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Organizations adopt various management approaches towards the achievement of goals and objectives as set forth by its stakeholders. TQM, Total Quality Management, is one of the contemporary management approaches and is aimed at achieving long-term success through customer satisfaction. In TQM approach, every member of an organization participates in the improvement of processes, products, services and culture within which they work. The TQM was developed by organizational management experts like Philip B. Crosby, Kaoru Ishikawa, Joseph Juran, Armand Feigenbaum, and W. Edwards Deming.
Also, defined as a set of the management initiatives, policies and procedures aimed towards achievement of the high quality products and/or services, as the outcome. TQM has some underlying principles. 1. Executive Management or Top Management must take the lead and act as the driving force, so that for TQM creates an inclusive environment aimed at ensuring success in the organization; 2. Employees must receive ongoing training pertaining to the concepts and methods of quality; 3. Improvements of quality must be translated into improved customer satisfaction; 4. Quality decisions based on measured performance should be made; 5. Use of adequate methods and tools must ensure that non-conformances with quality standards are properly identified, and thereafter, measured and responded on the consistent basis; 6. Companies should concentrate their efforts towards continuous improvement of manufacturing and respective quality procedures; 7. The culture in the company must continuously aim at improving of employees’ abilities of working together towards quality improvement; and, 8. Employees must be encouraged to be pro-active in identifying and addressing quality- related problems.
The Qatar Airways: A TQM Organization
Essentially, TQM is a company-wide philosophy, where each employee is responsible for quality within his or her domain. This is practiced by one of the leading airlines in the world and a leading company in the United Arab Emirates, the Qatar Airways Company, Q.C.S.C., or popularly known under the name of Qatar Airways. Established in 1993, Qatar Airlines is a state-owned carrier of flag of Qatar, with Headquarters in Doha. It is operating a hub- network that links over one hundred (100) destinations worldwide from its Doha base, with a fleet accounting over hundred aircrafts.
With a massive employee base of more than twenty thousand (20,000) people (14,000 of whom work directly for the airline and 6,000 of them work in the airline’s subsidiaries), Qatar Airways is applying TQM in all its ranks across the globe. Destinations include countries in Central Asia, Africa, Europe, Far East, Middle East, South Asia, Oceania, North America, and South America. At the same time, the company makes sure that total quality control is achieved in all levels of the company.
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How Qatar Airways Practices TQM
Applying the Principles of TQM, Qatar Airway’s Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Akbar Al Baker took the lead and acted as the main driver for the company’s TQM, creating an environment that fosters its success within the whole organization, as well as being instrumental in making Qatar Airlines into one of the airlines with the fastest growth rate and highest repute companies worldwide. Al Baker spearheaded the growth of the company from four aircraft in a regional capacity into its more than 100 destinations across an international route network spanning six continents. Being highly motivated, Mr. Al Baker believes that his examples of quality work will create a culture of quality among the employees of Qatar Airways.
Indeed, from the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) down to the rank-and-file workforce, Qatar Airways implements TQM with the core message that TQM is the responsibility of every employee wherever his/her domain is, making the company an example of excellence and quality at all levels. As a result, the company has a phenomenal route expansion, average of 30%, and it has gained a reputation as flying one of the most modern fleets of aircraft in the skies, as well as garnering awards, making the company one of an elite group of airlines to have been awarded by Skytrax with 5-Star Awards worldwide.
Qatar Airlines has realized that the major factor to consider when practicing TQM is customers. Quality is always defined as satisfying customers by targeting to meet or sometimes exceed their expectations. The Company does market research, analyzes data it receives to know the requirement of goods and services that customers expect. It then devices the relevant means to ensure it produces goods and services that either meet or exceed the expectations of customers.
High quality standards are fostered at Qatar Airline, since the company recognizes that properly produced product or service attracts many customers only if it is what they want; otherwise it loses value even if perfectly produced. Customers are, therefore, said to drive quality. Since demands and expectations of customers change every day, technology improves tremendously, and expectations of customers vary from one customer to the other, the company continually gathers data regarding what customers expect by surveying the market, interviewing customers, getting customer feedback through the feedback form at its website and through emails to be up to date with what customers expect.
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It also ensures it is up to date with the tremendous improvement in technology so that customers enjoy the benefits. In this regard, the Company continuously studies the trends in technology, finds how it can apply it in its operations best to meet customers’ needs, and implements it. For example, the company has realized that businessmen require high speed planes, which can carry considerable large volumes of luggage, and has bought Dassault Falcon 7x. The plane operates on three Pratt and Whitney PW307A engines, travels at a maximum speed of 953 km/h with a travel speed of 900 km/h, cabin dimensions of 39.08ft length, 7.67ft width, and 6.17ft height, and capacity of up to 14 passengers.
Unlike traditional companies, which assumed they were successful after achieving a certain level of quality and did not continue with improvements, Qatar Airways developed a philosophy of continued improvements. Since it can never achieve perfection, it normally evaluates its performance and finds ways of improving. It follows two approaches to ensure continuous improvements of its products, services, and processes.
It follows Shewhart cycle, which includes planning, doing, studying, and acting. The management continuously evaluates the Company’s current processes and recommends appropriate actions to improve the problems they find. They do this by documenting its current processes, collecting data, identifying problems, and studying them to come up with a plan that would find solutions to the problems. They then implement the plan while documenting the changes they have made, for future reference; they study the data they collect, in the planning phase, to determine if the desired goals are met. In case the plan produces the required results, the management communicates it to stakeholders and fully implements the plan. After successful implementation, they repeat the cycle by evaluating the processes, planning, studying, and acting.
Moreover, the Company benchmarks its business practices to companies it views to provide high quality products and services. It does not only bench mark its business practices with companies in the same business, but also those in different businesses it considers being excelling in areas it wants to emulate. For example, though they are not in the same business line, Qatar Airlines benchmarks how it resolves conflicts with American Express’.
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Empowerment of Employees
Qatar Company empowers its employees to know its quality ambitions, identifies problems hindering successful quality delivery, and finds viable ways to correct them. Unlike the old concept of quality where employees feared to identify and report quality problems for fear of being punished and let poor quality products or services pass on, the company allows employees to identify problems related to quality and rewards them. This encourages employees and makes them feel part of the company.
The Company empowers its employees on quality issues by continually training them on tools for measuring quality. This gives them the authority to make decisions regarding quality during the design and productions phases. The quality decisions, which are made by employees, are highly valued and fully implemented by the company. This way, employees get encouraged and they participate more in making quality decisions.
The company makes a clear distinction between external and internal customers. External customers are those that purchase goods and services while internal customers are those (employees) that receive goods and services from other department in the Company. For example, the clearing and forwarding department in the Company is internal customer to the customer service department. Just like the Company would not like external customers to receive poor quality products or services, it would not like its internal customers to receive products and services of poor quality. Passing products and services through the hands of internal customers before reaching outside customers enable identification of quality problems before they reach external customers.
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The company recognizes the effects of team working on quality of products and services. It puts employees in teams to help solve quality problems faster. The teams utilize techniques such as quality control tools and brainstorming to identify quality gaps and provide solutions to them. It takes contributions from the teams truly seriously and implements them. Moreover, it rewards groups that bring positive impacts to the Company’s quality.
In addition to the normal departmental tools, the Company has initiated a quality circle team whose main purpose is to identify and solve the Company’s quality problems. The team also assists the management to follow the Shewhart cycle to identify and solve quality problems.
Since the company invests in training employees on the use of quality tools, it allows them to apply them in their day to day operations. Its employees mostly use the checklist and cause-and-effect tool to identify and solve quality problems. Checklist helps them list common quality problems and their chances of occurrence. With the tool, employees collect relevant information regarding certain quality problems, identify the most dangerous problem, and focus their efforts on ways of solving it. For example, after listing quality problems and coming up with booking problem as the most dangerous quality problem, the company decided to implement online booking to allow customers to book their flights online in advance whenever they are wish, without delays.
Cause-and-effect diagram enables employees to identify the possible causes of quality problems and group them together. They identify the possible causes through brainstorming.
The Company ensures it designs products and services that meet the expectations of customers. Since the customer’s everyday language differs from customer to the customer, it uses quality function deployment tool to translate the everyday language to technical terms. Quality function deployment tool helps translate certain design specifications into what customers require. The tool relies on data received from the marketing department regarding customer requirement, scores the data in terms of the usefulness and translates them to the required product or service characteristics.
It is cost saving to identify quality problem at an earlier stage than finding it later and discarding defective products or services. The Company manages quality from the design stage to the implementation stage. This enables it identify and correct quality problems early, thereby prevent wastages.
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Data Collection Methods
This term paper uses the internet or online resources to gather data that are necessary for this topic. Domain sites of the organization, the Qatar Airways, and other Total Quality Management websites have been utilized in order to gather reliable and relevant data. The data was later analyzed, in relation to research got from total quality management websites, to get an in depth knowledge of how the Company’s approaches make it manage quality successfully.