The contemporary business environment is gradually getting tougher, with numerous challenges marring corporate growth worldwide. Globally, in nowadays business world, organizations are constantly facing business-related challenges, especially from the rapturously growing competition and more complicated customers with their diverse needs (Al-Shobaki, Fouad & Al-Bashir, 2010). Recent studies have indicated that management techniques have been changing dramatically in the past few decades to meet the customer’s unremitting necessities and gradually developing corporate competence.
Among the fastest, growing corporate nations are those within the United Arab Emirates, and organizational management has been an imperative issue in all businesses. Companies have recently been implementing Six Sigma, Kaizen, Lean, ISO, and IMS techniques to meet the growing challenges, with substantial evidence revealing that Total Quality Management has remained undermined. Despite TQM being one of the fundamental approaches that ensure stakeholders satisfaction, it is still immature in most UAE organizations. The mainstay of this essay is to provide an in-depth understanding of TQM implementation drawing evidence from the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.
Synopsis of Total Quality Management
Total Quality Management is an influential management technique that has currently dominated several corporate businesses across the world. It is a widely renowned broad-based approach representing competitive strategy, currently employed by small, medium, and multinational companies to enhance organizational distinction (Malik & Khan, 2011). Total Quality Management may refer to a combination of strategically designed management approaches for an organisation, principally centred on quality, and comprehensive participation of all organisation members with an aim of providing long-term success (Deros et al., 2009).
It may also refer to organisational commitment and obligation towards customer satisfaction through incessant enhancement. Al-Shobaki et al. (2010) highlights TQM implementation requirements as, “approval of the philosophy, commitment toward the philosophy and availability of critical information needed for the implementation and measurement of performance” (p. 305). Decades since its advent, phenomenal and developmental success in most manufacturing companies, the status of growth in consumption of TQM technique has remained shaky, undermined, and even underutilised in several services and manufacturing companies in the UAE.
Overview of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company & TQM
One of the outstanding organisations within the United Arab Emirates that has constantly achieved an evitable global business reputation is Abu Dhabi National Oil Company. Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, also known as ADNOC, is a globally prominent national company established in the year 1971. It deals with a continuum of oil and petroleum related companies and subsidiaries. It deals principally with integrating oil and gas industries for production and exploration, oil refining, support services, and gas processing, maritime transportation as well as chemicals and petrochemicals production.
Over the years, ADNOC has increased its production and manufacturing efforts towards achieving a greater competitive market share to become the world’s leading oil producing companies dominating the marketing, shipping, and production paradigms (ADNOC, 2013). For a decade, from producing approximately 2.7 million barrels daily towards over 21 million containers of crude and refined oil daily, shows a clear indication of substantial corporate growth. Perhaps to understand the reason behind choosing of ADNOC for TQM implementation analysis, this essay analyses the organisation structure mission, vision, and objectives of ADNOC.
Employing a diverse set of TQM implementation strategies, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company has demonstrated advanced management as principles of TQM implementation has become more eminent in the past one decade. Under the ADNOC’s organisational service charter and corporate profile, the following core values, mission and vision statement demonstrate a clear understanding of total quality management. ADNOC’s mission statement: “ADNOC is a quality-focused association managing a considered logistics support base providing inclusive products and services to the industry of oil and gas, while remaining committed to its customers, owners, employees and the community” (ADNOC, 2013, Para 5).
ADNOC’s vision statement: “To become a value-added supplier of environment-friendly, integrated, and high quality products and also the services in the Gulf” (ADNOC, 2013, Para 5). Research has noticed that for TQM to remain successful, elements of quality management structure, a clear and consistent communication of mission, vision and objectives defining expectations, value and focus, with clearly articulated policies understandable to workforce must prevail.
Commitment from ADNOC’s Executive Management
One of the main TQM implementation principles that make it successful and that has always remained imperative is the business executive’s commitment. Organisation commitment, bestowed in all top organisational members from executive to lower management through self-driven motives, employee empowerment and motivation, among other critical factors in TQM implementation makes ADCOM a successful firm. To understand why TQM has been successful, ADNOC management has shown devotion towards achieving organisational commitment by initiating Sheikh Khalifa Excellence Award (SKEA) scheme in 1999.
Total Quality Management does not only become achievable by only setting organisational goals, objectives, and mission & vision statements without actively participating in their follow up, through actions. Actions are all activities involved and needed in the implementation of the set organisational ideologies (Al-Shobaki et al. 2010). In a bid ensure that commitment and achievement of TQM is successful in ADNOC, the Sheikh Khalifa Excellence Award (SKEA) scheme has always stood firms with well-articulated objectives. Apart from organisational culture and structure, the following SKEA objectives are paramount.
Sheikh Khalifa Excellence Award (SKEA) scheme aims at promoting awareness and understanding of TQM including all requirements necessary for performance excellence in the middle of Abu Dhabi enterprises (ADNOC, 2013). SKEA ensures “sharing of information of the strategies leading to successful TQM implementation and adoption, thus providing a strong base and a general guideline for such implementation” (ADNOC, Para 6). Finally, Sheikh Khalifa Excellence Award (SKEA) scheme aims at strengthening and enhancing competitiveness within ADNOC companies and hence encouraging its continued existence, profitability and corporate growth as well as improving their contribution towards improving national economy (ADNOC, 2013). Based on their Website, TQM has been successful through organisational workforce.
ADNOC’s Customer focus & satisfaction
One among the major success factors in TQM implementation is customer focus that leads to desired customer satisfaction. For any business to grow corporately, having trustworthy, reliable, and understanding customers is paramount since each business survives through customers support and promotion of company’s services or products. The principle of customer focus and customer satisfaction has been the most contemporarily considered an aspect in TQM.
According to Deros et al. (2009), TQM may typically imply total business focus towards meeting and exceeding customer’s needs and expectations by considering their innermost interests. The quest to improve and achieve customer satisfaction must thus stream from customer focus and this aspect enhances TQM implementation success. From ADNOC’s mission, customer, owners, employees, and community satisfaction are the first priorities. In ADNOC, diverse customer related aspects from care, concern to freedom are eminent in all its companies.
ADNOC has been customer oriented since its beginning in the early 1970s, with integrated customer care services gradually developing. On a private face to face with managers in one of their branches, they all agreed and concluded that customers are the most fundamental stakeholders and they are quite imperative in TQM implementation since they determine their corporate growth. From my personal visit to the company to determine TQM implementation strategies, I noticed that all workforces are responsible for welcoming customers into their companies.
To determine whether customer focus as a principle in TQM was the company’s priority, I complemented my notions with successful interviews of managers. Three out of four managers who participated in direct verbal interviews revealed that there were customer service contacts, claims and complaints sections, as well as customer compensation policies articulated in all ADNOC companies. All there branches and sections of customer related departments were eminent within their organisation structures hence revealing ADNOC’s commitment towards customer satisfaction.
ADNOC’s Quality planning & Culture
TQM means Total Quality Management and driven by the word quality, which typically means one that is valuable, praiseworthy, or even commendable. For TQM implementation to remain successful, strategies towards achieving quality planning and having the culture towards quality accomplishment is paramount. Planning may refer to preparation while culture may be a way of doing a certain practice. All managers and employers must remain intrinsically driven to enhance and maintain quality through strategic planning schemes, which involve training workers on principles concerning quality achievement and quality culture. Shahin (2011) asserts, “Advanced
Planning and Scheduling known as APS systems are highly analytical applications that their purpose is to assess plant capacity, material availability, and customer demand” (p.263). For any program or project to be successful in organisations, substantial preparation must be available to guide the direction and achievement of the stated objectives. In this case, organisational commitment and financial resources are important variables.
Considerable approaches exist in ADNOC that makes the company rank among renowned and successful TQM implementers. From the organisation structure designed and inherent in ADNOC, it is possible to understand why quality management is gradually becoming highly effective in ADNOC. In ADNOC, there is Quality
Inspection Unit or department, that is responsible for sorting, salvaging, and taking corrective actions in the desired product or service quality (ADNOC, 2013). The organisation also possesses a quality control system determines quality manual or/and performance data, product testing, reviewing of statistics, and involved in determining quality policies (ADNOC, 2013). One of the integral principles in quality implementation is quality assurance and this department is practically present in ADNOC. In this company, there are quality assurer and quality inspectors, throughout the organisation structure who also manage research and development concerning quality of products and services. Based on personal interview with quality assurance managers, R&D has been active for the past one decade.
ADNOC’s Employee involvement, training & empowerment
Among the crucial factors that organisations must put into consideration during designing and implementation of TQM is employee involvement, training & empowerment, which are critical factors in achieving objectives, set in TQM. Human resource management is a paramount department, which is responsible for developing and nurturing employee skills that are imperative in company’s corporate growth. Employee involvement and participation, akin to employee commitment in accomplishing organisational objectives embedded in TQM, involves employees taking part in different implantation approaches to ensure that the company achieves TQM aims (Bahri et al., 2012).
Employee involvement therefore may require organisations taking a further initiative in empowering and motivating its employees to become both intrinsically and extrinsically to take responsibilities and duties willingly and cooperatively towards achieving TQM. Empowerment and motivation have always been significant factors of organisational success, with research on these aspects substantially revealing enhanced positive working on availability of empowerment parameters. Motivation and empowerment encourage all employees to cooperate, communicate, and undertake their responsibilities effectively and professionally.
ADNOC stands out to be the most fascinating company within the UAE and maybe internationally, on aspects related to employee involvement, empowerment and training. Training as one of the TQM implementation principles, must always be a priority since changes in an organisation must emerge with modern strategies to handle them tactfully. TQM is an important organisational strategy and workers cannot understand its imperativeness if there deficiency in the awareness of its objectivity. Based on personal interviews with managers and some few workers, to enhance performance through employee involvement, empowerment, and training, ADNOC has emerged with numerous strategies (Bahri et al., 2012).
In ADNOC, similar to its information on the website, managers agreed that the secretary general, H.E Yousef Omair bin Yousef has constantly encouraged the company to invest in highly qualified and committed workforce. ADNOC supports employee training on quality measures concerning its importance, with measures to improve knowledge, skills, and attitude being the company’s obligation. All employees are equal and there contribution in decision-making has effectively assisted the company to reach its targets.
ADNOC’s Unity of purpose, cooperation and teamwork
TQM implementation process has always been challenging to numerous organisations in the UAE and even within the global gamut. The success of TQM implementation entirely depends on the principles of unanimity, organisational cooperation and the aspect of teamwork. Unity of purpose also known as the aspect of cooperation towards achieving the objectivity of a given project must always prevail in TQM implementation. Coupled with employee and management commitment towards achieving the aim of the company, unity of purpose or intention significantly enable the company achieve TQM implementation.
Organisation cooperation and teamwork have been two common success factors in several organisations, with research revealing that TQM is only achievable given the availability of such factors. As stated in Deros et al. (2009), “TQM is the mutual cooperation of everyone in an organisation and associated business process to produce products and services, which meet the needs and expectations of the customers” (p.15). Cooperation allows common understanding between employees and this aspect leads to autonomous teams that propel the organisation towards achieving its corporate goals.
ADNOC has been in the vanguard to promote aspects of unity of purpose, cooperation, and teamwork as part of performance improvement program. The management at ADNOC has been actively participating in developing performance improvement programs, which the organisation initiated in 1986 that principally involved realisation of opportunities and challenges associated with ADNOC (ADNOC, 2013). The main objectives of the performance improvement program were to enhance recognition of ADNCO through annual celebrations, enhance monitoring of departments, introduce multilevel discipline oriented projects, and more importantly, encouraging teamwork within functional departments (ADNOC, 2013). This organisation has been promoting cohesive approaches towards the achievement of teamwork and managers believe that the power of success rests of autonomous employee groups that remain self-motivated to undertake organisational duties competently.
TQM implementation cannot however be successful in any organisation, without the availability of implementation resources including human resources and financial resources. Human and financial capitals have always been core coercers towards designing and implementation of projects and programs in organisations. TQM is an approach that propels organisations towards enhancing their market competence and improving their productivity, profitability from all forms of organisational turnovers.
To attain the desired outcome in TQM implementation, organisation aspiring to achieve this aspect must consider the availability of financial and human capital that is imperative for providing a suitable environment in accomplishment of objectives. ADNOC is perhaps the most developed and financially stable organisations in the UAE, with a broad set of financial avenues from ADNOC that assist them in developing their projects. Nonetheless, based on personal interview with managers of one of the ADNOC companies, the organisation has designed different financial support projects to enable TQM implementation.
TQM has become one of the most anticipated quality based initiatives in the contemporary business world, with numerous organisations implementing or aiming towards achieving TQM. Numerous concepts and principles are necessary for success in TQM implementation and organisations must always consider them on their willingness to undertake its execution. Top executive commitment, customer focus & satisfaction, Quality planning & Culture Employee involvement, training and empowerment unity of purpose, cooperation and teamwork as well as availability of implementation resources are critical success factors to implementation of TQM.
As articulated in the mission, vision, the service charter and even ADCON organisation chart, company’s commitment towards achieving TQM is normally evident in such organisational components. Given its maximum commitment towards improving the quality through TQM strategies, which may best explain the reason why ADCON has continuously dominated transport, oil, and refining paradigms in the UAE.
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