Supply Chain Quality Management

A History of TQM

The field of quality management is in a state of flux. The profession looks far different today than it did when it was first introduced in the 1920s when statistical theory was first applied to product quality control. In the 50s, quality management was further developed in Japan, led by Peter Deming, who widened the focus from the quality of products to the quality of an organization. In the 1980s, the term Total Quality Management (TQM) was born to define quality within organizations.

In 1988 the Malcolm Baldrige Award in the US represented the first clearly defined and internationally recognized TQM model.  It was developed by the US government to encourage companies to adopt the model and improve their competitiveness.  Other countries have now followed up with similar awards and companies all over the world compete to ensure that customers get the best quality products.

The early days of TQM were full of confusion with the quality department and manufacturing often at odds. Manufacturing often said the quality group prevented them from getting their work done. Today there is a shift where quality is everyone’s job. Quality standards, such as ISO 9000, a defined set of international standards on quality management and quality assurance, have been developed to help companies effectively document quality. ISO 9000 standards are based on seven quality management principles that management can apply to promote organizational improvement. These seven include:

  • Customer Focus
  • Leadership
  • Engagement of People
  • Process Approach
  • Improvement
  • Evidence-based Decision-Making
  • Relationship Management

This means there is a need to extend quality management to suppliers, customers, buyers, and logistics service providers. Businesses can even benefit from understanding how to fit social influences and customer feedback into the mix. However, most Quality Management solutions that exist today focus only on the company and don’t extend to its trading partners. The need for TQM that incorporates the end-to-end supply chain and its trading partners is now.

Introducing Supply Chain Quality Management from Elemica.

Elemica Quality brings quality and operational excellence together. By streamlining communication among suppliers, customers, and manufacturing sites, Elemica Quality creates an enterprise-wide quality and compliance solution to minimize cost-related product quality issues. The solution gives manufacturers the upstream visibility and control they need to reduce material variability, recalls, and scrap; to minimize plant disruptions, and to support an audit trail for compliance documentation.