Meaning: -The concept of TQM was developed by Dr.W.E. Deming (regarded as the father of TQM) in 1960s in Japan. TQM is strategic approach that focuses on production of best possible product or services through constant innovation and timely action. It places emphasis on prevention of errors rather than on rectification.

Definition: - TQM is a management approach that places emphasis on continuous improvement in quality, in the interest of the organisation and that of its customers”.

The following are some of the features of TQM:

1. Customer Focus: - - TQM Palaces emphasis in meeting the requirement of both the internal as well as the external customer. In order to meet the requirements for the external customer, it is necessary to meet the needs of the internal customer. The initial focus should be on meeting needs of internal customer before an attempt is made to meet the requirements of the external customers.

2. Continuous Process: - TQM is a continuous process. Constant and continuous efforts are made to improve the quality, and to reduce internal costs. Quality improvement helps the organisation to face the challenges of the competitors and to meet the requirements of the customers. TQM is a process which goes on forever, because at no time the quality can be 100% right. There is always a possibility for new and better way of doing things.

3. Defect-free Approach: - TQM place emphasis on the defect-free work most of the time. The defect free approach is phrased in various ways as right first time, working smarter or zero defects.

4. Employees Involvement: - in TQM everyone is involved in the process from the management director to the junior clerk or worker in the organisation. It is not just manufacturing people, but also the accounting, finance, marketing, and even the canteen people are involved in the TQM process.

5. Recognition and Rewards: - Recognition and rewards is an integral part of company’s TQM Programme. Positive reinforcement through recognition and reward is essential to maintain achievement and continuous improvement in quality.

6. Synergy in Team Work: -The Japanese are great believers in synergy (to work together). Engineers, technicians, and workers look upon themselves as equals and communicate easily as they work side by side. They create what professor Okuda has called a ‘synergetic Partnership’.

7. Techniques: - TQM can take place by following various techniques such as quality circle, value engineering, statistical process control, etc. Through such techniques it is possible to improve systems and procedures.

8. System Approach: - TQM is a system approach to managing the business and improving the performance. Without the total commitment on the part of chief executive officer and his senior executives, TQM cannot take off to a good start.