An integrative approach to quality
Managers and employees are faced with an increasing number of complex challenges including implementing and maintaining multiple management systems/codes of practice such as safety, environment and quality, increasing competitive advantage and showing continued sustainability with limited resources. In addition, corporate scandals like Enron and the impact of the Aids pandemic on the economy of a country, further burden the responsibility of managers and employees. Operating all these management systems/codes of practice in parallel, however, duplicates documentation, makes auditing the systems difficult and decreases employee morale. Hence, this study reviewed related literature which represented secondary sources of information, to determine the most suitable management systems/codes of practice, to show the benefits of using integrated management systems and to select appropriate business improvement tools to promote business excellence. It developed a simple management system and designed integrated documentation to support these integrated systems. A model was developed. The Process Approach was used as a foundation to develop this model which integrated safety, environmental management, corporate governance, quality and HIV/Aids management systems/codes of practice. The SECQA model is the name proposed for the model, it provides a holistic model to facilitate world class performance. This part of the study represented the qualitative method of research. The quantitative method of research complimented the findings above by using interviews with key role players, a pilot study of two manufacturing organisations and a principal study of thirty manufacturing and service organisations. The pilot and principal studies were conducted on organisations from the Kwa Zulu-Natal region and the interviews were conducted with representatives from Gauteng and Cape Province. Questionnaires were designed using open-ended and closed-ended type questions and together with interviews formed the primary source of information. The challenges of employees working with management systems and the suitability of the SECQA model were established from the questionnaire. The possible advantages and disadvantages of the SECQA model were also shown. The strengths and weaknesses of the management systems and how they can be addressed and overcome by the model are presented. The challenges that were evident from the results of the interviews and pilot study were that respondents found that there was a lack of resources, lack of training and understanding of the management systems by employees within their organisation. From the results of the principal study it was apparent that some organisations did not have the infrastructure and had limited resources to support multiple management systems. There was a lack of support from senior managers. Safety, environment and quality managements systems were the most commonly used in organisations. Most organisations found that their management systems were beneficial. Benchmarking, cause and effect diagrams and brainstorming were the most common business improvement tools used by organisations.