Total quality management (TQM) is a system that promotes a team-based approach to improving processes, with the goal of achieving a high level of quality and service. It’s a way to enhance operations, train employees, and improve a company’s ability to serve its customers. It’s an approach often used in the food industry, which is why learning about TQM is an important part of any Food Technology, Safety and Quality Diploma Program. In fact, students at AAPS learn all about TQM during the Food Quality Assurance and Quality Control class included in their diploma program.
There are multiple components involved in this system, all of which are crucial points that must be addressed in order to properly reach total quality management. Here is a look at some of these components, and the ways you might see them implemented in the food industry.
1. Teamwork & Ethics Can Improve Food Quality Control
Part of the basis of TQM is the idea that everyone in a group must be invested in doing good work. This involves two important elements: an understanding and acceptance of workplace ethics, and a willingness to work as a team.
It takes commitment by all members of a team to work together. They must work to maintain professionalism in the workplace, and to act in accordance with the ethical guidelines of the business. In your food safety career, this could mean upholding all regulations outlined in your food quality courses, and also maintaining a friendly and productive work environment. When everyone follows these guidelines, they establish the first steps necessary to achieving TQM.
2. Processes Should Be Refined to Improve Products for Customers
The food industry, as with most other industries, is focused on meeting the needs of its customers. Depending on the specific business and its customers, this can involve anything from maintaining sanitary food plant machinery, to detecting harmful microorganisms, to developing new food products.
One of the main objectives of total quality management is to take these processes and refine them. The point is to look at what customers want, evaluate the ways existing processes fall short of meeting that goal, and then make changes that will correct any deficiencies.
Because TQM involves input and involvement from all workers, you will be able to use the expertise you gained in your food quality program to make suggestions when working in a TQM environment. This could mean pointing out ways to address shortcomings in hygiene maintenance protocol, or suggesting improvements to the manner in which food facility audits are conducted. Whatever issues you notice in your day-to-day work, employing TQM will encourage you to point them out and offer suggestions for how they might be fixed.
Leadership & Training Opportunities Can Build on Your Knowledge From Food Quality Courses
Total quality management’s devotion to persistent improvement requires that a company has strong leadership in place, and also offers opportunity for continual training. Though good ideas can be contributed by employees at all levels of a company, leadership is needed to help ensure that the right ideas become policy. Then, a commitment to ongoing training is needed to teach all employees the new processes that they will be expected to use.
Without these, it will be difficult to arrive at the kind of meaningful change that TQM is meant to inspire. TQM allows you to adopt new techniques and technologies for food quality control more effectively, and thereby produce a better product for customers.
By employing TQM, a business can become more productive and adaptable. This could allow you to grow as a food quality professional, and develop your skills and knowledge as new technologies and processes emerge.
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