Quality management has increasingly become an essential activity in business organisations, especially with the increase in the level of competition. Organisations need to manage and produce high quality goods and offer high quality services for them to be successful. It is one of the surest ways through which an organisation can gain a competitive advantage in the business world.
Quality management can be defined as the process through which an organisation ensures consistency in production and at the same time ensure that the products are of the highest possible quality. It is a complex task that needs to be addressed with caution. It should be noted that the complexity of quality management depends with the industry in which the organisation operates (Evans and William 38). For instance, it is a more complicated task to manage quality in a service industry, as compared to managing quality in a goods production industry. Services are not tangible, thus it is not easy to track their quality consistently. Quality management has four major components. They include quality assurance, quality control, quality improvement, and quality planning. Quality management should focus on achieving quality. This essay will give a research on three major practices in the United Arab Emirates in an organisation that practices quality management in the country. The organisation to be focused on is the Emirates Airline. The paper will give a literature review and an explanation of how the various practices are applied.
Literature Review and Benchmarking
For an organisation to be successful, it needs to excel in key areas that contribute to quality and customer satisfaction. An organisation needs to ensure that all its customers are satisfied to give it a competitive advantage. One of the best ways to ensure customer satisfaction is to ensure quality services and quality production. Quality management practices will have to be exercised for quality consistency. Continuous improvement is a major quality management practice that should be embraced by organisations. It is a necessity for an organisation that is willing to stay in the competition, as well as maintain its competitiveness (Mohanty 514). Continuous improvement should be a permanent objective for an organisation. Organisation need to always focus on improving the quality of their services, as well as the quality of their products. Change is dynamic in the current world. As a result, the needs of the customers keep changing. Customers will demand for better services and better services each day. The organisation should also keep on changing and improving its services to meet the customers’ needs.
Continuous improvement should start from the management and the employees. They need to have the right attitude at their workplace in order to create an ample environment for continuous improvement. As a matter of fact, continuous improvement happens to be one and the only qualitative concept whereby both the employees and the managers need to have a very positive attitude for them to attain the necessary changes that are required in the organisation for improvement to happen. There must be actions of both the managers and the employees for continuous improvement to happen. Agreeing that continuous improvement is needed in the organisation and then taking no action will add no value. This makes the difference between traditional managers and quality managers (Mohanty 513). While traditional managers only agree that there is a need for continuous improvement and take no action, quality managers will agree to this fact and then go ahead to take the necessary courses of action to achieve the goals.
The control starts from the hiring process. It should be noted that highly skilled employees will be able to offer high quality services. Then the quality manager ensures that all the employees are highly specialised in their areas. Good motivation is also vital in this case. It is good motivation that will play a big role in boosting the employees’ morale. Employees need to be rewarded based on their performance to motivate them to work hard (Lederer 283). The work they do should be evaluated on the basis of measurable results to encourage them to work and ensure continuous improvement of the products and the services they offer.
Leadership is another quality management practice that is essential for the success of organisations. Leadership is the process whereby an individual influences others and mobilises them so that they can work to achieve a certain goal. Leadership also encompasses directing an organisation in a bid to make it more cohesive and coherent (Silva 54). A leader can, therefore, be defined as the individual who has the ability to influence others towards achieving a certain goal or objective. The leader needs to apply leadership knowledge and skills to influence others effectively. The type of leadership whereby the leaders apply their knowledge and skills is referred to as process leadership. Leadership is a major practice when it comes to quality management. A leader should be able to influence employees so that they execute their duties in a way that realizes high quality.
Finally, relationship building should be a factor that also helps the organisation in quality management. It is a practice that involves the organisation establishing links and relationships with both its suppliers and customers (Silva 70). It should also have a close relationship with its employees. As a quality management practice, relationship building helps the organisation to add value to its production. For instance, an organisation that has a close relationship with its customers is able to get direct feedback regarding its products and services and responds accordingly. It is able to add what the customers need in order to ensure their satisfaction. As mentioned earlier, the needs of the customers keep changing, as the current world is highly dynamic. As a result, business organisations also need to keep up with the changes. They need to keep on improving their products to satisfy their customers. Customers prefer top quality services and products. However, they try to bargain for lower prices.
Benchmarking is an important factor in the success of a business organisation. The Emirates airline, being one of the largest airlines in the world, can benchmark its activities with those of British Airline (BA). BA is another large airline company that has operations in many countries across the world. One activity that has contributed a lot to the success of BA is customer satisfaction. It is always concerned about the wellbeing of its customers. For instance, BA ensures that its customers are always updated about flights through text messages, although this is a service offered to only business passengers. The Emirates airline has also been offering satisfactory services to customers. However, it has not been offering such updates. Adopting this strategy will help it increase its competitive advantage. Managing cost of tickets is another strategy that has been applied by the British Airline. Cost is a very sensitive issue in any business set up. The Emirates Airline can benchmark its costing against that of BA in order to be within a range that is favourable to customers, but at the same time be profitable. Finally, modernisation of the aircrafts is another activity that Emirates Airline can benchmark with that of BA. BA has modernised its aircrafts such that they are more comfortable. This is an activity that gives it a competitive advantage. The Emirates Airline also has its strategies to make the aircrafts comfortable. However, it can benchmark them against those of BA in order to assess its competitiveness in the long run.
A research was conducted on the application of the above discussed best practices of quality management at the Emirates Airline. This is one of the biggest companies in the UAE. It is a company that values quality management and has been able to achieve great success due to its quality services. The managers of the Emirates Airline could be classified as quality managers because they have been in the front line in ensuring that continuous improvement happens in a consistent way. The level of quality in the organisation has been unprecedented. The Emirates has been continuously improving its services. The company has been able to keep up with all the changes in the industry. It has gone ahead to become one of the biggest airlines in the world.
It is a company that has operations in the international scene, flying in about 130 destinations all over the globe. The airline is very keen on operations management, which has paid back through its success in the Middle East, as well as other parts of the globe. Considering that offering services is the core business of the organisation, some operations management principles such as the principle of manufacturing management may not be applicable (Chatterji and Jain 47). However, the operations management in the organisation has strategies that it has applied in order to offer quality services to its customers. In fact, it has a mission of making its customers experience an unprecedented travel experience. To accomplish this, the company hires employees who have high quality knowledge and skills in the business. This enables them to address the needs and requests of customers effectively and efficiently. Reliable information is essential for the quality of services that an organisation offers. The employees are fast in responding and addressing the issues raised by customers. This gives customers the confidence and loyalty to rely on the Emirates Group services. It has integrated its services with the current technology in the bid to improve quality.
Investing in technology is also another factor that has helped the Emirates Airline maintain continuous improvement. Technology is essential for quality services, as it helps in increasing the efficiency of services offered by the airline. It also assists in the production sector, whereby through an organisation is able to produce high quality goods the use of technology. Technology facilitates innovation. Innovation, on the other hand, helps in continuous improvement. It is imperative to note that quality improvement can be in three ways. First, it can be through process improvement, whereby the organisation focuses on improving it processes (Wilson 12). It can also be through service improvement. This is where the company aims at improving the quality of services offered. Finally, quality improvement can be through people improvement, where the organisation improves the skills and knowledge possessed by the employees and managers, as well as other stakeholders who help in the production.
One of the aspects that have contributed to great success in the Emirates Airline is the high quality of leadership that the organisation possesses. The company is under the able leadership of its chairman Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, among other leaders (Wilson 5). It is through its leaders that the company has been able to achieve a lot of success over the years. The leaders of Emirates Airline are highly influential and they are always willing to have the organisation achieve the best and acquire the largest market share. In so doing, the managers lead the way in acquiring the best talent. They also give directions on what needs to be done in order to retain quality products and offer quality services. They take that step to influence employees so that they can follow a beneficial direction, whereby the organisation and the entire staff will achieve a common good. Quality managers should have the leadership skills to achieve their objectives.
The success of an organisation largely depends on the type of leadership that is applied. Managers need to possess the best leadership skills to lead the organisation to the set goals and objectives. Management and leadership are two different things, although one seems to be a component of the other. A manager must have leadership skills. A leader, however, may or may not be a manager. The main duty of the leader is to motivate the workers (Silva 56). Workers need to be motivated to give their best in what they do. Management, on the other hand, is all about production. It is actually a factor of production. It entails putting the resources available in the organisation together for the purpose of maximising the production of the organisation. A leader should have the ability to initiate action among the employees. He should be able to communicate with them on what work is to be done and how it should be done. In addition, the leader should be able to create a working environment for the employees (Evans and William 154). This can be achieved by treating the employees in a manner that makes them feel they are in a good place. Humane treatment will give the workers a good environment to work in. It is the duty of the manager to get the workers together and get the work done. The manager will achieve this by assuming the role of a leader, where he will perform the above duties. This, in turn, will lead to quality production.
The Emirates Airline has been able to achieve a lot of success because it practices relationship building as part of its quality management. The company offers customers with what they need and when they need it. It is able to do these things because it has a close relationship with the customers. The company also has a close relationship with its suppliers. As a result, the suppliers help it in maintaining the high quality by supplying high quality products. The employees are also motivated and they are sufficiently able to go an extra mile just to ensure that they offer the best services to the customers.
A good relationship with the organisational suppliers will also help them add value to its products and services because whatever the organisation produces will depend on the raw materials that were used. In other words, if the organisation uses low quality raw materials, then the end product will also be of low quality. The quality of raw materials keeps on changing as a result of the various factors that also change regularly (Silva 71). These could be factors like technology and innovation, among others. The organisation needs to maintain a close relationship with the suppliers to keep track of these changes and to improve its production quality. The suppliers will, on the other hand, keep the organisation updated on any changes on the raw materials. They will also sell the best quality of the organisation. This way, the organisation will be able to maintain quality and consistent services and production.
Employees do the production work; thus, they need to be well motivated so that they can give the best of themselves in their work. The attitude of employees is essential in quality management. Employees with a positive attitude will always produce quality, while those with a negative attitude will have poor quality. Therefore, quality managers also need to create a good relationship with their employees
Analysis and Discussion
The Emirates airline is arguably one of the most successful companies in the United Arab Emirates. In fact, it was ranked fourth largest airline globally in the year 2012. It is a result of the quality of services that the company offers that the company is able to attract so many customers and retain them. Customer satisfaction has been a key attribute to the success of the airline. The company offers, arguably, the best airline services in the Middle East. It has been able to build its brand name, the Emirates, as a result of its excellent services. In fact, the Emirates has been able to win a couple of awards, among them being the Airline of the Year in the year 2012. The award that was given based on the company’s commitment to high quality operations and safety, as well as its good customer service. It is as a result of quality management and high quality services that the company has been able to record consistent profitability over a period stretching to 25 years.
The airline enjoys a team of leaders that is very influential. They are focused on ensuring that the company meets all the customer needs. In fact, the Emirates Airline leaders are all quality managers and they believe in quality services. It is as a result of high quality services that the company has been able to achieve its current success. Therefore, any leader who takes up any position should be highly influential and should be active towards quality achievement. Consistent and rapid growth form major traits of the Emirates Airline. One of the reasons why the company has been able to achieve its rapid growth is due to its ability to continually improve on its services. The company is always aware of the services that its customers need. It improves its services based on the consumer needs. It is among the largest airlines in terms of fleet. The Emirates is always bringing more comfortable aircrafts and aircrafts that are able to serve various needs. It is able to maintain the continuous improvement because it has a close relationship with its customers; therefore, it gets feedback on what they need and when they need it. The company also has a close relationship with its suppliers, thus it gets the best supplies that are relevant to quality management.
Conclusion and recommendation
There are many practices that an organisation can exercise in regard to quality management. The practices that an organisation chooses to exercise mostly depend on the industry in which it operates in and the kind of services it offers or the kinds of products it produces. However, there are some key practices that are common to almost all organisations that practice quality management. Among them include leadership, relationship building, and continuous improvement. Any organisation that wishes to succeed in the highly competitive business world should, at least, have these practices as part of its quality management. The Emirates Airline should maintain its current trend in quality management. It should put more people in the leadership positions to ensure that all factors that may affect quality are addressed in a timely and efficient manner.
Leadership is a very important function of any manager, as it plays a very important role in the achievement of the organisational goals. The work of managers is to see the organisation achieve its set goals. Leadership will, therefore, have a great influence in this bid. The Emirates Airline has good leadership. It should, however, focus on improving its leadership so as not to loose its competitiveness. Quality control and relationship building are also very important factors in the competitiveness of the Emirates Airline. It should also ensure that it benchmarks its activities against those of top companies in the industry to ensure that it is within range of the competitiveness.
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