This paper empirically determines the extent to which the criteria of total quality management (TQM) are achieved in ISO 9001 certified small‐ and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) in Trinidad and Tobago (T&T). These criteria represent the attributes of TQM and as such one can equate these to the benefits of TQM that are achieved through ISO in SME. In addition, weaknesses are highlighted to which scarce resources could be parsimoniously allocated.
The analytic hierarchy process (AHP) methodology is used to determine the percent weightings of four categories of performance criteria that were identified via a review of quality management literature. These criteria constitute four stages of TQM implementation including top management commitment (TMC), gap analysis (GA), systems deployment (SD) and continual improvement (CI). A process model together with an AHP framework using these categories of criteria is proposed. An empirical analysis of the criteria of each stage using the AHP methodology and the expert opinion of the top management of four SME operating in T&T are used to evaluate the percent weightings of the criteria that are synonymous with TQM implementation
The findings of this study suggest that the SMEs were focused on SD and CI, but were least able to effectively determine their strategic direction. In addition, the potential benefits that could be derived from TQM criteria were lacking in the areas of TMC and GA. Having compliance requirements that deal directly with these areas would help SMEs align their quality management practices with quality culture and strategic process changes towards TQM.
Owing to the ethnographic nature of the study, it was possible to obtain data from only four SMEs.
SMEs in T&T may apply the findings of the empirical research to the design, implementation and CI of their quality management systems (QMSs).
This paper makes a contribution to the body of knowledge in the field of quality management in a region where such work is limited. It also adds value by empirically measuring TQM implementation by determining the extent to which its criteria are implemented in ISO 9001 certified SMEs.
Lewis, W., Pun, K. and Lalla, T. (2005), "An AHP‐based study of TQM benefits in ISO 9001 certified SMEs in Trinidad and Tobago", The TQM Magazine, Vol. 17 No. 6, pp. 558-572. https://doi.org/10.1108/09544780510627651Download as .RIS
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