Quality management initiatives and practices can be applied to Al-Ain Distribution Company to bring about more customer satisfaction. This proposal explores at various literature sources and formulates a research design that can be used to implement total quality management in the organization. The research objectives, questions and hypothesis have all been set for the research process. The most suitable methodology of carrying out the research has been outlined in this proposal with emphasis on the data collection and analysis instruments.
Quality management is a very important aspect of any successful company. Al-Ain Distribution Company is a major distributor of water and electricity in the entire eastern region of Emirate of Abu-Dhabi and the surrounding rural areas. Having worked in the company in a clerical position, I have come to understand how important the company is to the customers. The services offered by the company are essential to the livelihood of many people and business organizations. The management of the company has put in place structures to ensure quality services to the customers. However complains from the customers never end and quality is one of their concerns. It is from this context that this research proposal has been developed so as to help to address the quality problems in the company. The objectives, research questions and hypothesis have been drafted in an attempt to determine the relationship between what is offered by the company and how the consumers rate their services. A comprehensive literature review has been provided to highlight the important concepts and strategies that have been put forwards by various scholars on the subject of quality management. Emphasis has been put on Total quality management concept and how it can be use to improve process and product quality in the organization.
1. To identify the quality management strategies and initiatives implemented at AADC.
2. To determine the level of awareness of the staff and management on quality management initiatives.
3. To determine the level of satisfaction amongst the customers of AADC.
1. Is there a relationship between the type of quality strategies and initiative and the quality of services that customers receive?
2. What are the characteristics of quality services from the consumer's perspective?
1. There is no significant relationship between the quality management initiatives and the quality of services offered by the organization.
2. There is no significant relationship between quality management practices and customer satisfaction.
Significance of the study
The findings from this research would generate new knowledge that is useful in the field of quality management. Above all the company may use the information generated to make improvements in the quality management department and ultimately improve the quality of services offered by the organization. This research is in line with the management models that have been put forward by Tilo in his book that articulates the essentials of quality management. The models can be applied in organizations to enhance performance and quality products that satisfy the needs of the consumers.
Organizations have products that are supposed to meet their specifications for them to be considered as quality. Quality management means paying attention to these specifications in terms of making the necessary changes and improvements. Specifications of products alone cannot achieve improvements and that is why the quality management process comes in. The competitive advantage of an organization depends on how well quality is managed. That is one reason why quality management has to be separated from project management.
Quality management entails the following activities.
All the three activities are essential for an organization to achieve the required quality standards.
Process and product quality
Companies produce product through processes. The type of processes used in the production process determines the quality of the product. Quality management concerns making improvements on organizational processes to ensure that the end products meet the expectations of the consumers. Products that pass though poor quality processes are likely to be of poor quality as quality analysts say.
Parameters of quality
Quality of design
This can be looked at from the perspective of the extent to which the design reflects the product or service that satisfies the needs and expectations of the customers and regulatory requirements. In a company, all the design characteristics have to be taken care of during the design stake to ensure that the end product depicts all the necessary aspects that can meet the desired expectations. Errors at the design stage can lead to missing characteristics which are likely to be identified by the customers in the cause of their interaction with the products.
Quality of Conformance
This refers to the extent to which a product or service conforms to the design standards. In this case the design has to be reproduced in the product every now and then. Changes in the design should be notified to the customers before they have access to the products. This ensures that there is a faithful reproduction of the design at all times during the manufacturing of the product.
Quality of use.
This refers to the extent to which the customers are able to secure the continuity of using the products or service. In this case a product has to possess a number of characteristics that are meaningful to the user. A product has to have a low cost of ownership in the life of the user. It also has to be reliable and safe in the life of the user. The customers also have to easily use the product and maintain it so as to achieve maximum use.
In light of these parameters, it is important to emphasize that products that do not have the right features and characteristics are considered to be of poor quality among the customers and they are not likely to be the preferred choices. Customers can also term as poor quality products that do not satisfy their needs because of being uneconomical regardless of their conformance to quality standards. Customers can also claim products to be of good quality even though with poor design or higher costs of maintenance. However it is vital to note that these notions would always arise amongst the consumers because of misunderstandings. The important fact is that product quality is a function of design, conformance and use. (Hoyle,2007)
Total Quality Management
In the modern competitive business world, organizations are adopting Total quality management approaches to achieve better results across all aspects of business organization.
As mentioned by Tilo Total quality management is a strategy that can be employed to bring about improvements in all areas including the product quality. This strategy therefore has consequences that can be felt in all areas of the company. New directions should also be expected in the company both from an inside and an outside outlook. This can be seen from both the employee perspective and the customer's perspective. In implementing TQM, the human factor becomes critical in organizations since they are the ones affected. (Hutchins, 2008).
In the course of enhancing product quality, the company and process quality is also affected.
It is important to mention that the long term results of implementing a TQM are far reaching and are enjoyed by everybody in the organization. For instance the strategy results in fewer faults in the making of the products. This would translate into good quality products for the customers.
The strategy also results in less unnecessary work meaning that employees would not be wasted on unnecessary tasks.The organization is also likely to reduce wastage through Total Quality management strategy and this would translate into more profits with reduced costs of production.
Achieving fewer corrections in the course of working with the customers would save time to a great extent and would help an organization to put efforts elsewhere in other useful improvements. (Hoyle,2007)
TQM and Leadership
As already mentioned, people in an organization play a fundamental role towards the success of the strategy. In light of this fact, it is vital that Human Resources in the organization. This should be understood in the new meaning of leadership in organizations. The management has to assume important functions for a quality management approach to succeed. For instance the service function has to be assumed by the management so as to communicate to the employees and let them know that the management bears responsibility for its actions and it also has to facilitate the performance of employees. The management also to create awareness in the organization on the presence and significance of quality management strategies. In this context, internal publications and attendance of quality management meetings is key towards more education and awareness. Researchers also underscore the need for the management to provide a structure that can be used in the implementation of quality management philosophy, principles, ideas and concepts. This goes further than just the provision of quality management materials and resources. (Hoyle,2007)
The management also has to be involved in the extensive training of staff on the concepts , ideas and philosophy of quality management. Programs and initiatives that are put in place by the quality management department should not come as a surprise to the employees of the organization. This is because, the lack of training can undermine the successful implementation of such programs because they have to participate. Employees in this context should not just be looked at as costs but rather they are very essential decisive factors that determine the success of quality management approaches. The people therefore have to be fully oriented with the quality management team to ensure their satisfaction and successful implementation of the strategy.
This research process has been founded on a management model for Total quality management. This model is outlined by Tilo Pfeifer and provides a guideline on all the aspects of total quality management in an organization. All the necessary processes that are key towards implementing total quality management have been addressed in the model. They include process orientation, customer orientation, people orientation and result orientation. The model also outlines the different qualities that can be achieved in an organization.
Process orientation entails understanding internal activities that link to one another for effective management of processes and evaluation of results. Information on internal activities forms the basis for decision making on improvements on processes.
Customer orientation aims at sustained customer satisfaction which would form the basis for their commitment to the services provided by the company.
People orientation ensures that the human resources are fully acquainted with quality management practices. This preparation ensures their maximum output towards the anticipated quality improvements.
Result orientation articulates the corporate targets of the company. It examines to what extent the needs of the different stakeholders have been achieved.
A descriptive study would be undertaken for this research process. This would facilitate collection of information from a larger population of people and from different secondary sources.
The study would be carried out within AADC Company where the quality management practices and initiative are implemented. The local rural area community surrounding the company would also be targeted.
A total of 150 respondents would be sort in the research and they would include 100 from the company and 50 from the local community.
Data collection procedures
Data collection procedure would entail the use of structured interviews to collect data from the various participants. The appointments to conduct interviews with the participants would be sought before the actual interview.
Pre-testing of the interview guide will enhance instrument validity and reliability. A small sample of ten consumers, two quality management representatives and two employees will be used to assess the clarity and ease of the instrument. Unclear items will be reviewed, reconstructed and adjustments made to the final questionnaire.
Quantitative and qualitative techniques will be used to analyze the data. SPSS will be used to analyze quantitative data. Descriptive statistics such as means, frequencies and percentages will be used to describe and summarize the data. Tables will be used to present the results. For qualitative data, coding and assigning of labels to various categories will be done.