WHAT IS STRATEGIC QUALITY AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT ?

SECTION I

The quality management system is a set of procedures, processes, and policies that are required for planning and execution in the main business area of a firm. Customer satisfaction is the key rationale for the formation and existence of any business organisation. Customers in the modern global economy are demanding value for their money and hence the business organisations have to be keen to meet the minimum standards required to achieve customer satisfaction (Goetsch and Davis, 2014 p.27). Business organisations respond to the customer demands through the quality management initiatives that oversee all the business activities and tasks to meet the desired levels of excellence. Quality management emphasizes on error prevention instead of error correction because it results in costs increment. Sustainable success is achieved when business organisations attract and retain the confidence of both the customers and other stakeholders (José Tarí and Molina-Azorín, 2010 p.45). All the aspects of customer interactions offer an opportunity to create value. Comprehending both the current and future needs of the customers and other stakeholders through offering the desired quality standards result in the sustainable success of the business organisation.

The report aims at evaluating the quality management system of the Nigerian Bottling Company Plc in a bid to examine the main area where the firm can improve quality delivery. Quality management is an administration philosophy of going about the process of managing business activities, and it fosters continuous enhancements in all the aspects of business operations. It is an integrated process which engages all the members of staff of a business organisation from the senior management to the junior staff. Total quality management is customer-oriented, and the ultimate objective is to satisfy the dynamic customers’ needs, tastes, and preferences. Through quality management programs, there is the commitment to do things in the right way within the organisation and bring about enthusiasm among the members of staff (Dahlgaard, Khanji and Kristensen, 2008 p.27).

In order to instill the spirit of quality management among the organisation’s members of staff, the management team has to insist on efficiency in operations and timely service delivery. The supervisors should explain to the subordinates about the standards of performance required of them and create a conducive working environment that enables the workers to achieve the required standards (Wang, Chen and Chen, 2012 p.123). Personnel dealing with both the suppliers and customers directly should ensure that the goods services are coming into and leaving the organisation meets the customers’ requirements. The suppliers have to be informed about the quality requirements that they have to meet in supplying the inputs (Van Weele, 2009). The firms’ receptionists and typists are tasked to ensure that they type and transmit calls well in order to avoid customers’ dissatisfactions and complaints.

Nigerian Bottling Company Plc was chosen for this study because as a firm it implements the total quality management initiatives and it has the ideals of a firm implementing quality management. Various Nigerian economic sectors are losing a lot of money every year due to the failure of implementing total quality management initiatives. It is through quality management that there is the streamlining of the cost effective systems and processes which reduce the overhead expenses and enhance performance (Kaziliūnas, 2011 p.87).

Nigerian Bottling Company can improve the quality of the services offered to the customers through switching from the glass packaging systems. All the products can be stored in the more portable and counterfeit-resistant containers. The glass bottles are not authentic enough to withstand the manipulations of quack producers who sell counterfeit beverages in the name of Nigerian Bottling Company Plc. Glass packages are bulky, space-consuming, and fragile and hence they can break with the little pressure exerted on them. Currently, Nigerian Bottling Company packs a few of its products in the ultra-glass packages that are deemed more environment-friendly. In order to offer the customers with high-quality service in delivery the firm can offer substitute can packages for the customers for all the beverages that it produces.

The firm has some untapped market on the basis of the packaging system used. Soft drinks have a wide potential market in terms of customer convenience through the packaging system where they are guaranteed to consume original soft drinks from the company. Packaging plays a crucial role in the delivery of beverages safely to the customers (Manzini and Accorsi, 2013 p.28). When the beverage is consumed, the packaging material should either become a recycling potential or recovery input in the heat capture incineration machines.

Strategic management involves the formulation and pursuit of organizational goals and objectives by the management team on behalf of the shareholders. It is through the art of strategic management that there is the setting of goals and deadlines that have to be beaten by the various organisational departments (Palmer, Dunford, and Akin, 2009 P. 51). Nigerian Bottling Company Plc as a going concern entity embraces strategic management in the production line. The firm has had to compete for legitimate market with counterfeit beverages that are produced by unscrupulous business persons in the streets. In the spirit of strategic management, it is the company’s intention to incorporate the anti-counterfeit technology in the packaging facility in order to make it impossible for the unscrupulous business persons to counterfeit the beverages. Brand protection is a strategic plan that will result in the upsurge of the firm’s sales and the long-term increment in total revenues.

Counterfeiting activities in the Nigerian soft beverages industry causes damage to the original brand and business organisations. In addition, beverage counterfeiting can pose potential health hazards to the consumers and have serious threats (Dabbene, Gay and Tortia, 2014 p.74). The end consumers have the most immediate impact of the potential harms brought about by the consumption of the counterfeit products. If a business organisation fails to respond appropriately to the curb counterfeit packaging, the consequences are likely to be long-lasting and widespread.

If left unchecked, the counterfeit consumables are likely to have a domino effect on the business organisation and the larger market as well. They are likely to jeopardise the consumers and pose safety risks because of unregulated ingredients that are likely to have been used in the manufacture. The counterfeit beverages have a negative impact on the success of Nigerian Bottling Company Plc as an organisation. Without the implementation of the anti-counterfeiting technologies, the firm’s profitability is likely to be at a serious risk, and it can also result in consumer confusion or distrust of the existing brand (Staake, Thiesse and Fleisch, 2009 p.327).

SECTION II: Planning Strategic Quality Change

The tools that can help in plan change can include the change of the leader profile and the current reality of the project and the desired future of the project. Also the development of a shared vision can be very useful in the project since everyone will have the desire to achieve without failing the project on their side. With the development of new roles for several individual to enable the success of the project, they should be clarified to make the change successful. With the development of new roles, the implementers should be changed because the old ones are likely to stick to slide back to the old plans (Stumpf, Chaudhry and Perretta, 2011, p. 127).

When the customers have a negative impact on the counterfeit products, they tend to associate them with the original brands and they are likely to remain isolated. Due to the massive use of social media in the contemporary world, there is the high likelihood of the product’s reputation being highly damaged. With the influx of information in the wider global economy, trust has become a vital element of retaining the customers’ loyalty. It is difficult to acquire customer trust and loyalty, but with the levels of competition in the modern economy, it is easy to lose wide market shares in a short span of time. Due to the potential for perpetuation, the counterfeit consumables are the biggest menace to the original brands’ abilities to develop and retain the vital customer trust and loyalty (Stumpf, Chaudhry and Perretta, 2011 p.7).

Any changes in the organisational domain have to go through the planning system. Strategic planning is usually required to develop concepts to use through the execution of long-term goals and objectives (Amedzro St-Hilaire, 2016 p.262). The protection of the original brand from the counterfeit products is a strategic issue, and hence it requires Nigerian Bottling Company Plc to apply the strategic measures from the senior management team. The organisation has to apply anti-counterfeit technology that will make a clear distinction between the original brands and the counterfeit beverages manufactured in the streets by quack producers. The report identifies that Nigerian Bottling Company Plc needs to put in place the anti-counterfeit technology that will improve the quality assurance to the customers in the markets.

Project Main Aims and Objectives

The main aim of the project in this report is the implementation of anti-counterfeit technologies in the packaging system of Nigerian Bottling Company Plc in order to avoid counterfeit products in the name of the firm. Success criteria of the project implementation will be based on the time taken and resources used to complete the project. Successful projects are characterised by a timely completion of the drafted schedule. They also utilise the estimated funds in accordance with the budget allocations (Saunders and Lewis, 2014 p.14). For the product to be ultimately successful, it has to offer the long-term benefits to the organisation Nigerian Bottling Company Plc should realise more sales that will substitute the counterfeit beverages that consumers have been buying in its name.

Project Sponsor

The anti-counterfeit packaging technologies project will be sponsored by the organisation through the finance department on the grounds of the budget estimates. The firm will promote the project in a bid to protect its brand and maintain the uniqueness in the eyes of the customers. Top management team will deliberate on both the financial and non-financial resources that will be committed to ensure that the project becomes successful.

Drafting a strategic plan when conducting a project within the organisation is important because it provides the stakeholders with a clear vision and roadmap for the achievement of goals and objectives of the project. The plan shows the detailed milestones which need to be accomplished before the larger goals are realised (Kerzner, 2013 p.21). Having the clear goal through the strategic plan helps the organisation to eliminate the feeling of departmental competition. Through the drafted plan, it becomes easy for the business organisation to pool resources from the different departments of the organisation to achieve the goals and objectives that are impossible to achieve through when the departments are working differently. It is through the strategic plan there is the evaluation of performance metrics that will depict the success or failure levels of the execution of the project (Bieberstein, 2006 p.40).

Nigerian Bottling Company Plc intends to undertake a neutral or less restrictive change in the packaging function. It means that the change will not have adverse effects on the safety of the beverages. Although there is the absence of safety implications, there could be legal considerations to be made. From the legal approval, it is appropriate that all the products leaving the organisation in a year’s time will comply with the new packaging system. In respect to the changes made to the packaging containers, the firm will liaise with the distributors and retailers to ensure that there are full compliance and usage of the new system. Implementation of the new system with minimal compliance from the users could render the project unproductive, and there is the likelihood that the persons behind the counterfeit beverages continue with the illicit trade.

SECTION III: Implementation of the Project

Project implementation in an organisational setting implies that there is an alteration in the manner in which the normal operations are conducted (Becker, Greve and Albers, 2009 p.210). Projects that come with changes in the organisation are likely to be rejected from different quarters within the firm for various reasons. For example, the anti-counterfeiting technologies could be resisted by a group of employees who are behind the counterfeiting scheme outside of the firm. It is, therefore, important to encourage a smooth implementation of the project that will require the organisational members to drive all the concerned parties to embrace the change and ensure that goals and objectives of the firm are met.

Smooth Implementation

In order to achieve the smooth implementation of change or a project altogether in an organisational setting, there is the need for a plan. Once the change plan is identified, the next step will be to execute the said plan (Battilana, Gilmartin, Sengul, Pache and Alexander, 2010 p.423). In a firm such as Nigeria Plc, the system theory model of change could be applicable for managing the proposed change of the packaging function that will deny the scrupulous business persons from imitating the firm’s products. The model views the firm as a complex system which has boundaries that allow for inputs and outputs. Nigerian Bottling Company Plc exists within the larger external environment which constantly exerts pressure on the boundaries.

A change in the crucial packaging system of the firm could mean that there is the creation of change throughout the system. When the packaging function changes, other parts of the organisational system have to accommodate the change as well and hence they have to undergo some alterations (Bridges, 2010). The business organisational system is defined by the boundaries and the internal structures, and there is the assumption that stability prevails within the firm. The external surroundings are in a state of continuous influx and hence there is the opportunity for continued business for the organisation.

In order to maintain profits, the firm should ensure that it is the original end products that reach the consumers through putting in place measures to avoid counterfeit goods and services (Terpstra, Foley and Sarathy, 2012 p.75). Research could be tasked with establishing a packaging system that requires the inputs of various personnel hence the likelihood of experiencing a change in other parts of the firm. All the stakeholders of the organisation especially the employees are supposed to be well acquainted with the proceedings of the change. There is the need that all the people are aware of the contents of the change and that they have the commitment to assist the management team in implementing the desired changes.

Managing Change

Change in an organisational setting requires that the management team applies skills and abilities that will see the proposed changes prevail and get implemented within the business operations of the organisation. Different techniques of change are applicable in the case of Nigerian Bottling Company Plc. Charismatic leadership will be used where the organisational members are more of embracing the change than rejecting the proposed improvements within the system (Palmer, Dunford and Akin, 2009 P. 26). When the employees are cooperating with the management team in the implementation of change within the firm, there is less friction and the interests of the different parties are in tandem. It is this rationale that the governance of the firm applies a charismatic approach to liaising with the various organisational members in order to achieve the organisational goals and objectives.

If there are sharp criticism and ardent resistance to change, the charismatic leadership may fail in change implementation. Rather, a coercive form of leadership could be important to drive the resisting parties into heeding to the interests of the business organisation’s management. Coercing the employees could involve imposing dismissal or demotion threats on them so that they achieve the set goals and objectives while at the same time beating the laid deadlines (Tourish, Collinson and Barker, 2009 p.15). Employees who defy the threats imposed on them are likely to face the dire consequences because according to the firm’s eyes, they are the barriers to change. Resistant employees are better dismissed from the firm because they are likely to influence the rest of the personnel to avoid the proposed changes.

On top of coercive leadership, there is the application of forced evolution so that the proposed changes are fully implemented. It is as well applicable in situations where the proposed change is met with strong rejection. Forced evolution involves strict supervision and adherence to the management team’s call and advocacy for change within the organisation. The quality control department of Nigerian Bottling Company Plc could be tasked with ensuring that every single unit of production is done in line with the firm’s recommendation. Slight mistakes and errors are likely to attract punitive punishment measures and hence the various stakeholders are supposed to be highly alert when it comes to adherence to the proposed changes. Unlike the coercive leadership, the forced evolution does not rely on threats upon the employees to have the way of the management team prevail (Hallencreutz, 2008 p.123).

The participatory evolution emphasizes on the incremental changes that are accomplished through collaborative methodologies within the various organisational quarters (Hallencreutz, 2008 p.126). It could be appropriate for the Nigerian Bottling Company Plc in the technical aspect of introducing the anti-counterfeit technologies in the packaging system of the firm. This is so because there are no major loopholes when it comes to the firm’s packaging facilities. Minor adjustments are needed to have the complete cover that will avoid other intruders to manipulating the firm’s beverages and coming up with copy-cat soft drinks.

Monitoring Implementation

The success of project implementation within an organisation is measured against various variables. The most important and ultimate measure is the realisation of the intended results that could be achieved through the implementation of the project. Other important metrics include the time taken and the resources consumed when implementing fully the project (Shepherd, 2014 p.22). At the end of the project, all the consumers are supposed to get the right and authentic quality of beverages that comes from the producers rather than consuming vague drinks. The achievement of this scenarios is the ultimate goal of the project, and it has to be realised for the project to be deemed successful above all the other factors. Estimated financial and non-financial resources within the project budget are supposed to be used in the implementation of the project (Mundy, 2010 p.512). A project is deemed successful when there is the utilisation of the budgeted resources during the planning phase. Projects are usually executed within a specified time duration. It is vital that the various project milestones are accomplished within the allocated time schedule in the plan of the firm. If the project is executed within the estimated and allocated time schedule, then it is deemed a success in the view of the different stakeholders of the organisation. In circumstances where the deadlines are not beaten, and the project is characterissed by late deliveries, the project is likely to be a failure in the eyes of the business organisation (Scherrer-Rathje, Boyle and Deflorin, 2009 p.84).

Measuring the Results

Without the justification of results, a project cannot be categorised as either failure or success. Performance metrics in terms of the project’s achievements indicate the benefits or losses that the firm is accruing to as a result of embracing the project. The ultimate goal of the Nigerian Bottling Company Plc is to ensure that the employees get the authentic drinks from the firm and avoid the success of counterfeit products in the market. Major performance metrics will surround the issue of the consumers getting the right products from the manufacturer rather than consuming potentially hazardous products from the streets. Intense market survey through both the distributing agents and the consumers will be conducted in order to determine both the existence and consumption of the counterfeit beverages in the markets. If after the implementation of the anti-counterfeit technology project there is evidence that there are the existence and consumption of the counterfeit products, the project is an outright failure (Kerzner, 2011 p.37).

SECTION IV: Issues Impacting Successful Implementation of Quality Systems

A well carried out project should have four stages of its life cycle. The first stage is project initiation. This is the stage where the value of the project and its feasibility are measured. Here the managers evaluate and decide whether or not to pursue the project depending on its profitability or feasibility. After the first stage, project planning is then done. This planning gives a guide to the team that will execute the project, keep them on time and also on budget. The plan gives a guidance gives a guidance for obtaining materials, acquiring finance and also obtaining resources. Thirdly, the project execution. This is where it is about delivering an output that is satisfactory to the customer. The team leader makes this happen through allocation of resources and maintaining team members focused on the tasks assigned to them. Fourth is the project monitoring and control which happens during the project execution where they have to constantly monitor their progress. The last stage is project closure, the team only closes the project when they have delivered a finished project to the customer and he is satisfied. (Durlak and DuPre, 2008. p. 270).

The transformation initiative for Nigerian Bottling Company Plc will be motivated by strong business imperatives. They encompass the attractive business case whose benefits outdo the costs, the calculated risks that have to be taken in order to be successful in the market place, and strategic goals and objectives that will drive the upsurge of sales in the organization. The market environment is relatively unpredictable and the firm could end up losing market share due to the application of the anti-counterfeit technologies (Kerzner, 2011 p.33). There is the risk that the project could be a failure due to resistance to change and failure to achieve optimum alignment to the industry.

Project management can be a challenging task because it is characterized by compound responsibilities and activities. There are many tools that are available that help to assist with the accomplishment of the tasks and execution of the responsibilities. Among the most vital project management tools that will be used in the execution of the firm’s projects will be the project evaluation review technique, the Gantt chart, critical path analysis, and the work breakdown structure. The tools assist in the timely and comprehensive completion of the project (Yeoh and Koronios, 2010 p.19).

The manufacturing industry is of paramount importance to the global economy and especially for the developed nations. Quality management systems that are based on international standards usually benefit the producers, consumers, regulators, and supports sustainable development. Implementation of the quality management system and ISO certification is a voluntary process that is supported by the firm’s individual strategy, policies, goals, and motivation (Durlak and DuPre, 2008 p.332).

Adopting anti-counterfeit technologies in the packaging system of the organisation is a strategic plan that is likely to impact on the future of Nigerian Bottling Company Plc. Through denying the counterfeit products the chance to penetrate markets, it is likely that the company’s market share will broaden through tapping the gap which is created by the counterfeit products (Li, 2013 p.172). Various factors are likely to affect the implementation of the proposed project. The first one is the influence of strategic factors. The main factor to achieve high customer satisfaction levels lies in the achievement of high product and service quality. Quality is a strategic competitive tool that the business organisations cannot ignore due to the strategic implications of quality for the competitive positions that they hold within the industry that they operate. The issue of tackling counterfeits in the market is fully relevant to quality and hence there are strategic implications that will accrue as a result of either the failure or success of the project.

Secondly, there is the influence of motivation factors. Quality benefits are categorised as either internal or external. The external benefits are relevant to enhancements in terms of promotional and marketing aspects and increment in the level of customer satisfaction. The internal benefits are relevant to the organisational enhancements, teamwork, the reward system, performance measure, communication, and continuous improvement. As an external motivational factor, high-quality is used as a marketing tool where the firm could assure the consumers that there are zero chances of consuming the counterfeit products in the different regions of the markets. The assurance that the firm has sealed all the possible loopholes that are used by the counterfeits gives the marketing team the confidence of conducting vigorous marketing campaigns that the consumers are convinced about the quality of the products in the market (Gracia Bakker and Grau, 2011 p.19).

Thirdly, there is the influence of financial factors. Project implementation utilises the financial resources of the organisation and hence cost factor is of paramount importance (Yeoh and Koronios, 2010 p.27). A business organisation usually invests funds where there are potential gains both in the short run and in the long run. Injection of funds into the quality enhancement opportunities could be beneficial to the promotion of business activities and enhancement of both productivity and profitability of facilities. There is the creation of a positive customer sentiment for the products, and it is likely that the market will identify with the firm (Mostafa, 2013).

There is the factor of influencing continuous improvement. Continual enhancement is vital in the post-project implementation period. It is through the perpetual improvement phase the maintenance of the quality system is carried out (Anbari, Carayannis and Voetsch, 2008 p.43). This phase will be important for Nigerian Bottling Company Plc in order to continually improve and yield the benefits of implementing a quality management initiative in the long run. The other factor in implementing the quality management system is the influence of the auditors. High standard auditors are a key position to influence the ability to unveil quality conformity. The rationale behind conducting audits is to get the actual inputs for management decisions.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Throughout the Nigerian soft drinks market and industry, there is the presence of counterfeit beverages. The beverages have potential safety and health hazards to the consumers, and it is upon the manufacturers to make sure that their products are not corrupted. The illicit business act is on the rise, and it is likely to see the consumers increasingly consume the sub-standard products. In the light of the present menace in the industry, Nigerian Bottling Company Plc can enhance the quality offered to the clients through avoiding the penetration of the counterfeit beverages into the markets. Regulars who have had adverse familiarities with the counterfeit beverages are likely to link them with the firm and hence this is likely to dent the reputation of the company in the larger economy. Due to the potential drawbacks that the organisation accrues from the menace of the illicit beverages, Nigerian Bottling Plc should not spare any resources in a bid to protect both the image of the firm and the consumers who are likely to be harmed by the counterfeit beverages.

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