The concept of total quality management (TQM) requires a total commitment by everyone in an organization to a vision of quality and continuous improvement, controlled and measured in all its practices, products, and services it provides to its customers.
The concept of TQM requires the same commitment, controls, and measures by the suppliers of products and services to the organization.
This vision of total quality by suppliers and to customers applies to both internal and external suppliers and customers.
TQM is an important contributor to good corporate governance practices.
The profession of internal auditing requires, in its code of ethics, all internal auditors to achieve high standards of quality and to implement continuous improvement in all the practices, products, and services they provide to their customers.
The 1980s and 1990s saw a worldwide increase in the teaching and implementation of quality schemes. Most of these programs focused on economics and customer satisfaction, with controlled processes, key performance indicators, and feedback mechanisms. All involved a need for continuous improvement. All required total commitment. Many evolved from existing quality control and assurance functions, and many were new, established because of regulatory, competitive, or cost pressures.
During this period “quality objectives” in business and public-sector organizations moved into all levels of direction and management decision-making. Strategic plans embraced the need for quality and customer satisfaction, if not delight. Directors of quality appeared on many boards. The results could be seen in a growth of quality cultures and quality system standards, fuelled by many governments and consultants. Competitive national and international quality awards were created to stimulate the development of these cultures. These awards still attract many organizations to quality self-assessment programs and external quality audits across all sectors.
TQM becomes embedded in an organization when quality programs are created by a “total commitment” to quality in all strategies, structures, and systems. Quality gurus across the world have created exciting quality principles, motivating many organizations to adopt TQM practices. These often bring significant benefits, not just for the organization, but also for its customers, suppliers, employees, and all other stakeholders. Best-practice internal auditing achieves high levels of quality in all its services and reviews quality achievements by the organization in all its planning and engagements.
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