Shipbuilding has been slow to adopt TQM practices, but the author argues that recession is forcing the industry to consider quality techniques as a matter of survival. Charts the progress of the shipbuilding industry over the past 20 years, including the worldwide decline in shipyard capacity, and the types of problem found in modern shipyards among management and the various departments involved. Suggests ways in which shipbuilding can embrace the TQM philosophy, including management commitment and support and a fresh emphasis on the customer ‐ however the customer is defined. Predicts the likely outcome of such a policy, with the attendant benefits in efficiency and satisfaction, and suggests methods of assessing these gains. Concludes that the time has come for shipbuilding to explore TQM as a matter of urgency.
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