BUS 445: Total Quality Management
Within this paper, we will address recommendations for a service department that receives complaints from 7% of its customers, from a quality manager point of view accentuating total quality management and excellent methods. Organizations should persistently improve it’s administration, procedures, and finances in order to maintain quality as far as the industries’ competitive advantage. Getting apparatuses, techniques, and phrases that are utilized by organizations to expand the quality of services and products are an essential requirement in the present competitive market demand and trends. Consumer satisfaction is the essential quality indicator, and the main reason for an organization’s overall success is a factor that managers must comprehend.
Justification for a quality improvement plan
A service department with complaints from 7% of its customers will more than likely show a decrease in sales and notoriety. 7% may not seem like a lot, but it is 7% of negative complaints that can still damage the service department’s reputation and finances if it grows. Therefore, the service department wanting to reduce customer complaints is a justification for a quality improvement plan. Quality improvement starts by looking at the complaints to see where the problems lie and how the department would go about to rectify the problems. According to Knox & van Oest (2014), “Customer complaints are a daily reality of business in for all intents and purposes of any industry and are normally stored in data warehouses, making them easily available to managers” (para.2). However, the service department has no detailed records of what the issues are. Which makes it a bit more challenging and demanding to know exactly what issues the customers were complaining of. As indicated per Evans & Lindsay (2017), “Customer complaints permit an association to find out about product failures and service problems, especially the gaps between expectations and performance” (sect.3.3). Therefore, the service department needs to start keeping better track of its records of all customer complaints that come through. As well as keeping detailed information on every aspect of the business such as the financials, any setbacks, reductions, and fluctuations. In doing so, this lets management know what they need to do to justify the need for a quality improvement process planning. By having access to these customer complaints, it would help the service department nail down precisely where the problems and issues are and how they are going to work on bettering it for the next customer or the returned customer.
Approaches to Customer Service
Customer service is the kind of thing that requires a consistent focus to improve to a point where the service department can give customers an ideal experience. There are several approaches that the service department can utilize customer service. Reliability, Assurance, Tangibles, Empathy, and Responsiveness are some principal dimensions that contribute to customer perceptions (Evans & Lindsay, 2017). Managers and all employees should effectively establish and focus on building a strong relationship with their customers. In doing so, the customer can provide honest responses in terms of products or services and would help customers become more loyal to the department. When managers effectively communicate with the customer about resolving complaints. It lets the customers know that they are valued and that the department is working on a plan of action to correct the issues and keep it from happening to another customer. As per Iwashita (2019), “Consumer loyalty is critical to customer retention. It is essential to capture consumers’ changes of mind or underlying dissatisfaction factors adequately. Thus, a time-series analysis considering the change of circumstances is significant for products or services” (p.111). The customer-focused approach permits organizations to consider complaints as opportunities for improvement as it allows them to resolve customer complaints effectively increases customer loyalty and retention (Evans & Lindsay, 2017, sect.3.5).
Output-Control and Measurement Approach to Improve Process Performance
Output controls involve measurable results. As per Evans & Lindsay (2017), “Statistical process control (SPC) is utilized for monitoring a process to identify special causes of variation and signal the need to take corrective action. SPC relies on control charts” (sect.8.5). Thus, an output control and measurement approach that could be utilized to improve process performance would be for managers to utilize control charts. However, first, the managers would need to collect information that would support the need for these changes. As per Farraz et. Al (2018), “Control charts are frequently used for monitoring processes” (para.1). When the company charts its inputs and outputs, it enables quality administrators to create and verify the information for non-arbitrary level changes or unique instances of variations that might distinguish a reason for concern. The utilization of a control chart takes raw measurable data that transforms it into a simple chart for trend identification. Quality administrators can utilize this information, when trends are recognized, to decide if the procedure needs improvement and if it is measurably in control (Evans & Lindsay, 2017).
Process-improvement and management approach.
There are numerous different methodologies intended to help the company handle process improvement. Each aims to enable the company to distinguish process issues, improve them, and analyze the success or failure of those changes. Some focus on lean procedure improvement strategies; others center on getting the organization culture in the right place for improvement. Then some methodologies help organizations visually map out process workflows (White, 2019). The cause-and-effect analysis, which includes utilizing a graphing technique to fix issues the first time by identifying the issue, discovering roadblocks, and pinpointing why the process is not working. The cause-and-effect is very useful in assisting the managers and their teams in identifying solutions to solve problems. These diagrams were also called a fishbone diagram. “At the end of the horizontal line, an issue is listed. Each branch pointing into the main stem represents a possible cause. Branches pointing to the causes are contributors to those causes” (Evans & Lindsay, 2017, sect.9.4). The service department is recommended to utilize a cause-and-effect diagram to evaluate the 7% customer complaints. By implementing the cause-and-effect diagram, it lets the service department generate ideas of problem causes and identify solutions. Especially since the department has no tracking information to what the complaints are, they can divvy it up and visually see where the causes are and how to rectify the causes and its contributors.
A recommended process-improvement approach.
A recommended process-improvement approach for the service department to use would be the Kaizen approach. As per White (2019), “Kaizen focuses on continuous improvement with a strong emphasis on lean and agile practices. Kaizen focuses on improving quality, profitability, and effectiveness through small moves in daily work or corporate culture to encourage an environment that does not punish errors or mistakes, yet rather attempts to keep them from happening again.” By using the Kaizen approach, the service department can reduce the number of customer complaints that the department is experiencing. By making small, gradual changes daily, they can improve their processes.
Input-measurement and Management Approach.
According to Evans & Lindsay (2017), “One approach to assess consumer satisfaction and use it adequately is to gather information on both the importance and the performance of key quality attributes. The results of such an analysis can help target areas for improvement and cost savings, as well as provide useful input for strategic planning” (sect.3.7). Therefore, using and analyzing customer feedback ensures that the service department is working on reducing customer complaints and finding alternatives to appeal to its customer’s needs and wants. The strategies of process management must be repeatable and measurable. Repeatable means the procedure must repeat over time. Measurement gives the capacity to capture significant quality and performance indicators to uncover patterns about process performance. Meeting these two guarantees that adequate information can be gathered to uncover useful information for control and improvement (Evans & Lindsay, 2017, sect.5.1).
A supplier-management approach to improve input and supplier quality.
As per Evans & Lindsay (2017), “Supply chains help to create a competitive advantage in conveyance, adaptability, and cost reduction. Suppliers incorporate organizations that provide materials and components, but also distributors, transportation companies, and data, health care, and education providers” (sect.5.6). Numerous organizations work with suppliers to expand adaptability, focus on their core values, and improve efficiency and cost along the supply chain (Ebert, 2017). Numerous organizations utilize a supplier certification process to rate and certify the performance of their suppliers. By using ISO 9000, the organization can avoid unnecessary audit costs and guarantee that they are following set standards. This also ensures that suppliers are working on improving any areas that are needed to be improved.
In conclusion, the service department, with 7% of customer complaints, would need to focus on having a customer-focused approach. Managers that can implement the usage of control charts, cause-and-effect analysis, the kaizen approach, proper process improvement-management approach strategies, identifying which one fits best for the service department, and its values are essential. When the service department managers and employees can build healthy and productive relationships with its consumers, and the consumers can be upfront and honest about their opinions and feedback on products and services. This would help the service department improve its processes and work on providing excellent quality service and products to their consumers. Once this is established, slowly and surely, the customer complaints would dwindle down and that 7% would be positive feedback instead of complaints. Conducting supplier certification processes for the organization’s suppliers is one way of staying ahead of a competitive market. Having an effective communication rapport is the key to everything. Being able to convey the right message to the supplier and the supplier be able to carry it out is what every organization wants. A supplier is not only a vendor but also the organization’s partner. As per Evans & Lindsay (2017), “High-quality service workers also require effective reward systems that recognize customer satisfaction results and customer-focused behaviors, appropriate skills, and abilities for performing the job, and supervisors who act more as coaches and mentors than as administrators” (sect.1.4).
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