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Banks believe that they are in the finance industry, and not in the service industry. Thus they tend to compete in terms of financial prowess rather than service quality. People, resources, time, and systems are devoted more to managing assets and cash rather than managing customers and service. In fact most bank systems are designed to control customers rather than satisfy customers. Products and procedures are set up for the convenience of the bank rather than that of the customer. Banks usually give customer service and satisfaction very low priority. (Rene T. Domingo)
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The lifeblood of any business is its customers. Customers decide sales based on their perception of product and service quality. Therefore, quality determines profits, and customers alone define and determine what that quality is and should be.
This study will limit itself to the assessment of operations department at Barclays Bank PLC. Information provided is strictly confidential and for the only purpose of this study.
1.0 Introducing Barclays Bank PLC
‘Our strategy is to increase the growth potential of Barclays by continuing to diversify our business by customer, product and geography.’
John Varley, Group Chief Executive, Barclays Group
With over three hundred years of history and know-how in banking, Barclays operates in more than sixty countries and employs one hundred and thirty five thousand people. Barclays progresses, lends, invests and protects the money of over thirty million customers around the world.
Barclays Bank Plc, Mauritius with its ninety years of presence in the country, has built itself a very solid reputation. As a branch of Barclays Plc (UK) operating in Mauritius, the bank caters for the domestic and international divisions of the financial sectors. As a fast growing multi-national bank with approximately one thousand two hundred employees, Barclays Bank, Mauritius offer a wide range of services for individual as well as corporate customers.
Barclays Mauritius has reported outstanding results for the Year 2010 with a profit after tax increasing by 119% to reach Mur 2.38bn. This includes a one-off gain of Rs 1.33bn from the sale of the custody business to Standard Chartered Bank. As a result, income has increased by 33 % with Mur 4.8bn.
The Operation Strategy
1.1 The Operation Strategy in Mauritius
The operations area is the driving engine of the bank with a headcount of 450 employees split into the Consumer and Commercial Operations. These two streams will have greater and clearer focus to the business functions to which they provide support. The operations function is headed by the Chief Operating Officer assisted by managers and team leaders from each section.
The Operation Function chart
1.2 Purpose of the Project
Barclays Bank Plc have to maintain image, reputation, and credibility in order to do their job as custodians of other people’s money. But over the years, the complex systems and bureaucracy were set up and added in the name of control while sacrificing and neglecting customer service in the process. The management is concerned with profitability, growth and resource generation. But only a few inspectors are responsible for checking product quality. If one looks at the concept of Quality and its progress over the years carefully, it is evident that Quality has always been an important element for the success of any organization.
pay much attention to the plight of their clients – before, during, and after sales.
The bank is considering implementing a quality system that conforms to ISO standards. Total Quality Management (TQM), which is about total customer service and continuous customer satisfaction, is applicable not only in the manufacturing industry but in the service sector as well, where the customer is just as important. In fact, customers in the service industry are more sensitive to service quality and service delivery than in manufacturing because they are always in contact with front-line service personnel.
Starting a total quality management (TQM) programme will upgrade and improve professional skills of the employees and the proposed programmes will also emphasise the need of excellence in all spheres of management.
For design, development and implementation of a QMS, the ISO 9000 approach is completely compatible with the total quality philosophy. ISO system is about standardizing the approach organizations everywhere take in managing and improving the processes that ultimately result in producing better quality products and services.
The quality management system is often implemented all at once throughout the organization. Where phased implementation takes place, the effectiveness of the system in selected areas can be evaluated. It would be a good idea initially to evaluate areas where the chances of a positive evaluation are high, to maintain the confidence of both management and staff in the merits of implementing the quality management system. According to initial plans, the proposed training programme will have two stages.
The first phase will be implemented in the Commercial operations department. In the next phase, TQM will be applied across all departments across the bank.
The process for implementation of a quality management system depends on the size of the organization and complexity of the actual process. Let’s have a look at these in our next chapter.
2.1 Literature review
Supplier quality management is an important aspect of TQM since materials and purchased parts are often a major source of quality problems (Zhang et al., 2000). Many authors advocate that companies must establish supply chain partnerships to motivate suppliers to provide materials needed to meet customer expectations (Harrison et al., 1996; Kumar, 1996; Lambert et al., 1996; Clifton, 2001; Jabnoun, 2000; Thakur, 2002). The quality gurus believe that supplier should be viewed as an integral part of the organization’s business operations (Ishikawa, 1985; Deming, 1986; Crosby, 1989).
2.2 Definitions of Quality
Total Quality Management (TQM) is defined as a quality-centered, customer-focused, fact-based, team-driven, senior-management-led process to achieve an organization’s strategic imperative through continuous process improvement. The Oxford American dictionary defines Quality as “A degree or level of excellence”. Feigenbaum, 1983, defines quality as: “Quality is defined as being about value”. According to Juran, 1989, “Quality is fitness for use”. The word “total” in TQM means that everyone in the organization must be involved in the continuous improvement effort, the word “quality” shows a concern for customer satisfaction, and the word “management” refers to the people and processes needed to achieve the quality.
2.3 Tools and techniques to depict current situation
All departments within the Commercial Operation Functions are linked to each other with the same aim to meet business strategies. However there are no clear interactions and synergies present between them which will make all department functions effectively. The service level between each department is low as there is great competition to perform better than the other.
2.3.1 Flow Chart
Figure 3 below, depicts the current situation in the Commercial Operation department.
List of tasks to be performed by:
- record all incoming and outgoing instructions
- Operators may liaise with external customer by face to face telephone, emails or signed fax,
- Nature of instructions/queries by telephone – statements, transfers, debit or credit advises, swift copies, queries on cheques/interest/charges
- acknowledgement of instruction form client either by fax/mail/diskette for salary transfers/or original documents being submitted personally by client
- Nature of instructions by fax/mail – new account opening, change in authorized signatories, transfers, payments of bills or import loans, salaries, request of statement/advices/swift copies, complaints/, of letters of credit/bills/import loan accounts, access to internet banking,
- Liaise with internal customers like the Consumer Operations department in order to respond to clients queries
2) Team leader:
- verifies/sample checks whether all incoming and outgoing instructions are logged properly
- after instructions signed by relationship managers send all instructions to be processed to concerned department
- Does sample checks whether operators performing jobs as required
3) Line manager:
- liaises with other departments to help improve quality of service/ attend queries/complaints when same are of high priority and if involves loss to the bank
No wonder staffs do not pay attention to customer service since it does not affect their performance evaluation. Most banks do not have a system to handle errors or customer complaints. Few banks realizes that if they continuously cut all processing times, it becomes a WIN-WIN situation – customers are happier, and the banks make more money.
2.3.2 The current work flow process is being described in below chart:
Our main concern is that the quality of service has decreased to such an extent that we are not able to retain the existing customers. We have to accept that all banks are able to provide the same products but what differentiates one bank from another is its quality of service. Our ultimate goal is providing customer satisfaction.
2.3.3 Ishikawa (Fishbone) Diagram
The Fishbone/cause and effect diagram is an analysis tool to display possible causes of a specific problem. Its major benefits is that it pushes you to consider all possible causes of the problem in a structured and uncomplicated manner. Using Ishikawa (Fishbone) diagram, we will be able to identify the reasons why customer service has declined and as such identify remedies. It also helps in indicating how much we know about the process.
Poor technology compared
To other banks Internal environment (stress, high processing time)Poor communication) Ignorance of staff External On how to make full Environment (highly Utilization of existingvolatile and risky laws and risky technologyindustry, law and legislation) Currently nobody opinion is Bureaucracy
2.4 Implementation of a Quality System
There are several approaches that can be used to implement a quality system, like Juran 10 Points for Quality improvement, Crosby’s 14 Steps for Quality Improvement, and many others. However for this study, we are going to implement W.E Deming’s 14 Points for quality improvement.
W.E Deming is one of the most famous guru’s in quality implementation. He is generally credited with the post-war introduction of quality concepts in Japan. According to Deming : “The consumer is the most important part of the production line. Quality should be aimed at the needs of the consumer, present and future”. According to Deming, adoption and implementation of his 14 points would be a a sign that management intends to stay in business and aims to protect investors and jobs.
Below are the 14 points of W.E Deming and how their application would increase quality and customer satisfaction:
1) Create constancy of Purpose for continual improvement of product and service
Management should accept this as number one priority. Resources have to be allocated for long term planning rather than short-term profits. Investment in quality and innovation will ensure existence and competitiveness of the company. Top management should motivate employees and communicate clear policies.
For the purpose of this study, implementation of point one will help to remove stress and hence providing a friendly environment to work with. Commitment form top management to invest in innovation and allocate resources for long run will ensure the people (employees and external customers) that the organization is planning to remain in business for the very long run.
Innovation will help the bank increase its technology or product/service quality that will help it gain competitive edge over its competitors. This will also help to decrease the gap in technology with other banks.
2) Learn and Adopt the new Philosophy.
A change is necessary in the old management methods. Organisations need to understand that higher quality cost less. However change cannot happen overnight. There should be a constant movement towards the new philosophy.
First we have to analyse the existing system (as described in figure 2 & chart 1 above) and the damaged caused by the current system should be appreciated by everybody (cause and effect diagram). Managers have to admit that they should be more present in day to day business, rather than just delegation work on the operation side.
The organization should concentrate on defect prevention rather than defect detection. One dissatisfied customer is equivalent to a lost customer. Defect prevention will help improve process, quality and productivity as each instruction/document returned causes a delay and decrease quality. Top management should make each and every staff aware the benefits the organisation expects to realize through quality management system.
The above flowchart (chart 1) can also be called a value chain, and if everybody in the value chain looks for defects, the flow towards the documents/instructions processing will be smooth, quick and the end result will surely meet or even exceed customers’ needs.
3) Understand the purpose of inspection.
Management should understand that the purpose of inspection is to improve the process and reduce cost. Mass inspection is managing for failure whereas defect prevention is managing foe success. Defect prevention decreases long run costs, results in high quality products and minimizes the need for after sales service.
For this statistical evidence is required. Team leader should take note about the number of failures with respect to any documents and the reasons why. With proper recognition by staff about building quality in the service or product, the number of failures should decrease and this will also lead to a decrease in number of controls and procedures over time.
Use of checklist as a tool of quality control will help management to observe the common defects and how many times they occurred. By checking this on a weekly basis, management would know whether they are decreasing and what is the biggest problem.
Number of defects
Day 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
0, 0, 0 ,0,0
Instructions not processed
5, 6, 7, 8, 4
early but process late
4 , 3, 2, 2, 1
10, 5, 6, 7, 9
9, 4, 7, 9, 8
Management needs to make staff understand that controls are not punitive measures, but to minimize risk that pose a threat to business.
4) Stop awarding business based on low price alone.
Purchasing managers should look at quality form suppliers before making any purchase. There are huge savings that can occur over the long run by purchasing quality products. As Walter Shewhart says: “ Price has no meaning unless a measure of quality is purchased at the same time”. Deming advice is to choose a single supplier for each item on the basis of statistical evidence from the suppliers process feedback loop.
This point refers to the technological problem in our study. The appropriate technology that matches the organisation context should have been build in-house rather than sub-contracting or buying the package from outside. This would have helped to meet the needs of the employees better and hence providing and producing quality products. Also building the technology in-house would have required employees from all department collaboration and hence almost each and every staff would have been aware of the technologies and staff would have a sense of belonging to the organization.
5) Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service.
Management should take more responsibility for problems by finding and correcting them in order to decrease costs and increase quality and productivity. The focus is again on prevention rather than detection. The process of quality improvement should never stop and it should always be geared towards customers absolute satisfaction. Note that there is always variability around every target and this is why there is always a room for further improvement.
Constant improvement will lead to a reduction in customers’ complaints. Improving quality of service will lead to increase in communication and employees opinions taken into consideration.
6) Institute training on the job.
A continuous program of on the job training should be instituted and this should include managers. Investment in proper training of all new employees will ensure that the new comers will know exactly what is expecting from them. Training will help detect variation, use of statistical techniques and helps to keep up with new developments.
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For our purpose, training will help employees to equip with a better understanding of the job and its requirements. The worker is not just getting satisfaction but also getting an incentive to improve. Proper training will help managers address complaints themselves, help in defining roles and responsibilities and help in the integration between old workers and the new generation.
7) Adopt and institute modern methods of leadership.
Management should not create a negative and fault finding environment. They should create a positive and supportive environment where workers job are recognized. For this there should be clear communications at all level. Management should ensure that immediate action is taken whenever defects are identified which compromises quality.
Modern leaders should ensure that quality, productivity and performance are continually improved. Difference between old and new school of thoughts should be taken as an advantage.
According to Deming, today’s leaders should:
- Lead and motivate by example rather than fear,
- Teach and counsel rather than judge and supervise.
- Use mistakes to learn rather than to blame
- Understand the difference between random and special variation. Management should differentiate between variations due to outside factors (special causes) and random variation (causes are due to the process itself).
Statistical Controlh Out of statistical control
- Promote team work and mutual trust
- Provide innovative methods to accomplish the improvement.
8) Drive out fear and create trust and a climate for innovation
Management should encourage effective communication and teamwork. Fear is caused by lack of job security, performance appraisals, ignorance of organization goals, and not knowing the job. Fear can be eliminated through proper communication, clear definition of goals and objectives, training and supervision. Once fear eliminated, innovative ideas will crop up. Deming believes that fear makes the implementation of most of his other management points impossible.
Elimination fear in the department, will lead to a less stressful environment, positive attitude towards work, opinions being voiced out, decrease the clash between old and new school of thoughts and hence leading to better quality service.
Performance appraisal leads to competition, competition leads to jealousy and jealousy leads to fear. Removal of performance appraisal will lead to cooperation.
9) Break down barriers between departments and individuals.
Barriers exist among levels of management, among departments and within department. It exists because of poor communication and ignorance of organizational goals.
Eliminating barriers, communication channels opened and teamwork organized, competition within the company has to be replaced with cooperation. Note that point (8) and point (9) are allied and go hand in hand.
By breaking down barriers, employees from different departments can meet and interact to find quality solutions.
10) Eliminate the use of slogans, Posters and exhortations for the workforce.
Exhortations that ask for increased productivity without providing specific improvement methods can handicap an organization. They just express management’s desires. According to Deming, people should be given the means to work smarter, not harder. This is quite common in large organizations like Barclays Bank Plc. Due to its large number of employees, management goals are communicated through emails and this is interpreted differently at different levels of the organisation. A more face to face interaction is required so that management policies are understood, friendly environment is created, proper channel of communication developed and employees have a sense of belonging to the organization goals.
11) Eliminate numerical quotas for the work force.
Quotas focus on quantity rather than quality. Quotas should be replaced with statistical methods of process control. Instead of management by objective, management should learn the capabilities of the process and how to improve them.
Management should stop focussing on figures and start looking at customer satisfaction. Relevant statistical data should be analysed in line with current procedures and system. We have to take into consideration that Mauritius is a small country and it is quite impossible to look for new business every year. The only way to increase sales in through competition among banks. This leads to clients’ advantage. Same products are offered in all banks but the only difference is the quality of service. Only by improving process and service quality will the bank remain in business for the long run.
12) Remove barriers that rob people of pride of workmanship.
Ignorance of organisational goals, punitive supervision and adequate training leads to loss of pride. According to Deming, the two serious mental obstacles which prevent pride in workmanship are performance appraisal and management by objective. These two obstacle leads to internal competition and hence barriers in communication, reduces risk taking and hence decrease in innovative ideas, variability in performance leading to jealousy and fear and focuses on short term results which may prevent the organization from attaining its long term goals. Deming strongly recommends the abolition of annual merit rating because of above reasons.
Performance appraisal can be replaced bay a proper leadership and communication and by a proper counselling and development procedure. This will lead to job security, teamwork, friendly environment and all employees will have a sense of belonging to the organization.
13) Encourage Education and self improvement for everyone.
An organization requires people who are improving with education. Things change fast. Managers should be aware of this and be appropriately trained. Here we are referring to continual re-education and self-improvement for everyone which is quite similar with point (6). The common truth between both points is that without training there is no guarantee for innovation. Re-training leads to investment in the most important asset of the company – its people. This leads to job security, increased motivation and less brain drain.
14) Take action to ensure top management permanent commitment to accomplish the transformation.
The top management should demonstrate a commitment and a determination to implement a quality management system in the organization. Without top management commitment, no quality initiative can succeed. The top management should provide evidence of its commitment for e.g. by defining the organization’s quality policy and make this known to every employee, ensuring that quality objectives are established at all levels and functions and ensuring the availability of resources required for the development.
Management has to accept the primarily responsibility for the never ending improvement of the process. A cultural change is required. All employees should understand and be committed to the new philosophy. Deming advocates” Quality is made in the Board Room….[however]… limitations on quality are also made in the board Room”.
2.5 Obstacles to implementation
According to Deming, there are 7 Deadly Diseases that management will face while implementing the above. Let’s analyse the 7 diseases (the first seven ones below) as advocated by Deming and others that apply particularly to our case.
1. Lack of constancy of purpose.
As long as the focus in on short term thinking, management will fail to plan adequately. This follows from his last point. Constancy will decrease cost, assist innovation, make employees feel secure, they know about the vision of the organisation.
2. Emphasis on short-term profits.
This defeats constancy of purpose. Its easy to show short term profits by cutting expenses on training, maintenance and other long term plans. Short term profits is due to fear of takeovers, but if long term strategy/planning is forgone, surely in the long run the company will be more prone to takeovers.
3. Evaluation by performance, merit rating, or annual review of performance.
All this should be stopped. The main reasons are because they create competition, fear, they are subjective, concentrate on short term profit.
4. Mobility of management/Job hopping
This causes instability and destroys teamwork.
5. Running a company on visible figures alone.
Figures can be manipulated. The only figures to be used are those that which represent properly selected statistical data.
6. Excessive medical costs.
For our study, this can be related to additional benefits provided by the organisation to its staff.
7. Excessive costs of warranty, fuelled by lawyers who work for contingency fees.
8. Inability of management to use statistical techniques to improve productions.
9. Training once completed is not put into practice.
10. Inability to change the organisational culture and lack of planning.
These are long term objectives and if management would like these to happen in the short term, then there will be complete chaos in the organisation.
11. Lack of continuous training and education.
12. Fear of change.
For the TQM to succeed, we need to have a careful analysis of its failures/obstacles. But most importantly, management should educate all staff about the reasons for adapting TQM. TQM will not take place until all employees understand and are committed for its implementation
In this chapter, we will have a look about the benefits TQM will have on the department and also how TQM will help in overcoming the obstacles mentioned in the previous chapter.
Let’s have a look at the direct benefits the department will achieve:
Increased effectiveness in the use of the organization’s resources to enhance customer satisfaction and improved reliability of its processes through shorter cycle’s time.
This means that processes will be simpler, more reliable and the amount of defects will decrease. Tailor made services can be produced.
Improved quality of products and services, leading to reduce in customer rejection of products/services because of poor quality. Results are more predictable.
This will lead greater employee and customer satisfaction, hence higher sales and profits.
Improved organizational performance and competitiveness.
This will be a long term goal for the organization, whereby the organization will have a competitive edge over its competitors.
Improve customer loyalty leading to repeat business.
It is commonly acknowledged that a satisfied customer tells about four friends, but an unhappy customer tells about thirty people. Customer loyalty will help increase the organization reputation.
Reduce or eliminate repetition of work. Responsibilities and accountabilities are clearly defined.
This will decrease cost, increase efficiency and make staff performing value added jobs.
Reduce management time spent on “putting out fires”.
This is due that there are good controls and everybody is committed in producing quality services/products. This gives management time to focus on improving conditions of work of the staffs.
Improve productivity by “doing it right the first time”.
This will decrease cost of re-work, scrap and inspection.
Preserve Existing Revenue and increase in revenue.
Preserve revenue due to customer loyalty and having an account management team and increase in revenue due to quality products and services and having a sale management team.
- Staff will be motivated and will work towards the organization objectives. Workforce will be proactive and prevention oriented.
- Miscommunication between organizations will be minimized leading to cooperation.
- Establishment of trust and elimination of fear.
- By providing staff with the appropriate training, this will lead to greater responsibility, and this will inspire, motivate and encourage them to work smarter. This lead to creativity and innovation.
- Staff will be eager to participate, understand the importance of their role, identify their own constraints, accept ownership of their problems and free sharing of knowledge and experience.
- Use of statistical techniques will make more data available for analysis and hence leading to improvement. Also this will facilitate decision making (as the structure is well defined) and decisions are made in accordance with staff.
- Pay much attention to the plight of clients – before, during, and after sales. Assesing root cause of complaints will help improve service in the future.
- Complaints and problems should be looked as an opportunity to enhance quality service and look at the root cause of problems.
Other benefits that will accrue to the organization are:
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