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Apple is the largest American Multinational company which focus on designing and manufacturing consumer electronics and related software products. Apple competes with strong competent like others smart phone producers Android and Symbian OS. So the Apple should introduce proper operational objectives in order to maintain high level of quality for its product in the market.
Recently, there have been reported antenna problems with iPhone4 as soon as it was launched on 4th June, 2010. This type of problem in iPhone 4 has affected the Apple's reputation in the market. Many customers, publication like BBC etc express their negative reaction.
Therefore, Apple should focus on quality operation in order to retain and maintain its reputation among the customer.
Apple's Operation Management:
Operation management is very important in any business operation because it is the heart of the company. It helps in controlling the system in the organization. It deals in design, operation and improvement of the system which creates the best product.
Apple's strategy begins with the mission and vision statement where operation management relies on. As we know Apple is leader coming to the innovation of product. Its product like Mac OS X operating systems, iTunes, media browsers, iPod and multimedia software have able to maintain its effects on customers.
In the Firm all the operation managers and employees should well aware of their company's mission and vision statement. So the Apple's and they should make sure that they are running smoothly.
Following are the Apple's strategic objectives:
Apple has always established as highly priced product in the market with its quality product. Its product like iPhone series. iPod. This type of differentiation i.e. price always helped the company to compete with its competitors. For instance, introduction of iPhone was efficient competitive strategy. In addition to iPhone, this phone has offered loads of facilities compared to other smart phone like email, web browser and music facilities. These types of facilities had made the iPhone different from other smart Phone.
As we know iPhone is the fourth generation i.e. successors to the iPhone 3Gs. Firm has been facing problem in each series and also able to overcome with those hindrances. For insatnace, introduction of iPod the iTouch which is quite similar to the iPhone with just a difference i.e. without phoning facilities.
Every firm aims to obtain more and more market share with its product and services so as the Apple. It also aims to gain more market share. Company has introduced iPod and iPhones in order to capture more market share. They have also introduced iTunes where users can downloads and this gives awareness about iPhone. So the customers are aware of the iPhone till it comes to the market. So the Apple decided to lunch its product during this situation and firm lunched iPhone 4 and finally able make more profit with sale of 1.7 millions in its first phase.
Unfortunately, Apple has to bear the bad response from the customers and different source about the performance of the product i.e. iPhone 4. There has been reported about signal reduction when the phone is held in certain way by some of iPhone 4 users. Especially when phone is held on left hand antenna problem occurs.
The operation management should able to handle this problem very effectively so the Apple's did in effective way. The company has offered rubber bumper which helps to reduce signals problems and also offered a free case to its customer in order to correct this antenna problem.
This was the earliest action taken by the Apple's operation management.
So above report says, it is quite clear that iPhone has still small market. It target audience are professional, corporate, entrepreneur and students. It shows that Apple aims to improve its market share in future. In order to achieve this objective Apple needs to improve its operation i.e. quality aspects. So it should concentrate on introduction and implementation of good quality control, tools and techniques and procedures which can help to improve the quality of operation.
The EFQM model for excellence non- prescriptive framework which is addressing the company's quality issues. This model is used most widely as self-assessment for the organization so as Apple can use this model. It is based on nine criteria which are discussed below:
Leadership: people with good quality can clearly communicate the organizational goals and objectives. This will help Apple to motivate and encourage its people which will finally help to retain high skilled human resource which is Apple's best resource.
Policy and strategy: Apple's policy and strategy are based on the needs and expectation of the customers and other stakeholders. Apple always give more preference to its customers and their satisfaction.
People: there should be right man for right job and they should be acknowledged through time to time for their contribution in the firm. Apple keeps doing all the activities like rewarding and warding that makes their employees to work hard for the firm. So these types of activities really help Apple's to achieve its strategic goals easily.
Partnership and resources: this enables how the Apple manages its scare resources i.e. technology, finance and skilled labour for the production of good quality product and processes. The resource, partners and suppliers should be managed properly for sustainable development of the Apple.
Product and process: this helps Apple to manage and improve its process and the process is designed to optimize the stakeholder's value. Apple always promotes its product with great effort which helps to enhance the sound relationship between customers and firm.
In the above, the enablers will help Apple to achieve result which leads to great satisfaction among employees and customers and its impact on other community like and key performances indicators like people results, customer results, society results and key performance results.
This model will provide special model to improve Apple's operation by having clear and strategic objectives. So the Apple should focus on customers' satisfaction along with quality which helps to retain sound relation between customer and firm.
Quality system that Apple can follow:
Quality management system plays s significant role in any organization in modern world. Its standard is very important for the process and manufacturing of the product. It establishes a standard framework for how a organization like Apple manages its key process.
Some of the quality management system i would like to discuss which would be effective for Apple. They are:
The ISO9001:2008: Apple can use this model in order to keep the level of standard. It helps Apple to keep the consistency in the quality of product and services through better process. It will also help Apple to reduce the unnecessary waste. This standard mainly focus on customer needs and satisfaction which very important for the Apple.
The ISO 9001 standard focus on the following four elements which are discussed below:
The management responsibility- Apple top level management should able to ensure the commitment to quality system and develop them according to the needs of the customers along with company's objectives.
Resources management deals with people, infrastructure and working environment which Apple has already. But Apple needs to keep up to date like providing training to its employees with changing environment.
Product realisation- here main focus on what customer wants and expect from the company i.e. Apple's customer always have higher expectation. So the firm needs to look into the area like sales process, design and development, purchasing, service of the company while delivering the customer's needs.
Finally ISO 90001 helps to find out measurement, analysis whether the firm has satisfied its customer and if not. How and what should be done to improve it.
In the same way ISO 9004:2009 standard plays crucial role in quality management system in the organization. This standard mainly focuses on customer, leadership and continual improvement which is best suited for the Apple.
Apple also can follow the Total Quality Management system (TQM) in order to maintain standard and quality that would improve the Apple's operation process and leads to fruitful results.
Apple needs to follow four level of TQM which are discussed below:
Inspection- Quality control- Quality assurance- Total quality management
The first level is inspection where Apple can appraise incoming products, manufactured components and assemblies at appropriate points in the production process. For this Apple plc has to appoint the dedicated staff for the inspection and he will be responsible for the process.
Next coming to quality control Apple should focus on amount of work i.e. typical characteristics such as performance-data collection, feedback to earlier stages in the process, and self-inspection.
The third level is quality assurance where Apple has to set up a system for controlling what is being done and the system is audited to ensure that it is adequate both in design and use. A major part of this change is the use of both second-party and third-party audits to assess the efficiency of the system.
Finally, Apple has to be a clear and develop unambiguous vision regarding total quality management system, both management and staff in the organization has to realize that quality is not just product quality but also the quality of the whole organization, including sales, finance, personnel and other non- manufacturing functions.
Thus, Apple could improve the organizations operation and can achieve its objectives.
Improve organizational Performances:
Apple can improve its performance with the help of above quality management standards. The company needs to follow on process approach i.e. identifying the its essential business activities along with considering each part of process like in iPhone 4 case i.e. assembling all the finished parts together. Apple also needs to follow system approach management where managing the process together a system which leads greater efficiency. The firm needs to focus on skilled people by providing training and career opportunities. Apple needs to involve all the staff which makes them aware of their responsibilities within the business and importance of providing what the customer wants. It should also consider the organizational environment for improving the its performances. Apple should able to up to date with changing environment i.e. watch out competitors like other mobile manufacturer like Black Berry.
Through continuous improvement within the firm and good leadership Apple can improves its performance and with total quality management system it can evaluate its current and desire level of organizational performance.
In above scenario, Apple iPhone 4 has antenna problem and customer are upset with this problem and its image have been affected in the market. So the Apple realised its problem and took immediate action to prevent further losses.
Apple needs to implement quality management system which can help to keep the level of quality in the process and products. Through QSM Apple will be benefited in following ways:
Apple can achieve greater consistency in providing good quality product or services.
It will help to reduce the expensive mistakes like iPhone 4 issues.
It will help to increase the firm's efficiency by improving use of time and resources.
It will help to improve the level of customer satisfaction.
Finally, Apple will be benefited with consistent improvement in activities like product, process and system.
As we know iPhone 4 is the revolutionary invention in mobile industry. It has huge demand in the initial stage. But later it has been reported and complained with fault in the product i.e. signal problems in the phone set which has affected Apple's image in the market. So this problem has been occurred due to improper quality system in the process as mentioned by the senior engineer and top level management of Apple. it has been also told that lack value chain and there is not proper coordination among the management in the firm.
In this case six sigma will help Apple to improve its performance. Six sigma methodologies provides the Apple with frame works i.e. providing training to its employees and make them clear understanding the strategic objective of the firm along with customer needs.
Apple always comes with innovative product along with advanced technology. So the employees needs to aware of the key issues within the firm. It also needs to keep and meet the expectation of stakeholder i.e. what the customer want from the company along with quality.
Therefore, all the elements related to quality management standard Apple needs to analysis thoroughly and deeply first in order to ensure that all the units are well functioning which results in achieving firms' objectives and finally, avoid the situation like in iPhone 4 case- antenna issues.