The rapid market share gains in world markets by far eastern competitors prompted many to examine how nations such as Japan have managed to build their success. The Japanese, over time, have come to represent a standard against which to measure manufacturing excellence. One of the most prominently mentioned issues in Japan’s success is quality management. Surviving in the new world of intense competition, companies have had
to establish strategies that can cope with the turbulent changes in the environment. In this world, adding value is the hard work, but it is merely the entry-ticket in the battle for survival. Many companies spend their time figuring out how to provide high quality at low cost. But so do their competitors. This is the dynamic of competition. If others can mimic what you do, then what you do sums up to little differentiation value. The game-play of competition quickly erodes competitive advantage. To sustain competitive advantage, companies must build strong foundations that will not be blown away in competitive storms. This is not achievable over the long term, as the recent collapse of dotcoms illustrated, through a focus on hype and ceremony built by advertising and promotions. Rather, it requires organizational capabilities and competencies built on sound internal foundations. The foundations of competence are more important than short-term gains. Changes in the business environment can quickly alter cost structures, technologies and consumer preferences, but properly managed competencies can last a lifetime. Total quality management (TQM) in the modern world has become part of the fabric for organizational competence.