Total Quality Management in the Xerox Corporation
By: Jennifer Zook
Total Quality Management (TQM) is a term used to define quality programs corporations use to help increase the profit share and the customer relations of the corporation. Total Quality Management can consist of different programs that different companies use to obtain the results of customer satisfaction, better quality products, and a decrease in the defects of the products. Total Quality Management in the Xerox Corporation includes programs such as benchmarking, reduced supplier base, and leadership teams (Evans-Correia, 1991). In the following paragraphs Xerox�s strategies for TQM, the Baldrige Award, and the effects of TQM on the Xerox Corporation will be discussed as well as a background of the Xerox Corporation. The Xerox Corporation started its thrive towards TQM in the 1970�s with the invention of PARC, Palo Alto Research Center. This center was created to do research in computer science, electronics, and material science (Brown, 1992). There are same basic principles that PARC has identified as important to research, "1. Research on new work practices is as important as research on new products, 2. Innovation is everywhere; the problem is learning from it, 3. Research can�t just produce innovation; it must �coproduce� it, and 4. The research department�s ultimate innovation partner is the customer" (Brown, 1992). Research is a key component when it comes to Total Quality Management. The only way to make yourself better is to learn new things and learn when you are doing things wrong so that the errors can be fixed. By opening up PARC Xerox has given itself a place to help with the innovation process of the corporation and thus allowing the corporation the means to do its job better. Alos, PARC is used as a way of finding out what the customer wants, if the customer can be satisfied then the corporation is one step closer to being a strong thriving company with Total Quality Management. Opening the research facility was one of Xerox�s ways of implementing TQM before TQM was even invented. Now that TQM has become known in the marketplace Xerox has established its own program to obtain it. The Xerox corporation focuses on benchmarking, a reduced supplier base, and leadership teams as a way of producing Total Quality Management. Benchmarking is a "standard or point of reference in measuring or judging quality, value, etc." (Webster, 1979). Xerox looks at what the competition is doing and sets a level of quality and value that all of its products are compared against. These levels of quality are also used by other companies because of Xerox�s excellent standards. Once the standard that has been set is met then a new and higher standard is set so that the company is continually striving to do better and have a higher quality product. The second method Xerox is using in its strive for TQM is to reduce its supplier base. A supplier base is the amount of companies that the ordering company, in this case Xerox, gets its materials from. Xerox has gone from individual suppliers for each of the different manufacturing facilities to a consolidated group of suppliers for all of the manufacturing facilities (Evens-Correia, 1991). This has drastically cut the amount of suppliers needed which increases accountability of the suppliers to get the materials to Xerox on time and it decreases some overhead costs because of shipping reductions and economies of scale discounts. The smaller supplier base also gives Xerox more control in the corporations decision processes. If the company wants to make a change that affects the way it uses its suppliers there are less problems arising from having to many different suppliers. Furthermore, there are a reduced amount of people needed in overseeing the ordering process from the suppliers which allows for a decrease in positions and less of a chance for error. The third method Xerox uses to help in Total Quality...
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