Great Practices: The ABCs of TQM

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The new management buzzword is Total Quality Management, but what is it exactly? And what can it do for you?

July 01, 2001

You might have heard the term Total Quality Management ù or TQM ù used throughout the business world. But what does it mean? And how does it apply to you as a remodeler? What does it take to be distinguished as a quality remodeler? Through its National Housing Quality Program, the NAHB Research Center, the research affiliate of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), provides all the tools necessary to answer these questions and guide you along the path to that widely sought, highly beneficial quality distinction.

At its most basic elements, total quality is about delivering value to your customers through various means of continuous quality improvement. That old adage "If it ainÆt broke, donÆt fix it" just wonÆt cut it in a business that employs total quality practices. Rather, a quality remodeler would say, "ItÆs not about the destination; itÆs about the journey." Striving for quality status in your business is a process of constantly evaluating and refining your business practices. The interdependent building blocks necessary to establish a quality-minded remodeling company are:

Leadership Leaders. Align everyone in the organization with a common purpose, values and priorities. Creating a written mission statement is one way to ensure that all employees understand the principles that should guide their actions.

Strategic Planning Achieving. A future vision of what your company can become requires creating and executing a strategic plan for getting there.

Customer Satisfaction. Sustaining high levels of satisfaction requires performing well from the customerÆs point of view. Understanding the effects of customer satisfaction on profitability is essential for putting it in the proper business perspective. This can start with a well-designed, strategic customer satisfaction survey.

Performance Management. Performance excellence demands that work processes be designed, managed and improved with the customer in mind.

Human Resources. The human resource system must de-
velop the full potential of employees and drive the right behaviors in support of company performance and learning objectives. Work-force development goals should support the companyÆs long-range vision.

Construction Quality. Systematic quality management approaches are necessary to ensure high-performing, trouble-free products and services.

Supplier Partnerships. Partnering approaches are essential for high-performance relationships with trade contractors and product manufacturers.

Business Results. High-performance business practices are effective only if they result in business benefits. Results of quality practices need to be reported and evaluated on an ongoing basis.

Taking all these components into consideration, how does your company measure up on total quality? Are you well on your way down the quality path? Or are you having trouble even finding the road? Wherever you stand along your quality journey, there is always room to improve your companyÆs management practices to foster a commitment to quality and customer satisfaction. Each month in Professional Remodeler, the NAHB Research Center will guide you along the quality remodeler journey, step by step.

You might be asking yourself, "Why bother? What can total quality do for me and my business?" Deciding to strive for total quality and implementing a plan to get there will result in increased productivity, improved workmanship, fewer callbacks, improved customer and employee satisfaction, and increased profit and marketability, to name just a few benefits.

If you have questions about how to get started
with quality management,
call the NAHB Research CenterÆs ToolBase Hotline
at 800/898-2842,
or e-mail toolbase@nahbrc.org.

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