Argues that a TQM programme can reduce the COPQ (cost of poor quality) by between 20% and 40 per cent. Suggests benchmarking is the first step to estimate an organisation′s minimum level of waste by comparing itself with the market leader in its sector, then to examine long‐term performance indicators, bringing in intangibles such as training and skills. Uses graphs to portray the evolution of the window of opportunity for TQM and examines the consequences of non‐optimum strategies. In a series of relatively complex examples, it concludes that waste is waiting to be retrieved by a quality programme.
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