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IMPROVING FINANCIAL SERVICES THROUGH TQM
A young, rapidly expanding company in the financial services sector with no previous experience
with Total Quality Management takes its first steps toward TQM. And it immediately learns the
value of a formal program to improve quality.
The work described in this case study was undertaken in a young, rapidly expanding company in
the financial services sector with no previous experience with Total Quality Management
(TQM). The quality project began with a two-day introductory awareness program covering
concepts, cases, implementation strategies and imperatives of TQM. The program was conducted
for the senior management team of the company. This program used interactive exercises and
real life case studies to explain the concepts of TQM and to interest them in committing
resources for a demonstration project. The demonstration project, which used the Seven Steps of
Problem Solving (similar to DMAIC), was to show them how TQM concepts worked in practice
before they committed resources for a company-wide program.
Main Components of TQM
For Six Sigma practitioners who may not be familiar with TQM, the program has three main
components — Just in Time (JIT), Total Quality Control (TQC) and Total Employee
Involvement (TEI). The relationship between the three legs of TQM is: JIT exposes the cause of
problems; TQC helps provide a solution to problems. Lastly, since the employees do all
improvements; they need to be involved in the process of change. TEI helps elicits this
involvement.
JIT uses techniques similar to Lean, and TQC uses tools and techniques similar to Six Sigma
tools.
Step 1. Define the Problem
1.1) Selecting the theme: A meeting of the senior management of the company was held.
Brainstorming produced a list of more than 20 problems. The list was prioritized using the
weighted average table, followed by a structured discussion to arrive at a consensus on the two
most important themes — customer service and sales productivity.

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Under the customer service theme, “Reducing the Turnaround Time from an Insurance Proposal
to Policy” was selected as the most obvious and urgent problem. The company was young, and
therefore had few claims to process so far. The proposal-to-policy process therefore impacted the
greatest number of customers.
An appropriate cross functional group was set up to tackle this problem.
1.2) Problem = customer desire – current status:
Current status: What did the individual group members think the turnaround is currently? As
each member began thinking questions came up. “What type of policies do we address?”
Medical policies or non-medical? The latter are take longer because of the medical examination
of the client required. “Between what stages do we consider turnaround?” Perceptions varied,
with each person thinking about the turnaround within their department. The key process stages
were mapped:
Several sales branches in different parts of the country sent proposals into the Central Processing
Center. After considerable debate it was agreed at first to consider turnaround between entry into
the computer system at the Company Sales Branch and dispatch to the customer from the Central
Processing Center (CPC). Later the entire cycle could be included. The perception of the length
of turnaround by different members of the team was recorded. It averaged:
Non-Medical Policies 17 days
Medical Policies 35 days

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IMPROVING FINANCIAL SERVICES THROUGH TQM A young, rapidly expanding company in the financial services sector with no previous experience with Total Quality Management takes its first steps toward TQM. And it immediately learns the value of a formal program to improve quality. The work described in this case study was undertaken in a young, rapidly expanding company in the financial services sector with no previous experience with Total Quality Management (TQM). The quality project began with a two-day introductory awareness program covering concepts, cases, implementation strategies and imperatives of TQM. The program was conducted for the senior management team of the company. This program used interactive exercises and real life case studies to explain the concepts of TQM and to interest them in committing resources for a demonstration project. The demonstration project, which used the Seven Steps of Problem Solving (similar to DMAIC), was to show them how TQM concepts worked in practice before they committed resources for a company-wide program. Main Components of TQM For Six Sigma practitioners who may not be familiar with TQM, the program has three main components - Just in Time (JIT), Total Quality Control (TQC) and Total Employee Involvement (TEI). The relationship between the three legs of TQM is: JIT exposes the cause of problems; TQC helps provide a solution to problems. Lastly, since the employees do all improvements; they need to be involved in the process of chan ...
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