"Total Quality Management" (TQM) is a system designed to raise the efficiency and lower the cost of quality assurance by concentrating on finding and correcting the sources of product defects in the production process, rather than merely correcting or discarding defective items found at postproduction inspection. The system uses a range of standard procedures for gathering, sorting and analysing process and product data, from simple checklists, on which the occurrence of one or more recurring events is ticked off each time it happens, to complex statistical techniques. For instance, by monitoring the operation of a bottling line it proved possible to trace the occurrence of certain defects to certain individual heads on the filling machine. By locating and repairing the relatively small number of defective heads (on a machine with over 100 of them) the enormous additional costs of overhauling the entire machine were avoided. By devoting adequate resources to process monitoring and data evaluation procedures designed to eliminate quality problems at source, losses due to defects in the finished product can be minimised. The role of training in quality assurance should be given due weight. New products and processes should also be studied and tested with the aim of ironing out any difficulties before the commercial production stage is reached. Accounting and administrative procedures should be so organised as to facilitate quality data gathering and processing across the board. Quality assurance should be integrated into the work of all departments, including the financial and administrative (and other) management bodies not directly involved in actual production, instead of being the special remit of a separate division.
Keywords : costs data processing education efficiency management process control quality control