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ThirdInternational Conference on Construction In Developing Countries (ICCIDCIII) Advancing Civil, Architectural and Construction Engineering & Management July

4-6,2012Bangkok, Thailand

(Paper 39, ID 98)

TQM in Construction Companies of Developing Countries


Nafees Ahmed Memon (Mehran University of Engg. & Technology, Jamshoro, Pakistan, email:nafees.memon@gmail.coml)

Abstract
The role of construction quality and continuous improvement is vital in the development of construction industry of developing countries. Construction quality and continuous improvement is linked with the adoption of quality management systems in construction companies. This paper highlights the importance of Total Quality Management (TQM) in global construction sector and presents the benefits of TQM gained by construction companies in some developed and developing countries. It examines and contrasts the level of acceptance and execution of TQM in construction and manufacturing sector. The paper presents the advantages of implementing TQM in construction sector and highlights the barriers faced by construction companies in implementing TQM. In the end, the paper suggests some policy and management implications for better adoption of TQM in construction companies. The findings and recommendations of the study are beneficial for the construction industry of developing countries.

Keywords
TQM, Construction, Developing Countries, Policy and Management.

1. Introduction
Quality is an important element for sustainability and customer contentment (Ekambaram Palaneeswaran, et. al., 2006). Quality can be defined as meeting the legal, aesthetic and functional necessities of a construction project (David Arditi and H Murat Gunaydin, 1997). In the past few decades TQM has been successfully implemented in manufacturing sector of some developed countries, however the pace of acceptance and execution has remained slow in construction. Manufacturing and construction sectors are different in nature. In manufacturing mostly processes are repeated, where as construction usually takes place in the form of projects i.e. buildings, bridge, etc. Many basic activities are repetitive from job to job in construction but the specifics of function are mostly different. But this justification is not enough to say that quality management approaches which have shown good results in manufacturing sector cannot be applied to construction (Low Sui Pheng and Peh Ke-Wei, 1996). Due to the reluctance in acceptance of new technology and better management approaches, the construction sector of Pakistan is considered as backward (Ammad Hassan Khan, et. al., 2008). This paper therefore highlights the level of acceptance and execution of TQM in construction and manufacturing sector of developing countries. The study highlights the advantages and barriers faced by companies in developed countries. It compares the level of adoption of TQM in manufacturing and construction companies. In the end, it presents some policy and management implications for better adoption of TQM in the construction companies of developing countries.

2. TQM in Global Construction Industry


The literature indicates that many construction organizations of developed countries have benefited from the execution of TQM. A study carried out on the evaluation of quality of different contractors in some developed countries concludes that: the superiority of Japanese contractors in quality performance is mainly due to their deep-rooted quality awareness, better working relationships with their subcontractors, and fully developed quality assurance and TQM system (By Hong Xiao and David Proverbs, 2002). The major benefits of TQM in construction organizations as reported in the literatureinclude: - Better focus by higher management on the activities and needs at lower level; - Good project performance; - Better client contentment; - Improved market share; - Better relations with suppliers and customers; - Superior staff morale; - Enhanced measurement of performance; and - Better organizational competitiveness. The main barriers in implementing TQM in construction organizations as reported in literature are: - Lack of acceptance of TQM particularly on construction site level; - Wrong perception about TQM that it is not advantageous to the roles of project manager and foreman; - Construction site vary from place to place; - Perception of job loss; - Lack of training; - Unclear plan ; and - Obstructions in feedback.

3. TQM in Construction and Manufacturing Compnies: Questionnaire Survey


A survey was carried out to evaluate the level of acceptance of TQM in construction and manufacturing organizations. In manufacturing, steel and cement manufacturers were selected. In construction, design consultants and contractor based organizations were selected. Overall 80 questionnaires were distributed. 51 companies responded and the response rate was 64 percent. Out of 51 respondents, 28 were contractors, 15 were consultants and 08 were manufacturing companies. The percentage of statistics of respondents is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Statistics of Respondents

4. Comparison and Discussion of Survey


The comparison and discussion of questionnaire survey results is presented in Table. 2. Table 2: Comparison and Discussion of Results Survey Question Perception about quality? Construction Companies Majority of construction companies perceive customer satisfaction and increased profit as most important. Whereas appearance of the product is considered comparatively less important. A significant number of organizations (61%) are sure that TQM will be good for their organization. 42% construction companies said that TQM system will be advantageous beneficial for their organization. While no one was in implementing process at the time of survey. The main perceptions about the advantages of TQM are Elimination of Defects and Competitive Edge. Manufacturing Companies Most of the manufacturing companieshave the same perception about quality as that of construction companies.

TQM will work organization?

in

your

75 % of the respondents feel that TQM will work in their organization. All the respondents feel that TQM will work in their organization.

Will TQM be beneficial to your organization? Are you implementing TQM?

Organizations about TQM?

perception

Productivity Improvement and Elimination of Defects are perceived as the main advantages of TQM by most of the

manufacturing companies. Importance of Product/Service 95% of the construction companies All the respondents related to quality? rate the product or service quality manufacturing rank the product as very important. or service quality as very important. Significance of customer 97% of the companies rate the Customer satisfaction is satisfaction? customer satisfaction highly perceived by all respondent important manufacturing companies as very important. Rank of importance about Majority of respondents rank About the rank of quality, cost, quality, cost safety and time? quality and safety higher than time safety and time; the and cost in terms of level of manufacturing companies has the importance. same opinion as that of construction companies. System for gathering customer Only 25% companies have a All the respondents have a suggestions? system for collecting customer system for gathering customer suggestions for improvement. suggestions. System for gathering employee 84 % construction companies have 87 % respondents have a system suggestions? a system for collecting internal for gathering employee customers suggestions. suggestions. Have you implemented TQM None of the construction None of the respondents had in your organization? organizations surveyed in this study implemented TQM in their had implemented TQM up to that organization at the time of time. questionnaire survey. Obstacles in TQM adoption? Insufficient training, Lack of The respondents of interest of top management, Less manufacturing companies rank expertise in TQM, Lack of the same obstacles in dedication of internal customers. implementing TQM as reported by construction companies.

5. Conclusions
From the results of the survey it can be concluded that: i. Both construction and manufacturing companies have same perception about quality. ii. Elimination of Defects, Productivity Improvement and Competitive Edge are seen as main advantages of TQM by construction and manufacturing companies. iii. Both sectors rank product or service quality and customer satisfaction as very important. iv. As compared to time and cost, quality and safety are ranked higher by both construction and manufacturing companies. v. Majority of manufacturing companies have a system to obtain customer feedback, whereas a small percentage of construction companies obtain customer feedback. vi. Companies in both sectors have system for gathering employee suggestions. vii. Neither construction nor manufacturing companies had implemented TQM at the time of survey. viii. Both sectors have reported same obstacles in implementing TQM in their organizations: o Insufficient training o Lack of interest of top management o Less expertise in TQM o Lack of dedication of internal customers. ix. Level of quality management seems to be better in manufacturing companies as compared to construction companies.

x. As evident from literature, construction companies of developed countries like Japan, USA and UK have reaped the fruits of ISO and TQM in their organizations. Therefore construction companies of developing countries should also take necessary measures in order to promote quality at both organizational and project levels.

6. Suggestions
Based on discussion of results and conclusions, some suggestions are presented in this section. i. One of the main barriers in the implementation of TQM in construction organizations is lack of top management commitment. Conducting seminars in that appropriate area may help in promoting awareness and motivation for the adoption of TQM in top management of construction companies. ii. There is need of education and training in construction organization to enhance the awareness, importance and understanding of TQM. Top management of construction organizations can play a valuable role in that context. iii. Proper human and material resources should be employed by construction organizations in order to promote this quality management philosophy. iv. Employee commitment is also important in effective implementation of TQM. Organizational policies which help in raising employee commitment should be adopted. v. Government and construction organizations should make it compulsory for designers and constructors to proper quality management system before awarding the works. There should be some legislation and regulations by the government in this context.

7. Recommendation for future work


There is a need to study the cost involved in the implementation of this system and its outcome. The study should be carried out in the developing countries in order to observe the effectiveness of TQM in developing countries.

8. References
Ammad Hassan Khan, Salman Azhar and Arshad Mahmood, (2008), Quality Assurance and Control in the Construction of Infrastructure Services in Developing Countries A Case Study of Pakistan,First International Conference on Construction In Developing Countries (ICCIDCI), Advancing and Integrating Construction Education, Research & Practice, August 4-5, Karachi,, Pakistan. David Arditi and H Murat Gunaydin(1997), Total quality management in the construction process,International Journal of Project Management,Vol. 15, No. 4, pp. 235-243. Ekambaram Palaneeswaran, Thomas Ng, Mohan Kumaraswamy (2006), Client satisfaction and quality management systems in contractor organizations, Journal ofBuilding and Environment, Vol. 41, pp. 15571570. Hong Xiao and David Proverbs (2002), The performance of contractors in Japan, the UK and the USA (An evaluation of construction quality), Journal of Quality & Reliability Management.Vo1.19 No.6. Low Sui Pheng and Peh Ke-Wei (1996), A framework for implementing TQM in Construction,the TQM Magazine, Vol. 8 No. 5, pp. 39-46. Peter E.D. Love, Heng Li, Zahir Irani and Gary D. Holt (2000), Re-thinking TQM: towards a framework for facilitating learning and change in construction organizations The TQM Magazine Vol. 12. No. 2, pp. 107-116. Tam C.M., Deng, Z.M., Zeng, S.X., and Ho, C.S (2000), Performance assessment scoring system of public housing construction for quality improvement in Hong Kong, International Journal of Quality and Reliability Management, Vol.17, No. 4/5.