Overview Of Quality Management Commerce Essay


This report will provide an overview of Quality Management within the Construction Industry and discuss the Quality Strategy currently employed by the company I work for, City Building (Glasgow) LLP.

City Building is one of the largest Building Maintenance service providers in Scotland. We successfully deliver quality and value across all our contracts. We take a view that building maintenance is crucial to the Construction market and therefore we continuously improve our operations to be at the forefront of maintenance technology and service delivery. City Building are contracted to undertake all reactive repairs and maintenance work for one of the Countries largest landlords, Glasgow Housing Association.

City Building (Glasgow) LLP provide a multi-trade, priority coded, comprehensive repairs and maintenance service to all dwelling houses, administrative and other buildings either in the ownership or factored by Glasgow Housing Association. Other Clients include Social Work, Education and Direct and Care departments. City Building (Glasgow) LLP operates 365 days per year service on a 24 hour basis for the benefit of its customers. Through working with local authorities and organisations, we have built up a service tailored to meet our client's service delivery needs.

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City Building continues to be proactive in the repairs and maintenance sector constantly improving value for money to clients and have built up a vast understanding of local authority requirements through the performance of all our contractual relationships.

In years 2008/2009 we had an approx. turnover of £170m.

2.0 - Literature Review

Managing the quality aspect of an organisation is not generally different from any other characteristic of management. It engages the devising of strategies, setting targets and objectives and assembling action plans. Plans are then put into practice monitoring feedback at all times taking corrective action where necessary by means of control systems. If quality is seen as only a control system, it will never be improved. Quality is not just a control system; quality is a management function. Making strategic quality a part of a company requires shifts in thinking. [1] 

Implementation of Quality systems often leads to major transformation within an organisation. Such change may be studied at a variety of levels. For example, at the organisational level, the implementation of quality may symbolise a strategic move to become more competitive. At the work unit, or teams, they are sometimes created to fulfil quality goals. Many teams become empowered through the quality theory. Individuals are also impacted by the change resulting from the implementation of quality programmes. From senior management down through the various levels of employees, the issue of resistance to change and the institutionalisation of quality concepts are key determinants of success. At all levels, the successful implementation of a quality programme requires commitment from senior management. [2] 

2.1 - Quality Management Concept

Quality Management has taken a very complicated path, when observed from a research perspective. [3] The fundamentals of quality were laid by Deming (1986), Juran (1988), Crosby (1984) and others who believe the use of statistics to manage variation in the manufacturing process. This approach was extended to concentrate on improvement issues in other areas of the organisation.

Garvin [4] identifies five separate definitions of quality. The first two are concerned with perceptions of individuals measuring quality of a product or service. The remaining three are concrete in terms of implementing the meaning of quality and the ease of evaluation with other organisations. The first two descriptions include the uplifting view of quality. The value- based definition of quality is viewed from the utility theory in economics and is defined in terms of costs and prices. [5] 

Almaraz (1994) advocates that the remaining three definitions of quality can be identified as:

User based definition: Quality is measured by the degree to which the wants and needs of customers are satisfied

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Product-based definition: Quality refers to the amount of desired attributes contained in the product.

Manufacturing-based definition: Quality is measured by the percentage of scrap or rework during the production process.

The implementation of quality programmes continually leads to changes in an organisation, affecting people, tasks, technology and structure. [6] 

2.2 - Total Quality Management

Total Quality Management (TQM) is one acronym describing the quality management concept. TQM is not the only approach to quality management, but it has been an influential one. [7] TQM refers to a method directed at creating organised continuous improvement activities which involve everyone in an organisation with a view in improving performance at every level. TQM is really a business way of life based on commitment to customer satisfaction. The growth of global markets and tough international competition will ensure that quality remains high on the organisational agenda.

Many firms have come to recognise that their survival is dependant on making changes. It should be noted that in achieving the level of cultural change required by TQM, sufficient time must be allowed to plan and carefully implement.

It is well known that people are resistant to change of any sort. This is especially true in the case of transformational change. [8] In organisations, many factors come into play, such as the fear of the unknown, habit, the possibility of economic insecurity, threats to relationships and failure to recognise the need for change. Such motives will result in change that is ultimately stamped out and returned, unless organisation leaders step in to facilitate acceptance of the change. [9] 

Another issue of importance in change theory is the difference between how the organisation looks at present and how it is expected to look after the change. [10] Resistance to change is especially relevant if the vision of a leader differs from the values and beliefs of the existing organisational culture. This is the part of the process that is easy to overlook in major change efforts in organisations. If the culture fails to incorporate the vision and its implications, desired change will never become accepted and actually fail. [11] 

2.3 - Quality Management and the Process of Change

Quality improvement programmes are implemented in organisations in many forms. (I.e. in terms of process, product, and customer satisfaction.) The goal of quality improvement is to have a positive impact in the areas so designated for improvement. [12] The decision to implement quality has progressed from the quality assurance level of inspection into the boardrooms of top executives who seek to integrate quality into the strategic game plan of their organisation.

2.4 - Tackling Quality Management in Construction

The Construction Quality Forum was set up in 1993 to help the UK industry contend with its counterparts in other countries. All sectors of construction are represented in the forum, whose information on defects and failures in design and construction are fed into a computerised database developed by the Building Research Establishment (BRE). BRE figures published in the mid-1980's attributed to 90% of building failures to problems arising during design and construction. Interestingly, these were mainly 'people' related problems. [13] They included:

Poor communication

Inadequate information or failure to check information

Inadequate checks and controls

Lack of technical expertise and skills

Inadequate feedback leading to recurring errors.

Clients' views with regard to quality are also very important. Clients quite often assess quality in terms of how they experience the building in use, rather than its components and assembly. [14] 

2.5 - Summary

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The aim of continual development of the Quality Management system is to increase likelihood of meeting the customer's needs and expectations.

The main elements of a quality management approach are:

It should permeate the whole organisation

Externally, it involves close, trusting and non-confrontational relationships with customer, suppliers and subcontractors.

Internally, all contacts should be treated as if they are valued customers or suppliers.

Resources should be invested to ensure that problems are designed out before they occur, and that everything is 'right first time'

There is often confusion surrounding the meaning of quality. It does not necessarily mean something which is good. Rather, it means conforming to a standard or requirement which has been set or which is expected. [15] 

3.0 - City Building (Glasgow) LLP - Quality Strategy

City Building operates a Quality Management System (QMS) which promotes and challenges the delivery of services and service quality, based on the ethos of getting it right first time, with zero defects. As an ISO 9001:2008 [16] quality registered organisation, with all service and support activities fully documented and subject to both internal and external audit, City Building are committed to continuous improvement.

The Quality Policy of City Building (Glasgow) LLP is to provide products and services which meet the specified requirements of our customers in respect of quality performance and reliability in a cost effective manner.

City Building (Glasgow) LLP consider that the achievement of this objective is an integral part of management which requires effective planning, procedures and work practices at all levels and the provision of objective evidence of quality and continual improvement. This is achieved by working to documented Quality Procedures and operating instructions within an ISO 9001:2008 required Quality System.

City Building (Glasgow) LLP is committed to its customers with quality products and service and our mission is to contribute excellence in construction, repairs, maintenance, manufacturing and training to customers, our employees, partners, suppliers and the local communities in which we work.

3.1 - Scope of Quality Management System

The Quality Management System covers the requirements of ISO 9001:2008 with no areas of service provision or production where the resulting output cannot be verified by subsequent monitoring or measurement, consequently clause 7.5.2 of the standard is excluded. [17] 

Construction Services

Repairs and Maintenance

Training Services

Support Services

RSBi Manufacturing

City Building (Glasgow) LLP recognise the importance of understanding and satisfying the current and future needs and expectations of its customers and end users. It is also very aware of the need to consider the other parties interested in the successful operation of City Building (Glasgow) LLP.

The whole focus of the Quality Management System is geared towards providing ever-improving service to these customers and clients.

City Building (Glasgow) LLP employ in the region of 2,000 staff, all of whom are aware of the importance of adhering to the Organisational Business Objectives and the general principles of Quality Management. To this end they receive training in the meaning and content of the Quality Management System and in the general principles of Quality Management.

City Building (Glasgow) LLP conform to all regulatory bodies and specific legislation controlling the industry.

The Quality Management System is designed to ensure that City Building (Glasgow) LLP keep abreast of all applicable regulations and conform to their demands.

City Building (Glasgow) LLP recognise the importance of working in partnership with our suppliers and contractor base to ensure best practice performance and customer satisfaction. We also recognise it is our responsibility to the local community and the environment. To provide services which contribute to making communities safe, healthy and vibrant.

3.2 - Quality Policy

Striving to be a successful organisation in the eyes of all interested parties City Building focus on the following key areas [18] :

On Customers

We will listen to our customers, recognise and balance their requirements and potential experiences with those of our employees, supply chain and the wider community giving full contentment to all parties.

On Leadership

We will establish and communicate our vision for the organisation and throughout leadership demonstrate core values to guide the performance of all to achieve our vision.

On People

We will engage our people in the organisation's expansion, utilise their knowledge and skills, recognising their contribution. We will provide an environment in which they are encouraged to realise their full potential at all times.

On Procedures and systems

We will take a methodical approach towards the running of work and administer our processes in a single arrangement of consistent processes that distributes all of the organisation's goals and objectives.

On Continual development

We will provide an environment in which every person is motivated to continually improve the efficiency and success of our services, processes and our management system.

On Decisions

We will base our decisions on the consistent and instinctive analysis of data collected where possible from precise measurements of our products and services.

On Supplier Contractor Relationship

We will develop good relations with our suppliers and contractors in order to work with them to improve performance and shared benefits.

3.3 - Performance Measurement

We measure our own performance using customers' opinions via regular communications processes, such as customer callbacks via our Contact Centre. We randomly select 8% of completed repairs to carry out this process. These establish customer views throughout the job life cycle and record their personal customer experience, from initial request through to completion of works.

City Building believe that feeding from lessons learned, whether good or bad experiences, will provide an essential component to provide service delivery improvements and improvements in end-product quality. We compare a range of activities on each project allowing us to easily identify hotspots or areas that require to be enhanced or bettered.

3.4 - Corporate Social Responsibility

City Building takes full acknowledgment of Corporate Social Responsibility. This can be summarised as follows:

Provide local employment opportunities for all contracts we undertake

Provide training to all employees

Provide a career progression for all employees

Provide educational opportunities for all employees

Give help and support to employees

Operate with consideration to the environment

Form partnerships with local charities

Use sustainable and socially ethical supply chains

4.0 - Conclusion

The essence of a quality management system is that quality is managed in ways which are clearly identified, well documented and efficiently planned, implemented and controlled. One of the critical factors in achieving effective quality and implementing good quality control is employee's attitudes towards it. Frequently, employees lack commitment to quality. This is highlighted in the level of customer complaints, out standing repairs and so on. However, within City Building (Glasgow) LLP, we continually monitor customer service to reduce any problems the client has experienced.

Quality Systems and Operating Procedures are not unchangeable but should be constantly developed to meet organisation change. Procedures should be reviewed by senior management and externally auditors on a regular basis to allow required updates or modifications where necessary. The Quality Management System makes sure that the company's methods and actions satisfy the needs and requirements of the client. It should be properly documented to ensure consistency of use and understanding.

The level of documentation required to organisations will be dependant on the work in which they wish to undertake. The Quality Management System is in place to make sure all employees are working in line with the business and not their own methods. They should be user friendly in order for all employees to understand with ease.

In reviewing the literature and City Building (Glasgow) LLP policy documents a number of similarities can be seen. It is important to make sure no work elements are ever neglected and that every employee is aware of the responsibilities of personnel within the organisation. This will ultimately keep the client pleased with the product resulting in repetitive business and a first-class reputation.

City Building is committed to providing customers with quality products and services with a view in getting all aspects of product and service delivery right. We aim to do this by:

Placing the Customer at the heart of product and service delivery needs and wants

Consulting customers to ascertain their needs and wants

Making accessibility to products and services as simple as possible, especially in terms of telephone contact and the layout of facilities

Provide a timely response to requests for product, service and information

Allowing redress when service or product quality fails

Treat all customers with respect and courtesy at all times.