The assurance of quality is an essential aspect for any organization wherein stringent measures are implemented for the processes as well as the products of the company. The quality standards for the respective industry are constantly being updated in keeping with environmental changes and the availability of the latest facilities on a global scenario. TQM provides the means for analyzing the effectiveness of the current quality control measures implemented by an organization. Subsequently it also enables the identification of the best possible alternatives for achieving the desired quality standards. Consumer satisfaction is one of the main aspects which is given due emphasis while managing quality at the various levels in the organization. This adherence to the preferences of the consumers is termed as consumer – defined quality and this plays a crucial role in the establishment of the quality standards as the needs of the consumers have to be incorporated into the quality modules (Total Quality Management).
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Moreover, the consumers have their own perspective of quality which may depend on their income levels or other relevant factors. Organizations are faced with the challenge of identifying and analyzing these changes so as to be able to comply with the current trends in quality perception. Another significant component of quality perception is the presence of consumer services and after-sales services which determine the extent to which the quality of the product or service is retained post sales. This also reflects the efforts of the organization to ensure that the consumers are duly communicated about any queries which they may present. Hence it may be deduced that TQM is a highly significant aspect of any organization by means of which it is provided with the means of managing the highly competitive scenario existing today (Total Quality Management).
Masafi is one of the leading brands in the UAE’s FMCG sector and has been identified with being a leader in the growing range of its innovative product offerings. With respect to bottled mineral water, Masafi has been the most sought after brand in the Gulf and the Middle East for more than 35 years. Even since its establishment, Masafi has always maintained strict emphasis on innovation and business excellence while determining its growth strategy. The adherence to high quality global standards has been the primary reason behind the immense success of the organization. This has also enabled the organization to retain its existing consumer groups while generating new consumers in keeping with its wide range of product offerings (Masafi: The Place).
Masafi was established in 1976 with initial investments being made by a paid up capital of $ 5.5 Million. Further investments made by the company have been in line with the community’s benefit with adequate importance being made on the maintenance of relationship with all the stakeholders of the company, including partners and associates. Over the years, the company has been able to establish a highly effective distribution network by means of which it has been able to ensure adequate supply of its products in keeping with the demands generated in the market. It has also strived to keep its equipments and technological infrastructure updated as per current standards and this has enabled the company to always meet the current expectations of the target consumer segments (Masafi).
The vision of Masafi reflects its adherence to offering premium products for the achievement of better living standards (Masafi).
Masafi strives to provide premium utility products by means of continuous innovation and continual product development, and in turn strengthening its leadership in the FMCG sector (Masafi).
Strategic Objectives of the Company:
Masafi has defined the following strategic objectives with respect to its performance in the FMCG sector:
Becoming a leader in the FMCG industry both domestically as well as globally.
Generating adequate awareness about the quality of Masafi’s products and its CSR initiatives.
Emphasizing on the expansion of the product range and being a completely FMCG oriented organization.
Gaining access into new markets both domestically as well as globally.
Maintaining adequate focus on the communication of the product innovations undertaken by the organization (Masafi).
The following is the SWOT analysis of Masafi which presents the strength of its internal and external environment:
The company has a well established brand in the UAE as well as in the GCC region.
The current export of Masafi’s products stand at 30% to 40% of the company’s overall trade.
Masafi has gained a massive share of 42% in UAE’s bottled water sector which has made it a major player in this region.
The company has innovated flavored mineral water which provides a completely new product offering to the consumers (Masafi).
The company has not been able to generate preferences towards the brand in the regions of Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.
The product offering is limited in terms of food items.
The Masafi brand has a greater degree of association with being a mineral water brand rather than being a comprehensive FMCG company (Masafi).
There is a huge scope for the expansion of the company’s product offerings in keeping with the immense potential in the global FMCG industry.
The company could also enter into strategic alliances with other organizations that are in compliance with the business strategy of the company.
There is also a scope for obtaining sponsorships for the company’s products which would be helpful in creating greater awareness and exposure of the Masafi brand.
The stable and viable economic conditions in the target regions provide the company with significant growth possibilities (Masafi).
The FMCG sector is characterized by the presence of various levels of organizations and this has resulted in the increase in the already high competition in the market.
The fixed prices of product lines in the FMCG sector prevents any possible attempts from being undertaken to gain leverage in the market with respect to the pricing strategies of the firms.
‘There is a significant possibility of the company being subjected to negative publicity owing to poor output levels.
The presence of substitutes has also provided a significant risk to the performance of Masafi’s products in the market (Masafi).
Competitors of the Company:
The competitors of Masafi span though the domestic as well as the global scenario with respect to the FMCG products, especially the bottled water segment.
Main Local Competitors (Bottled Water Segment):
Al Ain Water Company
Main Global Competitors (Bottled Water Segment):
Competitors in Other Product Lines:
The primary competitive strategy of Masafi is to build strong relationships with the consumers as well as the stakeholders to the company. By ensuring the acquisition of feedback from the consumers, the organization strives to develop and maintain a consumer friendly environment in the company. In this regard, Masafi assures the provision of prompt service to the consumers with the presence of a dedicated staff of sales executives (Masafi).
Masafi also makes use of the promotional strategy for the consumers of the company’s products so as to maximize the scope of awareness in the market. However the company’s decision to diversify into flavored mineral water has been the most effective competitive strategy undertaken by the company in order to introduce innovative products in the market (Masafi).
Masafi’s competitive edge has been defined with the introduction of the flavored mineral water products by the company which has broadened this product line to include a wide variety of flavors including jasmine, strawberry, lemon and peach. Also the adherence to high quality standards, latest equipment and effective consumer relations has been beneficial for Masafi with respect to the definition of its competitive advantage (Masafi).
Overview of Current TQM Systems:
Masafi has been known to adhere to high quality standards and it implements strict quality controls to ensure that only the best products reach the consumers. The TQM currently being practices at Masafi is as follows:
Masafi follows a best practice approach in its quality management efforts. It emphasizes on the identification of potential mistakes before they occur in the process and this is highly beneficial in reducing as well as preventing the presence of errors. As part of these measures, the company emphasizes the use of proper documentation of all the processes along with revision control to maintain the accuracy of the data associated with the processes. Such measures are quintessential in cost savings and implementing overall quality control. For this, the company was awarded the ISO 9001:2008 quality certification on 22nd July, 2008 (Quality).
The company strives to ensure that the identification, prioritization and management of environmental risks so as to comply with the global standards for environmental good practice. For this, the company was awarded the 14001:2004 quality certifications (Masafi honored with Environmental Performance Certificate 2011, 2012).
Masafi has implemented adequate controls for controlling food safety hazards by ensuring that the levels identified are maintained within the acceptable risk limits. Due to this measure, Masafi has been quality certified with HACCP since 15ht February, 2001 (Quality).
With respect to the beverage product lines, the company has assured quality in its products by complying with the NSF beverage quality certification programs. This certification is an international accreditation which is recognized by NSF International (Quality).
Masafi is a certified member of the Asia Middle East Bottled Water Association (ABWA) which conducts routine tests on the quality of the products, services and systems in accordance with its own model code, FDA, WHO, Codex Alimentarius Standards, and other applicable national norms (Quality).
TQM Principles and Quality Philosophies Adopted:
Masafi has exhibited a stark adherence to the philosophies of the three gurus of TQM and this is reflected in the high quality levels that have been achieved by the company. The influence of Deeming is seen in the Company’s Quality Philosophies pertaining to its products which bear a significant degree of correlation to the needs and preferences of the consumers. Another area where this influence is seen is in the management of relationships with the shareholders which the company maintains at highly effective levels. The evidence of the adoption of Deeming’s quality philosophies is the provision of prompt service to the consumers with the presence of a dedicated staff of sales executives. This dedication to the consumers and the importance given to their feedback forms an integral component of the practices adopted by Masafi (Quality Gurus).
The above diagram depicts the chain reaction process as propounded by Deeming and this reflects fundamental structure behind the processes being undertaken by Masafi (Quality Gurus).
Juran’s quality philosophy highlights the inception of the Juran Trilogy which comprises of quality planning, quality control and quality improvements. Masafi has been known to effectively adapt to the environmental changes by integrating its technical as well as non technical framework in keeping with the current developments being made in the environment. Moreover the company focuses largely on the utilization of innovation in the processes as well as its products which is a direct outcome of quality control and planning efforts. An apt example of this is the identification, prioritization and management of environmental risks which is done by Masafi to comply with the global standards for environmental good practice. The introduction of the flavored mineral water products by the company has helped the company to broaden its product offerings and has also enabled the company to reach new consumer segments (U.).
Crosby highlighted the nonconformance nature of quality measurement where the assurance of quality in the products and / or services should be maintained at zero. There is no scope for minimal defects in Crosby’s philosophy. The company strives to achieve this ambitious quality target but it has not been able to achieve zero defects in its processes (Quality Gurus).
Masafi has benefited immensely by the adoption of the philosophies and this can be seen in the fact that it had been acknowledged as the top most brands in the beverage segment and the second most popular brand in the non food FMCG category. This accreditation was received in 2010 which further exemplifies the efforts of the organization to maintain high degree of relevancy with the current best practices and standards. It is the adherence to high quality standards and continual innovation which has enabled the company to become a leader in the FMCG sector in the region (Quality Gurus).
The barriers faced by Masafi while implementing TQM was the determination of the quality perception of the consumers which is very difficult to comply with on a frequent basis. Moreover the green initiatives undertaken by the Emirati government requires that the products are made in compliance with environmental protection standards. The company’s products make use of plastic for their packaging and the minimization of plastic usage was a significant challenge for the implementation of TQM standards. In order to resolve this challenge, Masafi had to establish new standards for environmental sustainability by initiating recycling campaigns and ensuring minimal wastage of packaging material used for its products (Masafi; Quality Gurus).
Masafi’s leaders have their own leadership style for leading employees and organization towards the growth of enterprise. The company implemented transformational leadership style wherein the leadership was able to influence its employees for the attainment of goals and nurture them by encouraging positive behaviors by the means of sharing organizational vision. The vision and mission of the company has been effectively communicated to all the stakeholders of the company as well as the employees which has enabled them to maintain the required drive for innovating processes and product developments. By inculcating innovative thinking and aligning the processes in keeping with ecological preservation efforts, Masafi has been able to achieve the desired levels of corporate social responsibility and adoption of sustainable business practices. Then impact of the leadership can also be seen in the continual product developments and incorporation of the change elements of the environment which are undertaken in the company. This is not only beneficial for assuring the maintenance and achievement of high performance levels by the organization in the respective market. The leadership has also enabled the company to manage the stiff competition in the market which is a common occurrence in the hugely populated FMCG sector (Masafi).
Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair is the chairman of Masafi and he emphasis on the development of the human resources along with the processes of the organization by means of which high levels of excellence may be achieved by the organization. The product mix is also continually updated in keeping with the changes in consumer preferences and the dynamics of the respective target market. The leadership principles of driving change through innovation and sustainable business practices is in line with the principles defined by quality leadership principles. By adhering to strict control measures and quality levels, Masafi has been able to maintain effective relationships with the consumers and this has enabled them to accurately identify the needs of the consumers which in turn has been beneficial in the identification of the current market trends. Hence the efforts of the leadership undertaken by Masafi are reflective of the principles established by quality leaders (Chairman’s Message).
Masafi’s leadership is indicative of the following aspects:
There is adequate level of awareness with respect to the roles and professional obligations of the employees and this helps the management to devise better strategies.
New trends are identified for enabling the organization to achieve new heights in business excellence.
A sense of ownership, accountability and ownership is inculcated in the workforce.
Adequate training and development measures are provided to the employees by means of which they are enabled to comply with the constantly changing external as well as internal environment of the organization (Chairman’s Message).
Employee Involvement Status:
Masafi exhibits a high level of employee involvement which has enabled the reduction in long term costs being achieved over environmental cost mechanisms. The involvement has also been beneficial in facilitating consistent, effective and efficient internal operations in the company. This adherence to the environmental standards has also enabled the company to sustain favorable working environment which is quintessential in assuring the presence of the required drive in its human resource. This is reflective of the concepts adopted by Masafi for ensuring a highly motivated workforce. The needs of the employees are duly addressed and the policies as well as the changes are duly communicated to the employees, by means of which the employees are able to dedicate their efforts in alignment with the objectives and vision of the company (Masafi).
Masafi has employee strength of 1000 employees who are dedicated completely towards the achievement of the desired levels of achievement. The company continuously conducts an evaluation of the needs of the employees by obtaining feedback from the employees by conducting discussions with the employees. The discussions also enable the employees to express their needs in a better manner and this is highly beneficial in designing training and development modules at the organization (Masafi).
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Based on the findings obtained in the discussion rounds, the company ensures that the employees are provided with adequate opportunities for undertaking training and development with respect to their roles and responsibilities in the organization. The most appropriate evidence of this measure is the adaptation of the company to environmental changes with enhanced performance levels being achieved after every adaptation. Moreover the involvement of the employees in the green campaigns and initiatives is a direct outcome of the company’s consideration for the needs of the employees pertaining to empowerment and involvement in the activities of the organization (Masafi).
The company’s focus on the needs of the employees has a direct impact on the decision process wherein the employees are encouraged to provide their contribution by means of which a comprehensive outcome may be achieved in an effective manner. Given the short time duration for incorporating the environmental changes into the processes of the company, Masafi ensures that these implementations are done in a highly effective manner so as to prevent the loss of leverage in the highly competitive FMCG market (Masafi: The Place).
Customer Satisfaction Status:
Being an FMCG company, Masafi’s consumers comprise of all population levels with specific segments being target separately with the company’s consumer oriented offerings. The main emphasis made by the company is in the bottled water segment wherein it has differentiated its target segments on the basis of their requirements. For example, people associated with sports and intense physical activity requires more than just plain water to be provided to them. In keeping with this need, the company has devised vitamin enriched water products so as to provide this consumer segment with the require characteristics that are expected from them from a water product (Masafi).
For obtaining consumer feedback, Masafi has implemented various communication mechanisms. By ensuring the acquisition of feedback from the consumers, the organization strives to develop and maintain a consumer friendly environment in the company. In this regard, Masafi assures the provision of prompt service to the consumers with the presence of a dedicated staff of sales executives. Apart from this, the company has also provided a toll free number which can be accessed by consumers 24 x 7 for any enquiries or correspondence which they desire to communicate to the company. This number is displayed on the company’s website as well. In keeping with the growing ICT infrastructure and capabilities in the region, the company has established a feedback gateway in the form of an email id which can be used by consumers to communicate with the organization. The customer’s feedback is obtained with different techniques such as On-Line Survey, Social Media and Feedback Forms. (The copy of the feedback medium is provided in Appendix A)
These feedbacks are highly beneficial in implementing changes in the products so that they may be aligned with the needs and preferences of the consumers. It would also enable the company to eliminate possible bottlenecks in the process which would be beneficial in reducing delivery times and ensuring higher quality levels to be maintained in the company’s processes (Masafi).
Masafi ensures the acquisition of consumer trends by conducting market analyses and evaluating the feedback obtained from the consumers for ensuring that they are in compliance with current standards and practices. Moreover they evaluate new technologies which can be used in the company’s infrastructure (Masafi).
ISO ensures the state of art specification for goods practices, services and products which facilitates effective and efficient working environment to industries. Masafi has been provided with ISO certification in keeping with its processes and products. It has been accredited with the following ISO certifications:
ISO 9001:2008 quality certifications awarded on 22nd July, 2008.
14001:2004 quality certifications
The steps for obtaining and ISO certification are as follows:
Establish Implementation Team
Start ISO awareness Programs
Conduct Initial Status Survey
Create a Documented Implementation Plan
Develop Quality Management System Documentation
Internal Quality Audit
Certification and Registration
Source: (14 Steps to Implementing ISO 9001 Quality Management System)
The following are the benefits gained from ISO 9001 certification:
The needs of the consumers are met effectively and in keeping with current standards.
Adequate opportunities are provided for increasing revenue generation.
Quality of the products / services is enhanced.
Customer satisfaction levels with products are increased.
It offers adequate possibilities to understand, document and communicate company process.
It enhances the development and maintenance of professional culture in the organization and also develops employees’ morale.
The uniformity of organizational operations is enhanced substantially.
Emphasis is maintained on the recognition of quality at international level and the achievement of business excellence.
It enables cost savings due to minimization of waste, optimization of the resources and increase in the efficiency of the overall processes (Top 10 Reasons Why You Need ISO 9001 Certification).
Continuous Process Involvement:
Continual process improvement is the key to ensuring the survival of an organization in the competitive market. Products and services change with time in order to successfully meet the needs of the consumers and to be in compliance with the market dynamics. Masafi applies three tools of quality management tools:
The six sigma tool provides the means to minimize errors in the production process by ensuring the existence of 1 defect per million units produced by the company. By using this tool, the company has been able achieve greater market share and has been able to achieve higher quality standards in the products. It is this aspect that has enabled the company to achieve the top most position among the organizations in the FMCG sector. This tool also enabled the introduction and maintenance of green concepts in the production process (Lean Six Sigma: An Overview).
The following diagram represents the six sigma process adopted by Masafi:
Statistical Process Control:
Statistical Process Control is the quality control method which uses a statistical method for the monitoring and controlling process. These ensure that minimal wastage is incurred in the process. The benefit obtained by the company from this tool can be seen in the recycling efforts of the company by means of which the packaging material of its products are retrieved from the market and reused to prepare new packaging utilities. This has enabled continuous process improvement in keeping with the quality specifications required to be adhered (Introduction to Statistical Process Control Techniques).
The following is a representation of the SPC process followed by Masafi:
Total Quality Management Guide:
Total Quality Management is a set of practices put in place throughout a company that are geared to ensure the organization consistently meets or exceeds customer requirements. It enables the company to implement quality measures not only in the processes but it are also applied to the management of productivity in the workplace. The benefit of this tool can be seen in the manner in which the human resources are provided with adequate involvement opportunities which not only serve as a viable motivation tool but it also enables better quality to be maintained (Total Quality Management).
The following is a representation of the TQM followed by Masafi:
Masafi uses SPC as the quality measurement tool to reduce the wastage of packaging materials and for ensuring optimal utilization of the available resources, and in turn contributing to ecological preservation. It uses statistical methods for the monitoring and controlling process (Introduction to Statistical Process Control Techniques).
The barriers faced with respect to the implementation of this tool are:
The lack of availability of adequate information on quality is one of the main barriers to the implementation of the tool.
The tracking of the packaging material and the extent of recycling of the materials is an exhaustive process marked by the possibility of errors in the data obtained (Introduction to Statistical Process Control Techniques).
Masafi’s adherence to high quality global standards has been the primary reason behind the immense success of the organization. This has also enabled the organization to retain its existing consumer groups while generating new consumers in keeping with its wide range of product offerings. The efforts of the company to continually develop and improve its processes is one of the most significant undertakings of the company to ensure the maintenance of high levels of quality not only in its products but also in its services.
Masafi should adopt new programs for the improvement of quality with utilization of existing tools, system, terms and conditions.
There should be a provision for the sustenance of an improvement framework for the sustainability of which would inculcate the continuous processes and encourage new ideas.
Data collection should be done by an exclusive team developed by the management of the company for ensuring that the quality measures are monitored in an effective manner.
Employee participation should be encouraged in order to assure that the productivity levels are maintained relatively high as this would enable high quality standards to be implemented.
The quality should also be implemented in the supply chain network so as to ensure faster delivery times of the products to the market.
The company should devise new standards when introducing innovative products in the market in keeping with the exact specifications of the product.
The company should ensure the maintenance of an unbiased feedback mechanism as these feedbacks are crucial for the improvement process undertaken Masafi.
The data collection, evaluation and monitoring system should be automated in order to minimize the incurrence of human errors in the quality verification process.
The strategies pertaining to the quality implementations should be revised in such a manner so that the current policies are not drastically affected by it.
The company should ensure that the quality inspections are conducted by third part accreditation units as it would reveal a clearer perspective of the scenario.
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