Quality management is a philosophy and a set of guiding principles that represent the foundation of a continuously improving organization. Quality management is the application of quantitative methods and human resources to improve the products and services supplied to an organization, all processes within an organization, and the degree to which the current and future needs of the customer are met. Quality management integrates fundamental management techniques, existing improvement efforts, and technical tools under a disciplined approach focused on continuous improvement. It is a culture change.
Management commitment is the single most important requirement for successful implementation of quality management. There is no precedent of successful quality improvement without executive management and the management team leading the effort. Having management commitment does not guarantee quality management success; it only improves the odds for successful implementation. The entire organization must eventually become committed to quality management.
Managers need to set the tone for the organization by driving the process and incorporating the philosophy of quality management into their management styles. They must be prepared for an environmental change, making Quality a key responsibility.
The top-down implementation model (waterfall effect), starting with executive management, then middle management, line management, and, finally, employees, has proven successful in many organizations.