Implementation of TQM: Manufacturing vs. Service



The goal is to study the practice of implementing the Total Quality Management (TQM) practices in manufacture and service. More specifically, it aims at investigating how the practice of using TQM in a service distinguishes from the practice of using TQM in manufacture and whether there are common features.


The data was collected through a review of 14 journal articles, as well as textbooks and Internet resources related to the practice of TQM implementation in manufacture and service.


This paper presents various TQM practices suitable for the manufacture and service and a number of general practices of TQM that apply to this sectors. Even though most of the methods recognized were similar in both groups, some incongruities were found when comparing them. These discrepancies can be associated with the nature of operations, characteristics of companies, design of services, and products provided by manufacture and service.

Practical Implications

The results obtained can be used in the realization of the TQM practices at the enterprise, for work with personnel, in the formation of corporate structures, business process optimization, conducting sociological studies of the readiness of organizations to implement general quality management instruments and the attitude of personnel to meeting the demand of quality management standards.


Most of the research focuses on the differences between the realization of TQM in manufacture and service. In turn, this paper reflects the TQM practices common to these areas.


At this stage of development of the corporate world, when society is on the verge of the fourth technological revolution, which has already been called digital, organizations as one of the most critical subjects of market relations are looking for new sources and ways of growth (Bouranta et al., 2017). According to Luthra et al. (2020), the introduction of advanced technologies in the coming decades cannot give a strong impetus to the development of the world economy in general and individual companies in particular. Thus, to ensure the further rise of organizations, it is necessary to look for methods that, combined with digital innovation, will increase the level of development of society. Sharma (2018) see one of these methods in revising the primary paradigm of the functioning of organizations, namely, prioritizing not the earliest enrichment but the quality of products.

Therefore, in an unstable economy, the need to implement an effective management system at industrial enterprises and in the service sector is becoming increasingly important. This would ensure continuous improvement of the production process and the implementation of measures to increase the competitiveness of products, goods, services, and the organization as a whole (Evans and Lindsay, 2019). One of the tools of effective management is the mechanism of introducing a total quality management system focused on achieving specific results. These outcomes are based on quality objectives, namely, meeting consumers’ expectations and needs and developing the organization as a whole. By implementing total quality management practices, an organization builds confidence in the capabilities and reliability of its processes, as well as a basis for continual improvement. Implementation of TQM practices in organizations is an essential condition for successful business development, strengthening the position of a company in the domestic and international markets.

TQM Definition in Literature

The postulates of the TQM concept arose in the middle of the twentieth century based on the works of the outstanding theorists of quality management, U. E. Deming, A. Feigenbaum, and K. Ishikawa (Kanwal, 2018). The foundations of this concept were laid by Deming and formed a highly humane enterprise culture. Although W. E. Deming played a vital role in the development of the conception of TQM, this term was suggested by the American scientist A. Feigenbaum, who defined TQM as an effective system for integration the efforts of varied groups of an organization to evolve, maintain, and refine quality to carry out marketing, design, manufacture, and service at the highest economic level to ensure complete customer satisfaction (Aquilani et al., 2017).

In modern literature and practice, there are different views on the essence of TQM. Under TQM, various researchers understand the philosophy, ideology of the organization, direction, system of actions, method, approach, and concept (Kiran, 2016). The most generalized are the definitions provided with an understanding of TQM as a philosophy and ideology. Thus, according to Ali and Khatoon (2016), TQM is an organization philosophy based on the commitment to quality and management practices, which leads to universal quality. Singha, Kumarb, and Singhc (2018) affirm that TQM is the ideology that provides the company with constantly perfect the quality of work and reach additional competitive advantages. In Garcia-Alcaraz et al.’s (2021) paper TQM is considered a direction focused on applying quality approaches at all levels of the company and to all its functions. Shivangi (no date) defines TQM as a system of actions to achieve satisfaction, attract consumers and customers, and increase employment opportunities, long-term income, and lower costs. This definition characterizes TQM as a system whose primary purpose is to maximize revenue and minimize expenses.

The aspects that should be implementing the TQM concept are fully identified by Anil and Satish (2019). They define TQM as a system based on the following basic concepts: result orientation; focus on consumers; leadership and compliance with goals; management based on processes and facts; staff development, its improvement; continuous training, innovation, partnership development; responsibility to society. In the work of Aquilani et al. (2017), TQM is the organization’s management method, based on the cooperation of all its employees, focused on quality and provided through customer satisfaction, long-term business success, and benefits for all employees and the economy as a whole.

Wall (2021) notes that the TQM concept is an effective strategy for the development of an enterprise, aimed at improving the final results of activities by increasing the efficiency of each employee and the enterprise as a whole. Magd, Negi, and Ansari (2021) define TQM as a modern philosophy of enterprise management aimed at achieving sustainable business success based on a process approach to quality management. Murray (2019) asserts that TQM is a tool for effective planning and implementation of management processes.

Thus, total quality management includes a system of scientific principles, practical methods, tools for quantitative and qualitative analysis of current information about the quality of operations, process monitoring procedures, which together are aimed at continuous enhancement of the quality and enhancement of enterprise management processes. Consequently, it can be noted that the TQM concept is a forward-looking enterprise management strategy based on facts and focused on customer satisfaction. In general, the basic principles of the TQM concept (figure 1) reflect the approach, the use of which allows to obtain effective results of the enterprise (Eby, 2017). At the same time, the main goal of enterprise management should be to achieve product quality that satisfies all stakeholders, such as enterprise personnel, enterprise owners, suppliers of material and technical resources, consulting and consulting organizations, as well as society as a whole.

Basic principles of TQM
Figure 1. Basic principles of TQM (Kiran, 2016)

Therefore, based on the above characteristics, it is possible to single out the features of the TQM conception that distinguish it from traditional management.

Traditional management TQM concept
The company’s management plans and controls Employee involvement in quality improvement
The management of the enterprise determines how to act Leadership encourages creativity and new ideas
The opinion of the management is decisive in the choice of the direction of activity Management reviews employee suggestions for quality improvement
Management through delegation of authority Management by goals
Employees have clearly defined tasks Employees are more unrestricted within the set goals
Problems and conflicts are taboo Problems are discussed openly
The company’s management punishes employees if violations are detected The company’s management requires a conscientious attitude in the performance of work and conducts personnel training

Table 1. Differences between traditional management concept and TQM one (Luthra et al., 2020)

Discussion: Implementation of TQM in Manufacture and Service

Initially, the conception of the TQM philosophy and its principles were applied to the manufacture, while little attention was paid to the service sector. After the successful introduction of TQM in production, specialists began to explore opportunities for the transfer and applying of TQM practices in service and proposed their applicability in this sphere (Magd and Karyamsetty, 2020). Some characteristics (table 2) differentiate service industries from manufacturing ones in terms of the application of TQM principles and practices.

Distinctive features of the service sphere
provision of services simultaneously with the emergence of demand for them a large share of personalization of service delivery the virtuality of the product and limited opportunities for standardization of business processes of a company operating in the service sector the importance of researching not only the demand but also the expectations of the consumer from the provided service
measurement of the quality of service provision is determined by the individual expectations of consumers about quality service limited opportunities to demonstrate to consumers the results of the service, as opposed to physical products, which can be shown in advance the significance of the quality of the service delivery process itself, rather than the result it is more difficult for the client to evaluate the quality of an intangible service than a physical product

Table 2. Distinctive features of the service sphere (Sharma, 2018)

Many studies focus on the difference in TQM implementation in industry and services. Singha, Kumarb, and Singhc (2018) have found that service organizations generally exhibit lower TQM adoption rates than manufacturing partners, especially with regard to information systems management, process management (PM), as well as quality metrics. Nevertheless, in terms of leadership, improving the quality of products and services, human resources, and client focus, both service and manufacturing companies place equal emphasis on this. Wall (2021) explored the significance of TQM in improving customer satisfaction in both areas. The researcher has found that successfully implemented TQM has a positive impact on customer satisfaction.

Ooi (2015) investigated the difference in TQM implementation in manufacture and service companies. The researcher concluded that service firms use TQM techniques selectively instead of manufacturing companies that use the full spectrum of TQM practices. Nevertheless,

this study, as previous ones, did not find a significant distinction in the frequency of TQM concepts used by manufacture and service firms. Patyal and Koilakuntla (2017) conducted a comparative research of attitudes towards the use of TQM elements in the manufacture and service sectors. They considered attitude towards using aspects that support or prevent the adoption of TQM practices in both spheres of economy. The researcher concluded that manufacture companies more often use total quality management methods than service ones. Therefore, there is a lot of research on implementing TQM practices in the manufacture and service sectors. However, most of them investigate the differences in the realization of TQM practices in these sectors of the economy. Respectively, there is a necessity to focus on identifying a set of general TQM practices appropriate to both spheres for their success.

TQM Practice in Manufacturing Industries

Nowadays, manufacturing is on the eve of significant changes associated with the digitalization of processes in the economy. Digitalization and new market situations place new demands on the activities of industrial enterprises (Singha, Kumarb and Singhc, 2018). In this relation, the products’ quality is a decisive factor in increasing the competitive ability of an industrial enterprise.

It is believed that production is connected with those organizations where there is either no at all, or little level of connection with consumers, for example, in metallurgy or gas production (Wall, 2021). The researchers indicated three features which discern the service sector from the manufacture one. These are immateriality, perishability, and diversity (Magd and Karyamsetty, 2020). A literature review has demonstrated that many techniques of TQM may be defined as critical to the successful implementation of relevant initiatives in the manufacturing industries. Thus, by reviewing the above studies of TQM practices, nine basic TQM practices appropriate to the manufacture industry can be identified as general (figure 2).

Basic TQM practices appropriate to the manufacturing industry
Figure 2. Basic TQM practices appropriate to the manufacturing industry

According to Wall (2021), the TQM is the most mighty tool in competitive fight, as evidenced by the benefits of implementing the TQM concept in manufacturing (figure 3). Thus, competitiveness is determined by the quality of products, the consistency of their delivery, the accuracy and timeliness of the realization of all technological and production processes at enterprises, and ability to maintain a reputation.

Benefits of implementing the TQM concept in manufacturing
Figure3. Benefits of implementing the TQM concept in manufacturing (Evans and Lindsay, 2019)

Implementation of TQM in Service

In a market economy, the service sector is a key component of it. Since the development of the service sector is the most crucial factor in improving the population’s level and quality of life, there is a need to increase the competitiveness of companies in the service sector (Fatemi, Wei and Moayeryfard, 2016). One of the methods of enhancing competitiveness can be the conception of total quality management (TQM), adapted to the specifics of the service sector.

Previously, the TQM concept was widely used in the manufacturing industry and was seen as a tool only for the manufacturing industry. But due to the technology development and increased market competition due to globalization and serious competition problems, services began to attract more attention from practitioners and scientists. Nowadays, the service is an essential sector of the economy, the state of which directly affects the competitiveness of the economy (Bouranta et al., 2019). This has led to a shift in focus from the manufactue sector to the service one and the introduction of TQM practices in service companies. TQM conceptions are broadly used in the healthcare, insurance, banking, higher education, hospitality, and tourism. The sense of implementation of TQM in these spheres is to identify the fundamental practices essential to successfully implementing the TQM concept (Magd and Karyamsetty, 2020). If all of these key practices are adequately distinguished and applied, it will lead to improved organizational efficiency and productiveness (Magd, Negi and Ansari, 2021).

After analyzing selected studies of TQM practice in the service sector, based on their frequency of use, the following nine leading TQM practices were identified (figure 4):

Basic TQM practices applicable to service
Figure 4. Basic TQM practices applicable to service

Tennant (2017) developed the concept of customer service quality in the service sector based on practical recommendations, most of which in one way or another affect aspects of customer orientation and work with personnel from the TQM methodology:

  • The correct team and its retention.

A strong team cannot be built from weak specialists. Hiring people must be approached most carefully and look for people who can serve any client at the highest level. To do this, firstly, you need to make sure that the principles of quality and perceptions of acceptable quality, which the company operates, are similar to the applicant’s views. However, building a team does not end with finding the right people: it must be constantly trained, gradually given more and more responsibility and metrics that will help monitor the effectiveness of team members, depending on the quality of customer service.

  • Good knowledge of customer needs.

A vital step to gain insight into customers is building a marketing team that uses both quantitative and qualitative research methods to investigate customer needs and expectations. It is crucial to provide customers with the opportunity to give feedback on the services provided and show the company’s commitment to improving the customer experience at all stages of interaction with them, for example, using the concept of Consumer Decision Journey (figure 5). According to Asadov (2020), it suggests that the process of deciding to purchase a service or product is cyclical and consists of four main phases: initial consideration, active evaluation, closure, and postpurchase experience. Having a good knowledge of consumers’ needs and behavior at each of the four stages of their experience with a service or product allows an action to be taken to improve that experience and increase the likelihood that a customer will become loyal after successfully passing through all stages.

Figure 5. Consumer Decision Journey (Asadov, 2020)

  • Clear criteria for the service quality in the company.

The criteria and principles of quality service in a particular company will make the quality management system more transparent and easier to understand, primarily for employees, and monitor the achievement of the criteria for each employee. According to Rodriguez (2021), when forming the requirements and vision of quality service, it is advisable to make sure that they are easy to understand and remember and related to the performance of personnel depending on the industry and functional affiliation. Moreover, it is necessary to establish benchmarks to check the correct understanding of the current vision and its possible adjustment depending on customers’ needs and competitors’ actions.

  • Documented business processes for customer service.

Standardization and documentation of all service business processes allow to identify weak links in the chain, possible risks and develop measures to minimize them. Furthermore, it is necessary to have a well-thought-out mechanism for obtaining feedback and a set of actions by employees that will correct the situation on the spot in the event of negative feedback.

  • Continuous training of personnel.

To enhance the quality of service, it is indispensable to spare no money on the development of personnel, which in this area is the main asset that brings profit to the company. The company’s success directly depends on how professional the company’s employees are. Therefore, leaders in the service sector spend about 10% of the salary fund on training their employees, both new and experienced (Tennant, 2017). Also, an essential factor in successful service is the use of new technologies that need to be trained to staff; this will facilitate their work and increase customer satisfaction.

  • Demonstration of the level of service by example.

It is no secret that the attitude of ordinary employees also depends on the attitude of the company’s top management to customers. Therefore it is recommended to periodically show masterclasses to employees, as is customary in a particular company to serve customers: this will increase the motivation of staff and consolidate the rules of exemplary service within the company.


This study found that six of the nine identified TQM practices are similar and common in both manufacture and services. These are top-management commitment (TMC), customer focus and satisfaction (CFS), human resources management (HRM), training and education (TE), employee involvement (EI), and supplier management (SM). Thus, this fundamental and general TQM practices can contribute to implementing TQM programs in manufacture and service firms successfully. Thus, the degree of TQM practice in both sectors did not differ significantly, except supplier management (SM), in which the manufacture industry presented a substantially higher frequency of occurrence than the service one. The reason SM as a service practice has become less in demand may be because some companies believe that the quality and efficiency of suppliers are not that important to them, as they mainly deal with intangible services. Thus, various service companies do not recognize the significance of supplier management (SM) and process management (PM) in ensuring the quality of an organization’s productivity and its value in meeting customer needs (Magd and Karyamsetty, 2020). Quality information and performance measurement (QIPM), process management (PM), and quality system (QS) are integral TQM practices in manufacture. In turn, continuous improvement and innovation (CII), benchmarking (BM), and quality culture/work culture (QC/WC) are more essential TQM practices for service.


This paper presents TQM practices suitable for the manufacture and service sectors, as well as common practices of TQM that apply to this sectors. Even though most of the methods recognized were similar in both groups, some incongruities were found when comparing them. These discrepancies can be associated with the peculiarity of operations, characteristics of a companies, design of services, and products provided by manufacture and service industries. The results indicated that the degree of TQM practices in the manufacture and service does not differ substantially, with the exception of quality information and performance measurement (QIPM), process management (PM), and quality system (QS) practices, in which the manufacturing industry shows a considerably higher incidence. As for the service sector, continuous improvement and innovation (CII), benchmarking (BM), and quality/work culture (QC/WC) show a higher frequency of occurrence in this sector.

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