Describe about the Quality Management for IT for US Organizations.
In the year 1987, U.S. Congress established an award to raise awareness in the field of managing quality and to give recognition to the U.S. organizations who have successfully executed the system of quality management. This award is given annually in six categories like education, small business, non profit, healthcare, service and manufacturing. The name of the award is selected after the name of late Commerce Secretary, Malcolm Balbridge, who was a quality control expert. The United States President in the field of quality and excellence of performance annually gives this award (Arifin 2016).
An independent exam board always reviews organizations, who apply for this award. Based on improvement and achievement in seven areas, which is known as Baldrige criteria for excellence in performance, Winners are selected. The seven areas are –
Market and customer focus – It depends on the relationship building and maintaining criteria with customers.
Leadership – It depends on the way in which the top management level are carrying on their business and how the organizations are performing in the industry (Duarte, Goodson and Dougherty 2014).
Analysis, measurement and management of knowledge – it depends on how the organization utilizes information to carry on the business process and maintain performance.
Strategic planning – It depends on in what way the organization develops and makes plans to use it in strategic way.
Focus on human resource – It deals with how the business authorises and involves its employees in the work process.
Performance results of business – it deals with mainly the performance of organization in the fields of finances, suppliers, satisfaction level of customers, human resource, performance of partners, social responsibility, governance, operations and how the business is compared with others in the industry (Peng and Prybutok 2015)
One of the recent recipient of Malcolm Baldrige Award is Midway USA for the year 2015.
Organizational background of Midway USA:
Midway USA is an organization, which is retailer of internet and offers “Just About Everything” for hunting, shooting and outdoors. It is the global leader, in the sector of internet retailing and offers more than 110,000 items to 1.2 million dynamic customers, from greater than 800 providers. They recorded net sales of more than $350 million and employs more than 350 facilities at Columbia. Most of the employees of the company has a strong obsession for outdoor sports, hunting and shooting, which helps them to serve the customers in better way, using their personal experience and knowledge. As excellence in performance is one of the main criteria for applying for Malcolm Baldrige award, the organization has set its target to be “to best run, most respected business in America, for the benefit of our customers” (https://www.midwayusa.com/, 2016).
How the organization won the award:
In 2015, Midway USA has won the award for second time. In the same field, the organization was honoured in 2009 also.
Key points for their achievement:
As Midway USA’s main focus is on their main target of satisfaction of customer and the implementation of information on customer satisfaction into the system of performance improvement, approval ratings from customer is peaked 90% from 2006 and have gone beyond the performance of their major competitors in the internet retailing sector for last two years.
From 2004, the company is maintaining average growth rate of 43.8% annually for net income and average growth rate of 21.3% annually for gross sales, which makes it one of the quickest growing company in relevant sector.
They also working on to improve satisfaction level of employees and implies a rate of employee engagement from 76% in 2004 to 83% in 2015.
Midway USA is a leader in the sector of waste recovery as well as management of resources, plastic, pallets, paper, cardboard and metal recycling. In 2008, they substituted Styrofoam packing of peanuts with air pillows that were inflatable, made from plastics which were recycled. Midway USA is literally paperless. Most of their business transactions and marketing jobs are handled digitally and they do not accept any “snail mail”(Ramachandran et al.2016).
Putting the customers at top of the priority list:
Midway USA always valued their customers and kept them on the top of their priority list. In turn, they are able to fulfil their customer’s needs and satisfy them in better way. As per the norms of Midway USA, they required immediate feedback from customer irrespective of the condition that customer purchased from them or not. Purchasers are assessed in each level of transaction, which includes fulfilling the order extensively. Their customer-withholding rate of 23% is healthier than Internet retailer’s national benchmark, for the year 2013-2014 (Evans and Lindsay 2013).
For a great business, people should be at the core of the business:
Keeping their promises to learn the important aspects of their employees and continuously working on towards the improvement of their employee satisfaction, they improved their customer’s satisfaction level and increased the employee’s engagement rate from 76% to 83% between the period of 2004 and 2015. The procedure of identification of employees primary satisfaction requisite, prioritize the requirements, weigh them and helping them to achieve the requirements, are the main factors behind their high rise. To recognize the future leaders, they use a process of leadership development of candidates. The process includes examiner training, mentoring, invitations to meetings of strategic planning and audit participation for effectiveness of project. 38% of salaried employees took part in the process of candidate leadership development, which in turn filled 80% managerial positions annually from the company itself, from 2013. In addition, department wise and job wise certification and training are introduced with defined employee’s progress and career option. Their system of leadership includes all the sector of organization. Senior management and the board of directors set the goal and it includes values, vision, mission and expectations from performance and then implies them to all the sectors. Top-level work forces are able to define the organization’s values, mission and states how the goals effected their decisions to apply for employment in the company. (Thompson et al. 2012).
Financial rewards to employees:
Midway USA’s focus on employee, supplier, and customer happiness have resulted an equally great return in financial aspect. Since the last 11 years, the company is recording an annual growth rate averaging 43.8% on net income and 21.3% in gross sales. These radically surpass the 4% and 6.9% national benchmark, respectively. Midway USA is one of the quickest growing companies in the industry it belongs. Their return on asset for the past five years averaged to 80%, which is considerably better than the Risk Management Association’s benchmark of 20% (Brown 2013).
Result depends on efficient process:
A fully implemented, seven-step plan of development procedure sets the target for Midway’s sustainability, high performance and focus on achievement. The procedure starts with evaluation of results based on their performance, and analysis of threats, opportunities, weaknesses and strengths. Results are used to build up operational goals and strategic aims that define Midway USA’s success. The workforce and budget plan are implemented in such a way that it should ensure that to execute the action plans, resources should be available. Workers are encouraged to give inventive ideas to improve through Baldrige meetings of departments, business meeting state, roundtables of employees, one-page improvement summaries and process review to the Respective Vice president. Apart from these, they have very effective management of supply chain that has resulted in nearly 83% in product stock rate, which is very difficult to attain in the industry of Midway USA. It also gave an increase in inventory turnover ratio to 7.8 in 2015 from 5.2 in 2014. From 2008 to 2015, the partners and suppliers of Midway USA’s satisfaction rate is near about 94% each year. This rate is far better than the rate achieved by company’s main competitor in the industry, whose rate is 84%. (McKenna 2013).
Caring for nature and neighbours:
The employees and management of Midway USA deeply care for the neighbourhood in which they live and work. Midway USA conducts blood drives, donates for charitable purposes (contributed $100 million from 2008), supports training and education in the field of hunting, shooting, outdoor skills, firearms safety and works with the group of conservation to conserve land and game resources. The company started the conservation experience for youth wildlife, that helps the local children to learn the environment and conservation management by attending national conventions. Midway USA is a leader in the sector of recovery of waste and management of resources, recycling of plastic, pallets, paper, cardboard and metal. In 2008, they substituted Styrofoam packing of peanuts with air pillows that were inflatable, made from plastics, which were recycled. Midway USA is literally paperless. Most of their business transactions and marketing jobs are handled digitally and they do not accept any “snail mail” (Francisco 2014).
2: Award of excellence in United Arab Emirates:
Dubai Quality Award:
Economic Development department of Dubai introduced the Dubai Quality Award (DQA) in the year 1994. The award was introduced to improve the business operation standard in Dubai and thereby boosting internal and external trade and is given to those who have shown dedication towards best practices in their own fields. Companies, who aspire to apply for this award, should submit reports that can prove their dedication towards quality in every aspects of their business. The review team for Dubai Quality Award assess each reports and after reviewing all the reports, the review team prepares a final list. The committee review team visits the shortlisted organizations and the review team then forward their includes high ranked officials from governance, other experts and local business people who are prominent (Lasrado and Gomiscek 2015).
Carried on teamwork on cross functional basis align to fulfil one common goal of more efficient communication and execution.
To provide a well planned framework next to which business practices are reviewed and assessed for usefulness.
Help to develop a culture of on-going and continuous developments within organization.
To create a sense of attainment for each customers and employees involved in the organization.
To make sure that the top level managerial personnel are involved and committed right from the beginning of the project (McAdam et al. 2013).
To include employees from all levels of organization, to improve the quality of documents, to be submitted.
Self-assessment task is to be conducted to improve the initiatives, to reach the target people.
Feedback report should be utilized in such a way that it can be used to develop excellence practices in the business and carry on the excellence spirit for future years (Rabah 2016).
Quality has different dimensions. Employees who work in the same firm, often has different view about quality. To communicate in a effective way, managerial personnel must keep in mind that there are different perceptions among people about quality. Many managers also have their own judgement about quality. These opinions can vary from their customer’s opinion, which in turn, can hurt the feelings of customers (Oakland 2014).
Quality is the thing, that can be understood but never be communicated like love or beauty. Quality is found in the features and components of a product. If the customers are satisfied, the only it can be said that product is of good quality (Jabnoun and Khalifah 2015).
As discussed by David Garvin, dimensions of product quality are features, durability, reliability, serviceability, performance, aesthetic, conformance and perceived quality. Service quality is more difficult than the quality of product to define. This takes place from wide range of people and require high involvement of customer.
m-Government Service Award:
In May 2013, HH Sheikh Mohammaed introduced the the best service award from m-Government. This award was launched to motivate the government service delivery to public round the clock through smart phones. It includes five categories involving local, federal, international, Arab and one special award to UAE University amounting to AED one million. Yearly submission of the awards has to be made at year end using website only. Actual date of submission and eligibility conditions are published in the website only (Habib, Bhattacharjee and Chowdhury 2014)
To stimulate and encourage excellence in customer satisfaction and in business, many excellence awards has been instituted for private as well as government sector by Dubai government (Shareef et al. 2016).
Motivation and quality assessment:
The criteria focussed on the effectiveness to improve the productivity and reduce the cost involved with supply of services and efficiency of the m-application and to be able to solve the problem of public related services with high effect on society. Other criteria are to simplify the way of providing service, minimization of no of steps in providing service, reduction of cost, usage and effect on society and customer and increasing the level of customer satisfaction. Moreover, the criteria is focussed on the functions, which supports transaction of mobile with ease of operation and satisfaction in interacting between business, public and governments ( Kamoun and Basel Almourad 2014).
This involves – uninterrupted experience of users: Simple navigation with user friendly design, easy to use applications, choice of languages, support from users, security in online transaction and multiple platforms like Android, iOS, windows phone and Blackberry OS. Apart from these factors, the technology should be innovative, combination of ideas in creative manner, and development of solutions in unique way. This should include the catering of comprehensive application for many more services and implemented services of life event (Ovseiko, Oancea and Buchan 2012).
Human Development Award of Dubai:
Dubai Chamber introduced the Human Development Award from Dubai in 2005. It was launched to give recognition and award the human resource programme undertaken by different business associations towards attaining the goal of Human development of Dubai. The goal not only involves creating work prospects for UAE citizens, but also aims to expand their abilities and highlight their role in betterment of future of UAE through proper guidance and training (Capuzzi and Stauffer 2016).
Motivation and quality assessment:
It encourages the private as well as government sector to actively take part with special attention in the development and growth of human resources. Conduct and print the statistical research involving methodologies of HR and best practice in relation to people resource development ( Doulatabadi and Yusof 2016).
The participating organizations will benefitted in playing lead role in the business society, employing individuals with high qualification who in turn will hwlp in maximisation of organizational profit and receiving from competent team, a valuable response report which will help them to find the improvement areas to further enlarge their resources from people (Huang, Yan and Wu 2016).
One organization who has received UAE Excellence Award is “Cactimedia International”. They won the 3rd
UAE Excellence Award in the golden category.
Background of Cactimedia International:
Cactemedia is a full service Dubai based digital company that was established in 2003. They offer strategic, technical and creative skill to carry on business and dominate the digital world. They are specialized in digital segment – from creation of social media to designing of website and commerce. They already have worked with some leading retial and corporate brands in Dubai are always interested to take up unique and challenging projects. They believe in long term relationship with clients and always wanted to invest their energy, resources and time to achieve their client’s goals and unique requirements (https://www.cactimedia.ae/about-us.html, 2016)
Usage of quality improvement tools and enhancement of overall organisational performance through the usage of tools:
They have diversified portfolio for their clients and each of their client comes up with unique challenge that they love to take up. Each pixel is planned carefully and matched with the client’s business requirements.
As per the review of Yasemin and Richard Richie, one of their satisfied client, Cactimedia is like fresh air for them. Not only the staffs are caring for their clients, b ut they all are passionate about their challenge and work. Starting from the initial meeting to the final delivery of website, the total procedure was professional and smooth.
They always take time to understand the client’s need and always keen to provide over and above the client’s expectation. They are always in a position to incorporate their on-going procedure into the client’s web design process (https://www.cactimedia.ae/process.html, 2016)
Some of their key improvement tools are:
Consultation: The moment a client sit in the chair, they are perched bushy-tailed, wide-eyed, attentively and listen to the needs of the client.
Compass: They listen to their client carefully, so that they can get better idea of client’s project size, speed and the direction towards what the things are supposed to be go in and implement methods to know the speed and quality and exactly where to go.
Design: They try to know as much as they can about their client needs and try to implement their knowledge into creative mix.
Development: Each element they add in, they listen to client’s feedback and as they add on each ingredient, clients observe the procedure.
Test: Every part of process they stretch and bend until the requirement is met. They make sure that their work should be such quality that the client should not have any issue with the product.
Transmit: If someone hurl the plane made of paper out of window, it is depended on the gravity and wind. However, if there is someone to control the plane, it will not stop to fly. Cactimedia is same as that person, unflappable (https://www.cactimedia.ae/work.html, 2016)
Development and training programme: They believe in bringing in a new aspect by combining consultancy with training. The programme starts with identifying the area where training is required with an employee’s current development plan and responsibilities. All plans are tied to business programmes and mutual works. After understanding the situation of business and currently faced challenges, they build up special modules. Once they learned, the result is assessed based on proprietary structures. On the basis of assessment, intervention modules are developed and provided, making sure that the desired objectives of learning are achieved. Training programme includes customer service, sales training, leadership technology, personal development and functional skills
Customer insight, business insight, competitive insight and informed business decisions: They offer enterprises to help their decision makers with proper information at the time they needed it and in the right content to improve decision-making quality. They helps to maximize the performance of enterprises and replies to threats and opportunities. Their team continuously works to improve the design of enterprise, build a data warehouse and then incorporate them with the delivery tool of information. Their platform for solutions helps organisations to learn from data very fast, to answer the questions which are faced in the company and to be reactive in copying in changed conditions of business. It enables organizations working directly with the available data, to communicate with data to know more and are able to use the information as never before. Insights are achieved , only when the organization interact with the same sped as they think. Flexibility and responsiveness is built up within the organisation to help them to be alert and to reply to the condition of business they face every day. Their platform handles issues related to organizations and helps to solve uncertain issues too, when needed. Finesse’s technologies are intuitive and help to bring the best out of the users and innovate in allowing users to get actionable thoughts and adapt to changing atmosphere constantly (https://www.cactimedia.ae/services.html, 2016)
Vision and Mission:
They want to build a institution of world class level to have positive impacts on the people around them. Their other missions are –
To deliver a better experience to meet the target points for their customers, partners and employees.
To build a consistent team in their organization to care for their employees.
To enable business by supplying cost efficient solutions in technology anywhere, anytime, on social media, cloud, on-premise or mobile.
To focus on healthcare, financial services and education, the mainstay of any society.
Investing in development and research sector, this in turn will lead to innovation of technology.
Expand a team of human capital through sharing of knowledge.
Apart from these, they also offers complete analytical and business intelligence solutions to execute from strategy. They are - intelligence strategy of business, health check, analysis of business process, modelling of business case, planning of capacity, technology of business intelligence, and building of analytical model, operations of business intelligence, providing services in life cycle, development and training of analytical model and predictive analysis (https://www.cactimedia.ae/about-us.html, 2016).
If the organization has proper analytical solutions, that will help them to make efficient decisions and always stay ahead of current competitive world.
Skill of quality assurance needed to develop IT projects:
Despite of so many advances made in the sector of technology, industry of software still face the challenges in developing applications of software that needs to meet time limit, quality standards and have limited budget. In today’s dynamic and complex atmosphere, information technology is very useful and its development is growing continuously, however, there are several challenges that an IT faces to develop the product with with proper methodologies (Kerzner 2013).
As discussed by Buthman, only fixing failures and producing the product does not arise cost, but a high amount of cost is needed to make sure that the product is of good quality. According to the study of the Department of economics, statistical administration and commerce, cost of developing software increased from $82 billion to $149 billion between 1995 and 1999 (Green 2014).
Quality assurance was explained as a task with responsibility to assure that software meets its functional, staff, date, budget requirement in this study. One function that is more similar is testing the software. To prove the thing that the system met its objectives, it was created. Testing of software and quality assurance mentioned that errors were found in the beginning of design process can have rippling outcome and the errors were costly and time consuming to solve after completion of the software project (Certo 2015).
As discussed by Ewusi-mensah, 52.7% completed IT projects are 189% over their budget with an extra $59 billion cost. Executives from business are seemed to have allocated fewer resources as their focus is on economics. However, executives from IT sector mainly focussed on advancement of technology with available resources (Schwalbe 2015).
The need of error-free software is always being a challenge to IT sector. Development of software depends on quality, timeliness and functionality. The development of particular software is of no use if it does not fulfil its intended function. There are many causes to unsuccessful software development like lack of training and poor planning specially in quality assurance (Heldman 2013).
Quality is established based on organizational culture, organizational size, and development process of software and market time. Method of testing involved from the past years of random process of testing carried out by development team and includes testing teams, formalized process and tracking of defect. Many testing features like requirement of test plan, analysis of design, requirement of test, and objectives, test cases, test plans, test procedures or script, test implementation, execution of test and result, reporting about bug or defects and tracking the report result to include it in the model of development and incorporate it in functional and business requirement to test the plan and objectives (Sallis 2014).
It is the duty of IT experts to minimise the risk of defects of software at organization level and manage the cost at the same time. Production defect are much more costly to fix and create problems to individual, to organization and it include loss of life too. In spite of continuous defects, experts from IT sector are engaged in continuous process (Colomo-Palacios et al. 2012).
There is wide literature agreement for the problems faced to include quality assurance in every phase of software development life cycle and budget allocation for quality assurance. Although the information system development is examined from multiple views, there is very less knowledge about not inclusion of quality assurance in in the process of software development. Inclusion of quality assurance was not been focussed on to use it as a measure of prevention of errors. Non-inclusion is regarded as an omission, which in turn leads to the project failure (Hwang and Ng 2013).
As discussed by McAllister, Information system often fails to satisfy the expectation level of users if developers do not understand the requirement properly. He further stated that ineffective and insufficient communication leads to misunderstanding. Instead of relying on misunderstood requirement of users, they should include quality assurance as a part of software development. Quality assurance is addition of value instead of software cost. This can be accomplished in best way by using a qualitative design of study. Study plan should be implemented to decide that to what extent quality assurance will reduce failure of project, influence the performance of organization and also the allocation of funds for improving quality assurance (Emerson, McGill and Mansell 2013)
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