The implementation of total quality management in small and medium enterprises
Oakland (1989b) argues that following the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century we are presently in the midst of the quality revolution. In the United Kingdom quality took on a new significance in 1979 with the publication of the British Standard for Quality BS5750. Since that date the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has been actively promoting quality improvements. In 1989, the DTI specially supported the implementation of Total Quality Management (TQM) in its Managing in the `90s Program. The benefits of TQM are widely recognised following reports of its successful implementation in many large companies. It has led to these companies becoming highly competitive both locally and internationally through the production of quality products that meet customer requirements at the lowest cost, significantly increasing their market share and profitability. As part of the Sheffield Regeneration effort, this thesis examines the current position of Small and Medium manufacturing Enterprises (SMEs) in Sheffield. The thesis aims to facilitate the implementation of TQM in SMEs by enabling them to benchmark their progress. The thesis examines three hypotheses: 1. SMEs do not understand the definitions or implications of TQM. 2. SMEs can be encouraged to implement TQM by a combination of training and mentoring (Uncle Concept). 3. It is possible to benchmark management styles and the relative position of a company on route to TQM using the biological classification system, Cladistics. The characteristics of SMEs and principles of TQM were closely researched to develop a TQM model based on 5 Pillars that would specifically cater to the needs of SMEs. A questionnaire was developed based on these 5 Pillars to assess the level of TQM implementation in 30 Sheffield and 10 Singapore manufacturing SMEs. The survey results based on interviews with senior management confirmed the first hypothesis that SMEs do not understand the definitions or implications of TQM. This led to the second hypothesis that SMEs can be encouraged to implement TQM through a Framework comprising a combination of training and mentoring (Uncle Concept) by a company that had already implemented TQM. The TQM Framework was applied to six SMEs in South Yorkshire. Customer and Employee surveys conducted as the prerequisite to TQM implementation provided valuable information to the companies about actions they needed to undertake in their implementation programme. All six companies proceeded to TQM Facilitator Training which was conducted by Avesta Sheffield Limited, who having successfully implemented and sustained TQM fulfilled the role of the Uncle. However, the second hypothesis was proved to be incorrect. The companies ‘cherry picked' facets of TQM and the implementation programs failed in each case. This thesis also reviews the evolution of management styles through a study of management pioneers and their principles and theories on management, organisation structures and motivation. The evolution of the bureaucratic, authoritarian and impersonal management style of Frederick W. Taylor to the flexible, open and participative management style of TQM was applied to the classification technique Cladistics to determine if it was possible to benchmark management styles and the relative position of a company along its route to TQM (Hypothesis 3). A Management Style Survey Questionnaire was developed and a structured interview was conducted with ten companies from South Yorkshire and one company from Japan. The results supported Hypothesis 3.