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CRANSTON NISSAN: ADDRESSING THE ISSUE OF TOTAL QUALITY MANAGEMENT


Introduction

Total Quality Management (TQM) is a comprehensive and structured approach to organizational management that seeks to improve the quality of products and services through ongoing refinements in response to continuous feedback from the customers. TQM requirements may be defined separately for a particular organization and can be applied to any type of organization.

As a current focus of e-business, TQM is based on quality management from the customer's point of view.  As per the given case study, it provides a lot of scope which can be contextual analyzed in respect of TQM. Primarily, Total Quality Management (TQM) is the organization-wide effort to install and make permanent a climate in which it continuously improves its ability to deliver high-quality products and services to customers.


Unfortunately, the scenario presented and the feedback from Sam Monahan has been appallingly discouraging. However, it is good that he constructively registered his disappointment with the services he has been provided by Cranston Nissan. His feedback to Steve Jackson, the General Manager of Cranston Nissan however provides a platform to address his concern and salvage him due to his patience despite all negative experience he might have had with the personnels and sub-dealers of Cranston Nissan.

Attempt is made to address the three questions that arose from Sam Monahan’s letter.


Question 1: Categorize the quality problems in this case

Looking through the perspective of Total Quality Management (TQM), there are seven quality problems in this case. They are critically reviewed below.

i.                    Lack of commitment - The first is a quality problem is the lack of motivation from the mechanics to fix the 300ZX properly without breaking anything else in the car, which is conveyed by the continual return of the car to Sam Monahan when it is not in perfect condition.

ii.                  Lack of priority - The second quality deficiency is the lack of priority for the mechanics to fix the car, especially after it was returned to the shop multiple times.

iii.                Poor training and motivation - The third quality problem centers on the mechanics training and motivation.

Obviously, if the 300ZX is being returned to the customer in a worse condition than it was received at the Body Shop, then it is an indication that the mechanics are either lazy (they do not care about the product or the customer), or they are not properly trained in fixing the 300ZX.

iv.                Poor supervision - The fourth problem was that there was no manager or team leader to step up and take control of the situation.

This is evident in that the service prolonged from September 6th when Sam Monahan called Jim Boyd and Boyd transferred him to Ted Simon, the service department manager, and then Monahan was passed to Larry in .....[read full text]

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There are also no managers motivating the employees to do their best, which adds to this problem of incentives. It has been proved by management researchers that having good motivating factors for employees enable them to be more committed in their respective assignments and tasks. The fourth probable cause for so many mishaps in the case is a severe lack of communication between departments at Cranston Nissan.

Sam Monahan constantly had to call and inform different people about the concerns he had, such as a lack of timely (quick) service. He was transferred between departments and had to explain himself all over again. Monahan even had to take responsibility of proving that he did not have to pay a bill on newly broken parts. This should have been communicated between mechanics and the service department without the customer having to get involved.

The fifth probable cause for all of these mishaps is that none of the mechanics are being held accountable to a high quality standard. After each mechanical issue, a new one emerges, and not once did any manager or supervisor stepped in, to direct or control the situation.


Question 3: What specific actions should Jackson take immediately? What should some of his longer- term goals be?

This particular question can be addressed in two dimensions. The first is to consider the immediate action Steve Jackson can adopt to salvage and have the protracted issue resolved. While the first dimension addresses the short-term goals, the second dimension focusses on the long-term goals in meeting customers’ expectations.


1.      Immediate short-terms response

The first specific action in the short term is that Steve Jackson can immediately meet with all of the employees concerned and read the customer’s letter to them. Change is often difficult to create, and “unfreezing” past mental maps takes a shocking event known as a high-impact, inescapable confrontation.

The letter from Monahan is surely a high-impact event, and Jackson can make the reading of the letter an inescapable confrontation by making the meetings with employees unavoidable (For example, tell the employees their pay will be lessened or they will be fired if they do not meet with Jackson). The next specific action Jackson should take should be to improve customer satisfaction by training employees to communicat.....

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ii.                  The second specific action that Jackson should take in the long run should be to instate strategic management and goal setting, so that goals can be set with employees that are directly correlated to the strategic goals of the company.

This would allow for improvements in the way that Cranston Nissan does business or in other words, continuous process improvement.


iii.                Also looking from a Total Quality Management point-of-view, the third specific action that Jackson should take in the long-run should be to train current employees or hire new employees in Statistical process control or in Six Sigma.

Employees who understand SPC will be able to aid their company in making decisions on how well a process is performing. For example, if mechanics are still creating new problems with cars when they are fixing other issues, than SPC tools would be able to discover and help fix these problems. Highly trained Six Sigma employees would also help instruct Jackson to implement new techniques or training methods for mechanics to maximize efficiency and minimize mistakes or defects.


iv.                Finally, Jackson should create a performance appraisal system for Cranston Nissan so that employees or mechanics who cannot perform to the new, higher quality standards can be discovered and tak.....

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Lippman, S. A. and R. P. Rumelt (2003). "The payments perspective: micro-foundations of resource analysis," Strategic Management .....

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