A critical analysis of quality management systems: a logistics perspective.
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The management of quality in any organisation is critical to its success. The premise on which any organisation is built, is to satisfy the needs of its customers. Regardless of whether the organisation’s offering product is a product or a service, the former remains true. No matter the industry or the sector, organisations need to ensure they meet these needs. The management of quality in an organisation is difficult to measure, and it is for this reason, that organisations introduce Quality Management Systems. Organisations then need to determine what customers consider quality to be, and more importantly how they can measure quality. The aim of this study was to uncover the dimensions customers use to measure quality management. The theoretical framework used was the SERVQUAL model, which assumes the customer measures quality using five dimensions. These dimensions formed the basis of and influenced the development of the two data collection instruments used to determine whether Company A’s management of quality met the expectations of their customers. Therefore, the aim of the study was to determine whether Company A, in the transport and logistics industry in KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa, was aware of its customer needs and to establish whether the organisation’s usual method of managing quality was sufficient. Part of the aim of this study included determining customer perceptions of quality based on the five dimensions presented to them. The data was collected from a sample that included both customers and employees of Company A using survey questionnaires and semi-structured interviews, analysed using Gap analysis. The study showed areas where the employees’ and the customers’ perceptions of quality were similar or differed and provided clarity as to where the organisation should focus its improvements. The gaps identified can assist the company in reaching the level of quality expected by customers, and ultimately to exceed these expectations. The study also revealed that only certain dimensions contained these gaps and this meant that Company A could implement a targeted strategy aimed at improving their service quality. The recommendations generated from the results of this study provide insight into how managers of Company A can improve quality management and service quality in the organisation, which will ultimately lead to greater company success.