Total Quality Management in Food Industry

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One of the most important industries overall is the food industry. Thefood industry consists of everything from food processing plants to fastfood restaurants. The food industry affects nearly every living person.

Most people don’t realize how important this industry is and how it affectstheir everyday lives. That is why it is so critical that the products ofthis industry are at their highest quality, are free of bacteria and ensurethat the consumer will not face any detrimental consequences. Total QualityManagement (TQM) plays a big role in promising these results.

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Total Quality Management seems to be a confusing term for the layman. TQMis a philosophy advocated by Dr. Edward Deming, a world renowned qualityguru. It was widely accepted by Japan from 1950 onward. They used thisprinciple for continuous refinement of an organization-wide quality system.

Since then many organizations around the world have adopted TQM or similarmethodologies. There have been many successes and many reported failures.

Success of the system depends on the total commitment of the people toquality from top to bottom within the organization. TQM implementation isbased on team work and the philosophy of continuous improvement. Statisticsneed to be used extensively to analyze and reduce the variation in the process.

In the food industry, continuous improvement is vital to the survival of aspecific company or restaurant. The customer is constantly purchasing theproducts of competitors and any decline in quality will equal a decrease ingross profits. There are several areas that a restaurant may focus on forquality improvement such as menu offerings, hospitality, service,cleanliness, and over all food quality. All of these aspects will becovered in this paper concerning Total Quality Management.

Various well known companies such as Ritz-Carlton Hotels and Taco Bell haveimplemented Total Quality Management programs in an effort to increasequality and market share. Ritz-Carlton of Kansas City, Missouri, recentlyrevamped menu selections for its rooftop-level restaurant and bar operation.

This came about through customer surveys, focus-group studies of localrestaurant patrons, employee opinions, and market analysis. This began withthe general manager, Norm Howard, as TQM must start at the top to besuccessful. He states that “It TQM is about listening to your customersand empowering your employees to participate in important businessTaco Bell, with the implementation of a Total Quality Management system,has improved its speed of service, friendliness of service, and value formoney ratings. This company has done this by empowering employees andseeking customer input. By integrating their employees into the system,Taco Bell has also decreased employee turnover by 63% (Stephenson, 1993).

According to the article “TQM: Making it Work for You,” there are six areasthat need to be focused on (Stephenson, 1993). The first area is measuringquantitative results of various surveys and studies and basing futuredecisions strictly on these outcomes. This information could come fromsomething as simple as a comment card, but these cards must tell thebusiness more than what was good and bad, but why.

The second area to be focused on is empowering the employees. Allowing theemployees to be involved in the team effort. Make the employees feelresponsible for their actions and allow the employees to fix their problems.

This is where many franchises lack, making it the manager’s responsibilityto fix the problems that the employees create. If management treatsemployees in a respectable manner, the employee will turn around and treatAvoiding errors is the third area that needs to be focused on. The mainfocus of a Total Quality Management program is to eliminate errors beforethey can occur. Systems cause about 80% of all errors, so if the system iserror free, then the employee has a lesser chance of making mistakes.

Next comes the integration of management into the process. Total QualityManagement implies that management must be 100% in favor of the program, orelse the employees will not respond properly. Employees will follow theLast is to do what the customer want, as tells the aphorism “The customeris always right.” This is the same principle. There is no sense in servingonly fried chicken if the customers demand a more health conscious baked orgrilled chicken. “Customers are not only the people who walk through thedoors looking for a meal but also your suppliers and employees” (Stephenson,Total Quality Management does not just deal with product quality, but allaround, or total quality. Another area that quality needs to becontinuously improved in is health and safety. Sky Chefs, an airlinecaterer recently came to the conclusion that their workers’ comp. Costs wereskyrocketing, so they incorporated their Total Quality Management program tohelp solve these health and safety problems (Kay, Murphy, Harris, 1994).

The main reason for business is profit, and if workers’ comp. Costs are atunacceptable levels, that cuts out profit.

Initially, the program focused on injury prevention and set a goal ofreducing workers’ compensation costs by 50% in three years. Task teams wereinitiated to collect data on estimated future loss, loss sources and medicaltreatment patterns which would be evaluated and used to eliminate hazardousareas of operation. They also gathered qualitative data on employee andmanagement attitudes and beliefs, current policies which focus on potentialhazards, and the physical environment. With this data, changes were madeand continuously updated with Sky Chef reaching their goal of a 50% declinein less than 18 months (Kay, Murphy, Harris, 1994).

The teams developed several guidelines for improvements as follows:Incorporate safe work practices into standard work processes;Involve line workers in all aspects of process improvement, particularlyIntegrate and continuously improve post-injury management processes;Create a unified data base that could deliver timely, useful information toReview vendors objectively and thoroughly;Institute criteria and time-based medical care and disability management;Implement a comprehensive modified duty program;Create a single managerial focus for loss prevention and work-related injurymanagement (Kay, Murphy, Harris, 1994).

By following these directives, a company could efficiently reduce workers’compensation costs. They have earmarked this as the Concern, Awareness,Responsibility, and Excellence program (C.A.R.E) which is a safetycommunications program which involves and rewards the line employees forcommitting safe acts (Kay, Murphy, Harris, 1994).

One aspect that these articles seem to have left out is the actual qualityof the product, the food. In food service classes and in the real world,one form of Total Quality Management is known as the Hazard AnalysisCritical Control Point, or the HACCP system. This system was developed toensure zero defects during food handling by monitoring the whole preparationprocess. Its purpose is to identify and correct errors before they happen.

The old method of quality assurance was to test the final product (TechniCAL1996). If the product was not sufficient, it was either held, reprocessed,or ultimately destroyed (TechniCAL 1996). This method was costly, not onlyin an economic sense, but also timely.

The HACCP system monitors the food from the delivery point through-outstorage and preparation until consumption. It analyzes critical controlpoints where extra precaution may be needed with potentially hazardousfoods. A flow chart is established to determine which foods need to beManagement and employees alike must take this system very seriously andfollow all steps which includes assessing hazards, identifying criticalcontrol points, setting up procedures for critical control points,monitoring critical control points, taking corrective action, setting up arecord-keeping system, and verifying that the system is working (EducationalFoundation of the National Restaurant Foundation EFNRA, 1992). Thissystem is necessary to maintain a quality food product and I feel is a partAccording to Russell Cross, industry guru on HACCP, the foundation betweenTotal Quality Management and HACCP are the same: “do it right the firsttime and every time and you get a good final product” (1994). He also goeson to state that it is necessary to check each step “along the process tomake sure the product is safe and the process is in control – instead ofrelying on the end product when it’s too late to correct the problem” (1994).

The food industry is an industry where it is a necessity that health andsafety are given a number one priority, and with a Total Quality Managementsystem in place, it becomes much easier to facilitate these needs. If anyfood product becomes contaminated it could mean illness for any customerwhich consumes this product, which could bring about lawsuits and even anOccupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigation whichcould result in the closing of the business.

I was part of a management team at a local fast food restaurant and I feelthat our employee turnover rate was extremely high compared to otherbusinesses in town. By implementing a Total Quality Management system suchas the one used by Taco Bell, these turnover problems could subside toacceptable levels, along with increased customer satisfaction.

The three most important factors in any food service business arecleanliness quality, and service. A Total Quality Management program, ifimplemented properly from the top down, with everyone involved in theprogram believing in it, would ensure the three factors are met and willconstantly continue to improve. I feel that this is a very important factorin an industry that is so diverse and ever-changing.

_____Cross, Russell. (1994). What HACCP Really Means Available: pp. 1-4.

_____Educational Foundation of the National Restaurant Association, (1992).

Applied Foodservice Sanitation, (4th ed.). Kendall/Hund Publishing Company.

_____Kay, Michael Z., Murphy, J. William, and Harris, Jeffrey S. (1994January/February). How to Zap Your Workers’ Comp Costs Financial_____Stephenson, Susie. (1993, October 1). TQM: Making it Work for YouRestaurants ; Institutions, pp. 109-111.

_____TechniCAL. HACCP: A Principle Whose Time has Come Available:Bibliography:

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Total Quality Management in Food Industry. (2018, Nov 18). Retrieved from

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