The aviation industry is one of the largest industries in the United Arab Emirates that has offered many jobs directly and indirectly to the locals and foreigners. The presence of various airline companies creates a need for differentiation of services offered to clients onboard and off-board to keep luring new customers and maintaining the old customers. Industries such as tourism, leisure, and international business would suffer if the aviation industry were to fail. The presence of these airline companies serves as a link between different trading nations and business activities. Therefore, the appropriate usage of quality management tools enables airlines to stay ahead of their competition.
Emirates Airlines Company is based in Dubai and operates in over 260 cities in six continents (Emirates Group Annual report, 2015). The United Arab Emirates is among the most competitive markets in the world. It is ranked among the top ten markets globally (Emirates Group Annual Report, 2015). The country’s position in the top tier ranking of world markets makes it a major business hub and a tourism destination for many people, which in return improves the airline’s chances of attracting more clients. The company supports approximately 416,500 jobs per the 2013 data and is expected to support over 750,000 jobs by 2020 (Emirates Group Annual Report, 2014).
The large number of people employed by the company is an indicator of the robustness of the company. The number of passengers carried between 2014 and 2015 was 49.3 million, while the cargo tonnage was 2.4 million indicative of the company’s large clientele. The number of countries linked to the airline is also an indicator of the magnitude with which it conducts its businesses.
The airline’s commitment to quality and efficiency is evident, as indicated by the company’s acquisition of 24 new aircraft equipped with modern technology between 2014 and 2015 and the retiring of 10 old aircraft that had operated for 75 months (Emirates Group Annual Report, 2015). This retirement period is far below the industry average of 140 months, which is an indication that the company maintains very high levels of efficiency and quality of services. The company’s cargo handling capacity is large and specializes in transporting all types of cargo, ranging from perishables or fragile commodities.
Objectives of the Study
Emirates Airlines is a world-class company competing in the global arena. The objective of this study is to investigate the company in relation to its competitiveness in quality delivery. The processes used to deliver unrivaled services to its clients will be of importance in understanding the subject. Another objective is to enumerate the various challenges faced by the company and the quality tools the company has employed. The study also itemizes the various total quality management tools that the company can use.
Key Quality Process Problems and Information on Quality Tools Used by Emirates to Map its Processes
In the competitive aviation field, customers are concerned with safety and high-quality customer services (Appelbaum & Fewster, 2003). Advances in technology have seen the increased use of digital gadgets onboard. Therefore, airlines have to equip their aircraft adequately to enable clients to enjoy using their devices while flying. Increased consumers’ demands have also increased competitiveness in the creation of products beyond customers’ expectations.
Customers have memories of past experiences. Therefore, the quality of services offered at present needs to surpass the customers’ previous experiences to ensure satisfaction (Kotler & Armstrong, 2004). The term value for money is a common phrase used by customers who always look at unique services to justify their premium payments for any particular service (Masarrat & Suchita, 2014). The manner in which a customer is treated is of great importance to the entire industry, as this depicts the level of service quality. Also, customers perceive quality in different ways, meaning that what one client considers quality services may be above or below another client’s expectations (Hanlon, 2000).
Therefore, the company needs to understand the nature of its clients before preparing to meet their needs. Emirates Airlines employs quality function deployment in such a manner that ensures customer satisfaction. One such way is streamlining its communication systems to ensure that information is conveyed seamlessly from employees to the clients and the management. The sharing of information with accuracy and time has enabled the airline to build their customers’ confidence regarding their reliability.
The creation of new products and improved existing products has caused the company to stay ahead of its competition. For instance, the invention of a white box with interior insulation to transport specific cargo has led to recognizing the company’s commitment to improving the customers’ service delivery. The airline depends mostly on customer feedback by tracking them on board and off-board, enabling it to know the customers’ expectations.
The key quality problem in information and process tools applied is onboard customer response (Hunter, 2006). Customers who have a subliminal experience of lower expectations may rate the quality of services differently than a different client who has had a better experience. The training of new employees as they are hired is an extra cost that the company incurs, which can be met by recruiting agencies. Additionally, the process consumes a lot of time.
The company also uses cause and effect tools to analyze and gauge the customer satisfaction created by the services it offers through the resources it has employed. The fishbone chart depicts the areas that need improvement in Emirates Airlines.
The Quality Process and Tools Used
The quality process entails using different tools to achieve the desired effect, which in this case, is creating a lasting customer experience by offering services that exceed the clients’ expectations. Knowledge of customers’ expectations can be achieved by using the right tools to identify them. Appropriate tools also reveal the conditions that hold back organizations from achieving their desired results. This study’s main tool is the fishbone chart, which is used to identify the vital information required for total quality management.
The airline creates a lasting experience for its clients by offering premium services (Masarrat & Suchita, 2014). As indicated by the application of the latest technology and the use of modern aircraft, the services are unrivaled. The food and beverages served are exceptional, thereby giving the airline an upper limit in the world’s airline industry. Despite the great services offered, there is a challenge of service pricing. Therefore, the airline needs to focus on striking a balance between the quality of services and pricing.
The methods used to advertise the company are financially intensive, which consume a substantial portion of the revenue generated. In most cases, these costs need to be passed to the products offered. The company’s ability to promote its products without hiring other third parties is limited, which inherently leads to an increase in the cost of promotion where the customer bears the financial burden.
The company’s cost of materials, particularly jet fuel, has increased significantly (The Emirates Group Annual Report, 2013). The rise in the cost of these important inputs has reduced the company’s profitability, thus forcing it to revise its charges upwards (The Emirates Group Annual Report, 2013). New regarding the revision of air tickets upwards is not always received positively by customers. Food prices have been rising even though certain consumers who value quality still pay the high prices. However, consumers in the budget class opt to come with their foodstuffs to cut down their expenses.
The high cost of acquiring aircraft needs financing, which commits the firm’s resources to fixed assets. The initial cost of acquiring the planes holds a large amount of the cash used as working capital. The new planes need specialized maintenance that is also costly.
The recruitment process engages a large number of recruits who wish to join the company. The resources (time and monetary) deployed for this task are huge compared to the number of recruits selected from the process, which does not make economic sense (Appelbaum & Fewster, 2003). A private recruiting firm can be cost-effective for the organization to allow it more time to concentrate on human resources in the organization in terms of training and development.
Recommendations in Process Improvement and New Quality Tools that Can Be Used by the Organization
The current aviation arena needs real-time interaction with customers to know their needs and demands to enhance their satisfaction. The adoption of total quality management ensures that all processes are well organized in a hierarchical order. The use of the management process also induces teamwork, which increases the collaboration of workers and driving them to work to achieve a common goal. The presence of communication channels through which information is shared seamlessly enables collaboration of the highest order, thus optimizing customer satisfaction (Busacca & Padulo, 2005).
Thus, it is critical to adopt several quality control measures to ensure balanced and competitive service delivery to clients. Emirates Airlines’ achievement in offering unrivaled customer service is through multi-process evaluation and quality control procedures for all its processes.
However, the absence of complaint resolution centers should be looked into to ensure that customers with complaints have a forum to direct their grievances. The sharing of information between the company and other organizations should be highly enhanced to ensure that the customers also get accurate information.
The company’s disposal of airplanes before the average usage period is a positive move. However, extending the use of these planes could reduce the company’s expenses, which can then be channeled towards alternative measures of improving customer experience. The plane usage period ought to be long enough to enable the company to recoup the investment fully on each aircraft without compromising its quality.
The cabin crew that serves the clients is the face of the airline during flights. They should have all the necessary skills and perform all tasks meticulously to create a lasting impression on the clients. The recruiting process determines the quality of staff that join the company. Therefore, the training and recruitment process should involve highly trained and experienced recruiters.
Customer satisfaction is a vital intermediary objective in the service industry (Ranaweera & Prabhu, 2003). Customer satisfaction needs to be tied to the level of quality that every organization wants to achieve. Thus, the customers determine the quality control measures that an organization needs to put in place to meet its customers’ expectations. The aviation industry is competitive and is continuously changing with respect to how it offers customer satisfaction through cultural involvement in the product description and service delivery.
The aviation industry is experiencing massive developments in technology and customer improvements in satisfaction. These factors imply that for an airline to remain relevant and compete internationally, the quality of its services must supersede those if its competitors. The quality process must be managed because it is the only way that can guarantee customer satisfaction. Emirates Airlines needs to adopt all the suggested quality process management strategies to stay ahead of other airlines.
Customer satisfaction creates a dependable client-company relationship that ensures the repurchase of the services offered by a firm. The Kaizen practices ensure that customers are served to and beyond their expectations. Exceeding a client’s expectations brings about satisfaction and creates a sense of value for money, which are key factors in the repurchase decision-making process.
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