Total Quality Management (TQM)

Total Quality Management (TQM): Quality means conforming to specification and standard. It means customer satisfaction, competitive cost, timely delivery, etc. The quality means it functions well. It not only meets our expectation but even exceeds them by providing it, attractively, employing friendly means in a welcoming atmosphere.

            The International Organization for Standardization (ISO-8420-1994) defines quality as “the total feature and characteristic of a product or service that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs.

            The concept of TQM has developed by U. S. Department of Defence. They develop some principles of TQM, which have been adopted by industries world wide for gaining and maintaining the qualities of their product.


The International Organization for Standardization defined the TQM as “management approach of an organization centered on quality based on the participation of all its member and aiming at long term success through customer satisfaction and benefits to all members of the organization and to society”.

            According to Ross, “TQM is the integration of all function and processes within an organization in order to achieve continuous improvement of the quality of goods and services”. The goal is customer satisfaction.

            In other words, TQM is basically a philosophy or concept or approach aiming of satisfying customer / user need on a continuous basis (quality first time, every time, all the time) by involving each and every (total) in the system and a lower cost (management).

a) TQM in Library and Information Science: Library and Information Science Centres generally exist in relation to their parent organization. They are viewed as a subsystem of the main system. Hence TQM will find its way in the subsystem only when there is such an orientation in the main systems itself. Within the subsystem, the approach has to be accepted by all the Library and Information Science staff involved rather than leaving it to the domain of any public relation staff like circulation and reference.

b) Need of TQM: The need of TQM is felt due to the following reasons-

i) User expectation from library is rising constantly which demands for even more sophisticated high quality information product and services.

ii) Library and Information Science professionals are facing stiff challenges from the increasing information industry.

iii) Library and Information Science are now asked to become self sufficient if they are to survive in cost-conscious and competition oriented social environmental setup.

c) Areas of Application of TQM in Library: The Library and Information Centres are basically service organization. So, they can effectively apply the TQM concept in each and every field. Some of the possible areas are-

i) Laws of Library Science: Five laws of library science have so many implications similar to what is advocated in TQM that it is often advocated as a refined and modern version of five laws of library science. The first law advocated changing the conservative attitude of the LIS personnel. The second law and third law indicate the marketing approach underlying in TQM. It advocated for the survey of and feedback from the user and to design and render library services so that it meets their actual need. Fourth law points out that information should be pin-pointed, exhaustive and expeditions. Organization and retrieval of information is what the sum and substance of the TQM approach is.

ii) Library Services: TQM can be effectively used in providing services to user. In rendering CAS / SDI, interlibrary loan, access to national and international databases through internet or other network, attending reference queries and reference service over phone, fax or personal contact, etc.

iii) Library Products: Library and Information Centres produce catalogue card, indexing and abstracting periodicals, newsletter, database of their collection, subject bibliographies, etc, all of which can be enrich by TQM.

iv) Marketing of Library Services and Products: TQM can be used in creating information awareness and consciousness among the user and reaching out to the potential users. It can be used in identification of the user group, determination of needs, wants and demand of each user group, fulfillment of the same through designing and delivering appropriate information product and services.

d) Ways of Achieving the TQM: TQM can be achieved by way of the following-

i) Competence: The employees must possess the required skill and knowledge about the product and services.

ii) Credibility: The organization and employees must be trustworthy.

iii) Responsiveness: The employee must respond quickly and creatively to customer request and problem. The employee should make an effort to understand the customer need and provide individual attention.

iv) Communication: The service or product should be described accurately in customer language.

v) Courtesy: The employees should be friendly, respectful and considerate.

vi) Tangible: The service and product should correctly project the quality on readers centered.

vii) Reliable: The service and product should be reliable and performance should be consistence.

viii) Security: The service and product should be free from danger, risk, and doubt.

ix) Access: The service or product and the library staff should be accessible in convenient location, at convenient times with little or no waiting period.

x) Feedback: There should be a continuous policy to collect the feedback from the users.

xi) Evaluation: The service and product should be continuously evaluated to meet the changing needs.