Introduction to TQM Interview Questions and Answers:

1. What is TQM?


  • It is the art of managing the whole to achieve excellence.
  • It is defined as both the philosophy and a set of guiding principles that represent the foundation of a continuously improving organization.

2. What are the 6 basic concepts of TQM?


  • A committed and involved management to provide long-term top-to-bottom organizational support
  • An unwavering focuses on the customer, both internally & externally.
  • Effective involvement and utilization of the entire workforce.
  • Continuous improvement of the business and production process.
  • Treating suppliers as partners.
  • Establish performance measures for the processes.

3. How can quality be quantified?

Ans. It can be quantified as follows:

Q = P/E


  • Q = quality
  • P = performance
  • E = expectations

4. Define quality.


  • According to ISO 9000:2000, quality is defined as the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfills requirements.
  • Degree means that quality can be used with adjectives such as poor, good and excellent.
  • Inherent is defined as existing in something, especially as a permanent characteristic.
  • Characteristics can be qualitative or quantitative.

5. What are nine different dimensions of quality?


  • Features
  • Conformance
  • Reliability
  • Durability
  • Service
  • Response
  • Aesthetics
  • Reputation

6. What are quality costs?

Ans. Quality costs are defined as those costs associated with the non achievement of product or service quality as defined by the requirements established by the organization and its contracts with customer & society. Quality cost is the cost of poor products or services.

7. What are the four primary quality cost categories?


  • Prevention
  • Appraisal
  • Internal failure
  • External failure

8. What is internal failure cost?

Ans. Internal failure costs are incurred due to defects in the product before its shipment to a customer.

9. How total quality cost curve is divided?

Ans. The total quality cost curve is divided into three zones as:

  • zone of improvement projects
  • zone of high appraisal costs
  • zone of indifference

10. What is the purpose of quality cost analysis?

Ans. The purpose of quality cost analysis is to determine the cost of maintaining certain levels of quality. Such activity is necessary to provide feed back to management on the performance of quality assurance and to assist management in identifying opportunities for quality improvement and cost reduction.

11. What are the sub elements of preventive cost category?


  • Marketing/Customer/User
  • Product/service/Design development
  • Purchasing
  • Operations(Manufacturing or Service)
  • Quality administration

12. What are the sub elements of appraisal cost category?


  • Purchasing appraisal costs
  • Operations appraisal costs
  • External appraisal costs
  • Review of test and inspection data
  • Miscellaneous Quality Evaluations

13. What are the sub elements of internal failure cost category?


  • Product or service design failure costs
  • Purchasing failure costs
  • Operations failure costs

14. What are the typical bases of quality?


  • Labor
  • Production
  • Sales

15. What are the techniques for optimizing quality costs?


  • One technique is to make comparisons with other organizations.
  • Another technique is to optimize individual categories of costs like failure costs, appraisal costs and prevention costs.
  • The third technique is to analyze the relationships among the cost categories.

16. State the quality improvement strategy.


  • Reduce failure costs by problem solving.
  • Invest in the “right” prevention activities
  • Reduce appraisal costs where appropriate and in a statistically sound manner.
  • Continuously evaluate and redirect the prevention effort to gain further quality improvement.

17. What are the two types of problems due to using analysis techniques?


  • Problems that a department can correct with little or no outside help.
  • Problems that require coordinated action from several functional areas of the organization.

18. What are the formal techniques for preventing quality problems?


  • New-product verification programs
  • Design-review programs
  • Supplier selection programs
  • Reliability testing

19. What are the principles of TQM?


  • Management commitment
  • Customer focus
  • Employee involvement
  • Continuous process improvement
  • Supplier relationship
  • Performance measures for the processes

20. What are the important steps for quality planning?


  • Establishing quality goals
  • Identifying customers
  • Discovering customer needs
  • Developing product features
  • Developing process features
  • Establishing process controls and transferring to operations

21. What are the activities of quality planning inside the plant?


  • Design practices
  • Product and process development
  • Control mechanism
  • Verification of the plan (if it is produced according to the specification)

22. What are the activities of quality planning outside the plant?


  • Field quality assurance
  • Assurance of quality of customer relation
  • Overall quality assurance

23. What are the analysis techniques for quality costs?


  • Trend analysis
  • Pareto analysis

24. What is trend analysis?


  • It involves simply comparing present cost levels to past levels.
  • It provides information for long range planning.
  • It also provides information for instigation and assessment of quality improvement programs

25. Who is a leader?

Ans. A leader is a one who instills purposes, not one who controls by brute force.

26. What are the important habits of quality leaders?


  • Being proactive than reactive in nature
  • Beginning with the end in mind
  • Putting first things first
  • Thinking win – win
  • Seeking first to understand, then to be understood
  • Gathering people together for team work
  • Renewing

27. List few leadership concepts.

Ans. Some of the effective leadership concepts are

  • Focus on a few key values and objectives
  • Leader should make people trust him by his character and competence developed by good habits and ethics
  • Treat the people fairly, firmly and uniformly

28. What are some of the habits of highly effective people?

Ans. Some of the habits of highly effective people are

  • Be proactive.
  • Begin with the end in the mind.
  • Put first things first.
  • Think win-win.
  • Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
  • Renewal.

29. What are some of the roles of senior management?

Ans. Some of the roles of the senior management are

  • They must practice the philosophy of Management by Wandering Around.
  • Their role is not to make the final decision, but to make sure that the team’s decision is aligned with the final quality statements of the organization.
  • They must stay informed on the topic of quality improvement by reading books and articles, attending seminars, and talking to other leaders.
  • They should listen to the internal and external customers and suppliers.
  • Another important role is communication.

30. List some of the duties of the quality council

Ans. Some of the duties of the quality council are

  • Develop, with input from all personnel, the core values, vision statement, mission statement, and quality policy statement.
  • Develop the strategic long term plan with goals and the annual quality improvement program with objectives.
  • Create the total education and training plan.
  • Determine and continually monitor the cost of poor quality.

31. What does a typical meeting agenda for TQM program include?

Ans. The typical meeting agenda would include

  • Progress report on teams.
  • Customer satisfaction reports
  • Progress on meeting goals
  • New project teams
  • Recognition dinner
  • Benchmarking report

32. What are the quality statements?

Ans. The quality statements are

  • Vision statement
  • Mission statement
  • Quality policy statement.

33. What is a vision statement?

Ans. The vision statement is a short declaration of what an organization aspires to be tomorrow.

34. What is a mission statement?

Ans. The mission statement answers the following questions.

  • Who we are
  • Who are the customers
  • What we do
  • How we do it

35. What is a Quality policy statement?

Ans. The quality policy is a guide for everyone in the organization as to how they should provide products and service to the customers. It should be written by the CEO with feedback from the workforce and be approved by the quality council.

36. What is the importance of quality statements?

Ans. The quality statements include the vision statement, mission statement and quality policy statement. Normally, these statements are reviewed and updated occasionally. They are part of the strategic planning process.

37. What are some of the characteristics of quality statements?

Ans. Some of the characteristics are

  • Quality is first among equals.
  • Meet the needs of the internal and external customers.
  • Equal or exceed the competitor.
  • Continually improve the quality
  • Include business and production practices.
  • Utilize the entire workforce.

38. Who is the customer?

Ans. Customer is the most important asset of any organization because they are the one who will use the outcome of the organization. Customer is the recipient of product or service from any other person or group.

39. Briefly explain internal customer and external customer?


Internal customer: The customers who are within the organization are called ‘internal customer’. Every function in an organization has an internal customer.

External Customer: The one who uses the product or service, the one who purchases the product or service, or the one who influences the sale of the product or service is called external customer.

40. Write about Customer perception of quality?

Ans. The end user perception which influences purchases mainly depends on the following.

• Performance, features, service, warranty, price and reputation.

41. Define warranty?

Ans. Warranty is the public promise which encourages customer to buy a service reducing the risk of purchase decision and generates more sales from existing customers.

42. How does Customer feedback help an organization?

Ans. Customer feedback enables the organization to:

  • discover customer satisfaction
  • discover relative priorities of quality
  • compare performance with the competition
  • identify customer needs
  • determine opportunities for improvement

43. What are the tools for collecting customer feedback?

Ans. Various information collecting tools are:

  • comment cards
  • customer questionnaire
  • focus groups
  • toll free telephone lines
  • customer visits
  • report cards
  • the internet and computers
  • employee feedback
  • mass customization
  • customer satisfaction index

44. How does customer complaint differ from customer feedback?

Ans. Customer complaints are reactive whereas the feedback is proactive.

45. What are the actions to handle customer complaints?

Ans. Actions to handle customer complaints:

  • Solicit both negative and positive feedback from customers and act on it promptly.
  • Develop procedures for complaint resolution.
  • Analyze complaints.
  • Work to identify the root cause and eliminate.
  • Senior manager should try to contact the customer and resolve the concern.
  • Establish customer satisfaction measures and constantly monitor them.

46. Define customer service?

Ans. Customer service is the set of activities an organization used to win and retain customers’ satisfaction. Customer service can be provided before, during or after the sale of the product.

47. What are the elements of customer service?

Ans. They are

  • Organization
  • Customer care
  • Communication
  • Front-line people
  • Leadership

48. What are the methods needed for translating customer needs into customer requirements?


  • Kano model
  • Fish bone diagram (cause-effect diagram)

49. What is the significance of customer retention?

Ans. It represents the activities that produce the customer satisfaction that create customer loyalty, which actually improves the bottom line. It focuses on valuable resources that really matter to the customer.

50. What is the importance of employee involvement?

Ans. Employee involvement is one approach for improving quality and productivity. It is means to better meet the organization’s goals for quality and productivity at all levels of an organization.

51. What are the concepts to achieve a motivated workforce?


  • Know thyself
  • Know your employees
  • Establish a positive attitude
  • Share the goals
  • Monitor process
  • Develop interesting work.

52. How do employee surveys help the manager?

Ans. They help to:

  • assess the current state of employee relations
  • identify trends
  • measure the effectiveness of program implementation
  • identify needed improvements
  • increase communication effectiveness

53. What is empowerment of employees? How it is different from delegation?

Ans. Empowerment means investing people with authority. Empowerment is an environment in which people have the ability, the confidence, and the commitment to take the responsibility and ownership to improve the process. Delegation refers to distributing and entrusting work to others. Empowerment requires that the individual is held responsible for accomplishing a whole task.

54. Differentiate empowerment from enrichment?

Ans. Job enrichment is aimed at expanding the content of an individual’s job, whereas empowerment focuses on expanding on the context of the job such as its interactions and independencies to other functions of the organization.

55. Define team and teamwork?

Ans. Team is defined as a group of people working together to achieve common objectives or goals. Teamwork is the cumulative actions of the team during which each member of the team subordinates his individual interests and opinions to fulfill the objectives or goals of the group.

56. What are the types of teams?


  • Quality circles
  • Process improvement team
  • Cross-functional team
  • Natural work teams
  • Self – directed/self – managed work teams

57. What are the characteristics of successful team?


  • Sponsor
  • Team character
  • Team Composition
  • Training
  • Ground Rules
  • Clear objectives
  • Accountability
  • Well defined decision procedures
  • Resources
  • Trust
  • Effective problem solving
  • Open communication
  • Appropriate Leadership
  • Balanced Participation
  • Cohesiveness

58. What is the decision making methods?


  • non decision
  • unilateral decision
  • hand clasp decision
  • minority rule decision
  • majority rule decision
  • consensus decision

59. What are the stages of team development?

Ans. There are four stages:

  • Forming
  • Storming
  • Norming
  • Performing

60. Give a list of common team problems?


  • Floundering
  • Overbearing participants
  • Dominating participants
  • Reluctant participants
  • Unquestioned acceptance of opinions as facts
  • Rush to accomplish
  • Attribution
  • Discounts and ‘PLOPS’
  • Wander lust
  • Feuding team members.

61. Name a few barriers to team’s progress?


  • Insufficient training
  • Incompatible rewards and compensation
  • Resistance from first line supervisor
  • Lack of planning
  • Lack of Management support
  • Non Access to information systems
  • Lack of union support
  • Project scope too large
  • Project objectives are not significant
  • No clear measures of success
  • Team is too large
  • Trapped in groupthink

62. Give examples of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards?


Intrinsic rewards:

  • Non monetary forms of recognition
  • Celebrations
  • Regular expressions of appreciation
  • 360 degree performance of appraisals
  • Development based performance appraisals
  • Quality based promotions
  • Formal suggestions system : Give quality improvement suggestion and win rewards

Extrinsic rewards:

  • Profit sharing
  • Gain sharing
  • Employment security
  • compensation
  • Individual based performance systems
  • Quality based performance appraisal

63. What are the benefits of employee involvement?


  • Provides the continuous process improvement
  • Maintains proper union-management relationship
  • Improves quality and increases productivity

64. What is meant by customer retention?

Ans. Customer retention means retaining the customer to support the business. Customer retention is more powerful and effective than customer satisfaction. Customer retention requires the activities which produce the necessary customer satisfaction and creates customer loyalty.

65. What are the different types of motivation?


  • Extrinsic motivation – Extrinsic motivation is concerned with external motivators such as pay, promotion….etc. which are associated with financial regards.
  • Intrinsic motivation – Intrinsic motivation is concerned with psychology such as praise, responsibility, recognition etc. which are associated with non-financial rewards.

66. Name different theories of motivation?


  • Maslow’s theory of hierarchy of needs
  • McGregor’s theory and theory Y
  • Hertzberg’s two factor theory

67. Write about quality circles.

Ans. Quality control circles are small groups of employees from one work unit who voluntarily meet together regularly to identify, analyze and solve product quality, production problems and to improve general operations within their area. Quality circle shifts the problem solving responsibility to those on factory floor, who are close to the problems.

68. Define recognition and reward.

Ans. Recognition is a process by which management shows acknowledgement of an employee’s outstanding performance. To sustain employee’s interests and to propel them towards continuous improvements, it is necessary to recognize the good work financially (or) psychologically (or) in both ways. Recognition can be expressed using verbal and written praise. Rewards may be in the form of certificates and plaques. Reward is normally in the form of theater tickets, dinner for family, a cash award to promote desirable behaviors.

69. What is the use of performance appraisal?

Ans. The performance appraisal is used to let employees know they are performing. The performance appraisal becomes a basis for promotions, salary increases, counseling and other purposes related to an employees future.

70. Name different approaches towards continuous process improvement?


  • Juran trilogy
  • Plan-do-study act (PDSA) cycle
  • 5S
  • Kaizen

71. What are the 5 ways to achieve process improvement?


  • Eliminating activities that do not add value
  • Eliminating non conformities
  • Innovating to achieve breakthroughs
  • Anticipating changing customer needs
  • Using Benchmarking to improve competitive advantage

72. What are the three components of juran trilogy?


  • Planning
  • Control
  • Improvement

73. What are the Improvement strategies?

Ans. Four primary improvement strategies:

  • Repair
  • Refinement
  • Renovation
  • Reinvention

74. What are the problems normally faced in process improvement?

Ans. There are 5 types of problems normally faced in Process improvement:

  • Compliance
  • Unstructured
  • Efficiency
  • Process Design
  • Product design

75. Explain 5S practice?

Ans. 5S is a house keeping programme and is the key for total quality environment. The 5S practice is a technique used to establish and maintain quality environment in an organization.

76. Give meaning of 5 Japanese words of 5S?


  • SEIKO — sorting out(proper arrangement)
  • SEITON – set in order (orderliness)
  • SEISO — Shine (clean up)
  • SEIKETSO — Standardize (personal cleanliness)
  • SHITSUKE — Sustain (Discipline)

77. Define kaizen.

Ans. Kaizen is a Japanese word which means small but continuous improvement. It means ongoing improvement involving everyone including managers and workers.

78. What is meant by supplier partnership?

Ans. Organizations have realized that suppliers are on more external entities but a part of their business process. To obtain high quality products and services, the suppliers should be treated as partners to achieve the same quality level as attained within the organization.

79. What is meant by just-in-time?

Ans. Under the just-in-time inventory concept, goods are received from suppliers only in limited quantity and at the time that they are needed for production. The buyer stocks no inventories.

80. What are the disadvantages of having excess inventories?

Ans. The presence of excess inventory increases the risk of obsolescence and deterioration, increases the need for warehouse and shop-floor space and encourages a number of waste full practices.

81. What are the seven wastages mentioned by shigeo shingo?


  • Waste of over production
  • Waste of waiting
  • Waste of transportation
  • Waste of processing itself
  • Waste of stocks
  • Waste of motion
  • Waste of making defective products

82. What are the three factors for a company to maintain supply chain development?


  • Zero defects
  • 100% on-time delivery
  • process for continuous improvement

83. Define partnering

Ans. Partnering is a relationship between two (or) more parties based upon trust, dedication to common goals ad objectives and an understanding of each participant’s expectations and values.

84. What are the three types of sourcing?


  • Sole source of supply
  • Multiple sourcing
  • Single sourcing

85. What are the six techniques for presenting performance measures?


  • Time series graph
  • Control chart
  • Capability index
  • Taguchi’s quality loss function
  • Cost of poor quality
  • Malcolm balridge national quality award