Within the operation of any organization, quality management is mostly considered to comprise three basic components, namely quality control, assurance and improvement. Quality management does not only focus on product quality, but also on the ways of achieving it, hence, it incorporates quality assurance, control of processes and products
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to obtain the most consistent quality (Gourdin, 2006). The quality management is always aimed at improving the organizational quality as well as performance which tends to focus on lifting up the satisfaction of customers through a progressive and incremental development of processes together with the eradication of unnecessary activities and variations.
Meaning of quality to an organization
The quality issue help to show the success or failure of an organization, hence a determinant factor to its progress. In reputable multinational corporations, quality developments commence with the identification of customer’s expectations in all essential ”times of truth” – moments of critical consultations the clients may have with the company. This interaction could be undertaken in the form of internal support groups, sales representatives, control or the direct service providers (Nankervis 2005, p.219). The best method of understanding customer expectations is listening to customers through the qualitative research methods. In most cases, this will call for the use of staff’s specialized skills practiced in customer satisfaction measurement.
Customer satisfaction can be easily be measured by clearly identifying their expectations. However, customer will be expected to answer certain questions regarding his/her feelings towards the company’s products as well as their performance. By so doing, the company will be in position to capture
their interests hence develop the credibility expected in gaining their cooperation. For any organization, the task, has been made easier by speaking the language of the customer and presentations of concerns that are most important to organization’s growth and developments.
Quality issues raised in the Virgin Airline
In the recent past, Virgin Airline has been faced with critical quality issues concerning its services as well as its facilities. Some of the quality issues raised include;
Customer care services
This tend to vary from one fleet to another. In some fleets, for instance LHR-LAX-LHR Upper Class, customers have launched several complaints concerning the services that are offered by the flight attendants, who have been said to be less attentive besides looking very bored. Customers’ may be served food past the expected time (Marivic, 2009).
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To the disappointments of many passengers, booked seats may be changed without consultations causing more inconveniences to travelers using the Airline. To worsen the matter, some booked flights may be changed and in the process, customer care service tends not to offer a sound solution to the problem. Sometimes times, the customers keep asking for things instead of being provided with them (Gourdin, 2006).
Many passengers have complained of the standard of food served on the flight. The food has been said to be of poor quality, overdone and inedible.
It is believed that by many that a distinction between the services that are offered in different airports/terminals. For instance, one passenger complained that, Virgin Atlantic provides different services between its Heathrow and Manchester. Heathrow services are believed to
have a current A340 fleet, with renovated passenger seats as well as AVOD entertainment system. On the other hand, the Manchester services are said to be operated by an aging 747 fleet along with worn-out (sometimes broken) seats, in addition to very unprofessional services that are offered plus archaic entertainment systems.
There are many tools and frameworks for quality improvement. They tend to take care of the product improvement, process improvement as well as people-based improvement. There are so many tools and techniques of quality management that involve and drive quality improvement. Justto mention a few;
Total Quality Management (TQM)
This is a management strategy that is aimed towards creating awareness of quality to users of products at all organizational processes.
This approach focuses mainly on capturing the emotional feedback of customers concerning products, hence geared toward improvement drive.
Business Process Re-engineering (BPR)
This is a management approach that is aimed at ”cleaning slate” improvements, this could be done best, by ignoring the existing practices.
This involves the guidelines commonly used in performance improvement.
It is very vital not to undervalue individual factors, like culture, when choosing a quality improvement strategies. Every change is expected to take some time towards implementation, since it has to gain being acknowledged and stabilized as time-honored practice. Improvement should permit a break between adopting a new revolution to allow the change to stabilize as well as be assessed as a genuine improvement, earlier than the subsequent improvement is undertaken (this results in persistent change, not unbroken change).
Quality improvements that are believed to transform the culture are thought to take long as they are expected to overcome the greater hindrances to change. For an organization to easily achieve all these, it’s contently efficient to operate inside the existing cultural
limits as well as make at least small improvements compared to the making of major transformational changes. However, transformational change works best when a company meets a predicament and hence calls for major improvements for it to survive. Systems of quality management that are well planned take all the discussed factors keen on account while deciding on the quality change frameworks (Gourdin, 2006).
Some of the key quality issues that have mostly been raised in Virgin Atlantic Airlines include:
- Customer care services
- Food aboard
- Facilities e.g seats and hauling machines
From a critical analysis of the quality issues affecting the Virgin Atlantic Airlines, other issues that came out in relation to essential aspects of product quality encompass:
Performance of the staff
- Features of the product
- Reliability of the services
- Conformance with the current Airlines policy
- Durability of the Aircrafts
- Serviceability aboard
- Aesthetics in the plane
- Perceived Quality of the Airlines
Some of the possible solutions to the quality issues affecting Virgin Atlantic Airlines
The organization has goals that can be achieved by the efforts of its workers. Individuals (staff) on the other hand have their own goals which are likely to be different from those of an organization. A major challenge for the management of the Virgin Atlantic Airlines is getting employees to work so as to achieve organizational goals. On other hand employers should be motivated to help an organization achieve its set goals.
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The management needs to identify the unique threats to their business and formulate ways of solving them. The customers of the Virgin Atlantic Airlines call for quality products (services and foods) that they are provided with while taking flight with this airline. Solutions to its predicaments may include;
Customer care service
The company should try to recruit a competent crew to promote its customer care services that are extended to the clients. Although, the company can also train the current staff on how to handle the customer and respond to their demands. The airline crew is supposed to be friendly to the customers. The organization’s image is always enhanced by the kind of customer care services their staffs tend to offer its clients. For Virgin Atlantic Airlines to thrive and survive in current competent world where competition is the order of the day, it has to promote its image through customer care services.
The kind of food they provide the customer with, should meet all the cultural as well as the international standards of catering, because, the airline’s customer come from a diverse culture. The food should be of high quality.
The company should try to renovate its seats as well as its entertainment facilities, so that passengers do not get bored on the way. The seat should be spaced well to provide the passengers with comfort they need while traveling.
The airline should make its safety measures clear to its customer. This is because of the current threats of terrorism around the world, just like what happened on September 11. For most passengers, security details of an airline are the main concern.
Other solutions include job-related issues
The Virgin Atlantic Airlines is supposed to allow its crew performs more varied tasks which are on the same level. By so doing, this could make them feel less monotonous.
Implies that, making the job more interesting; the Virgin Atlantic Airlines is supposed to incorporate the needs of its employees towards improving the working environment. For instance, undertaking a horizontal job loading implies that the crew will be given more work at the same level at which they are working, this could motivate them to work harder and be more satisfied with work.
The Virgin Atlantic Airlines is supposed to have, a deliberate upgrading of responsibility, scope and challenges of the airline’s job. The goal is not merely to make more work varied but also to make every employee a manager.
From the past study Virgin Atlantic Airlines has continued to enjoy its global image beside the ups and downs attached to them. It’s high time where the management of the company should come up with formidable quality frameworks to try and upgrade its dwindling services. Other changes that the company should look at are the latest regulations that are being implemented by various countries around the world, and make sure that it meets the set standards on quality management of the nations it operates through (Marivic, 2009). The Virgin Atlantic Airlines is also expected to focus on the opportunities as well as the threats, for this will help the organization restore its lost glory (if any), status and success.
Marivic, B 2009. Business Report on Virgin Atlantic Airlines. Web.
Goetsch, DL & Davis, S 2006. Quality Management: Introduction to quality management in production. New York: Prentice Hall.
Main, J 1998. Driving change: how the best companies are preparing for the 21st century, New York: Free press. p.24.
Nankervis, AR 2005, Management Services, Cambridge University Press, p.219.
Gourdin, KN 2006, Global logistics management, New Jersey: Wiley.com publisher, p. 247.