The Role of Purchasing and Materials Management in Total Quality Management and Customer Satisfaction


  • Joseph R. Carter,

    1. Associate Professor of Purchasing and Logistics Management at Arizona State University. He holds a D.B.A. degree in operations management from Boston University and is qualified as a Certified Purchasing Manager. Dr. Carter's major research interests are supplier quality management, buyer and supplier communication systems, and international supply management systems.
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  • Ram Narasimhan

    1. Professor of Management in the Eli Broad Graduate School of Business at Michigan State University and also serves as Director of Research in the Center for International Business Education at MSU. He holds a Ph.D. degree from the Univeristy of Minnesota. Dr. Narasimhan is active as a consultant to industry and government.
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Total quality management (TQM) is both a philosophy and a set of guiding principles that represent the foundation for continuous organizational improvement. TQM is the application of not only quantitative methods but also human resource management principles to improve the materials and services supplied to an organization, all the processes within that organization, and the degree to which the needs of customers are met. The research discussed in this article integrates the concepts, ideas, and findings that have emerged from ongoing multi-phase studies of purchasing's role in TQM. From this research, sponsored by the Center for Advanced Purchasing Studies (CAPS), the investigators have developed several ideas about what purchasing organizations should do to attain total quality management goals.