Quality Management

Assignment Description

Written report (2500 words) on Quality Management in the service context.

Quality is regarded as a vital component of every organisation and will continue to remain important for improving organisational performance and achieving competitive advantage in a firm’s industry – be it a service organisation (e.g. healthcare; airlines; retail; tourism; financial services) or a manufacturing organisation (e.g. electronics ‘computer, TV, radio, phone’; heavy engineering; chemical; food products). 

In today’s service economy, there has been growing emphasis on the application of modern management techniques including quality management in the service industry to improve service performance and overall organisational performance.

Assuming that you are hired by a service organisation (e.g. healthcare, airlines, retail, tourism, financial services) as a quality management consultant to assist them in the service quality improvement process…

Your task is to prepare a Quality Management Report covering the following aspects:

(1) Identification of current practices, issues, and future trends of quality management in a service industry of your choice using various concepts and principles of quality management covered in the course. In addressing these aspects, you need to:
a) discuss definitions of quality in services
b) discuss a range of relevant approaches to quality management,
c) identify issues in their implementation
d) analyze the current and future trends by reviewing the relevant quality management literature.

(2) Examine the influence of quality management practices in improving customer satisfaction / service performance / organisational performance. In addressing this aspect, you need to:
a) discuss what is meant by customer satisfaction / service or organisational performance
b) explain which aspects of quality management practices are associated with these outcomes and why.

(3) Recommend what kind of initiatives the service organisation of your choice should take to successfully implement quality management practices for improving their performance.

Present your findings in the quality management report in a clear / logical / professional manner using acceptable format and submit it via SafeAssign on or before Wednesday 3:30 pm, week 11.

Sample Paper Preview

Quality Management Group Report

1.0  Service Quality: Definition

Quality is a fundamental necessity for the healthcare industry. Within the healthcare industry, quality plays a critical role as regards organizational performance and growth. There are various definitions of quality; however, the basic concept in all these definitions is similar, that is, fulfilling consumer needs and requirements. In a more generalized way, service quality is the integration of all the specified characteristics and features as well as its ability to meet the specific needs in accordance with the requirements of the customer while using it (Bhattacharya, 2009). Similarly, Pressman (2005) defines service quality as conformance to the specific requirements. Based on the ISO 9000 quality management standards, service quality is the extent to which a given set of intrinsic features and characteristics meets the expected requirements (Pressman, 2005). In in the context of the healthcare industry, quality simply means offering that care that patients require at the appropriate time and in an effective, safe, and affordable manner.

Patients often want to avail various healthcare services offered by various healthcare service providers and that service that meets their expectations will be deemed the quality service. However, value for patients will be dependent on the perception of the patients and may differ from one patient to the other. In yet another definition, Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry (1985) define service quality in terms of the following equation: Service quality = Perception – Expectation Applying the above model to the healthcare industry, service quality is simply the difference between patient service expectation and the actual service that the patient receives. Patients often have a specific expectation about a certain healthcare service and if the experience of the patient as regards the service is the same of his/her expectation then there will be a zero difference and we can conclude that the service quality is excellent. From the above equation, the higher the difference the lower the service quality and vice versa.

2.0  Approaches to Quality Management

2.1  Total Quality Management (TQM) Approach
Total Quality Management (TQM hereafter), is a series of management processes that are aimed at establishing an answerable management, empowered employees, contented customers and quality services with reduced costs which results in sustainability in the long run as well as improved financial returns both in the short-term and long-term. According to Feigenbaum (1983), TQM is an efficient approach for incorporating quality development, improvement and maintenance efforts of different groups within an organization in order to facilitate delivery of service at economic levels that supports customer satisfaction. According to Feigenbaum, the development, improvement and maintenance of quality within an organization is often largely dependent on customer satisfaction. Oakland (1993) notes that TQM supports the improvement of the flexibility and effectiveness of the entire organization. Thus, TQM is an effective approach for putting processes within the healthcare industry in order at all levels in order to attain maximal value for patients. Within the healthcare industry, TQM is an intensely integrated effort for attaining efficient service delivery by constantly improving each aspect of the institutional culture. Through TQM, staff within the healthcare industry acknowledge the significance of each person within the organization in the realization of organizational goals. TQM is a journey towards the enhancement of organizational processes. Mohanty and Lekhi (2002) describe TQM as systematic long-term approaches introduced and inspired by the management to achieve complete culture change in order to fulfill the dynamic customer needs and establish a diversified, contented and loyal customer base.
2.2  Lean Thinking Approach
The lean approach was developed by the Japanese in the mid-1950s. This approach aims at standardizing and stabilizing work processes so that all critical challenges within the healthcare sector can be easily identified, which would enable hospital staff to develop critical thinking abilities that would enable them to easily resolve these challenges and enhance work flow. Though the lean approach has been mostly used in the manufacturing industry in the past, service industries such as the healthcare industry are also adopting this approach in order to improve their efficiencies in delivering quality services to their customers. As proposed by Schiele and McCue (2011) and Womack and Jones (1997), the lean thinking approach involves comprehending the principle of constantly identifying ways of reducing waste by using lean techniques and tools for customer satisfaction. In the healthcare industry, lean approaches are aimed at achieving optimal value for patients by minimizing waits and waste (Lawal et al., 2014). Given that healthcare institutions need to offer optimal patient value, the use of lean thinking can be an effective approach in improving the quality and efficiency of service delivery. The aim of lean thinking is to reduce waste and this is realized by finding steps that add value in every process and those that do not add any value (Womack and Jones, 1997). Eliminating the steps that do not add any value results in the creation of an effective system in which every step plays a key role in improving organizational performance. In service organizations, improved performance may include aspects such as high service quality and low cost. The establishment of an effective system of processes or activities through lean thinking significantly contributes to the service delivery that maximizes the value for patients in the healthcare industry.

3.0  Issues in the Implementation of Quality Management Approaches  

Pheng and Jasmine (2004) acknowledge that the level of support given to the execution of quality management systems by the management of organizations is critical as regards the success of such systems. The commitment among the top management inspires other employees in non-managerial positions to follow their guidance and manner of working. Thus, according to Hamidi and Zamanparrar (2008), a major issue as regards the execution of quality management systems in service organizations is the lack of commitment from the top management. Lack of managerial commitment and the laxity by the top management in creating suitable and supportive organization culture is likely to impair the implementation of quality management practices within the healthcare industry by diverting the focus from continuous improvement. Moreover, given that the attitude of the non-management team within the industry is often shaped by that of the top management, lack of commitment by the top management is likely to discourage the non-management team from pursuing continuous improvement through quality management. Lack of proper training as regards these quality management systems also offers a challenge towards the implementation of the systems (Tamimi and Sebastianelli, 1998). The implementation of quality management systems requires a well-trained workforce with proper understanding of the fundamental concept of the systems. As a result of poor training, most employees and top management in the healthcare industry lack the basic understanding of the systems; thereby, exhibiting unwillingness to embrace quality management implementation. For a successful execution of a quality management, both the top management and employees need proper training as regards the operation of these systems in order for them to execute their roles effectively. Moreover, the adversarial association between the top management and the employees in many institutions offers a major bulwark as regards quality management implementation (Ramadan and El Leithy, 2016). The authors claim that successful implementation of quality management systems within an organization is largely dependent on the nature of the relationship between the management team and the non-management team. The implementation of quality systems must be supported by employee understanding, trust and acceptance of the motives of the management team. Thus, the management in the healthcare industry should regard employees as key players in all processes including decision-making in terms of quality management since involving them in the decision-making process would inspire them to support the implementation process.

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