A management approach in which all departments, employees and managers are responsible for continuously improving the quality of products and services so that they meet or exceed customer expectations.
The TQC methodology uses the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle to manage processes and, when problems arise, statistical tools to solve those problems. The methodology and tools are often used by employees during kaizen activities and together form an important subsystem of Lean.
The term "total quality control" was first used in 1957 by quality expert Armand Feigenbaum, who believed that quality control professionals should play a central role in promoting TQC.
In the 1980s, other experts such as Philip Crosby, Joseph Juran, W. Edwards Deming and Kaoru Ishikawa built on the concept, now known as Total Quality Management. They added new tools and, most importantly, the idea that quality is the responsibility of all employees, managers and senior executives.
Toyota implemented TQC in the early 1960s and began rolling out the system to suppliers in the late 1960s as well.