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Emirates Airlines’ ISO 9001 Accreditation Research Paper


Introduction

International Standardization Organization (ISO) runs a series of quality, control, and accreditation systems that award companies with best practices. In order to earn an ISO certification, an organization needs to develop adequate measures, policies, improvement cultures, and efficient service delivery modes. After successful development of all the prerequisites, an independent consultant takes an internal and external audit of the performance practices, and makes recommendation for certification. Developing a working culture that ensures successful implementation of the terms and conditions under ISO certification is mandatory. This paper explores the process under which the Emirates Airline received ISO certification on quality management systems in 2004. Likewise, the paper seeks to underscore the impacts arising from the certification.

The Emirates Airlines

ISO 9001 represents quality management systems that help companies and organizations supervise and manage production qualities across all operations. Developed in 1974, this quality management standard sets a benchmark for consistency in service provision and sustainability of human resource base in production. Moreover, ISO 9001 helps companies and organization develop processes that seek to improve productivity under least costs, hence increasing efficiency. In order to receive an ISO 9001 certification, the Emirates Airline, under the mother company –the Emirates Group – developed a series of requirements, policy and production frameworks. The section below describes the prerequisites the Emirates Group put in place to ensure ISO 9001 certification.

Planning

In order to analyze the existing loopholes within the Emirates Group management structures, proper planning played a vital role in this noble organization. Under this objective, the company developed objectives with clear goals and plans based on the existing resources. Plans and short-term objectives achievable within 5 years helped the management staff of the Emirates Group develop adequate goals. During the planning phase of this certification, the management staff maintained a great focus on consumer behavior and the rising dynamism in the demand for better services. The company developed a series of surveys with key customers to develop an adequate understanding of the consumer issues (Blokdijk 2008, p. 19).

After surveys on consumer demands on services, the company developed a series of objectives based on the findings of the surveys. These objectives played a key role in measuring the aims of the Emirates Group policy on service quality. With set objectives in place, the company carried out systematic reviews at specific time intervals to ensure that production capacity remained within the developed goals and objectives. Reviews took place simultaneously with system planning; this ensured allocation of duties and responsibilities to individuals based on capabilities and experience. These initiatives, together with the company’s quality policy, helped develop adequate plans for the ISO certification process (Blokdijk 2008, p. 23).

Processing

After developing adequate plans and objectives, the Emirates Group embarked on a process of carrying out the measures to execute the plans. The processing segment of ISO 9001 certification focused on improvement in sales, increased design, productivity development, initiation of efficient operational activities, and enhanced service delivery. In order to achieve this, the Emirates Group developed a system of review and management of investment resources. In this resource management strategy, the company carried out a systematic review of the competencies and skills of the existing employees, developed a skill-gap identification mechanism, and initiated an employee training and development structures to ensure successful implementation of the human resource management goals. Based on the techniques and employee training structures, the company developed a system of enhanced value addition within the workforce, thus improving efficiency in service delivery (Silva 2002, p. 43).

Notably, it is under this stage that the company developed a systematic review and management of infrastructure resources to ensure service efficiency. Acquisition of ultra-modern airbuses, introduction of improved and regular servicing systems and effective ticketing systems acted as the Emirates Airline’s style of infrastructure development that pushed the company towards acquiring ISO 9001. Equally, processing stage ensures improvement of the work environment. Again, increase in customer care services and recruitment of effective public relations teams helped the Emirates Group develop a conducive work environment in which consumer demands drove employee performance (Silva 2002, p. 44).

Monitoring and updating

In this segment, the company developed a process of reviewing and updating the plans and objectives of the company. Monitoring segment of this phase takes into account the loopholes existing within the human resource, asset resources, and work environment. Monitoring helps in gap analysis, and it remains important in the development corrective measures. In the Emirates Group point of view, customer satisfaction measurement played a major role in evaluating the process of the designed objectives. The company developed a systematic way of evaluating customer satisfaction through a series of random questionnaires and complaint recording systems. Similarly, the company developed a safety observation and corrective suggestions system in which employees and customer could use to forward their suggestions on service improvement (A Relentless Pursuit to Offer the Best 2008).

On the service delivery and product improvement sector, the Emirates Airline has put in place a monitoring and evaluation system for improved service delivery to ensure achievement of consumer demands. These monitoring and evaluation measures coupled with continual improvement structures and control systems for checking product and service defaults played a vital role in improving service delivery and productivity at the Emirates Airline. After developing all these structures, the Emirates Group contracted an independent ISO certification consultant to carry out an assessment and audit of the productivity structures, and recommend the company for ISO certification (A Relentless Pursuit to Offer the Best 2008). In recognition of the quality management systems in place at the Emirates Group, the International Organization for Standardization awarded the company ISO 9001:2000 in 2004. This followed a series of analysis of the company’s commitment to customer satisfaction through effective processes and continuous service improvement mechanisms.

Impact of ISO Certification

Since the accreditation of the Emirates Group under the quality management system, the company continues to undergo tremendous improvement in service delivery and profit levels. For instance, the company acquired several airbuses as it expanded its destinations. Undoubtedly, the Emirates Airline continues to enjoy ease of market penetration in new countries due to improved management structures for quality service delivery.

Profit and Growth

Since the accreditation in 2004, the Emirates airline continues to record massive growth and increase in profit margins every year. Major milestone in the financial year 2012/13 include the opening of the pioneer airbus A380 facility – Concourse A. Similarly, the airline company acquired thirty-four new aircrafts. During the same financial year, the company added ten new passenger destinations. Notably, market penetration depends on the ability of the management staff to develop viable and sustainable management systems as defined by ISO: 9001 (Emirates Reports 52 Percent Jump in Profits 2013).

Efficient employee performance

With the accreditation, the Emirates Group embarked on an employee recruitment and retention strategy that focused on developing employees’ talents and skills. This program ensures acquisition, training, and development of a dynamic, creative, and innovative workforce that develops new ideas based on the consumer and market demands. Employment of a productive workforce continues to increase performance of the Emirates Airline in the air carrier industry. For the last decade, the company boasts of increasing profit margins with the 2012/2013 financial year, making a record figure of $19.9 billion. This represented an increase of seventeen percent from the 2011/2012 financial year. With a profit margin of 3 per cent in the 2012/2013 fiscal year, the company closed the financial book with $6.7 billion. All these earnings draw inspiration from the ISO 9001 accreditation that set out clear goals and objectives with viable structures and plans for achievement (Innovative Building Solutions Makes ISO Gain 2012).

In the customer care service, the company enjoys a great support from the loyal employees. With an annual increase in the number of passengers standing at fourteen percent, the company recorded thirty nine million passengers in the same year. This represents a sixteen percent increase from the 2011/2012 fiscal year value. Additionally, revenues from the passengers in regards to kilometer coverage reached $188.6 billion, leading to an eighty percent passenger seat factor. Markedly, passenger seat factor highly depends on customer services, leading to increased number of customers. In order to develop a highly viable and productive performance, the company relies on the management systems recommendations developed in the ISO 9001 certification.

Improved branding

ISO 9001 certification sets a basis for developing business improvement strategies for improving profit margins and service delivery. Branding at the Emirates Airline remains one of the strategies set out in the management and quality assurance policies for successful business. Branding creates a sense of ownership and patent to product and service delivery. For example, the “Hello Tomorrow” campaign as a business brand within the airline continues to earn the company high number of customers. Even though the program got into practice in 2012, it acts as a significant brand development from the innovative and creative workforce. According to Brand Finance, a global company dealing in product brand ranking, Emirates brand value rose by eleven percent in the 2012/2013 fiscal year. This implies that the earning from the brand shot from $3.7 billion to US$4.1 billion between 2012 and 2013. Among the international carrier, Brand Finance puts the Emirates brand as the leading (United Arab Emirates: The Emirates Group S Third Environment Report Highlights Key Efficiencies 2013).

Increased and widened scope of finance

In order to maintain liquidity in the market, the Emirates Airline developed a series of widened scope of finances. For instance, in 2012/2013 fiscal year, the company introduced three different and unsecured bond issues. Despite the oversubscription received from the bonds issue – a sign of investor confidence, the finance received in the issue – $ 587.5 million enabled the company to acquire additional A380 airbuses, as well as improve the debt capital market in the international market. Likewise, in the same year, apart from issuing twelve-year amortized Sukuk, the company raised $750 million from a twelve-year amortized bond correlated to the payment cycle for the aircrafts acquired. Proper management and quality assurance mechanisms developed in the ISO 9001 help the Emirates Airline diversify the source of funding, hence improving productivity (United Arab Emirates: The Emirates Group S Third Environment Report Highlights Key Efficiencies 2013).

Conclusion

In order to live to the expectation of the ISO certification, the Emirates Airline continues to develop management and production measures that ensure quality service delivery and efficiency in production. Security systems, customer demands, regulatory measures, and implementation of the quality management systems developed by the ISO certification team provide the benchmark for service improvement at the company.

References

A Relentless Pursuit to Offer the Best 2008, Web.

Blokdijk, G 2008, ISO 9000, ISO 9001 100 Success Secrets, Emereo Publishing, Brisbane.

Emirates Reports 52 Percent Jump in Profits 2013, Web.

Innovative Building Solutions Makes ISO Gain 2012, Web.

Silva, G. M. S 2002, Basic Metrology for ISO 9000 Certification, Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford.

United Arab Emirates: The Emirates Group S Third Environment Report Highlights Key Efficiencies 2013, Web.

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