However, an analysis such as above (providing a 2 by 2 grid) reminds us of the time when IT was yet to make its presence felt in the business operations. Moreover, the high-low dichotomies of formalization, centralization, and decentralization are not static state by which a business entity operates. Both sides of the dichotomy are operational as per requirement of the time and this tells us why a TQM business entity is operation at both formal and informal levels being either centralized or decentralized.
In substance, a TQM business body has ability to bend, to adapt to business circumstances which is high demand of a TQM-based business organization. To rightly examine the 2-fold nature of business operation (centralization and decentralization), one example is the high-rise of the telecommunication and networking technology in today’s market. For example, the client-server systems enable the knowledge workforce to take decisions which aptly meet the customers’ satisfaction level.
It is being done by making use of huge data bases which are integral to the basic system of TQM structure, as such, the entire system operates under a decentralized working environment. At the same time Executive Information Systems (EIS) enable the crown hierarchy managers to approach the system to put a check upon what is going on. Here EIS reduces the huge data-bank into a checkable bulk of only the data that can be appropriately handled by top management (key operations regarding reports, facts and figure, current information, and so forth).
As such the officials on crown hierarchy level can come into play to make decisions under particular circumstances which also portrays a centralized version of the business operation (Whitten et al. , 2001). Complexity The present state of business operations in an IT-based system includes virtual organization and Network Corporation to be on top. Both these entities are similar to a TQM business entity with regard to their nature of processes and functions which are basically slanted in nature.
IT can make several efficient strides in a TQM business enterprise to lower its complication of operation. The prominent strides take place specially at the planning and operational phases of business operations which finely reduces the intervention of the middle level management. To achieve this goal, for example, such procedures as emailing, EIS, within organization networking, and other procedures are used regularly so bring into effect a lightly-employed organization.
Today’s IT-based technology makes communication possible without much human hand: Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) are two examples of such operational software (Goldman et al. , 1995). Customer Focus TQM’s top-most priority is to bring acute level of satisfaction when it comes to dealing with the customer. Simply put, a TQM business enterprise is all about customer satisfaction. To some researcher it is customers who play a vital role in developing future products and their quality, and are, as such, to them, “partial employees”.
Therefore management literature tends to place more emphasis on expanding to the highest possible level consumer satisfaction attitude rather than focus on improving inner-organizational operations. There is the model of IBM, which was basically composed through product grouping system where a consumer had to consult to different sale executive when in need to buy a different product (Dean and Bowen, 1994). This might be managerially a sound structure, however, it required the customer to put more efforts and the sales executives did not exercise as much cooperation as could have been possible.
As such, at last, IBM had to reconsider the restructuring or its sales department which later came to formulate more into a customer-oriented system. In the same way, there was a great many government bodies that were disapproved of for the same operational limitation, which was around segments rather than around consumer, needs (Osborne and Gaebler, 1992). A TQM-based business operation solely takes as its central point the customer for the entire business operation of an organization and puts the customer into a thorough process of enhancement in the provision of services.
Conventional customer dealing departments normally lose efficient connections between each other, which literally results in a dangling business process that finally oust the motto of consumer satisfaction. This was evident in the past system basing on information of which center was functional. IT today focuses more on the enhancement of the functions rather than on processes. To get around to such problems, the focus of TQM is supposed to be the streamlining of disintegrated processes via the use of networking technologies which operate to address consumer satisfaction. IT can also play a vital role in streamlining customer-oriented teams.
There is example of the operations observed by FedEx to give power to its customer via the Internet where the customers can perform a number of actions with regard to their orders’ deliver, status, address, location and so on. This is to give customers a streamlined upfront point which is a structuring of a coherently woven IT system, making all consumer-oriented info available to the customer (as is also the example of IBM above). TQM has also given birth to the mass customization which makes it possible for the business enterprises to tailor-make their huge volume of information according to the needs of their consumers.
Basic focus that organizations take into consideration is to adapt the extensive bulk of information to the specific needs of customers: rapid feedback on lowest possible cost with high quality is what the focus of mass customization is. As such by mass customization, customer-related information can be adapted to the changing behavior of the market. A point to be observed is that mass customization not only focuses on customer-oriented operation but also on other such areas as staffing, financing, and sales (Pine,1993). All this operational process is triggered by IT either in TQM or reengineering, for example.
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