Total Quality Management

Total quality management is a technique of ensuring the total outcome of the concerned products or processes. It is a management theory concerned with various aspects of the value chain, from materials procurement to the products and services sales, to ensure achievement of the organizational objectives (Sallis, 2014).

Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company is an American multinational company specializing in selling automobiles and commercial vehicles. The business of the company involves manufacturing, marketing and giving service to the complete lie of the Ford vehicles (Bayou & De Korvin, 2008). The company functions into four major segments. These include the automotive, the central treasury operations, the ford smart mobility and the financial services. It functions as the second largest automobile company worldwide.  The vehicles manufacturing is done under the names of Lincoln, Ford, Mercury, Jaguar, Aston Martin and the Land Rover.

Ford Motor Company Competitors

The global automobile industry has a wide range of producers, without a dominance of any single producer. However, there are certain automobile manufacturers who hold a significant percentage of share and total sales in particular countries or regions. The key global competitors of Ford motor company include:

  • General Motors Company
  • Honda Motor Company,
  • Renault-Nissan B.V.
  • Toyota Motor Corporation, and
  • Volkswagen AG Group.

The competition is regarding the quality of products offered in the market, the price of their vehicles, and other factors such as low carbon emission. Being an American company, Ford faces stiff competition from Toyota, a Japanese company penetrating the American and global market.

Issues and Events driving to TQM

Ford implemented the total quality management in the 1990s in a bid to improve its overall performance. The program was driven by a famous slogan “Quality People, Quality Products.” The slogan emerged particularly after its partnership with the ChemFil (Sallis, 2014).

There were several major events that led that led to Ford Motor Company to start using TGM:

  1. The unfavorable environmental laws in the 1970s. The company experienced a long period of losses after the government enacted various laws that were environmentally friendly. The laws such as the Clean Air Act required reduction of harmful emissions from motor vehicles (Bayou & De Korvin, 2008). The changing legislative climate in the United States forced to company to incur lots of losses in the 1970s and 1980s.
  2. The early 1990s economic recession in the United States. Motor vehicle industries one of the industries that were affected a lot by the recession in this period and Ford was a victim.
  3. Costly Recalls: The Company experienced several recalls of some models such as Ford Explorer that further added its woes.

With these turn of events, Ford Motor Company decided to restructure its operations in attempts to survive from the economic ordeals that had hit it. This led to the introduction of TQM its operation, a move that rescued the company from crumbling totally (Curkovic & Pagell, 1999). Ford embarked on applying TQM to improve the quality of its products, establish an effective management, develop an environment that is stable for its workers and gain profitability from its products.

Implementation challenges of TQM in Ford

The implementation of TQM in Ford was faced with several challenges that slowed the process of achieving goals that the company set. The following are some of the challenges that were faced during the implementation of TQM at Ford.

  1. Lack of a transformation plan: The Company did not have a transformation plan as it changed from its traditional mode of operation to the new TQM system (Bayou & De Korvin, 2008). This slowed down its progress as witnessed various conflicts among the employees since most of them were not sure what to do. Most of them viewed the process as a short-term to fix their challenges rather than a long-term issue to solve long-term challenges and a foundation of the company operations.
  2. Lack of broad definition of quality: The Ford did not come with a broad definition of quality which was embedded in its slogan. Therefore, the employees had not a concrete measure of the type of results that to be produced.

Results Achieved After Implementation of TQM in Ford

Ford experienced tremendous change upon applying TQM system in its operation. There were several positive results and some of the major ones include;

  1. Customer satisfaction: The new operation model helped to improve the satisfaction of the Ford customers. The models built during this time were better engineered, good ergonomics and the problems were solved long before production was started (Sallis, 2014). The company conducted consumer research to ensure they designed cars that consumers expected.
  2. Good working environment: after the implementation of TQM the work environment at Ford was improved (Curkovic & Pagell, 1999). Working hours were adjusted, and workers reduced fatigue problems.

Disappointments in Ford TQM Model

After a successful implementation of TQM in Ford in the early 1990s, the company greatly improved and was able to stop the accumulating losses and regain its foothold in the auto industry. However, after becoming the leading automaker in quality and customer satisfaction, Ford felt as if it had achieved all and no longer needed to focus on quality (Bayou & De Korvin, 2008). The company reduced its use of TQM system in the early 2000s which led to the company being overtaken by the Japanese and European competitors.

Lessons Learnt from the TQM Implementation at Ford

Following the challenges and successful implementation of TQM at Ford, there are valuable lessons to learn from the research. One, the process requires a detailed plan so that it is successful. A transformation plan ensures a smooth transition to the new operation. Secondly, TQM system is a valid way of changing the corporate culture with valuable results if successfully implemented. Thirdly, for successful implementation of TQM good leaders are required and a definition of quality to ensure the desired results is met.


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