Training is a critical component of total quality management. Employees empowered to solve problems and improve processes and activities need to be given the skills necessary to be successful in their efforts. The basic and fundamental training for TQM, together with the level of participation required for most companies to support their quality initiatives, is outlined in the centre box.
The material to support this level of training is widely available and can be purchased "off-the-shelf" from many firms. Unfortunately, the generic training often doesn't meet the specific needs of the company.
A more effective approach is to develop, design and implement training to the specific requirements of the company, and have this taught by company personnel. Home-grown training material, developed with the aid of the principles and philosophies of TQM, demonstrates commitment and makes it personal. Here are some points for designing training material which is company-specific.
Examples and case studies should be based on your business. For example, include the actual business processes of the company and performance measures identified for specific activities. Case studies should be based on actual work situations.
An up-front assessment of specific training needs based upon job categories and existing skill levels. If the existing skill level is high, the module might best be designed as self-study. Conversely, if the skill level and knowledge base is low, an instructor with subject matter expertise may be required.
Design to fit existing tools, techniques, and methods. For example, if the company currently uses a four-step problem-solving method, the training model should not introduce something different. This reinforces what's already done, and drives it further into the organization.
Design to fit the existing learning culture. Some people require fast-paced, …