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Total Quality Management (TQM) and its Implications for British Airways

Question 1

Total Quality Management (TQM) differs from older management theory for being customer focus theory achieved through continuous development of quality. The goal is to attract more satisfied customers by increasing products and services quality. Relating to British Airways case study, the company has identified four strategic objectives: first airline customers’ top choice, quality service, global expansion and satisfying customer needs.

The two metrics I choose to improve in table 1 are profits and number of passengers.Despite that, profit increase is not the strategic objective for British Airways, but cost reduction through quality improvement and passengers’ number increase will lead to profit increase. Everything is connected and interrelated as a circle. That is why, I choose operations department to be in the middle of the circle to make significant management intervention.

According to the deeper learning resource, Total Quality Management (TQM) in Air Transportation / department description, operations department is in charge of coordination among departments such as engineering department and customer service department. When operations staff ensuring smooth coordination between the two departments, engineering will focus on cost reduction and customer service will focus on customer satisfaction and sales increase. As a result, we will have a dynamic environment of higher profits and higher number of satisfied customers. Eventually, TQM customer – focused principle is achieved.

Both departments, engineering and customer service, can implement their assigned tasks by using highly trained staff and most recent technology. Once again comes the critical role of operations department as it deals will all logistics. Coordinating staff and equipment is part of its logistical tasks. Eventually, TQM total employee involvement principle is achieved.

High inventory turnover is a good sign that shows the company’s ability to turn its inventory within a certain period of time, usually a year. Having increasing turnover and less employees in the British Airways case study means that the problem why the company is still losing money is somewhere else in the company. Identifying where the issue exists is the first step towards finding the right solution. The company needs to shift its focus towards data collection in order to analyze the situation based on facts, and then build its strategic plan.

The TQM principle that I would de-emphasize is strategic and systematic approach. The reason why I selected this principle is the lack of information why the company is still losing despite the high inventory and less employees. Any planning at this point is not going to be effective, as it is not based on solid and most recent data. Management’s commitment to TQM starts by conducting studies before reaching the point where a strategic plan is good to go.

Question 2

The TQM principle that I will emphasize is fact- based decision-making. The company needs to conduct a study diagnosing current issues. Data analysis should be the second step to make accurate projections. The finance department is in charge of financial data analysis and forecasting, therefore; it is the right department to conduct the study and collect data.

The measurable metrics I will start with is passenger load factor, which is about 80%. I do not find huge benefits of increasing the number of aircraft while the aircraft itself is not fully used. In order to increase profits without increasing the cost of buying new aircrafts, the company needs to increase passenger load factor by attracting more passengers without increasing the number of employees through using modern technology in electronic reservation and self- service. Training current staff to use modern technology will keep employees in the company and avoid negative employee turnover.

 One of TQM strategies is continuous improvement of quality in the entire organization or company. Continual improvement allows the company to stay analytical predicting issues before happening and be creative finding effective ways to achieve customer satisfaction. In addition, communication plays a key role in working together as a team, especially organizing day – to – day operations.

To be more specific in answering this question, I believe strategy 5: the award criteria approach is the best strategy to be followed by the company. The reason I chose this strategy is the continuous improvement effort that the company should keep doing to meet any award criteria. In other words, in order to get European Quality Award for example, British Airways must lift its level to comply with the award quality criteria. Collecting prizes and rewards will positively affect customer satisfaction.

Furthermore, customer satisfaction is mainly based on good customer service, which relies a lot on excellent employees’ quality. Continual improvement for the whole organization including staff improvement will increase good employee quality and then building trust between the company and customers. Trust that goes in both directions; one direction aiming towards company- employee strong relation, and another direction-aiming customer company loyalty.

 The impact of meeting different awards criteria shall maximize improvement and eventually, gain customers and employees trust in the company. British Airways has global competition and raising the level of compliance with as many criteria as possible will attract more customers to choose BA over other companies in the same field. Entering alliances with high quality companies that follows the same strategy of continual improvement will add more value to British Airways as well.

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