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Over the decades, textile and clothing industry has been the source of economic growth and created many employments in Mauritius. The textile industry, one of the main pillars of the Mauritian economy, has been facing many challenges since the recession. It is vital for the companies in this field to review their strategies so as to maintain themselves in the industry
Quality management can be an useful tool for augmenting organizational efficiency and competitiveness. Numerous studies have ascertained that firms attain higher levels of profitability and organizational performance via the successful implementation of quality management.
Managing quality in a proper way will help to develop strategies like low cost. Quality can be viewed from different perspective. Higher quality can be interpreted as improvement in performance and features for marketing people. In the production field, quality is manufacturing based, that is, quality means in compliance to the standards.
Palmar Limitée, a textile firm needs a competitive edge in order to survive in this turbulent business environment. This study will also help to assess what are the strengths and weaknesses of the existing quality management practices of the firm and what are the remedial actions that can be taken to solve eliminate these weaknesses. A proper application of quality management principles can ensure competitive advantages and hence help this company to survive.
1.2 Company Background
Palmar Limitée (Knits Division) is a vertically integrated knitting, dyeing and printing company. It has more than 20 years of experience in exporting garments and fabrics to Europe. Before being called as Palmar Limitée, it was made up of 3 garments manufacturing companies. These 3 companies are as follows: - Tee Sun Ltd, Sweat Sun Ltd and Phoenix Knitting Ltd.
The head office is situated at Mon- Loisir Industrial Zone and the other two manufacturing sites are found at Virginie Central Flacq and Media Building Flacq respectively. It has a workforce of around 1100 employees consisting both of local residents and expatriates (mostly from Madagascar and Bangladesh. The company has got the following accreditation:
WRAP- World Responsible Apparel Production
Since 2006, Palmar Limitée is acknowledged as being a company which is committed to social compliance within the workplace.
Since 2005, Palmar Limitée is known to be the premier manufacturer in the African Sub Saharan Region of fair trade garments having achieved the recognition in UK as the largest supplier of fair trade garments in the world during 2006.
Palmar Limitée strives towards quality and client satisfaction. Emphasis are laid on design and style, high quality, high value added activity, flexibility and innovation.
The different departments that can be found at Palmar Limitée are marketing, purchasing, Fabric mill (knitting, dyeing and fabric finishing), embroidery and laundry. Some of other departments that add value to services are: HR department, IT department, transport department, custom department, accounts department and maintenance department.
1.3 Background of problem
Quality is among the critical success factor for many firms. Improvement in quality or defect free products helps to increase sales and reduce costs. Hence this leads to an increase in efficiency and productivity also. The fall in cost can result in economies of scale.
As a manufacturing company, quality is one of the most significant elements for Palmar Limitée. This will help the company to achieve competitive edge. Some of the reason why quality is vital is as follows:
As we have noticed, nowadays the textile industry does not have the same importance as it had few decades ago. Thus, survival becomes among the aim of the companies. Quality is one way to ensure survival. By providing good quality products, the organization will have a good image and hence helps in getting orders from customers.
The world has become a global village. Globalization is affecting almost every business. Quality has become an international issue. It is important for a company to meet the global quality standard so as to be able to compete on the international market. Bad quality will have a negative effect on the company's image and will also affect the country's balance of payments.
Nowadays, every business is struggling to survive in this environment where there are high competitions. It is very important to retain existing customers and to attract new ones. By providing high quality products, Palmar Limitée can retain the existing customers.
1.4 Problem Statement
The textile industry, one of the main pillars in the Mauritian economy, has been facing slowdown since few years. With recession and other crisis, the industry is coming across many problems. Hence it is a must to be more competitive in order to survive despite the economic problems.
One way to achieve the competitive edge is to provide the best quality products. This will help to create good image of the company and will also help to increase the profitability of the company as customers look for quality products. The aim of this study is to investigate the quality status at Palmar Limitée.
Lack of quality will definitely have an effect on the whole company. This will affect both the customers and the employees also. It will also have an implication on the cost of the organization. This might result to an increase in the long term costs of the firm.
Palmar Limitée does have some problems concerning quality for example the fabric have not been properly dyed as per the requirement of the customers. This might be due to machinery problems or workers' carelessness. Hence this becomes a cost for the company.
1.5 The Research objectives for this study are as follows:
To assess the awareness on quality management.
To assess the eight quality management principles.
To assess the extent to which total quality management (TQM) principles is being applied.
To determine the factors hindering quality.
1.6 Research questions:
Are the employees aware of quality management?
To which extent are the eight quality management principles being applied?
To which extent are TQM principles being applied?
Is there any factor(s) affecting quality in the organisation?
1.7 Aim of study:
The purpose of this study is to investigate about the quality practices that are being used at Palmar Limitée (Mon-Loisir Unit). This investigation will also help to assess the awareness level of quality management among the employees.
1.8 Significance of study:
An appropriate application of quality management practices is beneficial to a business. This can result in increase in sales growth, rise in sales margin, competitive advantages and so on. Those who will be concerned by this study are:
The organization-This study will be useful for Palmar Limitée in the sense that it will create a real competent operation process hence reducing waste and therefore leading to an increase in productivity. There will be removal of waste costs and rejection of productivity to a great extent, hence benefitting in terms of costs.
Employees - It is a known fact that nowadays employees have become the most important asset of an organization. They are the cause of a business' success. By participating in this study and hence they will feel that their involvement in the organization means a lot. This will create a feeling of belonging to the firm hence leading to an increased in their commitment towards the company. This will motivate them to work efficiently.
Customers - The better the quality, the higher the customer's satisfaction. The benefits of this study to customers can be that the improvement in quality might result in customer loyalty. Also if there are less wastes and repetitive works, the products might be delivered to customers in a lesser time gap. There will be customer loyalty and Palmar Limitée will be able to retain its existing customers.
1.9: Phases of the dissertation:
Chapter 1: Introduction:
The introduction part will consist of an overview and the importance of good quality. It will also contain information about the company on which the study is being carried out. The problems of the company and the purpose of the study will be discussed briefly. The objectives alongside the research questions of the study are given. Furthermore, the benefits of this study to different stakeholders are also present in this chapter.
Chapter 2: Literature Review:
In this chapter, a profound review will be done concerning the subject on which the study is being carried out, that is on quality management. The different theory, that is the views of different authors, will be discussed.
Chapter 3: Research Methodology:
This part will describe the methods that will be used to collect data- whether primary sources or secondary, qualitative or quantitative methods will be used. Questionnaire will be used as a means of data collection. The purpose of this section is to decide the research design that will be used and the steps that need to be followed in order ensure a good study on the subject matter.
Chapter 4: Findings & Analysis:
The analysis of the data collected will be done in this chapter. The data obtained from the survey will be summarized. They will then be analyzed through the statistical software known as SPSS. The results obtained will be interpreted.
Chapter 5: Recommendation
Recommendation will be done whether there are scopes for improvement or change.
Chapter 6: Conclusion
This will be the last section of the dissertation where the research will be concluded. An overview of the research will be provided.
To conclude, this first section of my dissertation has attempted to give a short narrative of the structure of the dissertation. A short description of the company, the background of the problem, the problem statement, the research objectives, the research questions, the aim of the study and the different phases of the dissertation are given. In short, it provides a general idea of what are going to be discussed in the following chapters.