Article by : Mr. Atanu Ganguly, Assistant Librarian, Calcutta Business School, Kolkata
Library in the 21st century has started to focus towards customer satisfaction which can be done only by providing quality products and services to its customer. Every organization in present scenario can survive only by continuous development of their product and services. Library by nature is committed to provide quality service to its customer and this can be done by applying tools of total quality management. The application of total quality management can change the thought process of every library and ensure right things are done in right way and at the right time. Here in this paper we are going to discuss various components of total quality management and how it can benefit library and its users in the long term.
Concept of Total Quality Management:
Total quality management is simply the process towards the attainment of excellence by creating the best possible attitudes to achieve customer satisfaction by efficiency and effectiveness. It is a philosophy of thought that is for continuous improvement through participation at all levels of functions in a process. Oakland (1989) defines “Total Quality Management (TQM) is an approach to improving effectiveness and flexibility of a business as a whole. It is essentially a way of organizing and involving the whole organizations, every department, every activity and every single person at every level. TQM ensures that the management adopt a strategic overview of quality and focus on preventing rather than inspections”. Total quality management is a combination of three words Total+Quality+Management as follows:
Total: Everyone in the organization participates in creation and maintenance the quality of the services and the products offered.
Quality: Organization develops a standard policy or systems focusing on meeting the need and recognizing that customer perception identities quality.
Management: The system and the people are put in harmony towards continuously improvement of the process in order to achieve the best results.
Why TQM in library?
TQM represents a new age in the management of an organization. TQM can be effectively used in providing services to user. Current awareness service (CAS), Selective dissemination of information (SDI), Interlibrary Loan, access to national and international database through internet or other network (like DELNET, INFLIBNET), reprography service, attending reference queries and reference services over phone, fax or personal contact, indexing and abstracting periodicals, subject bibliography etc, all which can be enriched by TQM. TQM can be used in creating information awareness and consciousness among the users and reaching out to the potential users. TQM is at present not emerging as one of the management technique, but also felt very essential by several organizations and disciplines.
Strategy of TQM:
The total quality management assures that in all aspects within the library are organized and involved in maintaining operational policy which in turn can act as a control measure to ensure quality services without waiting for reporting deficiency presented after complaining received from the users or noticed by the committee members. The following steps may be formulated to overcome such situation:
-Spell out a quality policy for library
-Select or re-orient the functional head who is committed to set everything in order.
-Ensure performances from grass root level (from lowest post in library)
-Introduce communicate systems for spreading awareness
-Effort initiated must be continuous in nature.
Implementing TQM in library:
1. Leadership: Library purchase books, journals, other materials from its vendors and also subscribe to various online products and which requires reasonable maintenance and commitment so as to reduce customer dissatisfaction towards it. Quality leadership is perceived when commitment from all stakeholders is encouraged and knowledge base platform is created to deliver improvement in all dimensions. It can be established only when personal responsibility is there on the part of leadership.
2. Commitment: The key factor in implementing TQM is total commitment of librarian. The vision and mission of the library is inducted among the staffs through proper quality policy. Librarian should understand the issues involved and established policies to determine the long term goals. A typical library has the sections cells like acquisition, circulation, technical, reference, online resources, audio-visual, reprographic, documentation etc. and each section should have a policy which will guide and help to carry out their activities efficiently.
3. Recognition & Rewards: Recognition is a motivational process and also acknowledging the contribution of employees. It helps to improve cultural change in the organization and TQM itself is a quest for excellence. Librarian should look that its staffs should recognized for their individual contribution and equal privileges and respects along with other employees of the organization.
4. Education & Training: The librarian should provide education and training for all staff as a part of successful implementation of TQM. It will help them to understand the fundamentals of policy and create awareness so that they can help in building a system to achieve the ultimate objective of the library systems. It also develops the knowledge base and required skill that to needed to overcome certain barriers.
5. Customer Orientation: Since library has turn to be a service center, user is actually the customer and to satisfy them is only the main purpose for its existence. By applying TQM techniques library can be enlightened by giving quality service to customer and achieve it by breakthrough performance, invention, innovation and creativity.
6. Team work & Employee Empowerment: A particular work can be achieved more effectively when people work in team. One more advantage is that inter-personal conflicts are minimized and “much more can be gained at less expense”. Another traditionally accepted view is that the people who know most about what is right or wrong in the work are those who actually do the work. The librarian should give both responsibility and authority to the staff thus by empowering them. The most effective method of employee empowerment are the establishment of improvement team and use of feedback of employee suggestion systems.
7. Feedback Mechanisms: For real success of TQM programs feedback from both external and internal peoples are required. Library must take initiative to gain the information from its stakeholders. Library should develop a formal feedback systems and avoid such situation like no complaint-no problems.
8. Statistical Process Control (SPC): Adaptation of SPC in all the activities of library is also a part of TQM as they can help to reach to the root causes of the problems. Librarian should adopting plan-do-check-act cycle to improve the quality continuously as follows:
Plan- what library is going to do?
Do- what library has planned?
Check- on the result of library’s outcome
Act- to modify what library plan to do and ensures most positive result.
Quality is an important tool for application of TQM in library system. It can be measured, managed and improved the customer satisfaction. TQM introduce a new cultural change which is lively to bring about greater participation of the employee to achieve the goals and objectives of the library. The success of TQM will vary from library to library. Libraries are the suitable to implement TQM for better library environment. It is well known that TQM is a management method by which each and every library can benefit. By formulating a strategic plan method and following it with a commitment to continuous quality improvement, library managers can transform and improve their organizations. The main purpose of TQM is the continual focusing on the users servicing and the satisfaction of their demand.
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