For more than four decades after independence the companies in India enjoyed a protected market with virtually no competition, and some of them even monopolised the market, with customers having little or no choice. As a result complacency set in, and no pressure existed for improvement or change.
However, the policy of globalization and liberalization adopted by the Indian Government five years ago, has hrown open new avenues and challenges to companies in India. The new policy has resulted in open doors through which global corporate players have entered the Indian markets, and are threatening the domestic manufacturers and suppliers, using quality as a weapon. This has compelled the managers of local companies to look for those tools and techniques, proven and tested, which would help them to maintain and improve their strategies and positions in the market.
One such policy or philosophy that has captured the attention of industry and the business community is TQM. Particularly, in the recent years TQM is even regarded as bsolutely essential for growth, stability, and prosperity. This paper has the main intention of presenting an overview of TQM’s progress in the country, starting from its initiation to its current status. Besides, the paper also describes how the organizational attempts by various agencies enabled the establishment of a TQM culture.
Further, these attempts are presented in a chronological order, to appreciate the role played by various agencies, which resulted in growth and propagation of TQM in India. Towards the end, the gaps that still exist and hence the efforts that eed to be channeled are pointed out, so as to result in appropriate guidelines about the work to be done. The author R. Jagadeesh is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, S. J. College of Engineering, Mysore, India.
Keywords TQM, India, Quality Abstract Total quality management (TQM) has spread its wings in every sphere of the global corporate world and Indian companies are no exception. In this paper, first the growth and spread ofTQM in India is traced from its initiation to current status. Further, the paper has tried to identify the causes for poor quality of products and ervice, and the gaps that exist between the expectations and the outcome after adopting the TQM practices. Later a critical view of the quality scene in India is presented, and finally, based on these observations suitable guidelines and recommendations are made to bridge this gap.
It is concluded that there is still a long way to go for Indian companies to receive the stamp of acceptance for their products at international level. Electronic access The current issue and full text archive of this Journal is available at http://www. emerald-library. com are synonymous with high quality products and trust worthiness. However, the post- independent era did not witness any spectacular improvement regarding the quality of goods and services produced in the country. According to Agrawal (1993) due to protected business environment many positive attributes of the Indian industry have been lost and weaknesses have surfaced.
These weaknesses based on the study are: lack of trust and credibility in the working system, lack of clarity/seriousness for achieving target, lack of precise observance of rules and norms, low quality of supplies and components, lack of consciousness of time as money, viewing only short term benefits ahead of long term oals, politicalization of labor unions, lack of accountability for actions, lack of management commitment, lack of national quality policy, inadequate economic resources, lack of indigenous technology, inadequate infrastructure, preferring quantity to quality, lack of team spirit, cartel formation, and sellers’ market.
Besides, lack of consumerism, Government control on everything, bureaucratic delays, quick profit making attitudes by the companies, all resulted in quality getting a low priority and consequently Indian products were constrained to serve only the domestic market being not able to compete in the international markets. Further, the factors mentioned before, clearly proved to be obstacles in the path to progress, and India in spite of possessing good resources and rich scientific and technical manpower, could not produce world-class products acceptable in the international markets.
The TQM movement in India The TQM initiatives were first set by the Confederation of Indian Industries (Cll) in the early 1980s, in its pioneering effort in promoting awareness about quality among Indian industries. The work done by Cll in this direction is well documented in Deccan Herald Advertising Feature (1993) and also in The Standards Engineer (1996). In 1982, quality circles took birth in India, and some of the companies to launch quality circles first were Bharat Electronics Limited, Bangalore, and Bharat Heavvy Electricals Limited, Trichy.
In 1986 the Cll then known as CEI (Confederation of Engineering Industries), invited Professor Ishikawa to India, to address industry people about quality. Later in 1987, a TQM division was set up by the Cll. This division owes its foundation to 21 companies who agreed to support the cause by pooling resources and pledging to start the Journey to TQM. Chief executives of these companies formed the National Committee on Quality, 22 Total quality management in India ?± perspective and analysis R. Jagadeesh The TQM Magazine Volume 1 1 . Number 5. 1999 . 321?±327 newsletter on quality.
In 1987 and 1988, the Cll invited the Juran Institute to India to conduct three training workshops, and then in 1989 a team from India attended the Deming Seminar in London. Study teams organized by the Cll were taken to Japan and the USA to study quality practices. During 1990, the Cll consolidated and focused on training, and in February 1991, an Indian company with the assistance of the Cll, obtained the first ISO 9000 certification in India. The Cll organized the launch of the National Quality Campaign led by the Prime Minister of India in May 1992.
It is around this time, the process of globalization and liberalization was started in the country, bringing a new dimension to the business and industrial sectors. From then on, a new line of thinking in terms of quality, productivity, and competitiveness has begun. Since 1993, the Cll has been organizing The Quality Summit every year. This provides an opportunity for all business leaders, and higher level managers of member and non-member organizations of the Cll to network, learn, and contribute hrough experience sharing, and listening to the experts who gather there.
The National Productivity Council (NPC) has set up a TQM and Benchmarking Division in New Delhi, and offers TQM implementation services, which include modular training programs and consultancy services. In 1996, the Government of India announced the setting up of the Quality Council of India, (QCI) with the Industry Ministry bringing in half the seed capital of Rs. 1. 5 crores. The rest of the seed capital will be contributed by the corporate sector.
The setting up of a national agency for quality certification is art of the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements, under which member countries will not trade in non-certified products two years down the line. The corporate sector too was demanding the setting up of an internationally recognized quality council as it found the certification process from foreign agencies too expensive. Besides, it would save vital foreign exchange for the country. The QCI will be entrusted with monitoring and administering of the National Quality Campaign and will also oversee the effective functioning of the National Information and Enquiry Services.
Post-liberalization scene ?± improvement in quality The economic reforms that started in 1992 have ushered in a new era of progress and prosperity in the country. According to a report published in YoJana (1997), the real gross domestic product (GDP) recorded a growth rate of 6. 8 per cent in agriculture and allied sectors, 7. 0 per cent in industry, and 7. 4 per cent in services. The Eighth Five Year Plan (EFYP) (1992-97) which ended with an average growth rate of 6. 5 per cent per annum, compares well with the target rate of 5. 6 per cent for the EFYP, and actual achievement of 6. 0 per cent in the Seventh Five Year Plan. In fact his is the highest average growth rate achieved in the planning period since 1951. The sectoral average growth rates for the period 1992-97 are: Agriculture and allied sectors ?± 4. 0 per cent, Industry ?± 7. 8 per cent and, Services ?± 9. 2 per cent. Further, exports during 1996-97 registered a growth rate of 4. 1 per cent. Foreign direct investment amounted to US $2,696 million during 1996-97. These facts clearly indicate that the economic reforms brought through globalization and liberalization have yielded rich dividends, and hold a lot of promise for the coming years.
While all ndividually to improve their product quality, besides overall performance through TQM practices. For example, Gupta and Sagar (1993) describe a case of total quality control in an engineering company through the extensive use of personal computers, and state that the Indian company was able to overcome many quality related problems which included: high rejection levels, slow inspection rates, frequent errors in measurement, inconsistency in interpreting inspection data, time consuming data storage and retrieval, rigid inspection schedules, not responding to changing environment, and quality plans not adjusted to varying batch sizes.
The company improved the problem solving capacity through quality circles, and quality database at each stage. Comprehensive information systems enabled the personnel to obtain better guidance leading to improved decision making. Thus the success is attributed to systematic application of TQM. 323 The TQM Magazine volume 11 . Number 5 . 1999 . 321?±327 Business Today (1995) in an exclusive coverage on status of quality of India, presents a detailed report on companies which are market leaders and corporate giants. The cases covered include reports on leading Indian companies like Mukand, BPL, Arvind,
IFB, ABB, HDFC, Amex, Hidustan Lever, Ranbaxy, Indal, Gujarat AmbuJa, Wsya Bank, Oberoi Hotels, and Thermax. It is emphasized that these companies carved a niche for themselves by focusing on quality in their planning, operations, and marketing strategies. Awareness of quality ?± a positive change Pati and Reis (1996) state that India is emerging as a leading economy in the new world economic order. The phenomenal increase in India’s export earnings, which rose to IJS$ 26. 2 billion in the 1994-95 fiscal year showed an increase of 18. 27 per cent over its 1993-94 export earnings of IJS$22. 7 billion. This is said to be an indicator of how its products and services are perceived by its global customers. It is further stated that the thrust has been shifted from import substitution to development of an export-oriented economy. Other pertinent observations made are: . Indian businesses are pursuing paths of superior quality and high productivity; . quality conscious consumerism; . increasing competition; . industries expanding their domestic share and venturing into global markets; . significant rise in the ISO 9000 certified companies.
The survey conducted by Pati and Reis (1996) has further revealed many interesting aspects bout quality practices in India. The survey questionnaire has used a five-point Likert interval to capture the strength of perception, where points 1 (very high), 2 (high), 3 (medium), 4 (low), and 5 (very low) indicate the degree of current practice related to quality. The critical success factors contributing to quality and overall average scores (3. 43); . role of quality department/personnel (3. 14); . training (3. 69); . product/service design (2. 91); . supplier quality management (2. 6); process management and operating procedures (2. 74); quality data reporting (2. 72); employee relations (2. 2). It is concluded from the survey that the manufacturing sector in India is well aware of importance of quality, and efforts have been channeled to improve product quality. However, the service sector mostly Government owned and operated, lags behind the manufacturing sector in all aspects that imply quality. TQM ?± success stories of Indian companies Many Indian companies are beginning to realize that ‘ ‘customer focus” is an absolute requirement of TQM.
Jain (1996), while writing on TQM in India, states that companies are paying closer attention to consumer feedback in order to tailor roducts to meet customer needs and are using a wide variety of methods that include benchmarking with rival products, regular customer meetings, and even engaging market research companies to collect consumer feedback on their product range and after sales service. Two specific cases are worth mentioning. Escorts Limited, an automobile manufacturing company, based on the feedback from customers and dealers, changed the delivery route to ensure safe and quick delivery.
Similarly, J. K. Synthetics, based on feed back from customer meetings, focused on standardization of quality parameters, and started after-sales service. This resulted in the sales rise from 220 tonnes in first quarter of 1995 to 632 tonnes in the last quarter of the same year, an impressive growth in the sales by three times the previous value. According to a report published in Business Today (1998), some Indian companies are being guided by Yoshikazu Tsuda, a counselor at JUSE (Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers) in their quest for total quality.
Some of these companies are Sona Steering, Jai Bharat Maruti, GKN Invel, Asahi Float Glass, Brakes India, Lucas TVS, India Pistons, and India Piston Rings. Further, as stated in The Economic Times (1998), sixsigma technique, which is considered to be a classic TQM technique, is being practiced by several Indian companies notable among 324 significant achievement by an Indian company due to its practicing TQM principles is reported by Sridharan (1998a).
The Indian company Sundaram Fasteners located near Chennai, India, has received the Best of Best Vendors Award consecutively for two years during 1996 and 1997, for its supply of metal radiator caps to General Motors, USA. The award was given to the company for its consistent zero defects rate, 100 percent reliability in delivery schedules, and lowest price. The company is the only supplier to General Motors, USA from India out of its 3,000 supplier companies scattered all over the globe.
In an exclusive interview covered by Premchander (1996), the managing director of Asea Brown Boveri Ltd (a partly owned subsidiary of Asea Brown Boveri Limited, Zurich) one of the very successfully operating multi-national companies in India, has stated that the managers have to spend time and resources on TQM. A historical achievement by an Indian company winning the coveted Deming Prize for Overseas Companies, for successful implementation of TQM, is reported by Sridharan (1998b).
The Indian company Sundaram Clayton, has successfully turned its people into quality practitioners by the actual deployment of TQM tools, techniques, and systems. 38 ?± time to market; 22 ?± corporate credibility. Indian quality scene ?± a critical view The developments related to Indian companies, concerning quality of products and services, need to be examined on a comparative global scale. This would enable judgement of the progress made in improving quality.
A survey made in 1994 in which products and services from 41 countries were ranked by World Competitiveness Report indicates that the quality of Indian products and services is isappointing. According to the summary of results given in Skaria (1995), India’s rank based on different quality parameters is as follows (the rank out of 41 is given followed by the parameter): . 39?± price to quality; . 38 ?± practice ofTQM; . 40?± customer orientation; . 28 ?± product liability; . 39 ?± time to innovate; The report clearly suggested that on a global scale, Indian products and services are far from satisfactory, and have a poor image.
This is a major cause of worry for the corporate managers particularly for those looking for new markets, and ventures with oreign collaborators. One commonly quoted reason for getting away with low quality in India, is lack of pressure from consumers. Many managers are of the opinion that unless the customers are aware of their right to demand high quality, and insist on companies to invest in quality, they continue to receive poor quality products. While the growth and spread of quality practices are slow in India, TQM has firmly seated itself in other Asiatic countries.
In a cover feature on ‘Quality in Asia’ reported in World Executive Digest (1996), it is stated that as Asia grapples with the challenge of lobalization, more and more companies seek ISO 9000 certification and adopt TQM. Companies in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, and China are overtly involved in embracing practices of total quality to march ahead in global markets. According to The Economic Intelligence Unit (1996), which surveyed companies in Hong Kong on issues in the region. The growth of TQM across Asia however means that new approaches are being developed in the region.
These observations clearly suggest that India has to carefully watch the developments in the Asiatic region, as TQM principles have been successfully applied by several countries improving their utput quality, attracting more foreign investment, and hence capable of restricting India’s share in the global market. What the quality experts say In spite of the hype created by the ISO 9000 bandwagon, which today has more than 1,500 companies certified as such, quality is yet to emerge as a major strength of Indian products. Managers of Indian companies have still a lot to learn and implement in the image building process based on quality.
This is perhaps aptly summarized by a statement made by Philip Crosby as reported in The Times of India (1997). While addressing a 325 ews conference at the end of his weeklong visit to India, Crosby has said that complacency is a major problem with the Indian management system. The managers of Indian industries should take this seriously. In an interview published in Business India (1997-98) James Harrington, a leading authority in the field of quality, has stated that India still has four types of companies: those with poor performance, with good performance, with better performance, and with outstanding performance.
Harrington remarks that companies with poor performance went bankrupt in other parts of the world, while those with good performance would follow them. But those with better performance will survive and those with outstanding performance would explode into the twentyflrst century. This indicates that India still has scope for bad products, and bad performance, which need to be immediately curbed. It is pointed out by Sukumar (1998) that TQM continues to baffle corporate India, as evident by the different interpretations made by each person in the industry about what is TQM.
It was observed during the Sixth Quality Summit organized by the Cll in New Delhi, that TQM means anything and everything depending on the individual’s perspective, politics, and paradigms. During the summit as many as nine different definitions were presented by the speakers about what constitutes TQM. This means people in the corporate sector have no consensus about the concept of TQM and it could be a deterrent in its implementation. In another survey conducted by Arun et al. (1998) with regard to ISO certified companies interesting observations were made about implementing TQM in a company.
Out of 17 companies that were surveyed, managers in seven companies said that though they believe in TQM they do not know how to implement it. The survey further revealed that the long term supplier elationship, an essential ingredient for successful implementation of TQM, has not the implementation of TQM were found to be: continued dependence on traditional incentive schemes, numerical targets, performance rating, slogans for improving productivity, and not identifying and providing the right type of training for each and everyone as demanded for every Job.
The survey concludes that if all these factors are not mitigated a company may continue as ISO certified but not be recognized as a TQM company. Comments and conclusion The various surveys independently conducted by researchers and business ublications have revealed that awareness on quality of products and services has picked up in India. With quality based competition intensifying, Indian industries and business people are showing keen interest in improving the quality of products through TQM.
A number of organizations, private and Government are actively propagating TQM through a variety of training and educational programs. TQM has proved to be a vital ingredient for success, and now has its permanent roots in the mission and vision” of the Indian corporate sector. However, based on common observations the requirements for quality to succeed in India can be summarized as ollows: . a strong consumer movement; . a sincere and committed drive by the corporate sector to keep quality as the main focus; . trict enforcement of standards by the regulatory bodies and authorities; . avoidance of multiple grading of quality in products, like export quality, first grade, seconds, import rejects, etc. ; . setting an example in adhering to high quality performance and output, before pointing to others. While TQM no doubt has enabled the Indian companies to improve the quality of products and services, the international market demands still higher uality levels to give due recognition and acceptance.