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One of the most important industries overall is the food industry. The
food industry consists of everything from food processing plants to fast
food restaurants. The food industry affects nearly every living person.
Most people don’t realize how important this industry is and how it affects
their everyday lives. That is why it is so critical that the products of
this industry are at their highest quality, are free of bacteria and ensure
that the consumer will not face any detrimental consequences. Total Quality
Management (TQM) plays a big role in promising these results.
Total Quality Management seems to be a confusing term for the layman. TQM
is a philosophy advocated by Dr. Edward Deming, a world renowned quality
guru. It was widely accepted by Japan from 1950 onward. They used this
principle for continuous refinement of an organization-wide quality system.
Since then many organizations around the world have adopted TQM or similar
methodologies. There have been many successes and many reported failures.
Success of the system depends on the total commitment of the people to
quality from top to bottom within the organization. TQM implementation is
based on team work and the philosophy of continuous improvement. Statistics
need to be used extensively to analyze and reduce the variation in the process.
In the food industry, continuous improvement is vital to the survival of a
specific company or restaurant. The customer is constantly purchasing the
products of competitors and any decline in quality will equal a decrease in
gross profits. There are several areas that a restaurant may focus on for
quality improvement such as menu offerings, hospitality, service,
cleanliness, and over all food quality. All of these aspects will be
covered in this paper concerning Total Quality Management.
Employee ; Product Quality
Various well known companies such as Ritz-Carlton Hotels and Taco Bell have
implemented Total Quality Management programs in an effort to increase
quality and market share. Ritz-Carlton of Kansas City, Missouri, recently
revamped menu selections for its rooftop-level restaurant and bar operation.
This came about through customer surveys, focus-group studies of local
restaurant patrons, employee opinions, and market analysis. This began with
the general manager, Norm Howard, as TQM must start at the top to be
successful. He states that “It TQM is about listening to your customers
and empowering your employees to participate in important business
decisions” (Stephenson, 1993).
Taco Bell, with the implementation of a Total Quality Management system,
has improved its speed of service, friendliness of service, and value for
money ratings. This company has done this by empowering employees and
seeking customer input. By integrating their employees into the system,
Taco Bell has also decreased employee turnover by 63% (Stephenson, 1993).
According to the article “TQM: Making it Work for You,” there are six areas
that need to be focused on (Stephenson, 1993). The first area is measuring
quantitative results of various surveys and studies and basing future
decisions strictly on these outcomes. This information could come from
something as simple as a comment card, but these cards must tell the
business more than what was good and bad, but why.
The second area to be focused on is empowering the employees. Allowing the
employees to be involved in the team effort. Make the employees feel
responsible for their actions and allow the employees to fix their problems.
This is where many franchises lack, making it the manager’s responsibility
to fix the problems that the employees create. If management treats
employees in a respectable manner, the employee will turn around and treat
the customer with respect also.
Avoiding errors is the third area that needs to be focused on. The main
focus of a Total Quality Management program is to eliminate errors before
they can occur. Systems cause about 80% of all errors, so if the system is
error free, then the employee has a lesser chance of making mistakes.
Next comes the integration of management into the process. Total Quality
Management implies that management must be 100% in favor of the program, or
else the employees will not respond properly. Employees will follow the
lead of the management team.
Last is to do what the customer want, as tells the aphorism “The customer
is always right.” This is the same principle. There is no sense in serving
only fried chicken if the customers demand a more health conscious baked or
grilled chicken. “Customers are not only the people who walk through the
doors looking for a meal but also your suppliers and employees” (Stephenson,
Health & Safety Quality
Total Quality Management does not just deal with product quality, but all
around, or total quality. Another area that quality needs to be
continuously improved in is health and safety. Sky Chefs, an airline
caterer recently came to the conclusion that their workers’ comp. Costs were
skyrocketing, so they incorporated their Total Quality Management program to
help solve these health and safety problems (Kay, Murphy, Harris, 1994).
The main reason for business is profit, and if workers’ comp. Costs are at
unacceptable levels, that cuts out profit.
Initially, the program focused on injury prevention and set a goal of
reducing workers’ compensation costs by 50% in three years. Task teams were
initiated to collect data on estimated future loss, loss sources and medical
treatment patterns which would be evaluated and used to eliminate hazardous
areas of operation. They also gathered qualitative data on employee and
management attitudes and beliefs, current policies which focus on potential
hazards, and the physical environment. With this data, changes were made
and continuously updated with Sky Chef reaching their goal of a 50% decline
in less than 18 months (Kay, Murphy, Harris, 1994).
The teams developed several guidelines for improvements as follows:
Incorporate safe work practices into standard work processes;
Involve line workers in all aspects of process improvement, particularly
safe work practices;
Integrate and continuously improve post-injury management processes;
Communicate concern for employees;
Create a unified data base that could deliver timely, useful information to
line managers;
Review vendors objectively and thoroughly;
Institute criteria and time-based medical care and disability management;
Implement a comprehensive modified duty program;
Create a single managerial focus for loss prevention and work-related injury
management (Kay, Murphy, Harris, 1994).
By following these directives, a company could efficiently reduce workers’
compensation costs. They have earmarked this as the Concern, Awareness,
Responsibility, and Excellence program (C.A.R.E) which is a safety
communications program which involves and rewards the line employees for
committing safe acts (Kay, Murphy, Harris, 1994).
One aspect that these articles seem to have left out is the actual quality
of the product, the food. In food service classes and in the real world,
one form of Total Quality Management is known as the Hazard Analysis
Critical Control Point, or the HACCP system. This system was developed to
ensure zero defects during food handling by monitoring the whole preparation
process. Its purpose is to identify and correct errors before they happen.
The old method of quality assurance was to test the final product (TechniCAL
1996). If the product was not sufficient, it was either held, reprocessed,
or ultimately destroyed (TechniCAL 1996). This method


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