Barriers to the Success of Total Quality Management Implementation in Vietnam's Textile and Garment Companies

Barriers to the Success of Total Quality Management Implementation in Vietnam's Textile and Garment Companies

Emmanuel (Manos) Kalargiros (Berry College, Mount Berry, USA), Cindy Strickler (School of Management University of Louisiana at Monroe, Monroe, USA), Long Pham (School of Management, University of Louisiana at Monroe, Monroe, USA & Thuyloi University, Hanoi, Vietnam), Thomas DeNardin (University of Louisiana at Monroe, Monroe, USA) and Tatyana N. Coomer (Rutgers University, Camden, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/IJSDS.2019070104

Abstract

Vietnam is classified as one of the five largest textile and garment exporters in the world. With its ambition to engage more effectively in the global textile and garment supply chains, Vietnam's textile and garment enterprises have been implementing total quality management (TQM) programs in order to improve their product and service quality. However, many of Vietnam's textile and garment enterprises are facing barriers to successful TQM implementation. The objective of this study is to empirically examine these barriers to TQM faced by Vietnam's textile and garment enterprises and to compare the results with previous studies conducted with U.S. and Mexican businesses. The results of this study indicate five barriers to Vietnam's textile and garment enterprises' successful TQM implementation. Among these five barriers, the common barrier shared by Vietnamese, US and Mexican businesses is that employees are resistant to change. Managerial implications and future research directions are discussed.
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Introduction

Vietnam is ranked among the top five textile and garment exporters in the world (CUTS, 2016). In recent years, despite unfavorable impacts of the world economy and internal difficulties in Vietnam's economy, the value of Vietnam's exports of textile and garments reached over $36 billion in 2018, an increase of 16% compared to 2017’s exports (Thu Hoai, 2019). Vietnam’s textile and garment industry is expected to continue to grow rapidly by tapping into the opportunities offered by free trade agreements signed between Vietnam and its trading partners – the US, Europe, ASEAN, South Korea, and Canada (Nguyen, 2018).

The United States, the European Union, Japan and South Korea are Vietnam’s four largest trading partners for textile and garment exports (CUTS, 2016). In 2017, the total exports of textile and garment products to these four markets reached $21.78 billion, accounting for 83.76% of Vietnam's total textile and garment export value (Ministry of Industry and Trade, 2017). The US market, accountable for $12.28 billion or 56.38% of those exports, was the largest recipient of those exports to the main four markets (Ministry of Industry and Trade, 2017). Vietnam's textile and garment exports mainly include jackets, t-shirts, trousers, and dresses (CUTS, 2016).

Although Vietnam’s textile and garment industry has made significant contributions to the overall growth of Vietnam's economy, with its textile and garment export turnover ranking second only to crude oil exports, it is facing many challenges (Nguyen, 2018). The challenges include the following: (1) the textile and garment growth is uncertain and unstable; (2) the jobs created by this industry are in the low-income category; (3) economic benefits achieved are mainly through the processing of imported raw materials and accessories; in other words, Vietnam’s textile and garment companies have to rely on foreign suppliers of raw materials and accessories to complete orders of international corporations; (4) overseas customers are increasingly demanding higher quality products.

In recent years, a number of Vietnam’s textile and garment enterprises have shifted their focus from being based on low value-added activities to high value-added activities and functions. In order to improve the quality of products and services, while trying to maintain a competitive advantage based on low labor costs, Vietnam’s textile and garment enterprises are gradually implementing total quality management programs (Ministry of Industry and Trade, 2017), similar to those being used in developed countries such as the United States and Japan (Agus & Sagir, 2001). As a result, total quality management programs have helped a number of Vietnam’s textile and garment enterprises, such as May 10, Viet Tien, Nha Be, Duc Giang, Hung Yen, Bac Giang, and others to significantly improve the quality of their products and services, reduce operating costs, meet the ever-changing needs of international customers, and create a workforce with high commitment to the company (Hai Nam, 2012).

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