ابزارهای کیفی و تکنیک: آیا آنها برای مدیریت کیفیت لازم است؟
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|4363||2004||14 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Production Economics, Volume 92, Issue 3, 18 December 2004, Pages 267–280
Total quality management (TQM) has been developed around a number of critical factors. However, TQM is much more than a number of critical factors; it also includes other components, such as tools and techniques for quality improvement. In this paper, we carry out an empirical study in order to verify the importance of these tools and techniques for TQM improvement and their effect upon TQM results. For this purpose, we use the answers provided by the person in charge of quality in 106 ISO-certified firms in Spain.
The importance of total quality management (TQM) has considerably increased over the last years, on both a practical and theoretical level. TQM has been developed around a number of critical factors which vary from one author to another, although the core factors are leadership, quality planning, human resources management (training, work teams, employee involvement, etc.), process management, cooperation with customers and suppliers, and continuous improvement. According to the literature, the elements of TQM may be grouped into two dimensions: the management system (leadership, planning, human resources, etc.) and the technical system (TQM tools and techniques) (Evans and Lindsay, 1999); or into the ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ parts (Wilkinson et al., 1998). Thus, TQM is much more than a number of critical factors; it also includes other components, such as tools and techniques for quality improvement (Hellsten and Klefsjö, 2000). In fact, techniques and tools are vital to support and develop the quality improvement process (Bunney and Dale, 1997; Stephens, 1997). The critical factors of TQM are the elements that may lead to satisfactory performance, as has been proved by other studies (Saraph et al., 1989; Badri et al., 1995; Powell, 1995; Ahire et al., 1996; Adam et al., 1997; Hendricks and Singhal, 1997; Grandzol and Gershon, 1998; Quazi et al., 1998; Das et al., 2000). However, on the one hand, although the data show the existence of connections between the factors of TQM and a firm's performance, it cannot be strictly proven that TQM leads to increased performance, but simply that such relationship exists (Powell, 1995) and also that, as many respondents answered, quality may influence part of the firm's performance. On the other hand, in some cases, the impact of TQM practices on a firm's performance is weaker and not always significant (Sousa and Voss, 2002). Thus, TQM does not always improve performance. In spite of its advantages (Sohal et al., 1991; Kanji, 1998), we can also find problems in its implementation (Kanji, 1998). Firstly, in order to have a positive performance in a firm, it is necessary to develop its intangible resources (Powell, 1995). Secondly, firms that implement an effective TQM programme improve their operating performance (Hendricks and Singhal, 1997). Thirdly, experience has shown that some firms fail when they implement TQM (Boje and Winsor, 1993; Spector and Beer, 1994) because the implementation of TQM cannot be successful without the use of suitable quality management methods (Sitkin et al., 1994; Wilkinson et al., 1998; Zhang, 2000) such as tools and techniques for quality. According to this view, the management system of TQM may only have a positive effect on performance if a technical system has also been established (Sousa and Voss, 2002). In addition, these techniques, amongst others, are important for business survival and continuation (Zackrisson et al., 1995). What has been missing from the literature is an assessment of how quality tools have affected TQM. In our opinion, the situation makes it necessary to carry out an empirical study in order to verify the importance of these tools and techniques for TQM improvement and their effect upon TQM results. Our study analyzes the relationship between the use of these techniques and tools for TQM improvement and TQM itself, and will attempt to check if those firms with a higher TQM level (higher implementation of critical factors) and best TQM results, do show a higher interest in the use of these tools and techniques. For this purpose, we use the answers provided by the person in charge of quality in 106 ISO-certified firms in Spain. Our results are part of a wider research process, aimed at analyzing quality practices in certified firms by using TQM elements, which identifies the factors and results of these firms, classifies them and establishes different TQM levels. This paper will be structured as follows: in the next section, a review is made of the literature, on the one hand, concerning TQM results and critical factors, and on the other, regarding the tools and techniques for quality improvement. The following section reflects the methodology used for this paper; this is followed by a presentation and discussion of the results. A number of conclusions will be suggested in the final section.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The results show that there is a positive correlation, on the one hand, between a firm's TQM level and the use of tools and techniques for quality improvement, and on the other, between TQM results and such tools and techniques. When firms have a wider implementation of TQM critical factors, they are more interested in the usage of these tools and techniques, which may improve their TQM results. These results are applicable to certified firms in the Alicante area, because there are no significant differences between those firms which have been interviewed and those firms which have not. In this respect, although the results cannot be extrapolated statistically to other firms in Spain or in Europe, a logical extrapolation (i.e. a generalization based on qualitative criteria) can be made, since the factors identified agree with those established in the EFQM model and we have identified commonly used tools and techniques. Therefore, the use of tools and techniques for quality improvement is necessary for quality improvement and, although not included in ISO 9000 and frequently disregarded, it is an important sign of TQM maturity, which managers must implement in their firms in order to improve their TQM level and results. This means that many firms, when they begin their first steps towards TQM (ISO 9000) can use few tools (audits, graphics), and they may even be used only by quality managers or other managers. When they improve their TQM level, they tend to use other tools to a greater extent. In addition, on the one hand, the weakness of certified firms is a lack of support for and commitment towards the use of tools and techniques for quality improvement, mainly regarding the basic tools; on the other hand, it must also be admitted that there are some companies that have not benefited from and improved their performance by using these techniques and tools. The solution can be found in a higher managerial commitment, promoting their use among all the employees, together with a planning and training process covering teamwork methods and the use of these tools and practices; this would increase the firm's TQM maturity level and its TQM results. In other words, managers may encourage a higher number of employees to use these techniques in a way that benefits the whole firm. Perhaps the most interesting point of this study lies in the fact that, having focused our attention on a group of certified firms, we have had the opportunity to offer empirical evidence about the importance of techniques and tools of TQM in the quality improvement process. Our work builds on previous studies in this area, and complements other research work which generally focused on techniques and tools of TQM. However, it presents new results evidencing the importance of these techniques and tools for quality management, and may be used by managers to discover the potential benefits of the use of quality tools and techniques. Finally, these contributions could be suitably complemented by future research work in three directions: studying these aspects in a larger firm sample, analyzing case studies in order to verify the use of these tools and techniques and studying companies which use a range of quality methods but are not certified.