A Comparison of the application of Total Quality Management within Manufacturing, Service and Public Sectors Essay



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Total Quality Management (TQM) is a management approach that is aimed at ensuring products and services are consistent and produce outputs that are of an appropriate quality to meet customer expectations.  In today’s global economy and as a result of the information age, people are increasingly conscious of what they can demand and failure to meet these expectations can have serious consequences for an organization’s bottom line.  In order to meet such expectations many firms have started to place a heavy emphasis on quality and consistency and it has become a primary focus.  This paper discusses three sectors within which TQM has featured in recent years, manufacturing, services and the public/government sector and discusses the application of this methodology within three separate organizations; Toyota, Ritz Carlton and the US government respectively.

Total Quality Management was originally a practice that was developed within, and intended for, the manufacturing industry.   The ideas underlying the TQM approach were thought to have developed from the work of a US citizen named Dr - A Comparison of the application of Total Quality Management within Manufacturing, Service and Public Sectors Essay introduction. Demming who worked as a quality consultant in Japan after the Second World War.  He believed that products should be designed and manufactured with the customer’s needs in mind and thus product quality, and not profit, should form the basis of the focus of a manufacturing operation (Walton, 1990).  The idea here was that if quality met customer’s expectations they would be satisfied and profit would be driven as a result of this satisfaction.


Quality Management within the Manufacturing Industry

Toyota are often heralded as being the pioneers of TQM.  They were heavily influenced by Demming’s philosophies in the post war period, so much so that his portrait still hangs in their headquarters in Tokyo today.  In Toyota there is the strongly held view that products should be designed and manufactured with the end needs of the customer in mind.  Actual customer requirements should be translated into a production schedule that can deliver the right products, “Do the right things, right the first time, every time” (Hyde, A. 1992).  One of the ways in which Toyota have delivered this is through their “Toyota production System”.   This system incorporates quality management at every stage of the operation from car design through to delivery to the customer.  Every single element of the Toyota value chain, including procurement, HR, logistics and IT are aimed at eliminating problems within and thus creating a standardized product that can be produced efficiently and consistently.  They believe that through preventing problems at source they will produce quality products that satisfy their customers’ needs.

The introduction of TQM philosophies within the manufacturing industry has also led to changes in leadership methods.  At one time employees in companies such as Toyota were measured according to strict numerical standards that pitted individual teams against one another.  Decisions were made by senior management and were passed down for lower level employees to adhere to.  TQM required a change from this as it recognized that employees needed to work towards a common goal.  In order to enable this heavy investment was made in personal development and training and employee’s own abilities to made decisions and improve processes were recognized and fostered.  What was previously an autocratic management style became one that was focused on teamwork and long-term relationships.


Quality Management within the Service Industry

Quality Management within the service industry is often considered to be much harder to proactively manage than that in the manufacturing industry as a result of the nature of services themselves; intangible entities that cannot be stored as inventory, require a great deal of interaction with the customer and are often produced and consumed simultaneously.  Services are unique to a customer and for this reason a service provider cannot fully standardize service delivery in the same way Toyota are able to standardize their manufacturing process.  Despite these difficulties however, quality can still be a key focus in these industries though, as Ritz Carlton have demonstrated. In 1983, the CEO of the company developed a strategy that directed the organisation to compete on quality, thus adopting a TQM approach to the management of the hotels and changing the way in which every element of the company operated.  In a similar way to Toyota’s approach, the value chain of the hotel was reconfigured in order to ensure a quality ethos was present throughout the organisation at every level and the customer was at the very start of every action the organisation took.   Ritz Utilised the Baldridge National Quality Award as the key criteria for improving service in order to achieve optimum performance levels throughout the organization. Using previous winner’s service approach as a blueprint for their own services and to develop benchmarks for their own learning and development.

Leadership within a TQM led service organization is very much based upon empowerment of employees.  As the quality of a service offering cannot be separated from the customer, every single time a customer interacts with an employee of the service organization there is an exchange that is critical to the quality of that interaction and the subsequent customer satisfaction.  For this reason, employees need to be capable of being flexible in their interactions with customers and need to be empowered to make decisions relevant to the situation within which they are conversing. In order to provide their employees with the skills and knowledge they need to deliver the correct service, Ritz have developed a kaizen culture that is based on the concepts of the “Golden Standards” (Ritz Carlton Basics, Three Steps of Service, The Motto and Credo).  The Golden Standards are reinforced on a daily basis throughout the organisation; each employee carries a laminated card with service values on it and they begin each day with a “lineup,” during which employees review guest experiences, resolve issues, and discuss ways to improve service.


Quality Management within the Public Sector

Quality management in the public sector can be much harder to implement than the private sector as decision-making processes are often obscured by red tape. In the case of the public sector, the customers are also hard to identify and thus providing quality that these customers value becomes a more distant concept. Unlike the services and manufacturing industries, quality and satisfaction are not motivated by a need to make profit here but are more concerned with the agenda and priorities of the government.  In addition to this, the customers will generally evaluate the quality of public services both on the result and on the behavior or their view of the person delivering them.  For example, whilst George Bush may deliver an initiative that improves the quality of education provision within schools in a state, the people of that state may not value those improvements if educational reforms had been made as a result of heavy tax increases that they couldn’t afford.

The police department is an example of a body that ha adopted TQM practices in some of their management approaches.   Police departments now use process mapping and reengineering to improve their operations and performance metrics are communicated to the US population from these agencies on a regular basis.  However, police departments remain under the control of government agencies.  Many of these agencies have conflicting agendas and political requirements and, as a direct result of this, the customer aligned value chains and interests that can be observed internally within many service and manufacturing organizations may not prevalent within police departments.

The leadership structure within the police force has historically been very rigid.  There was a clear reporting hierarchy and decisions are made from the top and flow downwards through the levels of this hierarchy.  More recently, police departments have been restructured according to a TQM approach and issues relating to work culture and the needs of the community have received more emphasis.












Quality Management within three Sectors:  Differences Between the Strategic Roles
Manufacturing Industry
Service Industry
Public Sector
Strategic motivation
Profit focussed
Profit focussed
Generally focussed on political agenda
Customer active participant in delivery of quality
No, products developed separately from customer.
Yes.  Service is a unique thing that the customer actively participates in.
Poor quality is recoverable
Only on a long-term basis.
Possible on a short time basis through appropriate service recovery processes.
Only on a long-term basis.
Standardized Quality
Yes, ultimate aim
Hard to standardize because customers are all unique and will perceive quality differently.  A standard service experience is an underlying objective though.
Hard to standardize because customers are all unique and will perceive quality differently.  A standard service experience is an underlying objective though.
Tangible outcome
Yes.  Quality is associated with the final product and the performance of that product.
No.  Intangible
Mostly intangible




Works Cited:


Walton, M, (1996) “Deming Management Method” Berkely Publishing Group.


Morgan. C, and Murgatroyd. S, (1994), “TQM in the public sector”, Open University Press, Buckingham


Hyde, A. (1992). The Proverbs of Total Quality Management: Recharting the Path to Quality Improvement in the Public Sector. Public Productivity and Management Review, 16(1), 25-37;




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