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Embarking on the Journey to Quality & Performance Excellence

by Joel C. Amante, Ph.D. It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. Charles Darwin If your company hasnt embarked yet on the journey to quality and performance excellence, you are putting your organizations future at risk. Globalization, increasing competition, increasing costs, low productivity, and higher customer expectations are only some of the numerous pressures that organizations have to contend with on a daily basis. Without any systematic methodology to address these issues, it is easy to lose your way and start a downward spiral to oblivion. Total Quality Management or TQM is a systematic, methodical and scientific approach that is centered on quality, involving everyone and focused on the satisfaction of all stakeholders for long-term success. TQM is not easy and by no means a quick solution but it can lead to the survival, profitability, growth and competitiveness of organizations as shown by leading companies from all corners of the world that have embraced it. In the Philippines, TQM is currently being practiced by successful large and multinational companies. However, because of the huge resources needed to introduce TQM, small and medium enterprises in developing countries find it difficult to learn and implement TQM in their respective companies. This situation has now changed with the TQM Integration Program that the Philippine TQM Foundation, Inc. (PTQMFI) offers Philippine SMEs. The Philippine TQM Foundation traces its beginning from the ASEAN-Japan TQM Project that started in 1995 with the support of the Japanese government and the Bureau of Product Standards in the Philippines. Although the project that was designed for ASEAN SMEs ended in 2004, the TQM program continues to flourish in the Philippines with the partnership of the Bureau of Product Standards and the PTQMFI. As of April 2011, thirty-seven Philippine SMEs from both the manufacturing and service sectors have participated in the program (Blued, Golden Seasons, Tokyo Tokyo, Manels, Rapid, Target Department Stores, Taters Enterprise, Jimini Foods, Manila Catering Services, SJ Construction Corporation, House of Precast, Azaya Garden Resort, BMA Farms, Caf Maja Rica, Grupo Agro, Fisher Farms, Ashlar Industrial (Orocan), Eagle Wings International, Hannahs Trends, Homemakers Venture, Bristol Shoes, Clinic Systems, Francesco, Moondish, Sundance Direct Sales, Casa Le Stelle, PL Aguila, Tanay Industries, Garment District, First Asia, Siwon, Seachamp, Cornersteel Systems, Stoneworks, Xavier Shoes, PKT Trucking and Custom Clay). The TQM Integration Program offered by the PTQMFI consists of twelve TQM Modules based on the twenty-one TQM Handbooks developed by the Japanese Standards Association for the ASEAN-Japan TQM Project. The twelve modules are 1) Setting up the Organization for TQM Implementation, 2) Business Excellence, 3) Customer Focus, 4) Policy Management,

5) Standardization and Daily Management, 6) 5S and Safety, 7) Kaizen and the Suggestion Scheme, 8) QC Tools and Problem Solving, 9) Quality Circles, 10) Production Systems, 11) Product Development and Cross-Functional Teams and 12) Supplier Relationship Management. One module is tackled each month in a one-day seminar/workshop that is followed two weeks after with a one-hour coaching session. Prior to the beginning of the program, a team of assessors makes an on-site visit to make an initial diagnosis of each participating company. Subsequent on-site visits are conducted to see the progress of TQM implementation in each company. A benchmarking trip to an organization that practices TQM successfully is also undertaken to illustrate the principles and techniques in action. The PTQMFI offers an integrated program designed to maximize benefits in contrast to oneday seminars given by other training organizations that become stand-alone programs, if implemented at all, isolated from the mainstream activities of the company. As shown by the Philippine SMEs that have participated in the program, it is possible for an SME to adopt TQM and to start benefiting from it. This is made possible with external assistance from the PTQMFI that shares its knowledge and experience to shorten your learning curve. We hope that you will participate in the TQM Integration Program. It will not only help your organization become competitive but you will also help in building a nation of competitive SMEs.