Total quality management (TQM) is both a philosophy and a set of guiding principles that represent the foundation for continuous organizational improvement. TQM is the application of not only quantitative methods but also human resource management principles to improve the materials and services supplied to an organization, all the processes within that organization, and the degree to which the needs of customers are met. The research discussed in this article integrates the concepts, ideas, and findings that have merged from ongoing multi-phase studies of purchasing's role in TQM. From this research, sponsored by the Center for Advanced Purchasing Studies (CAPS), the investigators have developed several ideas about what purchasing organizations should do to attain total quality management goals.
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