Orientation towards the Internal and External Client
Before starting and planning a TQM system, we will perform the following three considerations:
Internal and external client orientation.
Even though this lesson could be placed in human resources management in its internal flow, we are including it here since it covers a change in general attitude considering the client as the centre and fixing on his attributes.
For an effective TQM adoption, plans have to be transparent, committing, clear, involving the entire organization towards client orientation, both internal and external, to reach constant improvement.
Following the steps of Gómez-Mejia and others (1997), when a total quality management system focuses on the client, it means that the process is lead by the client. One of the first problems a manager must face when applying TQM is identifying the clients of the enterprise. In their quality campaign, Texas Instruments stated that everyone has a client, internal and external, whose expectations need to be fulfilled.
External clients are usually easily identified while workers have a hard time identifying internal clients immediately. Internal clients are employees that receive an output from another employee of the same enterprise. Once they are identified, we have to focus on their quality needs and their perception of quality.
Adding more to the concept by Criado García-Legaz (1993), where he determines that under the perspective of satisfaction of the internal client, total quality focuses (on the whole) in the achievement of the necessary participation, communication, and motivation of the entire personnel of the enterprise.
Internal Client and TQM
When referring to the tools and techniques specifically used to satisfy the needs of the internal client, this author states:
• Empowerment: This technique refers to an organization process based in the importance of power transmission and motivation to every individual in every level within the organization. Its intended function is the establishment of indicators. This indicators branch out in (for example) the capability to communicate, the degree of cooperation, receptiveness to new ideas, etc. These tools are usually associated to the forming of inter-department groups throughout the different organization levels.
• Establishing agile systems of vertical, horizontal, and transversal communication for the implementing of an effective suggestions system.
• Continuous investment for perfecting and forming which lead to an increase in personnel responsibilities and initiatives.
• A carefully planned reward system.