Some years ago a small brewery in the UK became increasingly successful. The manager of the local supermarket called them to arrange for an additional delivery on Fridays, because the beer had become so popular that it sold out by Saturday each week.
When asked by business owners or senior executives how to improve their business, I usually give the same answer: adopt Deming’s Management Method, known as Total Quality Management (TQM).
TQM helps businesses evolve towards higher quality management. The effectiveness of the approach has been well proven and, though it can be a difficult management methodology to adopt, the results it delivers far outweigh the work required.
In his famous Serenity Prayer, American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr wrote:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
In August 1996, I wrote an editorial for The Quality Magazine, titled ‘Quality Management in Retail’. In the article, I lamented the lack of interest in TQM (Total Quality Management) amongst Australian retailers. Twenty years later, the industry still struggles with sub-optimal results, but I believe that I’ve now discovered one of the reasons why TQM gets the cold shoulder.
How the mighty have fallen. There was a time when Woolworths was regarded as the best retailer in Australia, certainly the most profitable.
My karate Sensei used to say that practice does not necessarily make perfect. Only good practice makes perfect.
This still resonates with me as it aligns with a Total Quality Management focus on knowledge, rather than experience, as the key factor in making employees and management more effective within a business.