What Are the Different Types of Total Quality Management Tools?

Osmand Vitez

Total Quality Management (TQM) is a managerial philosophy that seeks to create a continuously improved business environment. Total quality management tools represent specific items a company can use to assess the effectiveness of the process. A few common TQM tools include Pareto charts, scatter plots, flowcharts, and tree diagrams. Each one allows for a specific review of a company’s operations. Companies can use these tools together or individually, depending on the scope of a company’s total quality management.

Charts are often used as a total quality management tool.
Charts are often used as a total quality management tool.

A Pareto chart combines information from both a bar graph and line graph. The chart presents individual data from specific activities in the total quality management process in the bars on the graph. The cumulative total of all activities represented in the bars is in the line covering the graph. The line typically goes from the bottom left of the chart and rises up and to the right, though some variations may exist. The chart is common among total quality management tools, identifying the most important factors in the quality control process.

Total quality management techniques can be used to improve performance within a division or an entire organization.
Total quality management techniques can be used to improve performance within a division or an entire organization.

Scatter plots are diagrams that place information into a spreadsheet chart. TQM tools include scatter plots as tools so companies can define relationships between two variables over time. For example, the chart can identify items sold over several days, months, or years. Though no line exists in the scatter plot, companies can see how these items correspond and if a cluster exists. This tool can provide insight into sales and product quality, among other things.

Flowcharts are physical representations of activities. Total quality management tools use flowcharts to assess how a company completes the various activities in its operations. This improvement process seeks to remove duplicate activities and control or remove waste. Compared to other tools, flowcharts are often easier to understand. Multiple managers may be necessary to put the chart together as each department has its own flowchart, leading to one overall chart for the company.

Tree diagrams are similar to flowcharts in that they are physical representations of certain activities. Total quality management tools use tree diagrams to determine the best decision based on given factors or expected future actions. Owners and executive managers often use these diagrams when making overall company decisions regarding products or product lines. Tree diagrams also have other uses. For example, a company can add numbers or figures to the diagram to determine the probability of goods sold with certain competition in the market.

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Discussion Comments


@indmenifyme - I've worked in sales before also, but I find all the charts rather tiring. I mean, I knew how much I was selling! I didn't need to constantly be reminded of what my numbers were. I guess some people respond better to that type of motivation though.


I must admit, charts and graphs are near and dear to my heart. It's one thing to hear the numbers, or see them written out. But a visual representation always hits home with me.

Part of what we do at my office are sales, and I've found charts are really helpful in total quality management. A chart makes it easy to see very quickly where we are doing well and where we need improvement.

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