Nine firms prove TQM plan works

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 March, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 March, 1998, 12:00am

Locally-based manufacturers participating in a Government-funded project to improve quality have made significant gains in management practices and business results.

Customer and employee satisfaction improved and productivity benefited as a result of reduced costs, shorter cycle times and fewer defects.

The nine companies completing the Localised World-Class Company-Wide Quality Performance Improvement Model were selected from such sectors as watches, electronics, toys, metal products, plastics, security equipment, textiles and apparel.

All were small-to-medium-size enterprises and most did their manufacturing in the mainland.

The Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) assisted participant to adapt quality improvement practices based on the Xerox Management Model.

This has found favour around the world because of its ability to return Xerox to its former position as a market leader after losing market share to Japanese rivals for several years. World-class and field-proven Total Quality Management (TQM) practices were adapted in several stages. The 2.5-year model ends this month.

'At the beginning of the project in 1994, we discovered many companies already had ISO 9000 certification but they wanted to know what the next move was,' M. P. Au, senior consultant, Quality and Management Consultancy Division, HKPC, said.

'We thought the next logical move was total quality management. The companies which had obtained ISO certification only required quality excellence in their operations. But there are some areas not covered, such as staff development, customer satisfaction and anticipating market trends.' During the implementation period modern management practices such as managing for results were implemented to help companies in their strategic planning.

'We also adopted business self- assessment for the identification of vital field improvement initiatives,' Mr Au said.

The HKPC is so pleased with the results that three half-day executive briefing seminars are being offered to interested companies this month.

So what is next? Mr Au said a maintenance programme would be proposed. Unlike the pilot project which was funded by the Industry and Technology Development Council, the maintenance programme would be paid for by the participating companies.

The HKPC also plans to submit a proposal to the Service Support Fund to develop a localised TQM model for the service sector.

'By adapting our model, companies in Hong Kong can establish their own quality management systems which will be able to increase their competitiveness in the global market,' Mr Au said.

'To implement this model, we have developed a four-stage approach to help establish strategic directions, identify critical business issues and performance gaps, formulate vital initiatives for implementing company-wide quality improvement through managing for results, and business self-assessment,' he said.