Research Proposal: Quality Service Management

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Quality Service Management

This case study emphasizes the development of SQM in a small Libyan tourism agency, Libya Safari Tours (LST). With the experience I had working for this company I was able to develop a sense of the company's SQM application, working through the various strengths and weaknesses as they existed to date allowing analysis and recommendations for the company and for service in the region generally. The work begins with a brief introduction to Libya, the emerging tourism industry, and then an analysis of LST according to the 11 points, offered by Yee Tsang & Antony (2001) and the 7 points offered by McCarville ending with the answering of a series of essential questions; What does quality mean in the organisation? What factors influence the customers' perception of quality? What procedures exist to ensure business processes are repeatable? Are these processes adequate and if not, how could they be improved? Overall, is quality satisfactory? If yes, what are the factors that lead to QM being effective? If no, how could quality be improved?

Introduction

According to Yee Tsang & Antony "Total quality management (TQM) is an integrative management philosophy aimed at continuously improving the performance of products, processes and services to achieve and surpass customer expectations." (2001, p 132) In accordance with a case study, company analysis for a service industry TQM will be known as Service Quality Management (SQM), (Jafari 2000, p 203) as the main focus of the company is service and customer service is the most essential aspect of success within a service system. (Yee Tsang & Antony 2001) Additionally, according to Yee Tsang & Antony there are 11 main aspects of SQM that are essential to its successful development in service:

customer focus, continuous improvement, teamwork and involvement, top management commitment and recognition, training and development, quality systems and policies, supervisory leadership, communication within the company, supplier partnership or supplier management, measurement and feedback and cultural change. (Yee Tsang & Antony 2001, p 132)

Of these eleven factors, all found to one degree or another in successful service industry companies, in the UK among those surveyed, the most important and consistent among them was customer focus. Though TQM is often thought of as a universal paradigm in business, Sharma & Gadenne stress that the value chain integration is most likely the aspect that will overlap among all three basis types of business, service, manufacture and construction but that all three vary significantly in application of successful TQM principles (2002) TQM of course is an evolving business paradigm that is variant across organisations and business and the literature reflects this variety. (Zain, Dale & Kehoe 2001) (Sila & Ebrahimpour 2002) The work will also briefly address the seven essential elements according to McCarville of effective leisure programming.

1. Establish programming priorities. 2. Discover clients' needs. 3. Develop product accordingly. 4. Identify key program providers. 5. Identify key encounters with clients. 6. Train for flexibility, but when in doubt set standards. 7. Ask for help. (Mccarville 1993, p. 34)

This case study will emphasize the development of SQM in a small Libyan tourism agency, Libya Safari Tours (LST). With the experience I had working for this company I was able to develop a sense of the company's SQM application, working through the various strengths and weaknesses as they existed to date allowing analysis and recommendations for the company and for service in the region generally. The work will begin with a brief introduction to Libya, the emerging tourism industry, and then analyze LST according to the above 11 points, the 7 essential elements of successful leisure programming as well as a series of essential questions; What does quality mean in the organisation? What factors influence the customers' perception of quality? What procedures exist to ensure business processes are repeatable? Are these processes adequate and if not, how could they be improved? Overall, is quality satisfactory? If yes, what are the factors that lead to QM being effective? If no, how could quality be improved?

Brief introduction to Libya Tourism

Tourism in Libya has been all but impossible in recent years, yet clearly this is changing, as the government and the communities begin to support the idea that Libya is a fundamentally valid and valuable tourist destination, especially given its close proximity to Europe. The nation boasts many miles of unspoiled coastline, untouched Roman ruins and several stirring WWII battlefields. ("Travel: Welcome to Libya;" 2006, p 26) The nation has recently been recognized as one of the best tourist destinations in the region, especially considering its relative undiscovered nature. ("Life in Libya; Perrott" 2006, p 1) ("GADDAFI'S SECRET POMPEII. Caroline" 2005, p 94) Tourism is also bolstered by the fact that Libya is a significantly rich nation for trade which makes it a great shopping destination. ("Establish Trade Links in," 2006, p. 4) (Kasper, Helsdingen & Vries 1999, p 119) The development of the tourism trade will likely continue, especially with the investment of local and regional tourism agencies such as LST. (Dabrowska 2005) (Smith 2006) (Gearon 2007) (Pidd 2003, p 15)

The tourism sector has massive potential, given the abundance of sun, sea and sand plus short flight times for European holidaymakers. The country possesses almost year round warm weather and a large number of attractive sites for cultural tourism. However, the lack of tourist infrastructure, visa difficulties and a reputation incompatible with the popular requirements of a tourist destination, have so far, restricted growth of the sector. It is probably unrealistic to expect an explosion in visitor numbers over the next few years, but a gradual increase in both tourists and investment, allied to an improving international reputation, should lay the groundwork to enable tourism to become a major sector within two decades. (Ford 2003, p 50)

Currently, the lack of tourism infrastructure limits Libyan tourism to group excursions, as support for a group is exceedingly easier than for an individual seeking tourist accommodations. The result has been a foundational increase in the number of local and regional tour group planners and companies. LST and other tourism companies on the brink of Libya's emerging tourism industry recognize that quality infrastructure and development will mark the success of the nation as a whole with regard to emerging economic success in tourism.

LST 11 Point Analysis

Customer Focus (Yee Tsang & Antony 2001) is an essential aspect of LST and SQM, the company in fact is currently evolving to invest in varied offerings, though the essential tour is set, the new structure will be more reflective of customer driven tours, as the company evolves to meet new needs and demands of tourists. (LST websites) I witnessed this transition both in literature and reality as LST representatives strive on a daily and even hourly basis to meet the needs of existing customers and gain new customers through impeccable customer service.

Continuous Improvement (Yee Tsang & Antony 2001) is also occurring in the company as it diversifies its product offerings and continues to develop its tour offerings and tailor new group tours to the changing demands of the tourist industry and individual. The company has been integral in the development of tourist infrastructure in the nation. (LST websites)

Teamwork and Involvement (Yee Tsang & Antony 2001) LST like many other companies in the region has an hierarchical structure. Though this is changing as the individuals within the company become more aware of the need for delegation of tasks and limited expertise, the company will likely begin to improve the teamwork aspect of the organization as the need arises, especially with expansion.

Top Management Commitment and Recognition (Yee Tsang & Antony 2001) again hierarchical structure of the company is essential and core, the president of the company is in fact its only real spokesperson, likely due in large to its relatively small size. The management is experiencing foundational education and improvement with the inclusion of internships and additional trade research and development.

Training and Development (Yee Tsang & Antony 2001) training and development is crucial and witnessed as an aspect of my own involvement in the company. The CEO keeps abreast with tourist trade reading and marketing accordingly, while the tour and hospitality purveyors and team leaders work on their own expertise and experience.

Quality Systems and Policies (Yee Tsang & Antony 2001) quality systems and policies are clearly evolving.

Supervisory Leadership (Yee Tsang & Antony 2001) leadership is limited as a result of size, the CEO is very hands on.

Communication within the Company (Yee Tsang & Antony 2001) communication is essential in a system where limited tourism infrastructure is evident and this is reflected with an open door policy as well as essential home and office links to cell phones. While I was there the CEO never took more than 30 minutes to respond to a concern by a tour guide and the CEO often visited sites with groups and negotiated local needs.

Supplier Partnership or Supplier Management (Yee Tsang & Antony 2001) supplier partnership as well as… [END OF PREVIEW]

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