussed at this stage, and this could affect financial performance, customer satisfaction, process, market or employee aspects (McCloskey & Ziliak, 2008).

Thirdly, the organization develops measures and their respective metrics that can be used to track the CSF data. There should be useful metrics that can be used to monitor each of the critical success factors thus helping to understand success progress in the implementation process. In some cases, some surveys can be conducted to establish this valuable information and measure the extent. This can be customer satisfaction survey scores and work towards increasing them (Abdullah, 2010). Therefore, this is a very critical stage in the quality implementation process.

The fourth consideration is the identification of the requirements of the key customer groups to the organization. This step must be conducted carefully to ensure that the process meets all the requirements of the key clients and thus design exactly as per their expectations to fully satisfy them. The key customer groups to most organizations include the suppliers, vendors, customers, clients and employees (Stegerean et al., 2009). Therefore, this step largely helps to get the customer's expectations and then develop products or services that fully merge with their expectations thus delivering value to them.

After identification of the client requirements, the fifth step now is to solicit and get the customer feedback. This is used to establish whether the client's needs are being met. This stage brings out the various responses from the customers to get a comparison to the product or service that the company offers. After this, the sixth step is developing a survey tool (Harmon, 2007). The tool is mainly designed to focus on the aspects that are important to the customers. The tool will, therefore, help the business to understand and establish the information or issues and their progress to ensure full customer satisfaction. This is closely followed by the seventh step which emphasizes on surveying each client group. This will give the perception of each of the groups and thus ensure their satisfaction (Johnson & Kleiner, 2013).

After the survey, the next step is to develop an improvement plan. This stage is used to provide a solution to the requirements that were identified at the earlier stages of a customer survey. The solution must be fit to all customer group expectations. After plan development, a resurvey is conducted to establish if the client needs have been met and also get to know the new customer requirements that have changed over time. This process is continuous and important in important in handling the changing customer needs (Steve, 2010).

The next step in the plan is monitoring CSF to ensure that they were progressing positively and solve problems that might have occurred to reduce their positive growth. After this, total quality management system calls for incorporating the satisfaction data into the marketing plan. This can be a great tool to convince the customers to believe in the services offered by the company. Lastly, there must have technology consideration. The technology incorporated in the process should be user-friendly and support improvement all the time (Hoyle, 2007).

Successful TQM implementation is faced with many challenges. These problems come from various areas such as the strategic barriers, structural barriers, and contextual barriers, procedural and human obstacles. These factors has a significant impact on the smooth implementation of the TQM. Just to highlight some these challenges, firstly, there are drawbacks from the competitive markets. This is one of the greatest challenges. Competition affects the customer level expectation of the product or service quality. Some companies invest so much into quality thus making their respective competitors strain over achieving the expected quality standard level (Mosadeghrad, 2014).

A bad attitude is also another challenge that significantly affects the total quality management implementation. Bad attitude towards the implementation or responsibility abdication has a significant impact on the success of the initiative. A team which is not motivated or does not understand the need for the quality integration hampers the positive progress of the project (Nederpelt, 2012). Lack of leadership for the initiative is also a challenge that affects the smooth flow and growth of the project. A project without clear leadership lacks direction and mostly emanates from duplication of the roles in the initiative which makes everybody feel like the boss and therefore, make the project lack leadership.

The initiative of total quality management also faces challenges from the organizational culture. The existing corporate culture can affect an introduction to new ways of doing things or processes because people are not familiar with these new ways particularly when there is no dynamism. Some businesses also lack sufficient resources to run the total quality management project. These are mostly financial resources which are always key drivers in project implementation (McCloskey & Ziliak 2008).

A challenge in TQM also arises from customer focus. Implementing a marketing plan that considers all customer requirement is challenging the most critical aspect of the process yet. Surveys to collect customer information are costly and time difficult to ensure fairness in the exercise. There is also a lack of metrics to measure customer improvement. This presents a challenge to establish a clear progress level or status in the initiative (Homburg, 2009).

Planning is a critical factor for the success of the TQM effort. Most projects are poorly planned for thus challenge for their success. Lack of proper planning by the organization presents many challenges and can even lead to project failure. In the same line, management commitment can be a problem the initiative. If the management team is not committed to delivering quality, there are many chances of project failure (Thareja & Thareja, 2007).

Also, TQM initiatives usually resistance from the workforce. Most of the employees tend to resist change in the organization or process thus presenting a challenge in the project. Besides, when the project team lacks proper training, can bring out challenges to the success of the project (Nederpelt, 2012). Most organizations lack sufficient staff to manage the initiative thus leading to their failure.

There are various aspects that an organization must consider to overcome the challenges that are associated with successful implementation of TQM. The company must ensure that there is full support from the top management since they have a significant effect on the success of the project. Also, there must be sufficient preparations for the success of the initiative. This entails setting aside adequate resources for the project, training the involved people in the team, and working towards getting their full participation thus eliminating most challenges that may hinder the success of the initiative (Jacobsen, 2008).

Most of the problems in the enterprise can be reduced by motivating the staff in various ways through short term and long term plans. A motivated team is likely to corporate in the process and also yield more to the initiative (Michele & Stacia, 2008). In as much as motivation cultivates teamwork, the organization should also consider applying more strategies that promote collaboration. Achieving teamwork and corporation is likely to impact positively on the society.

Also, the team should put a lot of focus on creating the consistency of the process purpose that is likely to improve the product or service and thus remain competitive in the industry. Also, the company should make more efforts and emphasis on the statistical data to make decisions and thus reduce much reliance on the mass information which is likely to be misleading in many cases (Haleblian et al., 2012).

Besides, the organizations should have strategies in place that are likely to help the team ensure quality standards to every incoming material. There should be a clear measure of the quality and the price to make sure that they meet all the required conditions. Lastly, successful total quality management system calls for continuous improvement of the process thus reducing the challenges and also helping the organization achieve sustainability.

In conclusion, it is evident that project quality management is critical and inevitable for the success of any business. It mainly emphasizes on delivering a service or product that is fit for all customer groups to the organization. It mainly focusses on customer satisfaction and reducing the cost of a production which in turn increase the profitability and sustainability of the company. Therefore, every business organization should adopt quality management system for efficient operation.

Many theories are used to explain the how organizations can embrace and apply project quality management. The six sigma and the total quality management are the most common methods that are used. They all revolve around planning, quality planning, assurance and control. Besides, in the implementation of TQM, various steps must be adhered to for the success of the initiative. If strictly followed, they are likely to deliver value to the business and thus achieve success. Also, many challenges are likely to face the action and thus need to adopt the best recommendations that can positively impact the organization

Reference

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