Assessing the Total Quality Management (TQM) Application at Aluworks Limited

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Quality has become imperative in today’s business environment as a means of survival. The aim of this study was to ascertain the quality awareness and application situation at Aluworks Ltd and the potential benefits associated with it. It also aimed at looking for areas of improvement in TQM implementation in the company. This is important especially when Ghana’s industries are facing severe competition from low cost and high value added rivals from industrialized countries. The result should help not only to increase quality awareness, but also to implement quality management more effectively. The review of this subject matter established the fact that human-oriented factors such as training, education, motivation, communication, and customer satisfaction among others are factors essential for effective TQM implementation. It also considered the importance of TQM, benefits and criticisms against International Standards Operations (ISO) 9000 and the relationship between TQM and ISO 9000 family standards. It was also established that even though ISO 9000 has its own limitations, it offers a solid foundation to a successful TQM implementation thus need not be an enemy to TQM implementation but be seen as a complementary tool. The study revealed that the quality culture in the company is not fully developed. There were missing elements like measurement of cost of quality in each department and benchmarking. However, production, profit, dividend per share and sales, especially export has been increasing at an increasing rate since the introduction of the quality management systems in the company. This establishes the fact that quality systems have direct relationship with productivity and profitability, which makes its application economically feasible. There is the need to develop quality management curricula in our polytechnics and universities to prepare potential managers and industrial workers before they enter into industries. Again there is the need for technical assistance to Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in quality implementation as well as creating a quality award system with the initiative of The Ministry of Trade and Industries to encourage manufacturers in adopting quality systems. A change in company culture in terms of increasing acceptance of TQM/ISO 9000 concepts and ideas is mostly needed. There is therefore the need to the review reward and recognition systems, training and communication system as well as undertaking measurements in each department. Again, continued efforts have to be put in training and educating the reluctant managers to adopt the ISO 9000/TQM to accept the concepts thereby establishing uniform management commitment. More so, integration of the quality system with that of Human Resource Management (HRM) function to translate the performance in quality management programmes into objective career performance evaluation criteria is a necessity.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Economics and Industrial Management, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Arts degree in Industrial Management, 2002