Total Quality Management (TQM) is a strategy for continuously improving performance at every level, and in all areas of responsibility. It combines fundamental management techniques, existing improvement efforts, and specialized technical tools under a disciplined structure focused on continuously improving all processes. Improved performance is directed at satisfying such broad goals as cost, quality, schedule, and mission need, and suitability. Increasing user satisfaction is the overriding objective.
Definitions: Total Quality Management (TQM) is the continual process of detecting and reducing or eliminating errors in manufacturing, streamlining supply chain management, improving the customer experience, and ensuring that employees are up to speed with training.
TQM employs a rigorous, structured methodology to achieve the goal of continuous improvement. The first step is to develop broad organizational goals and ensure those goals are reflected in and supported by subordinate goals and objectives. Measuring progress towards defined goals is the basis for evaluating the success of TQM efforts. 
Goals of Total Quality Management (TQM)
There are several goals associated with TQM. A few of these goals include:
- Detect, reduce and eliminate manufacturing errors,
- Prevent problems before they occur,
- Streamline supply chain management,
- Improve customer service,
- Make sure employees are trained in quality,
- Increase employee productivity,
- Focus on continual process improvement of procedures.
8 Total Quality Management (TQM) Principles
TQM can be summarized as a management system for a customer-focused organization that involves all employees in continual improvement. It uses strategy, data, and effective communications to integrate quality discipline into the culture and activities of the organization. It is focused on 8 principles. 
- Customer-focused: The customer ultimately determines the level of quality. No matter what an organization does to foster quality improvement—training employees, integrating quality into the design process, upgrading computers or software, or buying new measuring tools—the customer determines whether the efforts were worthwhile.
- Total employee involvement: All employees participate in working toward common goals. Total employee commitment can only be obtained after fear has been driven from the workplace, when empowerment has occurred, and management has provided the proper environment. High-performance work systems integrate continuous improvement efforts with normal business operations. Self-managed work teams are one form of empowerment.
- Process-centered: A fundamental part of TQM is a focus on process thinking. A process is a series of steps that take inputs from suppliers (internal or external) and transforms them into outputs that are delivered to customers (again, either internal or external). The steps required to carry out the process are defined, and performance measures are continuously monitored in order to detect unexpected variations.
- Integrated system: Although an organization may consist of many different functional specialties often organized into vertically structured departments, it is the horizontal processes interconnecting these functions that are the focus of TQM.
- Strategic and systematic approach: A critical part of the management of quality is the strategic and systematic approach to achieving an organization’s vision, mission, and goals. This process, called strategic planning or strategic management, includes the formulation of a strategic plan that integrates quality as a core component.
- Continual improvement: A major thrust of TQM is continual process improvement. Continual improvement drives an organization to be both analytical and creative in finding ways to become more competitive and more effective at meeting stakeholder expectations.
- Fact-based decision making: In order to know how well an organization is performing, data on performance measures are necessary. TQM requires that an organization continually collect and analyze data in order to improve decision-making accuracy, achieve consensus, and allow prediction based on past history.
- Communications: During times of organizational change, as well as part of day-to-day operation, effective communications play a large part in maintaining morale and in motivating employees at all levels. Communications involve strategies, methods, and timeliness.
These elements are considered so essential to TQM that many organizations define them, in some format, as a set of core values and principles on which the organization is to operate.
Continuous Improvement Process (CIP) as part of Total Quality Management (TQM)
The Continuous Improvement Process (CIP) is part of TQM and is an ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes. It’s is a six-step systematic approach to plan, sequence and implement improvement efforts using data and elaborates on the Shewhart Cycle (Act, Plan, Do, Study). The CIP provides a common language and methodology which enables understanding the improvement process. The CIP always links back to each organization’s own goals and priorities.
The Best Time to Start a Total Quality Management (TQM) Program
There is no bad time to start using TQM program but the sooner the better. Below is a list of the times I believe a TQM should be implemented:
- Beginning of a new project
- Development of processes and procedures
- Developing a new or improved product, or service
- Planning data collection and analysis
- Implementing any change to a process
- Whenever a failure occurs
Total Quality Management (TQM) Addressed in the Quality Management Plan (QMP)
A Quality Management Plan (QMP) helps guides the Program Manager (PM) and project personnel to execute Total Quality Management and quality assurance activities for a project or program. The QMP is normally developed by a contractor and reviewed by the customer. Quality is the degree to which the project fulfills requirements.
Total Quality Management (TQM) History
The TQM effort builds on the pioneering work of Dr. W. E. Deming, Dr. J. H. Juran, and others, and benefits from both private and public sector experience with continuous process improvement. 
TQM received recognition and adaption in the late 1980’s because of the increase need for firms to complete on the basis of quality. By the late 1980’s and early 1990’s publications were writing about the reasons why TQM had succeeded or failed in many organizations. The reviews were mixed but generally were in favor of a comprehensive quality management system. Most quality experts agree that the reasons for failure of TQM are usually poor management related. 
AcqLinks and References:
-  DoD Total Quality Management Master Plan – 1998
-  Nickels and McHugh, “Understanding Business” McGraw-Hill Irwin 2010
-  Website: ASQ – Total Quality Management (TQM)
- Text Book – Total Quality Management – Chapter 5
- White Paper: Using Total Quality Management to Improve Quality, Cost and Productivity by Bill Motley