The current business scenario demands high level of effectiveness and efficiency of the business organizations in operating in the market. This is due to the reason that effectiveness will help the business organizations in gaining the sustainability in the long term and dealing with the high level of competition in the market. In addition, it is also important for the contemporary business organizations in achieve the business excellence in their business processes in order to have the long term sustainability (Calvo-Mora, Navarro-Garcia & Perianez-Cristobal, 2015). In this case, the EFQM business excellence model will be the most effective way of determining the factors of achieving the business excellence. In the current business state of affairs, this model is widely used due to the fact that any types of firms ranging from small and medium size organizations to larger scale organizations can use this model in accordance to their business situations (Calvo-Mora et al., 2015).
Tourism sector of Scotland is one of the major booming industries and is estimated that it would become one of the highest contributors in the national GDP. It is also being estimated that with the development in the economy, the purchasing power of the customers is increasing and thus the average spending per tourist will increase in the future. However, it should also be noted that companies operating in this sector should have to be sustainable enough to tap this growing opportunities. Lothian bus is the largest municipal bus company in the United Kingdom. They were founded in 1919 and till then serving to large areas across the country (Lothianbuses.com, 2018). In addition, it is also identified that tourist is one of major portion of revenue generation for Lothian bus due to the reason that fact they serve as the primary means of transportation for major parts of the tourists.
This report will critically analyze the effectiveness of Lothian bus with the help of the EFQM business excellence model. Only two criterion including partnerships and resources and processes and services will be considered for analysis. Based on the analysis, a supply chain management strategy will be recommended along with a marketing strategy for Quality Scotland for promoting the EFQM model.
Partnerships and resources
This criterion is one of the major enablers in the EFQM model, which states that effectiveness of the partnerships with the suppliers and others will determine the long term sustainability. In addition, the more will be the access to the available resources, the more will be the effectiveness in initiating new processes in the business operation. In this case, the extent of effective relationship between the Lothian bus and their suppliers is the major determining factor (Uygur & Sumerli, 2013). The following section will further discuss about the effectiveness of the relationships between the entities.
Building sustainable relationships
The major suppliers for Lothian bus are the bus manufacturers and travel agencies. It is reported that Lothian bus is having dedicated supplier relationship management mechanism for dealing with their partners. For instance, the buses being inducted by them are being designed in accordance to the specifications set by Lothian bus. This can be made successful only by having effective and proper connections between the bus manufacturers and Lothian bus. It is also identified and Volvo is the single largest suppliers for Lothian bus in terms of inventories with having minimum presence of some other brands (Gomez, Martinez Costa & Martinez Lorente, 2017). This is helping in having positive relationship between them due to the reason that from the initial stage of operation, relying on a single manufacturer helped in developing the relationship and in the current time, this is helping in having inventories in accordance to the specific needs of Lothian bus.
On the other hand, the major advantage that is being gained by Lothian bus is having lower maintenance cost for managing single type of inventories. However, it should also be noted that even though EFQM model is promoting this positive factor for Lothian bus but absence of various suppliers in the supply chain is also creating gap. This is due to the fact that depending only on one supplier will reduce the variations in the products and supply chain process will more limited and restricted (Vukomanovic, Radujkovic & Nahod, 2014). Another major strategy being initiated by Lothian bus in managing the relationship with the partners is co-branding. It is reported that Lothian bus is having their strategic relationships with Edinburg Zoo for two years deal under which, the buses are being given animal themed livery. This is helping in having value for the both the entities along with having more effective relationships.
Sustainable development of the assets
Some of the major assets for Lothian bus are the buses, service centers and office premises. It is identified that Lothian bus is initiated a number of strategies to reduce their carbon footprint from their business operation. One of the major initiatives is the induction of the electric buses in the fleet. In addition, the depots are being given makeover in terms of more sustainable consumption (Favaretti et al., 2015). Maintenance of their fleet is more sustainable due to the reason that single type of inventory is present. Thus, the wastage of resources is less for Lothian bus. It is also reported that preservation strategy is also being followed by Lothian bus for sustainable disposal system. Many of their buses were preserved in different manner after the completion of their life term. This is helping in managing the disposal system responsively.
Information and knowledge management
From the information available, it is identified that knowledge management and he flow of information is effective in the internal process of Lothian bus. This is due to the reason that employees especially the drivers are being used only for the transportation purposes but also for garnering feedback from the customers. This is beneficial in the decision making process because, drivers are major touch points with the passengers and they will have the most authentic feedback about the trend of the market and preferences of the customers (Dahlgaard et al., 2013). The major evidence of effective process of knowledge and information management is the evolution of the service approach and quality with time. Introduction of the night bus is also being done based on the feedback of the passengers. However, it is also being recommended that Lothian bus should benchmark the market leader in terms of knowledge management. This is due to the reason that Lothian bus is not the front runner in the sector and some of their major competitors are utilizing the knowledge and information in more effective manner (Zarraga-Rodriguez & Alvarez, 2013).
Processes, products and services
In the current business scenario, it is important for the business organizations to have the distinctiveness in their product strategy in order to stay ahead in the competition. This is not limited to the product strategy only but also the service delivery quality. According to the EFQM model, this criterion is dedicated to the determination of the effectiveness of service processes in achieving the desired outcome (Doeleman, Ten Have & Ahaus, 2014). This includes effective process, product development and customer relationships. The following sections will further analysis these factors from the perspective of Lothian bus.
Delivering process of Lothian bus is having different mediums, which is further helping in catering customers from different perspectives. The core service of Lothian bus is offering transportation mediums for the passengers in different routes. The tickets for the routes can be availed from travel sites, apps and directly from the bus drivers. It is reported in the official website of Lothian bus that passengers can have urgent tickets directly from the bus drivers as well. In addition, the core service of Lothian bus is being further classified based on different utilities such as night travel bus and airport services (Cierna & Sujova, 2015). Each of the delivering processes is being designed in accordance to the specific preferences. In addition, it is also being identified that all the internal stakeholders are being involved in delivery process in order to have the maximum alignment with the customer trend and preference patterns.
Product and service developments
Product and service development is another major factor in gaining competitiveness in the current business state of affairs. This is due to the reason that customer taste and preference pattern is changing rapidly and it is important for the businesses to cope up with this change. In the case of Lothian bus, development of the products and services is effective (Bolboli & Reiche, 2015). It is identified that in terms of inventories, buses are being changed periodically such as majority of the existing buses are being changed by Volvo B5TLs and Wright StreetAirs. This can be termed as innovative development due to the reason that electric power trains are the future of transportation and this will also help Lothian bus in reducing their carbon footprint. In addition, it is also being reported that livery of the buses of Lothian bus is being changed after every certain period. This helped them to stay updated and fresh among the customers.
In terms of the service also, development is evident. For instance, some of the existing Plaxton President Dennis Trident 2s buses are being converted in open top in order to provide better experience to the passengers especially the tourists. In the recent time, all of their buses are being fitted with CCTV cameras and GPS tracking system. Low floor buses are also being introduced for better customer convenience for the disable passengers. This is done for ensuring the safety of the passengers. They are also having the provision for live tracking of the buses at any point of time (Akyuz, 2015). It is being aimed by Lothian bus that by 2020, all of their buses will be completely electrified and will have zero emission. However, on the other hand, it is also identified that the service of Lothian bus is still limited in the Edinburg location and not beyond that. This should be further expanded to have larger customer base and revenue.
It is identified that Lothian bus is having dedicated customer management and grievance system in place. Customers are having the provision of mailing, chatting and calling the representatives for their queries. It helps in effective resolution of the issues with the customers. In addition, after the completion of each ride, passengers are encouraged for feedback, which further helps in identifying the gap areas. It can be concluded that the customer relationship management system of Lothian bus is effective due to the reason that retention ratio of passengers for them is high, which denotes the higher level of satisfaction among the customers (Estampe et al., 2013). Lothian bus is also present in the social media platforms, which is further helping them in communicating with the customers along with identifying the major trends in the market.
Recommended supply chain management strategy
It is recommended that fast supply chain process should be followed by Lothian bus for gaining business excellence. This is due to the reason that with the help of the fast supply chain strategy, Lothian bus will be able to offer services in accordance to the current trends in the market and time consumption between initiating idea and service delivery will be less (Turker & Altuntas, 2014). This is recommended due to the fact that trend and pattern of public transportation is changing rapidly and with the help of the fast supply chain strategy, Lothian bus will be able to properly and accurately forecast the market trend and offer the services accordingly in minimum cost. Thus, service process for Lothian bus will be well ahead of the competition and excellence can be achieved.
This strategy will involve all the internal stakeholders in the process in order to have the maximum effectiveness. The forecasted trend should be passed on to the suppliers to have the products accordingly. For instance, popularity of the buses running on alternate fuels or the buses with having noise cancellation interiors should be transferred to the manufacturers in order to have the exact inventories (Estampe et al., 2013). These inventories will help Lothian bus to be the early mover in the market. However, it should also be noted that there are few steps that should be considered by Lothian bus in order to have the proper delivery approach of the recommended strategy. Lothian bus should have proper channel of flow of information from the drivers to the suppliers. This is due to the reason that feedback gained by the drivers will help in identifying the expectations of the customers and future products should be made accordingly. In addition, Lothian bus should also have representation of the suppliers in the decision making process in order to have different complementary elements aligned with the new inventories. Training and development programs should also be updated to complement the new inventories and match the current expectations of the customers.
It is also recommended that Lothian bus should follow continuous process of generating feedback from the passengers in order to have the update about their new approaches. It should also be noted that if the revenue is getting increased along with more retention of the existing customers (Blome, Schoenherr & Rexhausen, 2013). This will prove the effectiveness of the new supply chain strategy. In addition, pilot project should be initiated prior to the commercialization of the strategy. Pilot project will help to identify the gaps and areas of improvement, which can be mitigated. Moreover, it should also be noted that the forecasting process is effective and accurate (Shen, 2014).
Recommended marketing strategy
From the perspective of Quality Scotland, it is recommended that they should initiate relationship marketing strategy in promoting the concept of EFQM to the tourism sector. This is due to the reason that it is considered that the solution should be low cost and relationship marketing does not involve any expensive mediums, which will help Quality Scotland in having a cost effective solution (Shahin Sharifi & Rahim Esfidani, 2014). With the help of the relationship marketing, Quality Scotland will be able to have the proper connection with the entities in the sector and can be able to determine the specific situations for each one of them. This will enable Quality Scotland to suggest the exact form of the model to them. Thus, the promotion will be more effective and in accordance to the different needs of the entities in the sector. The strategy for Quality Scotland will be to assist the firms in overcoming their business issues and determine the areas where EFQM model will be effective. On the basis of these gap areas, this model should be pitched to them.
It is also recommended that in order to implement this strategy, Quality Scotland should have dedicated client cell, which will assist the firms in their issues. In addition, the internal stakeholders of Quality Scotland should be trained enough regarding the concept of EFQM, which will enable them to promote properly to the firms (Sarmento, Simoes & Farhangmehr, 2015). Inclusion rate of the new firms in this concept should be determined to identify the success of the strategy. In addition, they should initiate changes and improvement in the EFQM concept to cope up with the change in the business scenario.
Thus it can be concluded that in terms of EFQM model, Lothian Bus is having a few negative as well as positive points. These factors are being identified in this report from the perspective of two criterion of EFQM model. In addition, it is also identified that Lothian Bus is effective in terms of new service development. This report recommended that they should have fast supply chain strategy to achieve business excellence and Quality Scotland should follow relationship marketing for promoting this model.
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