DOD's Drive to Adopt TQM: Barriers to Success


Stimson, Richard A.   (1989, ASQC)   Advanced Technology, Inc., Emhart Corp., Reston, VA

Annual Quality Congress, Toronto, Ontario, Canada    Vol. 43    No. 0
QICID: 3623    May 1989    pp. 569-574
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Article Abstract

The Department of Defense (DOD) has launched a new initiative to significantly improve the quality of contractor produced goods and services. "Total Quality Managemet (TQM)" is its name and the principles upon which it is built is the quality improvement approach now begin applied in the private sector based on the teachings of quality gurus such as Deming and Juran. A recent survey of quality experts in DOD and the defense industry suggests that the bureaucratic barriers to implementation of TQM in DOD will be tough to overcome.

This paper will review the new emphasis on quality improvement in DOD; DOD's attempt to adopt TQM, the barriers to DOD's successful implementation, and recommendations to improve DOD's odds for success.

A joint DOD/industry workshop was conducted on December 16-17, 1987, to help get TQM started. The industry sponsors were the National Security Industrial Association and the Aerospace Industry Association. Approximately 100 experts (split 50-50 DOD and industry) were individually invited to attend. The group was subdivided into subgroups which used brainstorming techniques (nominal group technique and force field analysis) to identify issues that are critical to implementation. During the first day all the subgroups worked on identifying the top priority barriers to implementation. The second day each subgroup was assigned one of these barriers to analyze in more detail and develop recommendations for overcoming them.

These most critical barriers were identified as the need for a clear definition of TQM; requirements for a single, consistent DOD approach; appropriate contractural application of TQM; total commitment from both DOD and industry; use of incentives to encourage the new behaviors; and need for training in the new philosophy and tools.


Customer supplier relationships,Implementation,Department of Defense (DOD),Total Quality Management (TQM)

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