This report is writing to discuss definitions of quality in terms of business and services provision.
It is decided to choose Walmart and Singapore Airlines for organisations which are analyzing. Next, the report also needs to use one of the above organisations to illustrate the processed of inspection and assurance, discuss what is meant by customers satisfaction, and explain the meaning of continuous improvement of the organisation.
Furthermore, the report should use the same organisation which has been chosen before to illustrate the type of added values to be gained and describe the types of information made available to customers and the importance given to effective marketing.
2.0 Definition of Quality Quality definition includes four main disciplines, they are philosophy, economics, marketing, and operations management. Philosophy explains the conception of quality, economics tells the using of quality, marketing means how consumers define quality, and operations management explains how to get focus on quality in different ways.
2.1 Walmart China Walmart is an American multinational retail corporation that runs chains of large discount department stores and warehouse stores. It provides various kinds of products. Walmart entered China’s market in 1996, and consumers in China expected that it would bring them products with excellent quality. 1
– Performance A number of supermarkets use retailers for their distribution channels, which means they sell their every type of product one by one, unless there are special promotions. However, Walmart would never be the same, they always sell two or three same-type products together. For example, consumers can only purchase three bottles of tomato ketchup together, even if they don’t want the rest one or two bottles.
– Features Walmart hasn’t got too much “bells and whistles” of their products’ features, but it does have excellent selling features of gain consumer loyalty. There are two facts which can explain this. First, Walmart provide ‘every day low price’ strategy for selling their product. Second, some of the Walmart supermarkets provide an entertainment corner for consumers’ children, so that adults can purchase easily.
– Reliability One of the Walmart stores purchased salted duck four times in Chengdu City Transit condiment factory from 13 January to 27 January 2011. The good’s delivery date was the date of production, and the shelf-life had 10 days only, so the duck in February 5th had all expired. However, a total of 208kg expired duck still be sold to consumers.
– Conformance The Chongqing Walmart pretended green pork to be the ordinary pork and sold out for 63547kg, the time has last for up to 20 months, and had obtained illegal profits more than 73 million RMB, seriously fraud consumers.
– Durability Walmart provides different kinds of products, such as food and daily needs. Consumers want the products like daily needs to be durable, if the products break down, then consumers would have to change new ones. So if the quality of new products is not good, the products will break down quickly.
– Serviceability Walmart has got quite bad after-sale services. For instant, when a consumer purchased a fridge to home and founded that the plug of fridge was broken, then the consumer took the product back and required for repairing, the staff promised that they would repair and return the product in two days, but a week pasted and there wasn’t a sound.
– Aesthetics Walmart has its own brand characteristic building style, and its colour as well – blue. Inside Walmart the products which are provided are just the same as other supermarkets like Carrefour. However, the atmosphere in Walmart supermarkets is not as good as its competitors, for example it doesn’t play music in the spaces.
– Perceived quality For decreasing spends of interests and other costs, Walmart doesn’t draw much attention to promoting its products and itself by advertising like its competitor Carrefour does, and it has been considered that the standard of Carrefour’s product is still better than Walmart. As a result, Walmart hasn’t got a good quality of its products.
2.2 Singapore Airlines Singapore Airlines has come a long way since 1972, evolving form a regional airline to one of the most respected travel brands around the world. If flies one of the youngest aircraft fleets in the world to destinations spanning a net work spread over six continents, with Singapore girl as the internationally-recognisable icon providing the high standards of care and service that customers have come to expect of us. So consumers expect it can provide splendid services while they are on exhausting trips, and Singapore air indeed has satisfied this demand. 2
– Time The services on Singapore airlines are declared to be awesome. If passengers need a cup of water when they are thirsty or after a sleep, they don’t need to wait for at max five minutes because the flight attendants would satisfy all passengers’ demand as quick as possible.
– Timeliness Because it is one of the best airlines in the world, the orders always been satisfied. For example, the flight provides ice cream in summer, but if passengers don’t want ice cream and then regret their decision, the flight attendants will walk back and give them the ice cream as promised.
– Completeness Singapore air has a sort of convenient amusement machines on every back of chairs for travelers, and the machines contain with movie, music and other amusement activities, traveler can enjoy these machines while they feel bored or cannot sleep in the night.
– Courtesy The flight attendants are all smart people, they always appear with big beautiful smiles whenever travelers see them, and they would never talk unless with soft and happy tones with polite sentences.
– Consistency The flight attendants would help every passenger to find their seats and show them the security arrangement patiently. Furthermore, they would bring water to travelers many times even in the midnight while flying.
– Accessibility and convenience Even if passengers order to have meals earlier than the usual meal time, the flight attendants will precisely satisfy the demand. As a result, the services on Singapore airlines are really easy to obtain.
– Accuracy Services provided by the flight attendants on Singapore airlines are suggested to be one of the best performances. So if passengers need a cup of orange juice, they will never get a cup of white water back.
– Responsiveness Small children often cry loudly because they aren’t used the uncomfortable feeling when flights are taking off and flying through clouds, instead of the parents, the flight attendants would bring food or even small toys for attracting children attention. Furthermore, they also bring useful things for children when they fell better after crying.
3.0 Inspection An inspection is, most generally, an organized examination or formal evaluation exercise. In engineering activities inspection involves the measurements, tests, and gauges applied to certain characteristics in regard to an object or activity. The results are usually compared to specified requirements and standards for determining whether the item or activity is in line with these targets. Inspections are usually non-destructive. 3 Figure 1 SPC 4 Statistical process control is a method of quality control which uses statistical methods. SPC is applied in order to monitor and control a process. Monitoring and controlling the process ensures that it operates at its full potential. At its full potential, the process can make as much conforming product as possible with a minimum of waste. SPC can be applied to any process where the “conforming product” output can be measured. Key tools used in SPC include control charts; a focus on continuous improvement; and the design of experiments. An example of a process where SPC is applied is manufacturing lines.
Inspection in manufacturing is conducting inspection during the production process. This approach of inspection helps to control the quality of products by helping to fix the sources of defects immediately after they are detected, and it is useful for any factory that wants to improve productivity, reduce defeat rates, and reduce re-work and waste.
Walmart has a sort of its own process of inspection. 1. Regulatory Compliance Walmart suppliers must comply with all laws, including Federal, State and Local laws, as required under the Supplier Agreement.
2. Footwear Testing Program This is an annual testing program that involves testing of the following samples, Footwear Pre-Production/Components Testing, Production Testing of Complete Shoe, In-Store Testing, Warehouse Testing, and other testing at the request of the Walmart New York Office Technical Department of Compliance Department.
3.1 Quality Assurance Quality assurance refers to the engineering activities implemented in a quality system so that requirements for a product or service will be fulfilled. It is the systematic measurement, comparison with a standard, monitoring of processes and an associated feedback loop that confers error prevention. This can be contrasted with quality control, which is focused on process outputs.5
3.1.1 Process of Quality Assurance To implement quality control, the organization needs to identify the steps of the quality assurance process. First, the project manager of the company has to create a team dedicated for quality control. Once the team is formed, the main responsibility of the team will be to define the tasks and assign them to respective persons. The quality control team then defines the plans for the quality assurance process. The next step of this process is to generate the testing procedures, checklists and related activities to explain the way quality control will be performed. The quality control team now has to perform according to the plan to ensure the next step of quality assurance process. The next step of quality assurance process is to identify the training requirement for the team members to perform the evaluation processes as specified in the quality control plan. The performance of the quality control team should be monitored regularly by the project manager against the quality control plan, schedule and budget. The quality control activities and results are reviewed by the senior management of the organization and their stakeholders on regular intervals. The team collects review information from various sources. Suggestions for improvement at any step of quality assurance process is accepted and implemented in the next session, if it satisfies the various limitations. The team refines the total process to give it a defined structure with quality control process descriptions, templates and checklists. 6
Walmart also provides its quality assurance. For instance, when customers buy electronic products from Wal-Mart, they buy with confidence. Every piece of the equipment’s offer is the best possible quality for the price — guaranteed. Wal-Mart’s unsurpassed buying power allows us to source equipments from the most reputable suppliers in the industry at exceptionally low prices. Then, every piece of fine equipments passes a rigorous inspection process before offering it to customers. Many of the equipments are independently certified by the prestigious International Gemological Institute; all carry the Wal-Mart guarantee of quality and satisfaction. 7
4.0 Customer Satisfaction Customer satisfaction, a term frequently used in marketing, is a measure of how products and services supplied by a company meet or surpass customer expectation. Customer satisfaction is defined as “the number of customers, or percentage of total customers, whose reported experience with a firm, its products, or its services exceeds specified satisfaction goals.” In a survey of nearly 200 senior marketing managers, 71 percent responded that they found a customer satisfaction metric very useful in managing and monitoring their businesses. 8
In addition, customers are divided into two types, internal customers and external customers. Internal customers are the employees and workers in the organisation. External customers are those common consumers who purchase products and as k for services.
The way of how Walmart improve customer satisfaction can be divided into three parts. Furthermore, Walmart also provide questionnaire for judging customer’s satisfaction. (See appendixⅠ‘Questionnaire of Walmart China Customers’)
First, Walmart should make its internal customers happy. If Walmart doesn’t satisfied its employees, these people who work in the organisation might lose their honesty to their company and at last Walmart would lose not its internal customers, but also its external customers as well. So Walmart must pay its responsibility to its employees. Like giving them higher wages and profits, stopping making mistakes in production and services, exceeding their expectations and make them delighted. Furthermore, Walmart should also get every department worked hand in hand improving its external customer satisfied.
Second, Walmart should get close to its customers. It should often communicate with them and spend more time with them, so that it could bring more customer loyalty. Also, making customer’s goal your own, being more ethical towards them and getting more people in the company to know about their customer can help to make consumer honesty. Furthermore, Walmart should agree performance improvement plans with customers, provide them additional products and services, and make buying more simply for customer can also help to improve customer satisfaction.
Last, Walmart should also improve their services quality. It should get more information of what kind of service customers would like and get staffs imagine what an excellent service might provide to customers. Then, examining the company’s process, see where they can improve, and crate an action plan that customer would like. In addition, set standards to maintain new performance and monitor standard to them don’t slip. In this way, Walmart can successfully get customer satisfaction.