Total Quality Management (TQM) – Concept and Objective, Components of TQM, Risk & its Analysis

Total Quality Management (TQM)

Quality is defined as “Degree of excellence in a Product or System” (FAO). The parameters of the quality are the grades, standards, and specifications laid down by expert bodies constituted by the government for the purpose, however, there may be varying and numerous qualities. According to the consumer the most important factors that determine the quality are price, color, and appeal in respect to both appearance and taste. Quality standards are descriptions of commodities in terms of net weight, accurate size, dimensions, content, and other characteristics.

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Food quality is a complex characteristic of food that determines its value and acceptability by consumers. An established system of quality control assures uniformity in accepted standards and thereby ensures that each foodstuff is, what it purports to be and what its label claims to be. If any one of the desirable characteristics approaches zero, the quality and therefore, the product acceptance itself approaches zero.

Total quality management (TQM) is a management philosophy that helps organizations to improve their overall performance and effectiveness in achieving quality status at the global level. TQM can be defined as “An integrated management philosophy and set of practices that emphasize continuously improvement, meeting customer requirements, reducing rework, long-range thinking, increasing employee involvement and teamwork, process redesign, competitive benchmarking, team-based problem solving, continuous measurement of results and closer relationships with suppliers” (Powell). Thus TQM is the approach by continuously improving products and services to ensure better quality and performance of food products that meets or exceeds the demands and requirements of a customer.

Designing a TQM system requires a profound knowledge of the agro-food industry, while implementation ideally requires an integrated approach involving all parties in the agro-food chain. The following three (four) levels are required in achieving TQM, as the fourth one is TQM itself:

1. Inspection: This is the first basic step. It is related to inspect any place where food is manufactured, store, or exhibited for sale.

2. Quality Control: It is a reactive process that aims to identify defects in the actual products produced. It involves the inspection aspect of quality management and is typically the responsibility of a specific team tasked with a testing product with defects.

3. Quality Assurance: It is a set of activities for ensuring quality in the processes by which products are developed. It includes all planned and systematic actions or steps necessary to provide confidence that a product or service will satisfy given requirements for quality. It is a proactive process aimed to prevent defects. It is required to protect the customers from unsafe and low-standard foods and ensure that they get the good quality of food that they pay for.


Objectives of Total Quality Management (TQM)

1. Process Improvement: It is to check the improvement possibilities in the prevailing processes. Also to make a list of these improvements.

2. Avoiding Defects: The defects in the manufacturing process must be tackled judiciously.

3. Identifying the capacity: The capacity of the manufacturing unit must also be identified.

4. Helping each other to solve various problems: Various food-related problems are to be solved by helping each other.

5. Relative changes over time: The purpose is to monitor the changes in the processes over time.

Components of Total Quality Management (TQM) 

The components of TQM are listed as follows:

1. Ethics: 

It is an important component, represented by the organization and individual ethics. In any situation, ethics may be good or bad, but the older ethics are always followed in the manufacturing process for a long time.

2. Integrity: 

Integrity implies honesty, morals, values, fairness, and adherence to fact and sincerity. Total quality management will not work in the opposite of integrity i.e. duplicity.

3. Trust: 

Trust is a vital component in total quality management. Any company must have full trust in its subordinates during the process of manufacturing. Without trust, the framework of TQM cannot be built.

4. Leadership: 

A leader is always required to lead the group of members in the manufacturing and certification processes as well as quality management practices. Total quality management’s devotion to persistent improvement requires that a company has strong leadership in place. Though good ideas can be contributed by employees at all levels of a company, leadership is needed to help ensure that the right ideas become policy.

5. Training: 

Training the personnel or workers plays a very important role in the smooth functioning of a manufacturing unit. If the workers are not well trained about their work then the total quality of food will not be maintained.

6. Team Work: 

Teamwork is as essential as other components. The members of a team must support and help each other in their respective work.

7. Communication: 

A common understanding of ideas between sender and receiver i.e. communication is also very important to understand the various aspects of food safety.

8. Recognition: 

Recognition of the employees to boost their morale is also an important component. As people are recognized, there can be huge changes in self-esteem, productivity, quality, and the amount of effort exhorted to the task at hand.


Risk is a measure of the likelihood of a hazard doing harm and how much harm the hazard could do or Risk is an estimate of the chance of hazard being present and the chance of it causing harm. Thus, the risk is the probability of the hazard occurring. The risk analysis paradigm consisting of risk assessment, risk management, and risk communication functions is internationally accepted as the best means to develop food safety standards and systems for global food safety.

1. Risk assessment: It is a scientifically based process consisting of hazard identification, hazard characterization, exposure assessment, and risk characterization. It is never exact i.e. results of the risk assessment point toward a probable outcome that describes the population risk.

2. Risk management: It is the process, of evaluating policy alternatives, in consultation with stakeholders considering risk assessment and other factors relevant for the protection of the health of consumers and for the promotion of fair trade practices, and selecting appropriate prevention and control options. In other words, risk management is about choosing the best way to reduce the risk.

3. Risk communication: It is an interactive exchange of information and opinions throughout the risk analysis process concerning risks, risk-related factors and risk perceptions, among risk assessors, risk managers, consumers, industry, the academic community, and other interested parties, including the explanation of risk assessment findings and the basis of risk management decisions. It lets the facility identify weigh options during the risk analysis process.

Read More Topics of the Same Course – ABT 5211 – Food Safety and Standards

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