Total Quality Management (TQM): Importance of TQM in Apparel Industry

Total Quality Management System (TQM):
Total Quality Management System (TQM) is one of the latest concepts of management that can ensure the highest standard of quality and productivity ensuring good for all of the workers, management and society. In this system, quality of management and actions are ensured by assuring quality at all stages from vision, planning, purchase, store, cutting, sewing, inspection, packing, administration, welfare, personnel motivation etc.

Garment industry
Figure: TQM in Garment industry

TQM envisages high work standard, work-environment, managerial standard, motivation etc. Thus comes the concept of production system with minimal or “Zero defects”.

Pinpointing internal and external requirements allows us to continuously improve, develop, and maintain quality, cost, delivery, and moral. TQM is a system that integrated all of this actively and information.

Key Aspects of TQM in the Apparel Industry:
Total Quality Management (TQM) is a management approach that focuses on continuously improving the quality of products and processes within an organization. In the apparel industry, TQM plays a crucial role in ensuring that the products meet customer expectations and industry standards. Here are some key aspects of TQM in the apparel industry:

1. Customer Focus:
Understanding customer needs, preferences, and expectations is essential in the apparel industry. TQM emphasizes the importance of gathering customer feedback and using it to drive product and process improvements.

2. Continuous Improvement:
TQM promotes a culture of continuous improvement. This involves identifying and addressing quality issues, defects, and inefficiencies in the production process. Continuous improvement helps in reducing waste, enhancing product quality, and increasing efficiency.

3. Employee Involvement:
Engaging employees at all levels in the apparel industry is crucial for TQM. Employees often have valuable insights into how to improve processes and product quality. Empowering them to participate in problem-solving and decision-making is a fundamental aspect of TQM.

4. Process Management:
TQM emphasizes the need to define and document processes in the apparel industry. This includes everything from design and sourcing of materials to manufacturing and quality control. By standardizing processes and monitoring their performance, organizations can identify and rectify deviations from quality standards.

5. Supplier Relationships:
The apparel industry relies heavily on suppliers for raw materials and components. Building strong relationships with reliable suppliers is essential for TQM. Suppliers must meet quality standards and deadlines, and their performance should be continuously monitored and improved.

6. Data-Driven Decision-Making:
TQM involves collecting and analyzing data to make informed decisions. In the apparel industry, data can be used to identify trends, quality issues, and areas for improvement. Statistical process control and Six Sigma methods are commonly used to analyze and improve processes.

7. Quality Control and Inspection:
Quality control and inspection processes are integral to TQM in the apparel industry. These processes ensure that products meet quality standards and are free from defects. Inspections are carried out at various stages of production to catch and rectify issues early.

8. Lean Manufacturing:
TQM often incorporates lean manufacturing principles to eliminate waste, reduce lead times, and optimize production processes. Lean techniques such as 5S (Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain) and Just-In-Time (JIT) manufacturing are used to improve efficiency.

9. Compliance and Sustainability:
In the apparel industry, compliance with safety, environmental, and ethical standards is crucial. TQM includes a focus on ensuring that products are produced in a sustainable and socially responsible manner, in line with industry regulations and international standards.

10. Training and Education:
TQM encourages continuous training and education for employees to enhance their skills and knowledge. This helps them better understand quality standards, improve their work, and adapt to changes in the industry.

Implementing TQM in the apparel industry can lead to better product quality, reduced costs, increased customer satisfaction, and improved competitiveness in the market. It is a holistic approach that requires commitment from all levels of an organization and a dedication to ongoing improvement.

Organization or apparel industry must concentrate on the eight key elements for successful implementation of TQM. They are below:

  • Ethics
  • Integrity
  • Trust
  • Training
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Recognition
  • Communication

Vision and Mission checklist of TQM:
The corporate vision should below:

  1. What the organization wants of be, what it is?
  2. Create new concepts for future products or services.
  3. Research a future market area, such as domestic/global.
  4. Submitted by stakeholders.
  5. Keep a simple statement (Detail descriptions is not required)
  6. Understood from top management to line workers, including the public, customers, and suppliers.

The corporate mission should below:

  1. How to achieve the corporate vision within a certain time frame?
  2. Activities to achieve the corporate vision.
  3. Submitted by stakeholders.
  4. Keep a simple statement (A one page mission is inappropriate)
  5. Understood from top management to line workers, including the public, customers, and suppliers.

Philosophy of TQM:

Concept Main idea
Main focus Identify the goal and meet customer needs.
Decision making Everyone is considered in decision-making.
Continuous improvement  Never ending improvement.
Employee empowerment Employees are expected to seek out, identify, and correct quality problems perfectly.
Use of quality tools Ongoing employee training in the use of quality tools.
Product design To meet customer expectations always need product design.
Process management Quality should be built into the process; sources of quality defects or problems should be identified and corrected.
Managing supplier quality Quality concepts must enlarge for the Company’s suppliers.
Workers job They are cross-trained and their jobs are more flexible.

Necessity of TQM in Apparel Industry:
Total Quality Management is very important in apparel industry. TQM helps to get quality products for customer. Apparel industry collect raw materials for producing finished garment. For textile and apparel industry product quality is calculated in terms of quality and standard of fibers, yarns, fabric construction, color fastness, surface designs and the final finished garment products. TQM ensures good quality of finished garments.

Readymade garment industry in Bangladesh has experienced an unprecedented growth over the last three decades. RMG industry has become a fast growing industry in Bangladesh. This industry plays a vital role in the economy in terms of export earnings, increasing employment, decreasing poverty and empowering the woman. To sustain the development and keep the growth rate high necessity of TQM is crucial.

Total Quality Management (TQM) is highly important in the apparel industry for several reasons:

  1. Product Quality: TQM ensures that apparel products meet or exceed customer expectations in terms of design, fit, durability, and overall quality. Consistently high-quality products are essential for building a positive brand reputation and customer loyalty.
  2. Customer Satisfaction: The apparel industry is highly competitive, and customer satisfaction is crucial. TQM’s customer-centric approach emphasizes meeting customer needs and preferences, leading to increased customer satisfaction and repeat business.
  3. Reduction of Defects: TQM focuses on identifying and eliminating defects and errors in the production process. By reducing defects, apparel manufacturers can save costs associated with rework, returns, and warranties, ultimately improving profitability.
  4. Process Efficiency: TQM principles emphasize optimizing processes and eliminating waste, resulting in increased operational efficiency. This can lead to reduced production costs and shorter lead times, enabling apparel companies to respond more quickly to changing market demands.
  5. Improved Supplier Relationships: TQM extends to the relationships with suppliers, which are critical in the apparel industry. By working closely with reliable and high-quality suppliers, apparel manufacturers can ensure a consistent supply of quality materials and components.
  6. Employee Engagement: Engaging employees in quality improvement initiatives can lead to a more motivated and empowered workforce. When employees have ownership of quality-related decisions and processes, they are more likely to take pride in their work and contribute to overall quality improvement.
  7. Compliance and Sustainability: TQM principles can help apparel companies ensure compliance with safety, environmental, and ethical standards. This is particularly important in an industry where ethical sourcing and sustainable production practices are increasingly valued by consumers and regulatory bodies.
  8. Competitive Advantage: By consistently delivering high-quality products, reducing costs, and responding to customer feedback, apparel companies can gain a competitive edge in a crowded market. TQM allows companies to differentiate themselves based on quality and customer satisfaction.
  9. Risk Management: TQM encourages proactive risk management by identifying potential quality issues and addressing them before they escalate into more significant problems. This helps mitigate risks related to product recalls, liability, and brand damage.
  10. Adaptability: The apparel industry is subject to fast-changing fashion trends and consumer preferences. TQM’s emphasis on continuous improvement and flexibility enables companies to adapt to changing market conditions and stay relevant.
  11. Data-Driven Decision-Making: TQM relies on data analysis to make informed decisions. In the apparel industry, this can help in trend analysis, demand forecasting, and process optimization, leading to better-informed business decisions.

In summary, TQM is vital in the apparel industry as it ensures product quality, enhances customer satisfaction, reduces defects, improves efficiency, and helps maintain compliance with industry standards and regulations. It also fosters a culture of continuous improvement, making apparel companies more adaptable and competitive in a dynamic marketplace.

You may also read:

  1. How to Improve Quality in Garment Industry
  2. Types of Control Forms in Garment Industry

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