Managing Quality:


Kaizen and Total Quality Management (TQM)

A Movement Aimed at Improvement of Managerial Performance at All Levels


"Everybody in an organization has to believe their livelihood is based on the quality of the product they deliver" ~ Lee Iacocca

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Main Differences between TQM Practices in Japan the West


  • deals with quality of people

  • customer-oriented

  • upstream

  • process-oriented, aimed at improving  the total performance

  • company-wide, everybody's responsibility

The West:

  • deals with quality of products

  • manufacturer-oriented

  • downstream

  • product-oriented, aimed at detecting and eliminating defective parts

  • responsibility of quality control managers

The Seven Main Features of the TQC Movement in Japan

  1. Company-wide TQC, involving all employees, organization, hardware, and software

  2. Emphasis on education and training for top management, middle management and workers

  3. Quality control (QC) circle activities by small groups of volunteers

  4. TQC audits

  5. Application of statistical methods

  6. Constant revision and upgrading of standards

  7. Nation-wide TQC promotion

Areas Targeted by TQM in Japan

Product Quality Improvement

Improvements in the Workplace


Supply, Production, and Selling Chain

  • Supply management

  • Meeting production quotas

  • Meeting delivery schedules

  • Marketing

  • Sales

  • Services

Successful Implementation of Kaizen Strategy

7 Conditions

  • Top management commitment... More


Kaizen Mindset

  • Quality first, not profit first an enterprise can prosper only if customers who purchase its products or services are satisfied... More

The Toyota Way: 14 Principles

The Three TQM Goals at Japan Steel Works

  1. To provide products and services that satisfy customer requirements and earn customer trust

Yin-Yang of Customer Value Creation

  1. To steer the corporation toward higher profitability through such measures as improved work procedures, fewer defects, lower costs, lower debt service, and more advantageous order filling

  2. To help employees fulfill their potential for achieving the corporate goal, with particular emphasis on such areas as policy deployment and voluntary activities

Balanced Organization: 5 Basic Elements

Performance Management (Water):

What is TQM Concept in Japan?

TQM, also known as Total Quality Control (TQC), is a management tool for improving total performance.


TQC means organized Kaizen activities involving everyone in a company managers and workers in a totally systemic and integrated effort toward improving performance at every level. It is to lead to increased customer satisfaction through satisfying such corporate cross-functional goals as quality, cost, scheduling, manpower development, and new product development.

In Japan, TQC activities are not limited to quality control only. Elaborate system of Kaizen strategies has been developed as management tools within the TQC approach. TQC in Kaizen is a movement aimed at improvement of managerial performance at all levels. 

According to the Japan Industrial Standards, "implementing quality control effectively necessitates the cooperation of all people in the company, including top management, managers, supervisors, and workers in all areas of corporate activities such as market research and development, product planning, design, preparation for production, purchasing, vendor management, manufacturing, inspection, sales and after-sale services, as well as financial control, personnel administration, and training & education. Quality control carried out in this manner is called company-wide quality control or total quality control (TQC)."

Quality control in Japan deals with quality of people. It is the fundamental concept of the Kaizen-style TQC. Building quality into its people brings a company a half-way towards producing quality products.

Successful Implementation of Kaizen: 7 Conditions

One of the most difficult aspects of introducing and implementing Kaizen strategy is assuring its continuity.

When a company introduces something new, such as quality circles, or total quality management (TQM), it experiences some initial success, but soon such success disappear like fireworks on summer night and after a while nothing is left, and management keeps looking for a new flavor of the month.

This if because the company lacks the first three most important conditions for the successful introduction and implementation of Kaizen strategy... More

Quick and Easy Kaizen

Quick and Easy Kaizen (or Mini-Kaizen) helps eliminate or reduce wastes, promotes personal growth of employees and the company, provides guidance for employees, and serves as a barometer of leadership. Each Kaizen may be small, but the cumulative effect is tremendous.

The quick and easy kaizen process works as follows:

  1. The employee notices a problem or an opportunity for improvement... More

In some Canon plants, the foremen are told to set aside the half-hour as Kaizen time time to do nothing but thinking improvement in the workshop. The foremen use this period to identify problems and work on Kaizen programs. Factories are advised not to hold meetings during this 30-minute period, and foremen should not even answer the telephone then... More

 Case in Point  14 TQM Slogans at Pentel


Pentel is a Japanese firm manufacturing stationary products. The following is a list of 14 Pentel's slogans for explaining Total Quality Management (TQM) and Quick and Easy Kaizen philosophy to its employees.

  • Build quality in upstream... More

Three Stages of the Suggestion System

1. Encouragement. In the first stage, management should make every effort to help the workers provide suggestions, no matter how primitive, for the betterment of the worker's job and the workshop. This will help the workers look at the way they are doing their jobs... More

Education and Training

As a natural follow-up to the concept of building quality into people, TQC starts with education and training of managers and workers. The major aim of these awareness and training programs is to implant TQC thinking in all employees.

TQC education and training is a continuous process. Separate courses for different organizational levels are organized to reach everyone in the company.

 Case in Point  7 Principles of Toyota Production System

Toyota Production System (TPS)

  • Quality at the Source: To eliminate product defects, they must be discovered and corrected as soon as possible.  Since workers are at the best position to discover a defect and to immediately fix it, they are assigned this responsibility. If a defect cannot be readily fixed, any worker can halt the entire line by pulling a cord (called Jidoka).

  • .. More

Quality Control Circles (QCCs)

To involve employees in productivity and efficiency improvement activities, a team-based environment must be developed in which they can participate actively in improving their process, product, or service performance. One such employee participation program is quality control circles (QCCs).

QC-circle activities are usually directed towards improvements in the workplace. They focus on such areas as:

  • cost

  • safety

  • productivity

8 Rules for Quality Management

 Case in Point  Canon Production System (CPS)

The Canon Production System (CPS) includes:

  • Staff participation (quality circles, suggestion boxes, improvement proposals), and workshop dynamism... More

 Case Study  Survey by NPC, Malaysia

A recent survey on quality control circles (QCCs) by the National Productivity Corporation (NPC) of Malaysia revealed that the majority of the respondents were from the manufacturing (42.0%) and service (31.0%) sectors. Most of the projects undertaken were related to members' own workplaces, work processes, service delivery, and product development. The vast majority (95.1%) of the respondents said that QCC activities had helped reduce operational costs, with savings reported ranging from US$125.00 to US$2 million, with the median of US$50,000.

In 2004, the NPC launched the Innovative and Creative Circle (ICC) Program, which expanded the QCC approach to focus on innovation. It aims at promoting knowledge sharing, creative thinking, innovation for value creation, and cost optimization. 1

Continuous Improvement Firm (CIF): Kaizen, Lean Manufacturing, Suggestion Systems, TQM, Best Practices


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  1. "Productivity Improvement in the Service Sector," Mah Lok Abdullah, APO Newsletter

  2. Kaizen: The Key To Japan's Competitive Success, Masaaki Imai

  3. "Gemba Kaizen: A Commonsense, Low-Cost Approach to Management," Masaaki Imai

  4. Kaizen, 25 PowerPoint slides by Factory Strategies Group LLC

  5. "Lean Manufacturing That Works", Bill Carreira

  6. "The Toyota Way," Jeffrey Liker

  7. Lean Manufacturing Overview, 42 PowerPoint slides by Factory Strategies Group LLC

  8. "The Lean Manufacturing Pocket Handbook," Kenneth W. Dailey

  9. A Team Leader's Guide to Lean Kaizen, William Wes Waldo and Tom Jones

Quality Management

Deming's 14 Point Plan for Total Quality Management (TQM)

14 Slogans for TQM at Pentel, Japan


Kaizen Mindset

Quick and Easy Kaizen

Successful Implementation of Kaizen Strategy: 7 Conditions

Japanese-style Suggestion System

9 Waste Categories and 6 Guidelines of the Canon's Suggestion System

Five Ss at Canon

Lean Production

The Toyota Way: 14 Principles

Toyota's 10 Management Principles

13 Tips for Transitioning Your Company To a Lean Enterprise

5 Elements of Enabling a Lean Approach

10 Commandments of Improvement

TPS-Lean Six Sigma Linking Human Capital to Lean Six Sigma

Glossary Kaizen & Lean Production key definitions and concepts

Business Processes

Using Best Practice: The Trotter Scorecard

Enterprise-wide Business Process Management (EBPM)