The focus must shift from the product to the process that makes the product by eliminating the causes of defects and reducing variance. The process of improving a product requires an educated and motivated workforce willing to originate and offer suggestions. Workers can no longer be considered an extension of a machine. This fundamental change in attitude toward workers requires top management commitment. Management support for continuous improvement cannot simply be voiced at a meeting or written in a mission statement. To achieve quality, managers at all levels must exert leadership to guide employee activities and create a corporate culture conducive to improving quality and productivity. Continuous improvement must be backed by the necessary funds, be permanently ingrained in the corporate culture, and involve the entire organization. A significant investment has to be made in training. Companies that have taken these steps are prospering on a global scale; those that haven't are lucky to be alive. This transformation of corporate culture from inspection for defects to a commitment to provide consumers with quality products and services is the result of the work of thousands of executives and operations managers who choose, willingly or not, to follow the teachings of the quality gurus.
Up to 1990 TQM was both sufficient and necessary to as...
But the 1990s have not been kind to Japan. TQM may be necessary to be globally competitive but may no longer be sufficient. In today's world, globally successful companies must produce high quality products as a necessary precondition for survival, but this no longer necessarily guarantees success.
Success seems to be moving away from an emphasis on producing quality products to managing a corporation in a complex and fast-changing business environment. Managing complexity and rapid change is not the same as managing the quality of a product or service. A high-quality product that has become technologically obsolete or no longer satisfies consumer tastes has little value in ensuring a company's survival. (Slack, N., Chambers, S., Johnston, R, 2004)
Corporations were once organized around physical assets; now they are organized around intellectual resources, core competencies, and niche markets. Corporate strategy is more concerned in preserving and enhancing a company's core competencies as a source of competitive advantage than in simply maximizing shareholder wealth. Strategic alliances and supply chain management harness core competencies of several or many companies for their mutual advantage. This interest in the mutual well-being of a group of companies is in opposition to the concept of an independent company pursuing its own interests, and in many ways, is reminiscent of the Japanese approach to business. (Burke, R, 1999)
Thus, an operations manager cannot just be competent on the factory floor but should be knowledgeable on how operations on a factory floor contribute to the core competencies and competitive advantage of his or her company. Through supply chain