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  #1  
Old 26 August 2008, 09:40 PM
Malruhn Malruhn is offline
 
 
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Read This! TQM business failures?

I have been repeating an oft retold story about the now disused business practice/model/theory of TQM - Total Quality Management. The concept is that the individual is useless and that the only good ideas generated come from committee, that every business practice the company uses must be tracked - to the detriment of actually practicing business.

And, the kicker: That the three first Fortune 500 companies that instituted TQM as their business model went under.

Okay, have I been passing along a total UL? Am I a bad snopester? Should I be spanked?

Or, perhaps, are there three names that can be attached to the non-ULish TRUTH and I am vindicated?
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  #2  
Old 27 August 2008, 03:54 AM
Nick Theodorakis Nick Theodorakis is offline
 
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I can't help you, but I noticed that the wikipedia article on TQM notes:

Quote:
This article or section appears to contain a large number of buzzwords.
which I thought was amusingly ironic.

Nick

Last edited by Nick Theodorakis; 27 August 2008 at 04:15 AM.
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  #3  
Old 27 August 2008, 04:15 AM
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All I can say is that when I first started out in the workforce in 1994, we were taught that TQM was the answer to all of our problems. Out meetings were run according to TQM procedure, and it was enough for me to want to jab knitting needles in my eyes.
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  #4  
Old 27 August 2008, 04:17 AM
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Here's a study, which I haven't read.

I worked for an organization that implemented TQM in the early 90s. I don't recall that we decided the individual was useless - in fact the idea was to give each person in the process ownership of and accountability for their work. One interesting thing that was mentioned in all the classes - in Japan, where TQM evolved, one of the cornerstones of TQM was that the highest paid person in the company should never make more than X times what the lowest paid person made (X was somewhere around 10, I think). That was one of the principles that was most emphatically not embraced by the US organizations that implemented it!
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  #5  
Old 27 August 2008, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malruhn View Post
I have been repeating an oft retold story about the now disused business practice/model/theory of TQM - Total Quality Management. The concept is that the individual is useless and that the only good ideas generated come from committee, that every business practice the company uses must be tracked - to the detriment of actually practicing business.
Bolding mine. I don't recall either of those ideas being part of TQM, let alone "the concept" of TQM.

ETA: And if an organization attempted to implement TQM by ignoring the contribution of the individual and doing everything by committee, then 1) they almost certainly would fail and 2) it would hardly be attributable to TQM.

Quote:
And, the kicker: That the three first Fortune 500 companies that instituted TQM as their business model went under.
Surely, Fortune 500 businesses don't "go under" that often. And when they do, I doubt very much that it's attributable to a single cause. Especially since they may have implemented TQM in an attempt to solve serious pre-existing problems within the company.
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  #6  
Old 27 August 2008, 12:51 PM
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I've been part of CMM certification at the companies I have worked at. CMM certification is quite popular in the software industry, and I beleive, CMM is a framework for TQM for the software industry. I wouldn;t call TQM a failure since every software shop out there is competing to get CMM certified. CMM doesn;t advocate "design by committee", rather it is very agnostic regarding how you implement your processes. Basically, it boils down to 2 things a) you need to have a process for every aspect of your job and b) you need to have a process for improving your process.

The thing is when you are talking about continious process improvement, there is a tendency for people to go overboard on processes. Processes are good as long as they solve a problem, but process for the sake of process is bad. The problem is not with CMM/TQM itself. There is nothing in CMM that says you need to have a 3 page process to do. The problem is that when a management starts talking about process as the silver bullet that will solve all your problems, there is a tendency to make the process fit each and every scenario, which makes the process long and inefficient

It shouldn;t be that way. The process should help the people. People should have the authority and the responsibility to deviate from the process when needed. THe problem isn't with continious process improvement itself. Problems happen when people who design the processes do it in a manner that takes the power away from people who implement the processes
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  #7  
Old 27 August 2008, 12:59 PM
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It has evolved. There's always going to be a need for continuous process improvement. Now we have Lean Six Sigma. Google it.
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  #8  
Old 27 August 2008, 01:46 PM
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My first exposure to TQM/CI was, surprisingly, in the Navy. We had really fantastic success, largely, I think, due to the size of our unit and the support we had of our chain of command.

The processes we implemented helped us to be able to those straight out of A-school very quickly (which was important because A-school did not really teach them how to do the job), order supplies quickly and very inexpensively, and helped us go through an IG inspection with 0 deficiencies.

Since then, I have become something of a business process geek, and try to implement what I can of CI into every subsequent job I have, even though it is typically limted to my processes.
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  #9  
Old 27 August 2008, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnglRdr View Post
Since then, I have become something of a business process geek. . .
You mean I'm not alone? There's more than one of us?

My original title at my current employer was Manager of Process and Documentation.
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  #10  
Old 27 August 2008, 01:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
You mean I'm not alone? There's more than one of us?

My original title at my current employer was Manager of Process and Documentation.
I had no idea such things existed! But I would probably hate doing it as a job--right now, it's just a hobby.
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  #11  
Old 27 August 2008, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnglRdr View Post
I had no idea such things existed! But I would probably hate doing it as a job--right now, it's just a hobby.
You realize, of course, that doing it as a hobby makes you even geekier.
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  #12  
Old 27 August 2008, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
You realize, of course, that doing it as a hobby makes you even geekier.
*sigh*

I know. That Lean Six Sigma thing Rangerdog posted about sounds like something I can sink my teeth into while watching convention coverage tonight. That is how much of a geek I am.
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  #13  
Old 27 August 2008, 03:51 PM
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I don't have any formal training, but I love continual process improvement, and it is 30% of my job to formalize and document our buiness processes. However, at my office, after all every day team members have sat down and drafted a process and have implemented it, management will immediately diverge from the process. Like within 1 day of accepting it.

ETA:
I guess I do have some formal training since I am certified in HACCP which is Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, but not everybody sees how the 7 principles of HACCP apply to all processes not just food safety processes. You just have to tweak it a bit, so you expand what kinds of hazards you are addressing. I use 6 - Chemical, Physical, Biological, Logistic, Personnel, Cash.

Last edited by rhiandmoi; 27 August 2008 at 03:59 PM.
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  #14  
Old 27 August 2008, 04:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhiandmoi View Post
...a process and have implemented it, management will immediately diverge from the process. Like within 1 day of accepting it.
I used to have a saying for my, well dynamic, job: "If you don't have a plan, you can't deviate from it."

I recently have had introductory LSS training and luckily, even though I am the operations officer and am a trained ORSA, I don't have to do the "green belt" training or be the LSS POC. That, my friends, is because unlike my fateful office mate, who is our systems engineer, I have learned when to keep my mouth shut. I get more cool with each passing day. Remember that old age and treachery will overcome youth and ambition every time.
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  #15  
Old 29 August 2008, 07:38 PM
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One thing I have noticed in the civil service is that whatever new management fad comes along, be it TQM, Kepner-Tregoe (anyone remember "KT it!!"??), "Clarify and Confirm", geeze now I can't remember them all anymore....anyway, these all eventually become bastardized to validate whatever disfunctional thing we were already doing. I think that must be the hallmark of companies who tank despite having the latest guru work the voodo, if you will pardon a mixed metaphor.
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  #16  
Old 29 August 2008, 08:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rangerdog View Post
I used to have a saying for my, well dynamic, job: "If you don't have a plan, you can't deviate from it."

I recently have had introductory LSS training and luckily, even though I am the operations officer and am a trained ORSA, I don't have to do the "green belt" training or be the LSS POC. That, my friends, is because unlike my fateful office mate, who is our systems engineer, I have learned when to keep my mouth shut. I get more cool with each passing day. Remember that old age and treachery will overcome youth and ambition every time.
I have to do LSS white belt training next month. No green belt for me either, afaik. I know people that have done it though- apparently you get a nifty jacket.
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  #17  
Old 30 August 2008, 03:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnglRdr View Post
My first exposure to TQM/CI was, surprisingly, in the Navy. We had really fantastic success, largely, I think, due to the size of our unit and the support we had of our chain of command.

.

My first exposure to TQM was in the Navy as well: I worked at Bethesda Naval Hospital medical library when TQM became all the rage. I don't ever recall anyone really implementing it, but I do remember a regular patron chewing out someone because that someone would not help us locate a person who had an overdue book. Something about the way the person on the other end of the phone was not walking the TQM walk.

Dawn--you should've seen all the TQM books my boss bought; wonder if they're still being used?--Storm
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  #18  
Old 04 September 2008, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malruhn View Post
And, the kicker: That the three first Fortune 500 companies that instituted TQM as their business model went under.
And these three companies are...?

Typical - giving an example without really giving an example.
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  #19  
Old 04 September 2008, 07:12 PM
Malruhn Malruhn is offline
 
 
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That's just it - we never knew it either... we just passed the info along as gospel about how Ebil Teh TQM was.

Which is why I posted on here. I are searching for truthliness.
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