Total quality management strategies for small and medium industries in Malaysia : a critical systems approach
A great amount of effort has been given to the development of Malaysian Small and Medium Industries (SMIs) in the last 25 years. 13 Ministries and more than 30 agencies have been involved in these efforts. A large amount of money and other resources were also allocated for their development. These initiatives were clearly shown in all the 7 Malaysia Plans. However, the success of these efforts has been negligible. With 25 years remaining in which to achieve Vision 2020, the question is, are we going to make no more progress than in the past 25 years? Sustained economic growth is the key to obtaining the objectives of the Malaysian Vision 2020 which requires an average 7 percent growth per year for the next 25 years. This growth target is to be met, largely, from the manufacturing and services sector according to the time frame of the Second Outline Prospective Plan (OPP2), which emphasized the supportive and complementaiy role played by SMIs in contributing towards a more dynamic and competitive industrial sector.Many believed and still hope that SMIs will assume a pivotal role in Malaysian's industralisation process towards the year 2020. Their role as suppliers of parts and components to the big industries for the production of final products is crucial in the process of widening and deepening industry.As quality and productivity among SMIs develop as a result of the application of quality initiatives and the undertaking of quality programmes, including Total Quality Management (TQM), and their production capacity increases to supply the requirements of the local industries, their excess capacity can be utilised to produce parts and components for the export market. This will not only replace the dependency of local industries on imported parts and components, but will also reduce the outflow of foreign exchange.The Government has promised to devise appropriate assistance schemes and will seek to raise the level of management expertise, technological know-how and skills of the employees in this very important and, in many ways, neglected sector of the economy. SMIs will be one of the primary foundations for Malaysia's future industrial thrust. The Government is fully committed to their healthiest development. Now, it is up to SMIs to take up the challenge.This study focuses on the evaluation of TQM Strategies for SMIs in Malaysia. Data acquired from a survey in Selangor and Federal Territory, Kuala Lumpur and the Prime Minister's Quality Award are used to establish the background of the quality models and initiatives undertaken by Malaysian SMIs and the quality standards requirements for Malaysian companies, their attributes and the interrelationship between various quality programmes practiced by the industries. Besides, the interdependency of the SMIs, the Development Agencies, Government Policies, the environment and related quality management approaches are identified. These findings can be useful for the development of an integrated quality system approach leading to social, quality and environmental balance.In addition, a structural organizational model for the SMIs is presented and the purpose of quality initiatives and the proper understanding of quality practices and its areas of concentration are discussed at length, in order to give a better guide to SMIs as to how to determine the selection of approaches to achieve the maximum results on their quality initiatives and programmes.Finally, information on various quality initiatives, quality training, quality programmes and the effect of government subsidies highlighted in the study, could be used to aid the formulation of a quality policy for Malaysian SMIs and achieve better management and procedures in this area.