Quality stewardship : a 21st century quality framework for selected manufacturing organisations in South Africa
Moonsamy, Gonasagren Vimlan
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Quality management remains one of the top ranking strategic issues in all major organisations. However, at present, there is a sentiment that business priorities and quality management priorities have become non-aligned over the last two decades. It is believed that quality management is still predominately understood and practiced using the framework and direction provided historically by quality leaders such as Deming, Juran, Crosby and others. Thus, this study motivated that quality is at a crossroads and in order for it to be aligned with business priorities, once again it needs to evolve its role. This study commenced with the review on related literature on the history of quality management. From this review, it was evident that the various evolutions of quality management were directed to meet the changing business challenges and market needs that were linked to prevailing demand and supply, customer focus, competitive advantage and profitable growth outputs. The literature review thereafter demonstrated the potential opportunities wherein quality management could be utilised to re-establish its previous relevance by supporting organisations in the management of emerging trends. This study identified globalisation, customer power and sophistication, social responsibility and environmental sustainability consciousness as emerging trends that could be the most leveraged with the use of quality management concepts, techniques and tools. Furthermore, the topics of stewardship, leadership, change management and strategy were discussed as enablers to the proposed new evolution of quality management, which should become known as “quality stewardship”. As a guideline to the “quality stewardship” strategy, a Quality Stewardship and Leadership (QSAL) framework was developed in this study. The QSAL framework incorporated Total Quality Management (TQM), systems thinking and business excellence as the underlying theoretical grounding. This framework, displaying a process approach, encapsulated the following components: inputs (risk, revenue and reputation), processes (productivity Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), technical governance, and environmental and social sustainability) and outputs (maximise value) for the proposed new scope for quality management. Abstract iii The primary source of information used in this study was obtained from qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. The research instruments in this study included surveys in the form of questionnaires and an organisational assessment which was undertaken by utilising a Viable Systems Model (VSM). The organisational assessment that was part of the preliminary study was undertaken in two beverage multi-national organisations in South Africa. The pilot and principal studies consisted of surveys in the form of questionnaires. The objective of the survey was to gain an understanding of current quality management practices, current quality management thinking and acceptability of the proposed QSAL framework across selected manufacturing organisations in South Africa. Both the preliminary and principal studies displayed variable levels of responses in quality management practices and a high level of agreement or awareness to the questions on the current thinking of quality management and acceptability of the proposed QSAL framework in the quantitative studies. Thus, based on the review of related literature and empirical studies, the motivation for this research, that quality management was ready for the next evolution in order to support current business challenges and market demands, was validated.