4 Trends Shaping the Future of Total Quality Management

Total quality management (TQM) is a strategic approach to long-term success centered around customer satisfaction. In TQM, all members of an organization - from top-level management to each individual employee - must be actively engaged and working to improve the quality of communication, processes, and services.

The key elements of Total Quality Management include:

  • Strategic, systematic approach to leadership/management

  • Customer-focused

  • Employee involvement and empowerment

  • Fact-based decision making

  • Continuous improvement

  • Mutually beneficial relationship with suppliers


Below are 4 trends that are shaping the future of Total Quality Management:

1. TQM Backed By Six Sigma

Although Six Sigma is a newer quality management concept than TQM, it was never meant to replace it. Rather, the two strategies are complementary. Whereas TQM focuses on internal departments and customer satisfaction, the key goal of Six Sigma is to reduce the number of defects.

Forward-thinking businesses are starting to implement both concepts into their quality management approaches. Specifically, Six Sigma strategies can be used to help businesses meet the “continuous improvement” goal of TQM.

2. Environmental Sustainability Standards

As environmental health continues to become a global concern, ISO has developed new standards designed to help organizations manage their environmental responsibilities. For instance, ISO 14001 specifies the requirements for an environmental management system that an organization can use to enhance its environmental performance.

The the intended outcomes of this environmental management system include:

  • Enhancement of environmental performance

  • Fulfilment of compliance obligations

  • Achievement of environmental objectives

Future revisions of ISO standards are expected to further emphasize the importance of environmental sustainability within the scope of TQM.


3. Expanding Boundaries of TQM

In the early years, TQM was only applied to manufacturing operations. Today, it is implemented in a wide variety of non-manufacturing organizations, and this number is only expected to grow in the coming years and decades. From finance to healthcare to education, processes founded upon quality management concepts are starting to become the rule rather than the exception.

Why? There’s a rapidly growing customer demand for top-quality services, products, and interactions across all industries. As for those organizations who don’t implement TQM principles into their processes and systems? It’s likely that over time, they’ll lose their competitive edge to those who do.

4. Accountability

One of the vital components of TQM is the idea that every employee must be actively engaged in the effort to improve quality. As new tools and technologies for tracking employee performance become available, accountability will become an increasingly important part of TQM.

Every employee must have a clear idea of their requirements and expectations, in addition to the standards that will be used to access their performance. This shift will, of course, expand to management as well. Organizational leaders will need to demonstrate what they are doing to help their bottom line reach their quality improvement goals, as well as the effectiveness of their strategies.

Tired approaches like occasional seminars led by upper management will need to be replaced by updated strategies that lead to a genuine improvement in performance. Assessment and performance benchmarks will help to create this sense of accountability across all levels of the organization.

For more information about our capabilities, please contact us by phone at 440.773.3486 or by email at brian@frburger.com.

"Made in America" Matters

100 years ago, the phrase “Made in America” didn’t exist in the U.S. Why not? Because everything here was made in America. The U.S. was a manufacturing powerhouse, and it was unthinkable that goods might be produced elsewhere.

Fast-forward to the mid-1960s, and this was no longer the case. Foreign labor was the hot new manufacturing trend: it was cheap, it was quick, and it allowed manufacturers to turn a higher profit on their products.

As the decades passed, more and more manufacturing was moved abroad - and with it went U.S. jobs, innovation, and global competitiveness.


Today, manufacturing is beginning to return to U.S. soil, spurring the popularity of the patriotic “Made in America” slogan. But this movement goes far beyond pride; it has a tangible effect on the U.S. economy, businesses, and consumers. Here’s what “Made in America” really means for the United States:

1. Better Quality Products

A few decades after the start of the “cheap foreign labor” trend, consumers began to realize they were getting the short end of the stick. Those lower product costs induced some unwanted side effects: lower quality and lower value.

Today, businesses and consumers alike have a vested interest in high-quality, safe, durable, and effective manufactured goods. For that reason, a greater number of manufacturers are bidding farewell to cheap foreign labor, tools, and processes and returning their operations to American soil.

“Made in America” products may never be as cheap as those made overseas, but they’re top of line when it comes to quality and long-lasting value.

2. Protection of Human and Environmental Health

Speaking of cheap manufacturing, many of those foreign nations are only able to produce goods at such low costs because of lax labor laws and safety regulations. Fair wages and humane working conditions for laborers are simply not guaranteed in all regions of the world.

Additionally, not all nations have the same strict environmental laws that American manufacturers are legally required to abide by. Depending on the goods being manufactured, this lack of environmental regulation can take a toll on air quality, lakes, rivers, oceans, forests, and the animals who depend on those habitats to survive.

Supporting “Made in America” goods means supporting a cleaner environment, safe labor laws, and human health around the globe.

3. Jobs Are Returning to American Soil

Over the past few decades, the U.S. has lost millions of jobs to overseas manufacturing and production. This shift has negatively impacted both the national economy and thousands of local economies.

Did you know that every U.S. manufacturing job supports nearly three other jobs in the economy? Without manufacturers to produce goods, other jobs like research, sales, marketing, and purchasing wouldn’t exist.

Bringing manufacturing and production back to U.S. soil is one of the best ways to secure valuable jobs for U.S. workers, and to ensure employment opportunities for future generations of Americans.

4. U.S. Remains Globally Competitive

According to the National Association of Manufacturers, manufacturing drives more R&D innovation than any of other sector of the U.S. economy. That innovation is what helps America stay competitive in terms of developing new technology, product design, medicine, and other important goods.

But as more manufacturing has been pushed overseas, the U.S. has seen a steady drop in its innovation. Meanwhile, manufacturing-heavy countries like Korea, China, and Japan have become more innovative and globally competitive in recent years.

This shift has led to the U.S. becoming dependent on foreign nations to supply the tools, technologies, solutions, and goods we need to succeed as a nation. The “Made in America” movement serves to secure America’s position as a top innovator and world powerhouse.

F.R. Burger & Associates is proud to support U.S. manufacturers and American jobs. For more information, please contact us by phone at 440.773.3486 or by email at brian@frburger.com.

Comparing Versatile Rubber Manufacturing Options

Strong yet flexible, rubber plays an important role in many areas of manufacturing. It can be easily bonded to other materials or used on its own to produce new parts, as well as to coat existing tools.

Various rubber manufacturing options are available, each with their own strengths and ideal uses. Below, we’ll dive into the advantages and disadvantages of four common types of rubber molding: compression, injection, transfer, and extruding.


1. Rubber Compression Molding

Compression molding is the most common process for molding rubber. In compression molding, uncured rubber is heated and compressed within a mold cavity.

Rubber Compression Molding Process

First, a piece of uncured rubber - called a preform - must be formed into a specific shape, size, and weight. The preform is then placed into a heated mold cavity.

Once the mold is closed, heat and pressure are applied, causing the material to flow and fill the cavity. After adequate time has passed, the mold is opened and the cured rubber part can be removed.

Advantages of Rubber Compression Molding:

  • Suitable for most materials

  • Lowest complexity

  • Lowest cost

  • Lowest lead time

Disadvantages of Rubber Compression Molding:

  • Not as suitable for complex parts

  • Longer cycle time




2. Rubber Injection Molding

Injection molding is typically considered to be a more complex and complicated process than transfer or compression molding. However, it’s extremely effective for manufacturing a wide range of products, from very small to very large.

Rubber Injection Molding Process

The rubber injection molding process begins with uncured rubber, which is extracted into a rotating screw feeder system. A predetermined amount of material is pulled in through the screw feeder, and fed into a barrel where it’s heated to a specific temperature.

The soft, heated rubber then flows through a gate and runner system into a mold cavity, and is left to solidify. Once it has reached a cured state, the parts can be removed from the mold.

Advantages of Rubber Injection Molding:

  • Ideal for customization/versatility/complex shapes

  • High precision

  • Quick cycle time

  • Automatic material feeding

  • Minimal material waste

Disadvantages of Rubber Injection Molding:

  • Higher initial costs

  • Limited material options



3. Rubber Transfer Molding

Rubber transfer molding can be thought of as a sort of “middle ground” between compression and injection molding. It’s ideal for molding intricate parts or parts that require multiple cavities, creating composite seals with insert molding, and bonding rubber to metal parts.

Rubber Transfer Molding Process

Like compression molding, transfer molding begins with rubber preforms that are created in a predetermined size and shape. However, unlike in compression molding this preform is placed into a portion of a closed mold system called a pot.

Once the mold is closed, a piston forces the rubber to flow into a mold cavity, where it is exposed to high temperatures and pressure. At the end of the cycle, the piston is raised up, the mold is opened and the parts can be removed.

Advantages of Rubber Transfer Molding:

  • Suitable for flexible/complex designs

  • Shorter cycle time than compression molding

  • High cavity count

  • Ideal for colored rubber parts

Disadvantages of Rubber Transfer Molding:

  • High amount of waste material

  • Higher cost


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4. Extruded Rubber

Rubber extrusion differs from rubber molding in that the material is forced through a die to create the end shape, rather than filled into a mold.

Rubber Extrusion Process

The extrusion process can be thought of as similar to squeezing toothpaste out of a tube. First, uncured rubber is fed into an extruder, where it is then pushed towards a die. Here, the rubber is treated with high pressure and temperature. Once the rubber reaches the die, the pressure forces it through the shaped opening. The extruded rubber is then allowed to cool, and then typically reduced in length.

Advantages of Rubber Extrusion:

  • Low production cost

  • Less material waste

  • Ideal for tube-shaped products

  • High production volume

Disadvantages of Rubber Extrusion:

  • Less precise

  • Limited to two-dimensional products

F.R. Burger & Associates provides engineering assistance, tooling design, processing alternatives, and material solutions through our certified suppliers of ISO 9001:2008 certified rubber moldings.
For more information, please contact us by phone at 440.773.3486 or by email at brian@frburger.com.

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6 Benefits of Die Casting

Depending on production needs, there are a wide variety of casting and manufacturing options available. For those in purchasing and procurement, it’s not always clear which type of casting process is best suited for the project.

Die casting is one of the most popular choices. Simply put, die casting is a process wherein molten metal is forced under high pressure into a mold cavity, formed by two tool steel dies. Once the casting has solidified, the dies are opened and the part is ejected.

Die casting offers numerous advantages: it’s efficient, economical, and versatile. There are several key benefits to choosing die casting as a manufacturing process, which we’ve outlined below.


1. High Rate of Production

One of the main benefits of die casting is that it provides a high rate of production with little to no post-machining required.

Yet unlike many other mass production processes, die casting allows for complex shapes within close tolerances. Thousands of castings within specified tolerances can be produced before any additional tooling is needed.

For comparison, die castings are produced more rapidly and at higher rates than plastic injection moldings, permanent moldings, and screw machine products. They also require less machining than sand castings.

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2. Dimensional Accuracy

Die casting also produces parts that are very dimensionally stable, within close dimensional tolerances - much more so than any other high-volume production process.

These parts also tend to be more durable, complex, and strong than those produced by plastics injection molding, permanent molding, or forging.



3. Strong Yet Lightweight

Because die castings are produced as one complex shape - rather than consisting of separate parts that have been welded or fastened together - they are extremely strong. Their strength can be measured by that of the material itself, rather than that of the weld.

That said, die castings can also be produced with much thinner walls than sand, permanent mold, or other types of castings. With the same dimensions, die castings have both thinner and stronger walls than these alternate castings.



4. Simple Assembly

Die castings typically do not require extensive assembly operations, leading to a more streamlined and simplified process. Unlike stampings, one die casting can often replace multiple parts.

The parts produced by die casting can include integral fastening elements, like studs and bosses. External threads can easily be cast, and nearly all holes can be cored and made to tap drill sizes without requiring new cores for each casting.



5. Customizable Finishing

Various finishing techniques are available for die castings. Die cast surfaces are naturally smoother than those produced with other forms of casting (like sand and permanent mold). However, they can also be produced in a wide variety of textured surfaces.

Additionally, die cast parts can be plated or finished with a minimal amount of surface preparation.



6. Cost-Effective at High Volumes

Die casting is a cost-effective option for high-volume production runs, when a large quantity of a part is needed. Because the part-to-part consistency of die casting is high, the process typically results in minimal waste, making it an economically sound option.

Additionally, because of the excess assembly and machining that is eliminated, money is often saved in the long run.

F.R. Burger & Associates provides engineering assistance, tooling design, processing alternatives, and material solutions through our certified suppliers of die castings. All materials are cast by a quality certified ISO or TS 16949 foundry.

For more information about die casting, please contact us by phone at 440.773.3486 or by email at brian@frburger.com.