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Strategic management is defined as a systematic and planned approach for setting and achieving quality objectives throughout an organization. The quality management is an essential element of successful achievement of competitive advantage over the business competitors by any organization. The concept of strategic quality management has been developed over time in the business environment and its inception which has led to the growth realized by the several global organizations. The concept of strategic quality management goes beyond the basic quality requirements of a particular product or service to the quality of everything that the organization has an involvement (Sower 2010, p. 26).

The Concept of Strategic Quality Management

A strategy as defined by porter is the process of applying resources to pursue the objectives of organization’s policy. The strategy has two important elements of reasoning and conversion of the vision into effective plans that lead to the vision realization. Thus strategic quality management involve the aggregation of quality as well as continuous improvement with the organizational transformation so as to make the objectives an integral part of the way business in conducted. Most organizations treat Total Quality management as being added to the culture of an organization. However, SQM fully integrates the TQM into the business operation and strategy (Sower 2010, p. 26). Strategic Quality Management is" attained when strategic planning and quality planning have merged into one seamless process, owing to a free flow of information between strategic planners and quality planners" (Leonard & McAdam, 2002).

The importance of strategic management is that it enables an organization achieve total quality for absolute customer satisfaction. The success of any organization lies on the customers who are the core stakeholders. With customer satisfaction, there will be consistent improvement in their loyalty. The eventual customer loyalty guarantees an organization the future business prospects which indicate the sustainability of the business in the long term.

In this research, the basic concepts of strategic quality management strategy will be presented; four concepts have been investigated and presented in the literature review about them. After that, a comparison is conducted to review the probable challenges that might face the organization when arranging a strategy for quality management. This will be followed by recommendations then the conclusion. 

School’s Focus and Vision as SQM's Priority

The current issues surrounding the strategic quality management are all aimed at the achievement of total quality by the organization through the planning, implementation and controls of the strategies for quality management.  According to Sower (2010, p. 26), strategic management has three stages namely strategic planning, strategic deployment and evaluation and control. The SQM integrates total quality in each of these stages.

The definition of SQM is customer and environment guided. This means that it focuses on the customer value as well as other influences on the surrounding factors. The other stakeholders include the school owners, teaching and non teaching staff, governments and so on forms other factors that the SQM focuses on ensuring their satisfaction. The priority is the school’s focus and vision which are guided by the entire quality requirements. The decisions are based on short and long term goals that are influenced by the environmental factors are emphasized (Sower 2010, p. 26).

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In addition, the SQM objective is to prevent errors in services offered by the school and maintenance of socially responsible decisions that are logical and concerned about the entire school environment. There is reduced cost associated with the strategic quality management of the school coupled with increased teachers productivity and improved corporate image. There is involvement of every member of the organization in the SQM implementation with the management taking the lead role in decision making and implementation. Moreover, there is emphasis on the organizational culture of continuous improvement. For a school environment, the management, teachers and students should be involved in the total quality management (Sower 2010, p. 26 & 27).

The decisions making in an SQM set up allow horizontal and vertical approach which facilitate active participation of all stakeholders beginning with the school management up to the lowest subordinates. There is also an encouragement of teamwork in the organization that has implemented SQM (Sower 2010, p. 27). There should be basics in developing the strategic as well as operational strategies to continually optimize the quality of products or services. There are some basic concepts that have been identified such as customer focus, leadership, continuous improvement, strategic quality planning, design quality, and fact based management (Tummala & Tang, 1996). Strategic quality management aims to present some decisions which is implementing through a complete plan will achieve the mission and vision of the organization (Pearce & Robinson, 2007).

The SQM focuses on empowerment which is defined as: "the process of providing employees with the necessary guidance and skills, to enable autonomous decision making (including accountability and the responsibility) for making these decisions within acceptable parameters, that are part of an organizational culture” (Geroy, Wright & Anderson, 1998). The importance of empowerment is that it assists the organization through qualifying the employees in primary stage. It is also meant to create trust within the organization including exerting more work effort that will be countered with reward and motivation (Geroy, Wright and Anderson, 1998). There are some comments saying that empowerment should be a long term commitment that can be depicted through the company’s growth strategy.  This is to motivate and encourage loyalty among employees. Employees who have autonomous decision making capabilities can act as business partners who look for profitability (Ettorre, 1997). For a school environment, teachers should be empowered in their teaching so as to offer quality training.

Strategic Leadership in SQM

The other pillar of SQM is the strategic leadership which contributes in the effective quality implementation within the organization and it is one of the core factors of effective strategic execution (Jooste & Fourie, 2009). Leadership is the basic criteria and point of difference among the organization. This is because of its effective role in changing the work of the organization whether positively or negatively. Strategic management requires the ability to apprehend both the internal and external work environment; this is in addition to the participation in dealing with complex data (Jooste & Fourie, 2009). Some features have been identified which can make the leadership is strategic one contributing positively to the effective strategic implementation as follows:

  • Determining strategic direction
  • Establishing balanced organizational controls
  • Sustaining an effective organizational culture
  • Emphasizing ethical practice. (Jooste & Fourie, 2009).
  • Effectively managing the organization’s resource portfolio

Also, Richardson referred to the fact that leaders should have sufficient experience, skills and the necessary knowledge to form the strategy to facilitate the work of the organization and face the challenges that can appear in the future (1994). The top management should have leadership strategy to help achieving the organizational goals in addition to achieving high quality on the first place. The management of the school should provide leadership by formulating institutional goals and strategies of achievement.

Quality and Customer Satisfaction in SQM

The customer is the main centre of focus in SQM achievement in terms the quality of organization’s products or services. If the customer needs and requirements are well identified and high quality objective are targeted to them, the organization is able to achieve its goals. Ishikawa states that, “quality and customer satisfaction mean the same thing” (Goetsch and Davis, 2010). Due to the resulting customer satisfaction and its vital role in the success of the organization, some theories have been set and have become competitive among countries in general and organizations in particular to achieve customer satisfaction. During 1998 it was decided to introduce a European Customer Satisfaction Index (ECSI) (see figure 1) based on some of the ideas that had already been established in the US (ACSI)in 1994, and Sweden (SCSI)in 1989 (Kai, Anne, and Lars, 2000).

It is necessary for an organization to specifying each customer group needs and develop understanding of quality standards required. “In total quality setting, customer needs are identified clearly as a normal part of product development. Peter Scholtes, Barbara Streibil, and Brian Joiner recommend the six-step strategy for identifying customer needs” (Goetsch and Davis, 2010). The SQM requires that the customer satisfaction be one of its main strategic objectives. For a school setting, there are various beneficiaries of quality education ranging from students, parents, teachers, employers and the government. Therefore the quality of education offered should be able to satisfy particular needs of all the beneficiaries

Moreover, continuous improvement is" the cornerstone of SQM and requires well-designed and well-executed management of all systems and processes" (Tummala & Tang, 1996). Quality is a changeable factor whether in the product or the service; it changes from time to time or from place to another. The change of conditions requires flexibility within the organization to respond with the new dynamic challenges.The customer is the one who can specify the quality requirement and the satisfactory grade of it. If the customer has changed his opinion towards a service that was seen in the past as a service with high quality; he may see it as a bad service with low quality. It is required from the management to make continuous changes to get the satisfactory quality.

Tummala and Tang (1996) detailed about how to achieve goals through continuous improvement in all business processes and on all internal activities of the organization: adding value to the client through new and optimized products and serves. Products should be consistent which reduces variation. This reduces wastes and the number of defects which leads to maintenance of good response and optimization of quality production. This will actually increase productivity and effectiveness in the use of all resources to keep on continuous improvement of all operations and of all work unit activities of the organization (1996). The school should ensure that with the changes in education requirements as well as government policies regarding schools, it becomes absolutely necessary to improve the existing quality standards.

There is a big association between the quality improvement within the organization and the customer satisfaction which are considered to be the basic elements for Strategic Quality Management. According to Goetsch and Davis (2010), “It is important to develop the product to have high quality to guarantee the customer satisfaction. This requires the continuity in continuous quality improvement”. It is not enough to have customer satisfaction about the product to gain his loyalty on a one time basis but rather a continued satisfaction process. The nature of the customer is that once a need is satisfied, it gives rise to new demands which has to be satisfied.

References

  1. Abrignani, B.,  Gomes, R., Vilder, D. and Roy, A. (2000). Project Management T-Kit [Electronic version]. Retrieved May 15, 2010, from: http://www.causewayyouth.org/resources/ProjectManagement.pdf
  2. Almaraz, J. (1994).Quality Management and the Process of Change[Electronic version]. Journal of Organizational Change Management,7(2), 0953-4814.Dalla Sisd. (2002). Managing Organizational Change [Electronic version]. 06/04/2010 from: http://www.dallasisd.org
  3. Eisenbach, R., Watson, K.& Pillai, R. (1999). Transformational leadership in the context of organizational change [Electronic version]. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 12 (2), 80-88.
  4. Ettorre, B. (1997). The empowerment gap: Hype vs [Electronic version]. Reality, HR Focus, 74(7), 1,5+.
  5. Geroy, G., Wright, P. and Anderson, J. (1998). Strategic performance empowerment model [Electronic version]. Empowerment in Organizations, Vol. 6 No. 2, 1998, pp. 57-65.
  6. Goetsch, D. and Davis, S. (2010). Quality Management for Organization Excellence. Sixth Edition. New Jersey; Pearson Education 
  7. Hiroshi, O. (1998) Strategic management by policy in Total Quality Management [Electronic version]. Strategic Change, 7(5), pp. 277- 288.
  8. http://finance.mapsofworld.com/strategic-management/quality.html
  9. Jooste, C. and Fourie, B. (2009). The role of strategic leadership in effective strategy implementation: Perceptions of South African strategic leaders [Electronic version]. Vol. 13 NO. 3.
  10. Kai, K., Anne, M. and Lars, G. (2000). Customer Satisfaction Measurement at Post Denmark: Results of Application of the European Customer Satisfaction Index Methodology, Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 11: 7, 1007 — 1015
  11. Leonard, D. and McAdam, R. (2002) 'Developing strategic quality management: a research
  12. Murgatroyd, S. (1993) 'Implementing Total Quality Management in the School: challenges and opportunity', School Leadership & Management [Electronic version]. 13: 3, 269 — 281.
  13. Pearce, A. and Robinson, B. (2007). Formulation, Implementation and Control of Competitive Strategy, 9th edition. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill Irwin [Electronic version].
  14. Richardson, B. (1994). Comprehensive Approach to Strategic Management: Leading across the Strategic Management Domain [Electronic version]. Management Decision, Vol. 32 No. 8, 1994, pp. 27-41.
  15. Sower, V.E. (2010). Essentials of Quality with Cases and Experiential.New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons.
  16. Strategic Quality Management(n.d.). Retrieved May 15, 2010, from:
  17. Tummala, R. and Tang, C. (1996). Strategic quality management, Malcolm Baldrige and European quality awards and ISO 9000 certification Core concepts and comparative 
Code: Sample20

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