Total quality management and training within North Carolina apparel/textile product manufacturing organizations to determine a model for TQM training

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Virginia Tech


The U.S. apparel/textile product manufacturing environment has traditionally been a very labor intensive industry. As the quality movement is adopted in the U.S. apparel/textile product manufacturing environment, there is a growing focus on the human side of the enterprise.

The purpose of this research was to examine the quality training of three case studies of N.C. apparel/textile product manufacturers and to build a model for TQM training. The case study method (i.e., personal interviews, Surveys, group activities) was used to investigate the quality practices and training practices, as well as the organizational culture of the three case studies.

The participating companies were drawn from a published directory of N.C. manufacturers. Several companies were contacted and three were chosen using research criteria. Data collection was done in six phases using Mink et. al. (1993) Total Transformation Management Process (TTMP), a model for managing change within an organization, as the conceptual framework. The six phases were (a) examining the need for change, (b) future state of the organization, (c) present state of the organization, (d) analyzing the planning of the change strategy, (e) examining the organization’s reaction to change, and (f) measuring the overall effectiveness of the change. Method triangulation was used to distill TQM, firm-based training, and organizational culture findings to identify a parsimonious model of TQM implementation strategies.

All three case studies had appropriate reasons for why a quality change was needed for their particular organization, even though the three case studies differed in product produced, production method used, company size, competitive strategy, worker compensation, and training practices. Company A has addressed training problems of adult learners (Gordon, 1993) in a vestibule training program, and Companies B and C rely on co-worker, on-the-job training. Employee turnover rate is also in sharp contrast among the three case studies, with Company A having about a 30% turnover rate, and Companies B and C having approximately 100% turnover rate. The company that has worked through all of the TTMP phases, including training and employee empowerment, is the company that is achieving the best results. This research showed that an organized training program in quality corresponded with effective results, which is also in agreement with the current training and organization development literature (Dodge, 1993a; Hodgetts et al., 1993; Jones & Reid, 1993; Nilson, 1990; Parry, 1993). The case studies also revealed that employees’ basic needs (i.e., wages) need to be addressed before employees’ training needs (i.e., quality training) can be successful and effective. This finding is consistent with training, quality, and organizational development literature (Dick & Carey, 1993; Goldstein, 1993; Hodgetts et al., 1993; Jones & Reid, 1993; Nilson, 1990; Parry, 1993; Troy, 1991). These findings also provide empirical support for theories in training and quality.