Total Quality Management System at a Bakery
Total Quality Management System, abbreviated as TQM is a new system of ensuring and managing quality control issues in organizations so as to stem out non-conformities and produce the right quality of products and services that consumers want (Salmon & Galton, 2013). Essentially, TQM is a system that organizations decide to install and implement as a permanent climate where high quality products and services are continuously improved and delivered for the benefit of the customers, and in extension, of the firms themselves. Typically, there is no common and static approach to installing and implementing TQM, but the efforts of this inclusive system draw very comprehensively from the techniques of quality control. It is generally agreed that the implementation of a comprehensive QMS, supported by judicious management reviews, safety management systems, and HACCP system verification is very crucial for the proper management of quality issues, as well as customer satisfaction through elimination of non-conformities (Salmon & Galton, 2010). This paper proceeds to analytically present a discussion of how the systems could be applicable in the case of a bakery that has seen a downward trend in production quality, level of sales, and customer satisfaction.
How QMS would Reduce Non-Conformities
As presented in the company profile, it merges that the Bakery has been in business for a number of years, producing quality products to its previous customers. With this basic assumption, the bakery continued with the same style of production into a new segment of the market, without carrying out research. Quality is defined by the customers based on a standard, thus their contribution must be included in the process. As the definition of this system goes, it involves a comprehensive process of continuous monitoring and refinement of production and other business process through improvement and maintenance of high quality products of services (Sprenger, 2010). From this definition, it is evident that a QMS as well as other elements such as management reviews, safety management systems, and HACCP system verification would be very crucial components of the quality control facet of any organization.
The implementation of TQM ensures quality is enhanced in all processes involved in production, as well as final sales of goods. The system is composed of four main facets: planning, doing, checking, and acting, also known as the PDCA cycle (Salmon & Galton, 2013). By following these four stages of TQM, the bakery would be able to correct most of its mistakes and ensure customer satisfaction. The planning phases could allow, for instance, the bakery to define the current problem they are facing, which are reduced sales due to low-quality and non-conforming products. Once the problem is defined, the TQM system would allow for it to be adequately addressed, through collection of relevant data from all stakeholders including customers, employees, suppliers, and shareholders. The system encourages the management of the organization to be open and address the root cause of the problem, instead of playing blame games such as is typical of many failing business (Sprenger, 2010). Always, the first step to solving a problem is acknowledging that there is a problem in the first place, and then ascertaining the original and real cause of such a problem. Through this acknowledgement, the TQM system would have enabled the bakery to go through the first step of minimizing the list of non-conformities.
Generally, non-conformities arise due to inconsistent processes of producing and delivering goods and services. The QMS acknowledges that the possibility of non-conforming products and services occurring in business are relatively high thus outlines stringent guidelines that must be met by all production systems in order to satisfy the agreed quality standards (Salmon & Galton, 2010). On the front focus, the QMS recognizes satisfaction of the customer as the primary purpose of every business (Sprenger, 2011). Actually, TQM is defined as quality control from the perspective of the customer. Since the customer is the king of every TQM-driven business, when the bakery implements it, it would be able to adopt this perspective and ensure that all products produced and delivered meet customers’ specifications.
Apart from the TQM, carrying out of management reviews as a component of the quality management system would have had a tremendous contribution towards the reduction of non-conformities. It is identified in the company profile that over the last few years, the bakery has registered a considerable share of transfers and employee attritions leading to the compromise of the management system. Carrying out frequent management reviews would ensure that the effectiveness of the top management is put in focus, so that the current management and the performance of all operations are evaluated so as to adequately address opportunities for improvement needed in the plant. Management reviews discuss among others, current organizational structures and operations, performance indicators, audit results, customer feedbacks, system non-conformances, progress of corrective actions, further recommendations for improvement, planning for relevant trainings, and other development projects that would see the company move forward (Nichols, 2013). As outlined in these basics, institutionalization of a management review process in the bakery would not only acknowledge the presence of non-conformities, but would also institute corrective measures to ensure that such errors are not repeated.
Another important segment of the QMS that would help minimize non-conformities is implementation of Safety Management Systems (SMS). This system allows the identification and control of hazards and risks to ensure conformance and continued safety of products. It involves systematic setting of goals, planning, and performance measuring that encompasses all the aspects of the value chain (Salmon & Galton, 2010). While the bakery is currently faced with a lot of customer complaints about quality, late deliveries, and short shelf-life, it would be important for the bakery to implement an SMS so that the moral obligation that all companies have to ensure safety of their products is attained. It is agreeable that goods that have a shorter lifespan than is expected raise questions about its consumption safety. The SMS would be able to: define a comprehensive manner in which risks should be managed; implement suitable controls; set up effective organizational communication procedures; identify a process through which non-conformities can be identified and controlled; and put in place a continual process of improvement.
Implementation of a fully operational quality assurance system would also bring in the aspect of management responsibility. One of the core components of the management responsibility is management commitment, which dictates the top management shall always provide evidence that supports its continued commitment to the development and implementation of the QMS as well as continually making efforts to improve its effectiveness through: conduction of management reviews, establishment of a quality policy, meeting quality objectives, and making resources available for the implementation of the QMS (Salmon & Galton, 2010). In the bakery, the declaration of the commitment of top management to the quality assurance process would be the first step towards elimination of no-conformities. Without this commitment, resources would not be available for the implementation or even the establishment of the quality policy in the first place. Other components of the management responsibility that would help the bakery achieve its desired quality goals include managing process efficiency, customer focus, adequate planning, and management reviews among others.
The QMS system designates specific points in the production channel known as critical control points, which are basically areas that must be closely monitored since when any defect occurs, it could be adequately addressed in order to avoid their continuation into the final product (Salmon & Galton, 2010). Through carrying out a comprehensive Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP), the bakery would be at a position to identify areas where risks or hazards would most likely occur (Sprenger, 2011). Since every stage of production is adequately monitored, the occurrence of defects in the final product is substantially reduced, to ensure that a high quality good or service is achieved. This, of course, would ensure that the products of the bakery are conforming to the set standards, and any deviations can be corrected without the rejection of an entire batch of production.
The HACCP verification process involves activities, other than monitoring, that seek to establish whether the HACCP plan is working adequately ((Salmon & Galton, 2010). As mentioned above the three basic elements of HACCP verification include verification of critical control points and validation. Along the production chain, such as the basic stages of the baking process including mixing of ingredients, shaping, proving, baking, cooling, and packaging, CCPs need to be identified and effectively controlled so that instances of short-shelf life that consumers have been complaining about do not occur (Nichols, 2013). In essence, critical limits (CLs), CCP monitoring, and application of corrective actions would be very crucial to managing recurrent risks and hazards within the bakery process, so that non-conformities are greatly reduced.
The bad state of the retail business could significantly change in the face of a comprehensive and well-implemented HACCP system verification. Basically, the transition into a customer-oriented business is a positive step that would be able to see the bakery achieve great strides in their quest for success and sustainability. As identified, the principal causes of failure for the company are low quality products that culminate in a myriad of customer complaints (Salmon & Galton, 2010). The design, development, and implementation of HACCP system verification, carrying out periodic records review, validation of CCPs, management reviews, and inclusion of all aspects of safety management system would be able to adequately address these problems, come up with amicable solutions, and ensure that each and every employee is notified of the changes so that there is uniformity and consistency throughout the company (Salmon & Galton, 2010). Conclusively, these measures would also introduce stringent monitoring processes that would be able to carry out continuous evaluations on the performance of the new processes and strategies, so that all procedures are directed towards adherence to standards and customer satisfaction.
Integration of the New QMS in the Bakery
The process of establishing a QMS in the second bakery that is identified to have been in business for 28 years would not be a simple process, but which would involve the consultation and participation of all stakeholders. Basically, the process would have to adhere to ISO 22000 for Food Safety Management, which would be preferred to BRC (Kill, 2012). The establishment would involve a series of steps including learning about ISO 22000, Food Safety Policy, and Food Safety Manual; analysis of existing processes in comparison to the requirements of ISO 22000; planning of the implementation; designing and documenting the system; training of employees and the internal audit team; training of the internal auditor; and the registration audit (Lean, 2012). All these processes would have to be followed strictly but with an open mind so as to ensure that the bakery fully integrates all the components of the new food safety management system.
The pre-study is the first step which would involve learning about the ISO 22000, Food Safety Policy, and Food Safety Manual. This step entails getting acquainted with the requirements of the FSMS, and how its implementation would affect the organization. Once the raw facts are in place, the top management would be brought on board so that they are enlightened on the business advantages of the QMS against the costs of implementing it (Lean, 2012). Cost-benefit analysis which is a product of the pre-study would be crucial in convincing the top management of the fiscal advantages of the new system. The knowledge of the requirements of the various management systems would help the management in getting the resources needed for implementation ready (Amasaka, 2013).
Once the learning process is complete, and the management has been thoroughly informed about the requirements, the existing process should be thoroughly scrutinized from top-down. The top management would be consulted to outline the major business processes such as supply, production, marketing, and distribution; while the bottom employees would be required to outline their individual team processes, objectives, and be asked to relate them to those of the top management. In cases of inconsistencies, documentation would be made for improvement, so that the main processes are completely defined and tailored to the production of quality goods and services (Hoyle, 2007). At this level, the participation of internal suppliers and customers would be paramount, as they would help in ensuring that the value of outputs match the inputs, and meet specifications.
The most crucial point of the implementation process, which is planning, would then follow. This involves working through what is required in every process, creating valid and practicable timelines, while ensuring that the new processes are easy to follow and integrate. When there is already some procedures for monitoring for non-conformance, adding just a little bit of information into the existing one would seem easy and encouraging to the management (Kill, 2012).
Following the identification of gaps, it would be important to recognize the areas that need serious improvements. The staff would be very helpful in identifying these areas, especially the quality control (Salmon & Galton, 2010). They would be asked to recount the instances when things go wrong in the bakery, and what they think needs to be put in place to avoid such occurrences. This is the first phase of a quality improvement circle. At this stage, it would be necessary to record the findings of the study, and come up with strategies that could help improve the existing situation. This section might take some time, and it is important that observations be made from time to time, so that a checklist is developed for recording different production activities, and it would act as a template for noting non-conformance, plus any essential actions taken to counteract that non-conformance. These templates and checklists would be reviewed once again, marking the second circle of quality improvement.
Training of the all employees as well as the internal audit team would then be the next step, so as to ensure that transition from the old system to the new one is smooth. Since the bakery does not currently have any quality assurance system in place, it means that the employees are not knowledgeable about any procedures concerning food safety management systems, food safety policy, or food safety manual. In order for them to have a full understanding of the importance of the process as well as their responsibilities in the implementation process, it would be very advisable that all of them undergo a series of trainings (Redman, 2000). More importantly, training the internal audit team is a basic requirement since it is the team that would be tasked with the continuous monitoring and evaluation of the performance of the FSMS. After the training, the last stage of the implementation process, the registration audit, would be ushered in. This would be the time to showcase the Food Safety Management System, where external and internal auditors would come to evaluate its plausibility and effectiveness (Redman, 2000). Any possible errors and overlooked issues would be addressed at this point. Conclusively, the subsequent management of the QMS would be the primary concern of the implementation team, since without this the system would certainly collapse. Thus, with the integrated information provided in the Food Safety Manual, Food Safety Policy, and ISO 22000, as well the sworn acceptance of management responsibility and commitment would be the backbone of the full implementation of the system in the bakery.
Difficulties of Integrating a New QMS
Challenges and risks of integrating a new QMS into the bakery would be typical to the common problems that are faced across the globe by companies that have tried the system. Although some organizations find these difficulties overwhelming, it is a fact that they are manageable if given the right approach (Redman, 2000). In the case of the bakery, which is identified to have been in operation for over 28 years, the main challenge would be resistance from employees to change due to perceived risk of being exposed. Since company failures are always closely intertwined with the performance of its employees, proposing a new QMS which would guarantee traceability and accountability would be unwelcome in the face of some long-serving employees, who would perhaps view the system as a way of trapping them. Moreover, due to the natural unwillingness or limited propensity of human beings to act in case of new innovations, employees who are laggards may find it difficult to accept and adopt the QMS.
Secondly, some managements view the process of QMS as another bureaucratic process which has less practical returns to the business. Actually, Stranks, (2005) shows that many top managements have rejected QMS due to its voluminous paper work with less viable results. With this notion, it would be challenging to get the management on board, which is the initial step in integrating a QMS. In other instances, the management may be sensitive to the financial implications of initiating such a change, which in the short-run may appear uneconomical. However, with adequate cost-benefit analysis, one should be able to convince them about the benefits of employing such a process.
Overcoming Implementation Challenges
The challenges of implementation have become obvious and well-known, thus with adequate preparation, they should not be a hindrance to integration process. For instance, the expected skepticism of employees should be handled by conducting informative trainings about the benefits of the system so as to change their notions and perceptions (Carol, Lynda, Susan, & Fiona, n.d). Proactively, the system should be developed to include less documentation and paper work, so that employees would not be able to do things for the sake of keeping company rules (Lean, 2012). Designing less prescriptive documents would not only be alluring, but also encourage the employees to welcome and participate in the integration process.
In the same manner, educating the top management about the projected benefits of the system, through evidential presentation of case studies, analytical cost-benefit analysis, and display of how the existing system would be changed significantly would be important in gaining their consent for a go-ahead. Make them understand that the increased costs of production is only for a short while, and later the benefits would outweigh the costs, since they would be able to establish a base of customer-oriented business, minimize on losses, and optimize operations to maximize on benefits.
Apart from these proposed sets of solutions, avoiding challenges during the integration of a QMS into the bakery would probably require the team to work with affordable and comfortable timelines that would not bring rapid changes in the operations at the long-serving bakery. As earlier said, effective planning would be the ultimate answer, by ensuring that funds, materials, and other required components of the implementation process such as employees’ readiness, are all in place.
Integration of a QMS into any business such as the bakery requires adequate planning involving the participation of all stakeholders in order to critically analyze existing processes so as to come up with new improvements. The quality improvement process is important for reducing cases of non-conformities in a business, especially that which has lasted for some time and has used the old systems of quality control. Changing times, technologies and methods of doing business require periodic update of the quality management systems to ensure continued customer satisfaction and ultimate business success.
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