Small Businesses Thinking Big

Article

Struebing, Laura; Klaus, Leigh Ann   (1997, ASQC)   ASQC, Milwaukee, WI

Quality Progress    Vol. 30    No. 2
QICID: 13187    February 1997    pp. 23-26
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Article Abstract

The size of a company is not an impediment to total quality management (TQM) and continuous improvement. Small businesses can increase their competitiveness by reducing the cost of poor quality, under the leadership and involvement of top management. Full-time quality experts are not needed if the organization has access to consultants, helpful books, and training sessions. A successful quality program relies on a good implementation plan and the realization that some benefits take time to emerge. To reduce resistance to change and loss of momentum, employees should participate in customer analysis and have support from top management. And there are advantages to being small: communication and implementation are less complex, while limited resources encourage the organization to focus on its key drivers. Examples of small organizations that have successfully improved themselves include: Fresno Surgery Center, which benchmarked the Ritz-Carlton hotel chain; Custom Research Inc., winner of a 1996 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, which cultivated systems thinking and key measures; and TECSTAR, which benefited from the leadership of top management and the recognition of employees.

Keywords

Continuous improvement (CI),Implementation,Small business,Total Quality Management (TQM)


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