Quality management is an issue that is integral to the success of an organization in its provision of services. That is the case with Al Fajer Enterprises. Al Fajer Enterprises is located in the UAE. It was established in 1970 by his highness, S. H. M. Al Maktoum. The company provides diverse products and services throughout the UAE. These products and services span those that are unique to the manufacturing and tourism industries and many others. It is situated in UAE with its headquarters in the city of Dubai.
All other details can be accessed through the site map provided in the company’s website. To maintain its lead in the market, the company has endeavored to use the concept of total quality management as a tool to continuously sustain the quality of its operations to enable it maintains its position in the market. To some extent, it is worth noting that the company’s success factors are significantly influenced by total quality management that is integral to its success. In its commitment and passion for excellence, the company has integrated all aspects of quality management spanning organizational employees. This is evidently based on the number of years the company has been in operation and its subscription to the principles of ISO 9001:2000, ISO 14001:2004 & OHSAS 18001:2007.
The company focuses on being a leader and excellent in different areas of product and service provisions. To ensure the principles of quality management are inculcated into Al Fajer Enterprises’ employees, the company has tailored continuous quality management training for all organizational employees to help them capture the whole concept of quality management and reflect it in the provision of services to the customer. Moreover, it can be argued that a satisfied customer always comes back with another customer. That is what distinguishes Al Fajer Enterprises from other companies in the market.
Despite the success factors that designate the company, a number of problems have been encountered when undergoing ISO registrations that are both specific to the companies and general for other companies in the UAE. These problems are related to the failure of the companies to meet quality standards and the failure to integrate the whole concept of total quality management in their business activities. It is worth noting that customer satisfaction is the focus of the concept of total quality management. Therefore the need to integrate the concept of total quality management plays a critical role in overcoming the problems these companies face when endeavoring to subscribe to ISO standards as discussed below.
One specific example of a standard that the business organization had problems subscribing to was the ISO 9001 (Easton, 1993).
ISO 9001 Problems
ISO 9001 is a quality controlling standard that organizations subscribe to for reaping the benefits that accrue from implementing requirements specific to quality improvements outlined in the standard. It is important to highlight some of the benefits that Al Fajer Enterprises could reap that are specific to the organization and the customer. One of the most critical benefits arising from the use of this standard in quality improvements is cost savings. Cost is the driving force in enhancing productivity at all levels of the company’s operations. In addition to that, customer expectations form one of the important elements to consider when subscribing to these standards.
Some of the requirements that Al Fajer Enterprises and other companies fall short of include measuring up to the complete total quality management systems and the relevant documentations, the failure of management responsibility, employee responsibility, and overall organizational responsibilities that focus on total quality management and implementation within the company. The failure to formulate total quality management policies to ensure that Al Fajer Enterprises comply to total quality management standards and policies, failure to design and integrate total quality management frameworks into the companies, and the failure to integrate the concept of total quality management in designing total quality management objectives into the running of these organization.
In addition to that, Al Fajer Enterprises failed to identify and integrate the concept of total quality management in resource management and allocation, the realization of the products and services offered by the company, and to incorporate quality management in its processes, and the total failure of the company to inculcate total quality management in monitoring organizational tasks and processes, in measurements, in the analysis, and product and service improvements. Problems experienced by Al Fajer Enterprises and other companies operating in the UAE are discussed in the light of the four requirements for total quality management in the UAE.
Occupational Health problems
This part discusses the problems Al Fajer Enterprises faced when registering with ISO from the light of employee health as discussed below.
One of the problems that the company experienced when undergoing the ISO registration was its failure to implement total quality management standards with its employees. Al Fajer Enterprises failed to ensure a secure and operational environment that reflects quality management in the employee and the overall organization in general. One of the standards that the company did not meet is the OHSAS 18001 that emphasizes on the need for occupational health and the safety of the employee to be of utmost importance as a vital component of total quality management implementation strategy.
One critical element that affords argument here is that no total quality management definition and understanding has been integrated into the activities and operations of the company. In addition to that the importance of quality and total quality management has not been emphasized upon as a universal tool in achieving standards to the level of quality and a healthy environment to subscribe to the respective ISO standards. In addition to that, the responsibility for quality has been identified as a tool that is specific to one department instead of taking an overall organizational look. It is individualized rather than being made a universal element in quality management throught the organization.
Further evidence for the failure to subscribe to the standard was the frequency with which employee let the workplace due to injuries sustained while at work. The standard recognizes the fact that the employee health and well being is of paramount importance in the quality implementation and sustainability within an organization of this kind. The standard therefore, emphasizes on occupational health at the workplace. In addition to that, other failures that are not recognized by the company include the aspects of environmental management as discussed below.
Environmental Management problems
This section discusses problem Al Fajer Enterprises faced when registering with ISO in the perspective of the environment and its activities in relation to the ISO 14001 certificate standard.
The operating environment for the employees and the general environment in general are addressed by the ISO 14001 certificate. In this certificate, environmental controls are identified and companies that subscribe to this standard have to ensure their operations are ISO 14001 certified. There is no conscious effort within Al Fajer Enterprises to ensure quality total quality management in the light of controlling the company’s activities to ensure they add value to the environment instead of being destructive to the environment.
The environment forms part of the requirements for meeting ISO certified standards. It is worth noting that a company must operate in a sustainable environment for its activities to remain sustained. That is part of Al Fajer Enterprises’s corporate social responsibility. Though the concept is not tailored to make a company generate more profits, Al Fajer Enterprises operates in an environment that has to be sustained cared for. Under this regulation, Al Fajer Enterprises’s activities should reflect concerted effort and policies to protect the environment and ensure that the environment remains sustainably protected and conserved. Another problem faced by Al Fajer Enterprises and other UAE companies in registering with ISO requirements is their failure to meet the standard requirements for ISO 9001.
This standard is the driving force for companies that want to incorporate a quality management system into their operations. One problem that is faced by Al Fajer Enterprises and other UAE companies incorporating this standard into their companies was the failure to identify gaps in their operations specifically targeting requirements for registering with these bodies. Al Fajer Enterprises has not carried a gap analysis for its processes and needs to incorporate one in order identify the gaps that exist in its service provisions to ensure they are filled for quality improvement methods.
Perhaps it could be necessary to identify a gap analysis that exists within Al Fajer Enterprises to provide a detailed view of their failure to incorporate the strategy in total quality management that could make the companies compliant in registering with the standard organizations. The gap analysis is a typical tool used to identify the shortfalls inherent in Al Fajer Enterprises that acts as a source of problems for registering with the companies. It is important at this point to discuss some of the principles of ISO to identify the problems and shortfall that they face when registering with ISO. These principles include customer focus, leadership, people involvements, process approaches to quality management, a system approach to total quality management and implementation, the continual quality improvement approaches, and decision based facts. Each of these elements is discussed in details below.
Customer Focus problems
Total quality management focuses on the customer. This part discusses in detail problems that the company was facing registering with ISO. It is vital to note that the whole concept of total quality management focuses on the customer.
Research shows that a number of companies in the UAE including Al Fajer Enterprises have failed to identify and focus their activities and services on customer needs that may lead to customer satisfaction. This is one of the problems faced by Al Fajer Enterprises and other companies operating in the UAE. This problem is mainly focused at low product quality and services provided to customer thus failing to meet customer needs and expectations.
It is important to note that total quality management is a concept that is tailored towards making a company meet its quality expectations in providing services and products to customers. In the event that these expectations are not met or appropriately addressed, the company is at a position of failing to meet requirements necessary to allow it be ISO registered. Another problem is the failure of Al Fajer Enterprises to meet customer requirements. Customer requirements form one of the basic compliance factors towards being ISO certified. However, Al Fajer Enterprises and other UAE companies fall short of meeting this requirement.
It has been demonstrated through research that most UAE companies do not perform to exceed customer expectations as one of the key elements in total quality management in focusing at the customer. Neither are there concerted efforts to drive organizations in the UAE among them Al Fajer Enterprises in focusing to exceed customer expectations in the provision of services and products to customers. One can note form research that Al Fajer Enterprises leadership has had problems in the past due to total quality management, a problem that has denied it the opportunity to be ISO certified. The problem with leadership is discussed below (Al Fajer Enterprises, 2010).
Leadership is a compelling tool that offers direction in achieving total quality management. This part discusses in detail about failure of management at Al Fajer Enterprises to provide leadership in registering with ISO.
The main purpose of a leader is to establish a unity of purpose for organizational employees and the whole organization in general. Al Fajer Enterprises has consistently registered this problem with the leadership in total quality management. Sometimes the lack of clear goals and objectives and lack of a vision has characterized Al Fajer Enterprises. It becomes a big problem for the company especially in its pursuit to be ISO certified. In addition to that, leaders have not endeavored to create an environment that is conducive for employees to efficiently pursue organizational goals and objectives.
If the leadership establishes well spelt objectives in organizational pursuits and policies, the chances of Al Fajer Enterprises becoming a role model and getting ISO certified are ripe. That is also true if the company demonstrates a sense of corporate social responsibility in its pursuits of total quality management. That is also true if the company incorporates the spirit of involving others in total quality management as discussed below.
Problems Related to Involving Others
This section discusses the role of others as a problem this company has faced in registering with ISO.
One of the problems that Al Fajer Enterprises faces, a problem that affects other companies in the UAE when registering with the international standards organization (ISO) is the problem of involving others is total quality management and the process of integrating the quality framework into the company operations and service provision.
That implies that decision are made at the top most hierarchy of the organization without due consideration on the feelings of others and the impact of these decisions may have on the environment and operations of the company on the quality of services to the customer. In addition to that, the concept of involving others has the benefit of contributions made from experienced people on various issues that are specific to the quality of services provided by the company in relation to the standards established under ISO.
In this case, Al Fajer Enterprises has not put into full use and exploited the skills, abilities, and experience of its workforce, thus making it experience unprecedented problems in registering with ISO (Crosby, 1984).
The next problem is the failure of Al Fajer Enterprises and other UAE companies to use the process approach to manage their activities. Successful companies use this approach to ensure their activities measure up to standard to pass the requirements outlined under the ISO standard requirements. When a company integrates the process approach into their activities, the quality of services, preservation of the environment, and efficient utilization of resources are optimized in the process.
Wastes that lead to the destruction of the environment are avoided. It is cooperate social responsibility of the company. In addition to that, these companies utilize resources optimally leading to minimal losses and impact of the disposal of wastes from their usage on the environment. However, there are other areas where problems are bound to arise, a failure to use a system approach in total quality management for the companies in the UAE.
Al Fajer Enterprises has inherently failed to reflect a system approach in the process of service and product provision by the company has no strategic methods in place to ensure continual improvements in product and services quality.
Problems of Gap Analysis
At Al Fajer Enterprises, a number of problems specific to the company’s’ services can be identified. One such is the gap between company policies and operations and customer expectations. A close study and analysis of Al Fajer Enterprises show that the company has not integrated a good communication plan in the context of external service provisions and production processes. Service and product provision remains fundamental in the operations of Al Fajer Enterprises.
The model indicates the existence of a gap between customer expectations and perceived services. All the departments ought to identify the gaps that exist between them and pay close attention to the customer needs in terms of the services offered y the company measured against the established standards of quality. A good communication link should exist between the customer driven service designs and standards and company perceptions and consumer expectations.
Al Fajer Enterprises does not fit into the model at certain points as discussed below. The employees of the company are not active listeners and do not give individual attention to customers thus lacking empathy coupled with a lack of confidence in the transactions of the company. That has made it to lack the assurance with regard to their services and products based on the standards outlined in the ISO certification. Al Fajer Enterprises offers intangible services coupled with a high degree of unreliability where and continually fail to provide customers with the desirable products and on time. Another disqualifying factor is the failure of the company to act responsively in the provision of services in a prompt manner.
If the company integrates these elements in the provision of services as outlined in both models, there will be a turnaround in the provision of services that could be of good quality leading to customer satisfaction, retention, and compliances in registering with ISO standards. These could in turn lead the company to improve its image leading to high profit generation and a sustainable business and be ISO certified (Total quality Management Process, n.).
One sees that the service quality model used by the company has failed to focus on and tailor its services to bear the characteristics of reliability, assurance, reliability, tangibles, empathy, and responsiveness. Service delivery should be made reliable to avoid scenes where customers make after sales requests for a service that should have been provided at the point of sale. In addition, customers should be assured of product and service delivery and quality to inspire confidence in them. Tangibles should be appropriately delivered by the sales representatives at the rightful time. Empathy should be emphasized upon as the cornerstone in the business transactions of the organization, and responsiveness should be firmly integrated in day to day business transactions of the Company.
To remain in the market and gain a strong market position, and continuously impress upon itself the standards established under the international standards organization (ISO), the management of the company should respond to customer needs in a timely manner. Service provision employees should be active listeners, and the organization should provide genuine services. Justice and fairness should be the foundation in dealing with customer complaints.
It is the responsibility of management to conduct an analysis of the gap between services provided and customer needs and put measures to bridge them. In addition, the company should integrate vertical and horizontal communication to enhance understanding and facilitate service delivery. The company should tailor its services for reliability, assurance, reliability, tangibles, empathy, and responsiveness. Having considered in detail the gap model in relation to problems that Al Fajer Enterprises and other companies face in registering in registering with ISO, the following discussion focuses on problems related to the workforce, working hours, freedom and other factors.
Hours of Work
This section focuses on employee hours of work as one of the problems in registering with ISO.
Companies that operate in the UAE, among them Al Fajer Enterprises, find it beneficial when their employees work for long hours against specification standards outlined by ISO. To subscribe to ISO, there are basic requirements and regulations that company employees should adhere to when working for these companies with prescribed and commensurate compensation mechanisms and pay packages. However, Al Fajer Enterprises and other companies in the UAE have been observed to violate these work conditions as they thrive on cheaply available labor. In addition to that, the number of employees who work on inadequate compensation against ISO established requirements and standards.
In My Own Opinion
In my opinion, a number of factors discussed in the research are critical problems that these companies face in registering with ISO. However, other problems are the failure of these companies to recognize and integrate the principles of total quality management in the organizational processes and in the provision of services and products. In addition to that, the responsibilities of management are not well defined with the overall effect on poor leadership provided by managers of these companies. Thus, a failure in the management responsibilities is one of the problems that these companies face when registering with ISO.
On the other hand, based on the evidence from the above discussion, the management of resources is spoor in companies of the UAE. In addition to that, the management and allocation of resources within these companies are problems of their own. Other issues which are the driving forces behind the problems faced by these companies is the failure to integrate methods for measuring the quality of their services that measure up to the standards which are established under the ISO standards. Therefore, there are limited methods for analyzing the quality of services and products offered by these UAE companies.
No analytical measurement and improvement methods on the services and products offered by these companies to the customer have been incorporated into their activities. Moreover, I may comment that these companies are more focused at making profits instead of a focus at the customer. In addition to these problems, decision making is another problem that UAE companies. In total quality management, decision making is a concerted effort and not a task for a single individual. Decisions made at individual levels are most times not informed and end up being a big problem in the final effect of these decisions. It is also vital to note that most of the companies have not incorporated the total quality management concept by working with suppliers. Suppliers are an important element in the whole chain of total quality management.
From the above discussion, a number of companies in the UAE including Al Fajer Enterprises have experienced a number of problems registering with ISO. There are a number of benefits that are bound to be experienced for companies that have registered with ISO. Among them is assurance of the quality of services and products offered to the customer, thus enabling the registered company to gain a strong market position, being cost effective in its operations, provide quality services and continually improve on the quality of services and products offered by the company.
However, Al Fajer Enterprises and other companies are experiencing problems registering with ISO due to failure to integrate the whole concept of total quality management and quality management principles at all levels of these organizations and in product and service deliveries. These principles are not reflected in the concerns about employee health and working hours. There is the urgent need to improve in this area to allow them meet standard requirements to register with ISO.
In decision making strategically targeted to achieve the company’s goals and objectives. It is also vital to note that Al Tahaduth’s control chart is used within the organization to evaluate the extent to which Al Tahaduth has achieved value addition and the extent to which the organization has achieved its target values as stated in its continuous quality management objectives. Other tools include histograms which are used to evaluate the response time to customer inquiries and services delivery.
Al Tahaduth uses Pareto charts to evaluate the effectiveness of employee and management productivity in relation to the quality of their work in terms of items returned as defectives against the volume of sold products. In addition to that, Al Tahaduth strategic quality improvement policies call for a concerted effort spanning all employees at Al Tahaduth in the whole management hierarchy to own the total quality management and improvement in all tasks assigned to them to enhance products and service offered by Al Tahaduth (Al Tahaduth Company for Telecommunication Services, 2008).