An evaluation of total quality management in the chemical industry
Boloko, Titus Machuene
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Globally, there are great efforts made by organisations to improve effectiveness and systems to remain competitive in ever-changing business markets. Total quality management (TOM) has become a philosophy that most companies adopt once they reach a state where it would like to have a system where all efforts are made to satisfy customers or add value to customer experiences. An investigation was done at a South African chemical company to ascertain if important philosophies (continuous improvement, customer focus and winning with people) of TOM, which are found to be related to some of the company values, are taken seriously at all levels of the company. The company received a number of complaints from customers about the quality of service and goods supplied and it is of utmost importance to investigate if the concept of TOM is practiced effectively by this company since the implementation of the TOM programme. The study conducted has shown that the company understands the concept of quality and the impact of quality on customer satisfaction. TOM is useful when it is implemented at all levels in a company and was indeed found to be implemented on all company levels in this company. Management support, employee improvement, employee empowerment, process improvement, training and development, cleanliness and organisation, teamwork as well as customer focus are the TOM practices that were found to be highly rated within the company. Responses showed that management communication should be improved to ensure that everyone in the organisation is fully informed about all developments. From the results, it was concluded that the foundation of effective TOM is being practiced by the company except in a few minor cases and, therefore, more focus should be placed on those cases.