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Quality vs. TQM

16 Feb 2017

Introduction

Quantum Research International (2007) mentioned, “Quantum Research International, Inc. founded in August 1987, in Huntsville, AL, is an independently owned small business that provides planning; research and analysis; and engineering and information technology products, services and solutions to U.S. Armed Forces, Federal Government, and industry customers” (Corporate profile, para. 1). The company has over 300 employees and consultants who provide top notch service to QRI customers. QRI is a services-based company that is highly recognized in its industry as a leader. The company has no formal mission statement, vision statement, listed goals, or listed objectives. However, by going through information provided at QRI's (2007) website, these items of importance can be identified. The purpose of this analysis is to compare QRI's corporate responsibility, mission, vision, goals, objectives, and strategies to the quality of its products and services. In addition, the researcher will compare Motorola, Inc. and its total quality management (TQM) to Quantum Research International, detailing the differences.

Discussion

Determining QRI's corporate responsibility

Corporate responsibility can be thought of as a company's commitment to the micro-environment (customers, employees, suppliers, shareholders, media, and competitors) (Learn Marketing.net, n.d.). QRI (2007) is committed to providing quality to customers through its employees. The company has no formal written mission or mission statement. Yet, QRI (2007) takes pride in providing customers with the highest level of customer satisfaction possible. In fact, QRI's (2007) diligence helped the company acquire a contract worth almost $450 million in 2006:
(Huntsville, AL and Colorado Springs, CO) – Quantum Research International, Inc. (Quantum) has been awarded the “Concepts and Operations for Space and Missile Defense Integration Capabilities (COSMIC)” contract to provide support to the U.S. Army's Space and Missile Defense Command, Future Warfare Center, Space and Missile Defense Battle Lab (SMDBL). The total value of the contract, including options, is in excess of $449M over a ten-year period of performance. (In the news, para. 1)

The company's core competencies are the reason why. QRI (2007) has many core competencies, including:

  • National security and force modernization
  • Logistics
  • Organizational improvement and leadership services
  • Command, control communications, computers, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance
  • Air and missile defense
  • Homeland security
  • Test and evaluation
  • Survivability analysis and assessment
  • Audio, video, and video teleconferencing technologies
  • Modeling, simulation, and analysis
  • Strategic planning and programmatics (Core competencies).

According to Kotelnikov (2008) “Your company's core competencies are the things that you can do better than your competitors in the critical, central areas of your company where the most value is added to your products” (What: Is core competence?, para. 1). Thus, one might say that QRI's (2007) mission is to outperform the company's competitors. In order to achieve this, QRI must provide its customers with outstanding quality in the company's products and services. Quality, as Merriam-Webster (2008) defined, is a “degree of excellence” (#2a), “social status (#3a), and an acquired skill” (#4b). As a result, QRI (2007) is aligning its core competencies with quality in the sense that the company is highly recognized as an industry leader for the quality of the products and services provided (Core competencies).

QRI's goals, objectives, and strategic focus

QRI did not list any goals, objectives, or strategies either. However, based upon the core competencies, one goal and objective can be to utilize core competencies (goal) that lead to a sustainable competitive advantage (objective) and results in superior value creation (strategic focus) (Kotelnikov, 2008). As mentioned earlier, quality is a “degree of excellence” (Merriam-Webster, 2008, #2a). Significantly, QRI (2007) considers its employees the company's “livelihood and strength” (Corporate profile, para. 2). Thus, QRI's quality is the end result of increased productivity and a low employee turnover rate from the company's highly skilled and motivated employees. In order to achieve the company's goal, objective and strategic focus, QRI must have a vision. On the front page of the company's website, by the Quantum Research International logo, are the words “Where vision becomes reality…” (QRI, 2007). Remarkably, this means that quality is being achieved. Does this mean that QRI also demonstrates total quality management? Yes and no. On the one hand, the company is attentive to its micro-environment (Learn Marketing.net, n.d.). Sadly, QRI (2007) has not implemented the TQM strategy within its organization.

Total quality management (TQM)

Hashmi (2008) defined, “Total quality management, TQM, is a management philosophy that seeks to integrate all organizational functions (marketing, finance, design, engineering, and production, customer service, etc.) to focus on meeting customer needs and organizational objectives (TQM defined, para. 1). Consequently, QRI (2007) satisfies its customers and is the leader in the company's industry. Yet, the organization has not aligned all these functions together. Right now, QRI does have outstanding quality, but not total quality management. What company does? Motorola is one.

Motorola demonstrates TQM

The company, Motorola (2008) is a global communications leader with over 80 years of experience. Motorola (2008) United States region sales in 2007 were over $36.6 billion. The company helps people, businesses, and the government stay connected. Motorola has a rich history, dynamic future, and is driven by the spirit of innovation (Motorola, 2008, About Motorola).

In fact, the company's philanthropy is community investment. Motorola's (2008) strategic focus is an emphasis on education, connecting the unconnected, critical community needs, and employee involvement. The company has a solid corporate responsibility as well. Motorola (2008) indicated that,

Corporate responsibility means harnessing the power of our global business to benefit people. It also means doing the right thing in all aspects of our business, including how we treat the environment, our employees, our customers, our partners and our communities. (Corporate Responsibility)

Additionally, Motorola (2008) guides its company on a profound set of business principles:

  • Innovative products, customer delight and quality
  • Ethics and transparency
  • Environmental quality
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Safe and healthy workforce
  • Economic opportunities and growth
  • Supplier relationship
  • Community support
  • Shareholder value (Corporate responsibility: Business principles).

All of these principles are consistent with total quality management. Why?

TQM principles

The principles of total quality management call for the organization to be committed to everything. In fact, Hashmi (2008) pointed out these principles as follows:

  • Management commitment (plan, do, check, act),
  • Employee empowerment (training, suggestion scheme, measurement and recognition excellence teams),
  • Fact based decision making (SPC, DOE FEMA, The 7 statistical tools, TOPS),
  • Continuous improvement (systematic measurement and focus on CONQ, excellence teams, cross-functional process management, and attain, maintain and improve standards)
  • Customer focus (supplier partnership, service relationship with internal customers, never compromise quality, and customer driven standards) (Principles of TQM).

An organization that understands its corporate responsibility and strategic focus can determine whether or not total quality management is feasible. Motorola (2008) has defined its corporate responsibility whereas Quantum Research International (2007) has not. Furthermore, Motorola (2008) listed its philanthropy, strategic focus, and business principles as well. These are things associated with the micro-environment which leads to TQM. QRI must do the same if the company wishes to achieve TQM.

Conclusion

Motorola's total quality management (business principles) can be implemented into the Quantum Research International, Inc. For example, Diversity and inclusion (Motorola, 2008) is similar to the QRI (2007) having its employees as the backbone of the organization. QRI's (2007) core competencies parallel Motorola's (2008) Innovative products, customer delight and quality as well as Economic opportunities and growth (Corporate responsibility: Business principles).Moreover, what the researcher considers to be QRI's (2007) goal, objective, and strategic focus is identical to Motorola's (2008) Ethics and transparency (values), Community support (competitive advantage), and shareholder value (maximizing wealth) (Corporate responsibility: Business principles). Environmental quality, Safe and healthy workforce, and Supplier relationship all deal with the internal organization (Motorola, 2008). Basically, these things will only be effective if the employees are motivated to succeed and management has a good rapport with suppliers. Currently, QRI (2007) says the employees make the organization and does not clearly define management's duties. Thus, QRI needs to envision (strategic focus) a vision (total quality management) and make it a reality (create a mission; set goals, objectives, and strategies; and define corporate responsibilities).

References

  • Hashmi, K. (2008). Introduction and implementation of total quality management (TQM). iSixSigma. Retrieved October 23, 2008.
  • Kotelnikov, C. (2008). Core competencies: Things you can do better than your competition. Innovation Unlimited. Retrieved October 23, 2008.
  • Learn Marketing.net. (n.d.). Micro environmental factors. Retrieved October 23, 2008.
  • Merriam-Webster. (2008) Quality. Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary. Retrieved October 23, 2008, from website: http://mw1.m-w.com/dictionary/quality
  • Motorola. (2008). About Motorola. Retrieved October 23, 2008.
  • Quantum Research International (QRI). (2007). Quantum Research International. Retrieved October 22, 2008.

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