Extend Total Quality Management Across the Supply Chain to Drive Competitive Advantage

Deploying TQM Across Supply Chain Processes Achieves Competitive Advantage

Quality managers find themselves in an environment where significant internal and external trends are changing the way they operate and deliver value.

Today’s leading enterprises recognize Total Quality Management (TQM) as an integral part of operations which can deliver a significant competitive advantage, enabling them to:

  • Increase speed to market
  • Enhance visibility
  • Control costs
  • Strengthen overall business/service to customers
  • Increase the efficiency of processes and optimizing product flow
  • Improve inventory management
  • Eliminate waste

To achieve this, it requires integrating all quality-related functions and processes throughout the entire company and its supply chains. TQM of today looks at the overall quality measures used by a company including managing quality design and development, quality control and maintenance, quality of delivery, quality improvement, and quality assurance.

New processes and tools are underway that enable other functions and business leaders to establish and support quality objectives. The Internet of Things, social media, structured customer feedback, and human sentiment generates a plethora of data that can be used with quality analysis. This data could significantly improve the ability to identify leading indicators of performance issues, prevent CAPA re-occurrence, and diagnose customer complaints more quickly. These same insights can also focus on the risks and opportunities available across the product development process and customer journey.

To continue to be seen as a valued partner to the business, the quality function must learn to translate the data into customer insight, rather than using it only as a cost reduction tool. To support this shift, quality will need to analyze existing relevant customer information — particularly unstructured data, such as consumer reviews and social media feedback. The quality function will need to develop analytic techniques, such as sentiment analysis, machine learning, data visualization and applied statistics, to translate that data into new and improved metrics and processes, augmenting the organization’s understanding of what quality means to customers.

In today’s global marketplace, quality management needs to be extended across the supply chain to customers, buyers, suppliers, and logistics service providers. Operational silos can be eliminated by having all trading partners connect to a Digital Supply Network, which fosters improved communications and collaboration, bringing value to all participants. With a Supply Chain Quality Management Solution built within a Digital Supply Network, all participants on the network are privy to data, analysis, and information on what is happening across the supply chain, and who is doing what and when. The data collected across the network gives deeper insights into quality information, leading to greater customer expectations and significant value.