欧宝汽车的案例研究 Vauxhall Cars Case Study
Technological advances, as well as economic and competitive factors have increased pressures on firms to reduce costs and improve productivity. Consequently, off-shoring is among the strategies that firms adopt to reduce costs and ultimately improve efficiency and performance. In most cases, firms decide to transfer manufacturing operations to locations or countries that would allow them to reduce costs of operations, most importantly labor costs. This may be considered as the basic principle behind Vauxhall's decision to move or transfer its existing production operation in the UK offshore. The company generally believes that offshoring would help reduce costs and at the same time improve productivity. In view of the cost reductions and productivity improvements that could be achieved from transferring the production of cars in another country, the initiative may be considered logical and appropriate. However, base on a review of companies that engaged in offshoring, transferring the manufacturing offshore also has a downside, which could negatively impact certain aspects of the business such as product and service quality. For example, transferring the production of the cars offshore could affect quality of the products, as new workers, who have lesser experience in the car production process would be assigned to work. It should be noted that when a company transfers its production offshore, common practice is that it would hire local workers from the host country. As almost all of the workers in the offshore plant are new to the process, high quality of product or output could not be guaranteed. Once the quality of the product is affected, customer satisfaction on the product could be affected. Given the negative side of offshoring, proposal is to postpone the decision to go offshore and instead implement quality management initiatives in order to reduce rejections and errors and ultimately eliminate wastes. Waste elimination is expected to reduce costs and improve efficiency.
This proposal is being presented as a reaction to the company's decision to transfer existing manufacturing facilities in the UK to another country. Analysis reveals that transferring the production of cars to another country could lead to improvements in operational costs, but could also negatively impact the quality of the products and services. Consequently, the negative consequences tend to outweigh the benefits. In this regard, proposal is to postpone the initiative to move the production offshore and instead focus more on quality improvement and waste reduction by implementing quality management programs and practices in the organization. Assertion is that improvement in quality and reduction of wastes could lead to cost reduction and efficiency improvement.#p#分页标题#e#
Quality may be considered an important attribute of the product, as customers typically consider quality when making a purchase. As such, companies that desire to attract more customers and stay competitive in the market makes it necessary to focus more on quality. Juran (2001) noted that the last past years have been characterized by growing focus on quality and quality management. More particularly, Juran (2001) labeled the twentieth century as the productivity century while the twenty first century as the quality century. As a company operating in the twenty first century, Vauxhall may consider on focusing more on quality and should therefore implement quality management programs and practices.
Quality management or more particularly Total Quality Management (TQM), is a quality management philosophy that emphasizes on reducing costs by reducing and minimizing errors and rejections; increasing efficiency by maximizing available resources; satisfying customers by delivering high quality products and services; and empowering workers by promoting participation in quality improvement projects and initiatives. By adopting TQM, Vauxhall could expect cost reduction, increased efficiency, more satisfied customers, and motivated workers.
Survey of existing literatures reveals that higher quality leads to lower costs and higher productivity (Juran, 2001). Experts in quality management explain that rejections, errors, and scrapped materials generate additional costs (Juran 2001), which may be considered correct, as rejections and scraps add to overall costs. That is, the higher the rejection rate, the higher the costs would be. In view of the effect of high rejection rate to costs, aiming on reducing rejections may be a structured approach to reducing costs. With regards to the link between higher quality and higher productivity, assumption is that higher quality could ensure that more units are produced. It should be noted that the lesser the reject units, the higher the good units would be. Therefore, higher quality guarantees higher output.
In view of the positive effects of focusing on quality improvement, Vauxhall may find it appropriate to adopt TQM at this point instead of planning to transfer production operations, which may be considered more risky given the investments required to establish the manufacturing plant in another country. Adopting TQM may be considered a difficult yet rewarding journey, as challenges and problems may come along the way but the ultimate rewards are huge. To begin the process, management has to commit itself to the process, as top management commitment guarantees support to activities. After securing top management commitment, the next most important task to accomplish is to establish a TQM unit and appoint a TQM champion in the organization, which would be responsible in managing TQM-related programs and initiatives. Establishing a TQM unit would ensure that all TQM-related initiatives are properly coordinated and managed, thereby ensuring that all programs and activities contribute to quality improvement.#p#分页标题#e#
However, to ensure the successful introduction and eventual adoption of TQM in the organization, the company needs to develop an effective reward and incentive program to support the implementation of TQM. According to Densten (2006), employees' performance, satisfaction, and commitment are influenced by perceived rewards. This implies that workers would be more supportive of company-initiated programs if they have a reward to look forward to. However, in designing rewards and incentive programs, attention should be given to the type of rewards as not all types of reward could influence performance. In relation to identifying type of rewards that could influence behavior, Trahant and Yearout (2006) emphasized the use of substantial rewards, such as monetary incentives and other incentives that are of high value.
Aside from developing the rewards and incentive program, the company needs to educate and train the workers regarding the basic concepts of TQM in order to familiarize them and acquaint them with the new philosophy. The trainings and orientations would play a vital role in increasing awareness and stressing the benefits of adopting TQM. Furthermore, with proper knowledge on the concept, workers may be able to realize the importance of adopting the new philosophy.
Upon successful introduction of TQM to the organization, the company may now proceed with the TQM programs and practices. One of the most popular and widely adopted TQM programs and practices is Six Sigma. Six Sigma has been viewed as another popular management philosophy that began in the 1980s. Motorola was the first to introduce and implement the concept in the aim of revolutionizing the scope and usage of quality management systems in contemporary businesses. Six Sigma is defined as a well-structured approach that emphasize on the importance of detecting and eliminating rejects, errors, mistakes, and failures in systems and processes and subsequently giving more emphasis on the process performance characteristics that are of high value to the customers (Raisinghani et al 2005). Generally, Six Sigma may be considered an effective approach to ensuring continuous improvement in the following areas: processes, customer satisfaction, and financial performance.
Companies adopting the Six Sigma philosophy use the following tools and methodologies: Firstly, 'the Measurement System Analysis', which is an approach used in assessing the fitness of measuring equipment. In Six Sigma approach to problem solving, the first vital activity is to assess the ability to measure the characteristics that need to be maximized or optimized, whereby the Measurement System Analysis would be of great help. As explained, the definition of quality has changed or evolved to include the use of that which is produced to the end customers. Subsequently, the measure of such characteristics develops to be the first concern more importantly to a manufacturing company such as Vauxhall. With the Measurement System Analysis, Vauxhall may be able to identify attributes that are of vital importance to the customers and in the process be able to focus more on those attributes for increased customer satisfaction.#p#分页标题#e#
Secondly, the Process Controls, which is also an important Six Sigma tool. Process Controls refer to functions in the production process that seeks to identify outliers or deviations from the optimum process outputs. In addition, Process Controls aims to anticipate or intercept any process shifts that could impact the product's quality. The Statistical Process Control (SPC) is the most common type of process controls. SPC involves using control charts where outputs or measurements of a given process are plotted. Control charts provide a way for efficiently monitoring outputs of a particular process. As for Vauxhaul, SPC would allow effective tracking of process performance; hence ensure better control over manufacturing processes.
Thirdly, the Design of Experiments (DOE), which is a known technique used particularly during process development and in cases when process demands optimization. The DOE is applicable to instances where the process seemed more complex and involving numerous inputs. A DOE is typically executed to explore the relationship between outputs and inputs. For Vauxhall, the DOE may be used to study the effect of inputs, such as temperature, pressure, gas flows, and process speed to outputs such as dimensions, resistance of material, and other measurable properties that result from the process. Through the DOE, Vauxhall may be able to optimize production processes in a manner that would help in lessening rejections while improving productivity.
Next is the Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA), which is an approach used in analyzing the root causes of problems and issues that arise in the production. The FMEA focuses on identifying the source of the problem, as correcting or addressing the source of the problem would help in totally eliminating it and preventing it from recurring. In a typical FMEA session, various units (i.e., production, engineering, design, training, and supervision) in the organization send representatives to join in analyzing the root cause of problem and to jointly formulate corrective and preventive actions. For Vauxhaul, the FMEA may be used in determining the source of rejections and errors in the production line, which may help in developing corrective and preventive measures. The FMEA provides a structure approach to solving production issues and problems.
Finally, the Quality Control and Capability Analysis, which involves establishing control systems and determining process capabilities. As part of Quality Control, inspections and random sampling may be conducted to monitor the quality of finished products. Meanwhile, capability analysis involves determining maximum limits of processes, which could also serve as references for production planning and in optimizing processes. As for Vauxhall, Quality Control could help guarantee high quality of products, whereas Capability Analysis would help in establishing process limitations and capabilities.#p#分页标题#e#
Offshoring may be considered an effective approach to reducing costs and increasing efficiency. However, as offshoring could have negative implications to product quality and could result to a number of organizational issues, it may not be considered as the best option. Instead of transferring offshore, the proposal is to deploy quality management programs and practices or TQM in the organization. Consequently, the Six Sigma may be considered as one of the contemporary quality management approaches. By utilizing Six Sigma tools and methodologies, Vauxhall could expect cost reductions, productivity improvement, more satisfied customers and highly motivated workers. Adopting TQM may be considered a difficult yet rewarding undertaking, given that challenges and problems may come along the way, but the ultimate rewards are huge. In this case, adopting TQM at this point may be considered more promising than transferring operations offshore.