“Everybody in an organization has to believe their livelihood is based on the quality of the product they deliver”
– Lee Iacocca
From 1999 to 2005, I was a college professor at a local university called, Universidad Latinoamericana de Ciencia y Tecnología (ULACIT). That was shortly after graduating from Business Administration at the same college. It was my first and only job as a college professor I’ve had. It gave me great joy working there, specially teaching a course called Total Quality Management. I loved this course because it made me a better person, and I hope it also helped my students become better citizens. I believed—and still do—, with every word I said during those courses. I honestly trust in Kaizen or constant improvement in everything you do.
Total Quality Management (TQM), also known as Total Quality Control (TQC), is a management tool for improving total performance. It was invented by Quality Guru William Edward Deming. Deming is widely credited with improving production in the United States during the Cold War, although he is perhaps best known for his work in Japan.
Deming contributed significantly to Japan’s later reputation for creative high-quality products and its economic power. He’s regarded as having had more impact upon Japanese manufacturing and business than any other person not of Japanese heritage. Despite being considered something of a hero in Japan, he was only just beginning to win widespread recognition in the U.S. at the time of his death.
The champion of Quality in Japan was Kaoru Ishikawa. He’s considered the father of TQM in Japan, and responsible for spreading the teachings of W. Edward Deming. I used his book in my classes because of its inspiring content. Ishikawa is best known for the Ishikawa’s or cause and effect diagram (also known as fishbone diagram) used in the analysis of industrial processes.
After World War II, Japan looked to transform its industrial sector, which in North America was then still perceived as a producer of cheap wind-up toys and poor quality cameras. It was Ishikawa’s skill at mobilizing large groups of people towards a specific common goal that was largely responsible for Japan’s quality-improvement initiatives. He translated, integrated and expanded the management concepts of W. Edwards Deming and Joseph M. Juran into the Japanese manufacturing system.
Quality control in Japan deals with quality of people. It is the fundamental concept of the Kaizen-style TQM. Building quality into its people brings a company a half-way towards producing quality products. Good employees produce high-quality products, but before being a good employee, you must first become a good person. That’s the core teachings of Ishikawa.
Toyota is a Japanese company that is passionate about quality and exceeding customers’ satisfaction. It has introduced Kaizen in every process of its operations worldwide. That’s why Toyota products are widely accepted. Toyota is synonymous with quality. Ford, Chrysler, and GM are not anywhere near. That explains their poor performance and almost disappearance during the turmoil of the last global recession. I’m sure their honchos are re-reading Deming’s documents.
I presently own a 2006 automatic Toyota Corolla sedan. I purchased it last April for $10,500 from a guy who was in a hurry to travel to China. Buying Toyota is a safe bet, and I’m very satisfied with its performance.
Yesterday, while taking a break at our front porch, I noticed how well designed, the headlamps were. Not only were they designed for good illumination on a dark night, but how cool they looked. Functionality is good, but you can’t forget good looks. Customers want products that have a nice look, as well as products that work. Apple Inc. has mastered this art and is laughing all the way to the bank.
Let’s take a look as the aesthetic looks of headlamps designed by Toyota. It’s difficult to define TQM, but it’s easy to recognize it when you see it.
The lifestyle of TQM was my main and only purpose while I was teaching this course at ULACIT. If Panama want’s to jump to the category a First World country it has to change the living philosophy of its citizens. Only quality and kaizen will take us to this economic stage. Nothing else will. Good Day.