New trends in the quality management

Author:Zuzana Tucková/David Tucek
Position::Tomas Bata University in Zlín Faculty of Management and Economics, Czech Republic/Tomas Bata University in Zlín Faculty of Management and Economics, Czech Republic

This article begins with access to Quality Management. Further, it deals with the ways of applying Quality Management in the everyday working practices of the Ahold Central Europe (ACE) Company - made up of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. The rest of the article aims at a description in greater detail of the "World Class" philosophy and the components that the above-mentioned company ... (see full summary)


1. Introduction

We can indisputably consider the three main competitive weapons of an enterprise to be: Quality, Costs, and Time. Of the three indices, we shall orient ourselves on Quality - but more than on the theory behind this index, this article will concern itself with the practical approaches and procedures to care for quality in the Ahold commercial retail chain.

Quality represents a summary of characteristics and features of a product (i.e. product or service) which determines the fulfilment of the requirements for which the given product was/is intended. The Official definition of Quality - according to the International Organization for Standardization -ISO 8402 norms, which states: "Quality is a summary of the characteristics and features of products or services, determining their ability to satisfy established or anticipated needs or requirements.

1. Basic approaches to quality management

Over the past ten to twenty years, a wide variety of concepts have been put forward for the creation of a quality management system - of which today, it is possible to recommend two approaches to the successful development of quality and its systematic assurance:

The (QMS) - Quality Management System: Extensive throughout Europe, it creates and maintains mechanisms capable of preventing unwanted behaviour through internal controls and independent (external) controls demonstrating credibility towards customers. This

approach is based upon the documentation and standardisation of procedures, their stabilisation, and improvements in the form of corrective and preventive measures, and is based upon the standardised directives and models described in the ISO 900X set of norms, whose foundations were laid outside of Europe. These norms have also been, however, adopted into EU policies in the field of adjudicating correlations (homologations), and which depend upon - among other things, the certification of the quality management system, and which more than 350,000 organisations around the world have already undergone. This conception also is in absolute dominance in the Czech environment - with all of its positive and negative consequences. Even if evaluation of the returns provided by such a conception of the returns on investment is not all that easy - see, for instance, Zámecník [4].

The first (TQM - Total Quality Management) models originally spread across Japan and the USA, and oriented on the exploitation of the knowledge and skills and abilities of people in resolving problems, constant improvement of processes, achieving customer satisfaction, ensuring success, and the development and satisfaction of co-workers, the management, and owners of an enterprise. This conception - which is rather, a philosophy of management, and which in practice is implemented in line with a variety of models, is mainly known in Europe as the so-called EFQM Model of Excellence. [3]

2. The ahold company

The Ahold Company was founded in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) in 1887 (as the "First Shop" (of) Albert Heijn). Today, the activities of this supranational concern concentrated not only in Europe where they see cca 27% of their overall sales turnover, but also in the USA, from which they make cca 72% of their sales turnover. In 2004, overall sales turnover amounted to 52 billion EURO and flow into Ahold's coffers in part thanks to more than 200,000 commercial partners. The number of sales outlets in 2003 was some 5,600 - of which 60% were supermarkets. Ahold achieved its leading position in the sale of foodstuffs in the USA and the position of the most significant and well-known retail...

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