An empirical evaluation of total quality management in port operations.
The Durban RORO Terminal (DRT) is of strategic importance to the achievement of Transnet, KwaZulu-Natal Government and the National Governments’ investments and developmental goals. As a handler of Pure Car Carriers (PCTC), Medium sized container vessels and Break-Bulk vessels the Terminal offers a facility for handling a mixture of commodities which contributes to making the Durban Port a strategic gateway for cargo destined for South Africa as well as for Sub-Saharan Africa. It is therefore of crucial importance that best total quality management practices are followed at DRT. Transnet DRT regularly receives complaints on service quality and efficiencies through media publications, there is generally a perception that Transnet’s DRT is inefficient and has low quality standards. As its objectives, this study evaluated the level of TQM implementation at DRT. The study also established the impact of current TQM practices on three aspects of company performance, i.e. Safety and security, efficiency and profitability. The level of TQM adoption and support by employees within the business was also evaluated. The study used a structured, self-administered questionnaire as a tool to collect all the data. Questionnaires were administered to a sample of 86 employees, 57 responses were received constituting a 66% response rate. Data collected was analysed using Excel statistical analysis functionality. Conclusions and recommendations are presented in chapter 5 of the study; areas for further study were also identified. The results of the study indicate that there is some level of TQM implementation within the organization but there are areas where significant improvements are required. From the study, a conclusion is drawn that the level of TQM implementation at DRT is low and requires improvement; that there is a good level of employee adoption of TQM; and that implementation of TQM at DRT has a positive impact on safety and security, efficiency and profitability.