Gerber defines total quality as a process of gradual improvement in the delivery of products that satisfy consumer needs, as a mirror of its excellence (Evans 50). It is an organizational-wide effort encompassing several procedural ideas. It begins with fostering a spirit of teamwork throughout the organization. Once teamwork gains prominence, employees begin wanting to effect changes in areas that they feel it will help improve quality in the work processes. Once employees learn to work as teams, the management should move towards linking all departments to improve the quality of products. This is done by creating a process control mechanism that reduces inspection of production lines by training and rewarding frontline managers on how to do their auditing and ensure high-quality products are produced (p. 51). Gerber argues that the customer is the judge of quality.
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After creating internal processes that ensure quality products, Gerber sought to know the opinion of the customer. By establishing a customer relationship department, a company can collect reliable information from the quality judge that will aid in the improvement of quality products. This information has to been acted upon fast enough not to lose customer trust. Together with this, total quality also means adherence to formal procedures, regulations, and policies that govern quality processes (p. 52). Finally, total quality means that a company has to inspect the formulation of its products and its production facilities operate properly. It also must inspect raw materials to ensure that they do not bring in toxic substances emanating from traditionally unrecognized phenomena such as pesticide residues, which may lower the quality of a product (p. 53)
Gerber’s management model provides several principles of total quality management. To begin with, total quality focuses on customers and stakeholders because the customer is the principal judge of quality. Gerber strives to understand the needs of customers to meet and exceed their expectations (Evans 52). Secondly, total quality has been realized by developing a sequence of activities (process) that guarantee quality is achieved at certain stages in the production process. This is achieved by equipping frontline managers with the right quality auditing tools and employing teamwork (p. 51). Thirdly, total quality management is not static but a continuous process of improvement in products and services, work processes that are flexible and responsive, and learning. This improvement comes from learning through feedback from customers.
Gerber then undertakes a process of product improvement by way of incorporating customer feedback and inspecting production at all levels to ensure that quality is adhered to (p.52, 53). Next, employees must know their jobs well and be empowered to make change-oriented decisions that improve quality. At Gerber’s notes, managers have created collaborative teamwork both inside the plants and within the plants themselves. This results in increased trust, motivation, and better customer service (Evans 51, 52). Principle 5 states that total quality management at Gerber is based on factual data and information analysis at all levels. This creates good performance measures such as satisfactory customer service and quality products (Evans 52, 53). Visionary and strategic leadership is the responsibility of top management. Senior leaders at Gerber have been role models in the enhancement of quality. Gerber has also engaged stakeholders such as the customer and the government on a long-term basis (51). Principle 7 Management at Gerber has a cross-functional perspective that creates cross-functional teams that eliminate barriers in work processes for improved performance. Empowering frontline managers who have a bigger responsibility of overseeing production teams at every level have achieved this (51)
Evans, James. Total Quality Management, Organization and Strategy. Boston, Mass: Cengage Learning, 2005. Print.