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In the past, quality in the product and service industries was not given much though. In those times, the consumer of the products or services was nothing but a passive recipient with little say over the affairs taking place. However, in the few past decades, the tables have been turned around as companies have become increasingly sought to enhance their positions in an increasingly aggressive marketplace.
IBF Management asserts that in the present day environment, the success of an organization is based on the establishment of a sustained competitive advantage over the other players in the industry (1).
The Japanese are credited with bringing about the quality changes that most organizations faced in the 1980s since the Japanese efforts at quality demonstrated to the world the competitive advantage to be reaped from quality assurance (Vokurka, Stading and Brazeal 41). Many companies therefore sought to enhance their quality since a lack of quality could spell doom to a business.
Quality award systems are some of the practices which serve the purpose of honoring companies which exhibit quality practices. Such awards have the effect of encouraging strategic initiatives and continuous quality improvement by organizations. This paper shall perform a detailed study of one of the Quality Award Systems in Dubai, the Dubai Quality Award.
This paper shall in particular report about the winner of the 2009 Quality Awards. The reasons why the award was bestowed on this particular organization shall be expounded on in order to reveal the factors that are taken into considerations in the Dubai Quality Award.
The Dubai Quality Award
The Dubai Quality Award (DQA) is a government launched initiative that was began in 1994 to recognize the most successful players in the public and private industries. This award is “based on the Excellence Model of the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) which has been successfully applied in private and public sector organizations since 1992” (DED). Quality awards among other things help to underscore the importance of quality to the players in the industry.
This quality award program was created to encourage the deployment of quality practices within organizations by offering motivation as well as inspiration to the decision makers. The Gulfnews report that this scheme from its launch aimed at improving business practices so as to transform Dubai from being a lone outpost home to many small companies to being the international business hub that it is today.
Vokurka, Stading and Brazeal reveal that as organizations have continued to strive for Total Quality Management, quality award programs have changed from being symbols of recognition for such programs to “offering tools for implementing a quality strategy, benchmarking best practices, performing self assessments and, ultimately, achieving improvements (42).
This is true for the DQA which has moved from being an award for recognizing winners to being a symbol of quality. The Dubai Quality Award (DQA) The Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) articulates that the DQA is “not a process for generating winners and losers, it is a process for recognizing role model organizations”.
In addition to recognizing the top achievers in the various sectors, both private and public, the award aims to foster a culture of excellence by inciting the players in the industry to aspire to continually excel in all aspects in the particular industry. As such, an important concept applied by the DQA is that while it recognizes that an organization is made up of various constituent parts, it focuses on the whole and applies the concept of synergy where “the whole is large than the sum of its parts” (DED).
Also, the DQA acknowledges the fact that there are different approaches that may be taken to achieve excellence and as such, the award is not prescriptive in nature. The award therefore honors organizations which have shown innovation in their activities all the while promoting quality and customer satisfaction.
The Award Winners
The Dubai Quality Award for the year 2009 was won by the Union National Bank and the UAE Exchange Center; both of which are operators in the finance sector. The UAE Exchange Center is “one of the largest exchange houses in the region with a network of 19 branches in the UAE (Ameinfo). The company has been in operation for the past 25 years, during which it has grown both in scale as well as in terms of the products it offers to its customers. The UAE Exchange Center has branches in Kuwait as well as in India.
The Union Nation Bank is a “public joint stock company incorporated under the laws of the United Arab Emirates in 1982” (Ameinfo). Through the years, the bank has increased the number of products it offers to its customers and now offers tailor made products to suit the needs of the various clientele. The UNB boasts of a wide network of branches in the UAE with hundreds of Automated Teller Machines spread throughout the UAE. The bank has also spread to other countries and has branches in Egypt.
Reasons Why They Won
Both winner of the DQA, the Union National Bank and the UAE Exchange Center are ISO 9001 certified as a result of their continued excellence in the banking sector. The UNB in particular was the first bank in the region to be certified ISO 9001:2000 compliant back in 2002 while the UAE Exchange Center was certified for the same in 2005. The UNB continued with the trend of excellence and in 2009, it was certified ISO 9001: 2008 compliant (Ameinfo).
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The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an international NGO which was created to facilitate the international coordination and unification of industrial standards therefore resulting in the “improve quality of learning services and facilitate comparison on worldwide basis” (iso.org). Considering the fact that this body (the ISO) is internationally recognized and is indeed the international standard setter for business, government and society, certification by the same is a mark of excellence.
ISO 9001 in particular is the international standard that deals with the quality management system (QMS) of an organization. According to the ISO website, an organization that is ISO 9001 certified must demonstrate a strong commitment to quality and customer satisfaction.
In addition to this, the organization in question must have measures put in place to monitor the quality of services or products provided and have a mechanism that can be used to process and resolve any complaints that may be made by the customers. The management of UNB bank demonstrates a strong commitment to quality improvement and is customer focused and hence the awarding of the ISO 9001:2000 certification for the Bank.
Both the recipients of the DQA have over the years demonstrated their commitment to customer satisfaction. Ensuring customer satisfaction is not only beneficial to the customers but also to the organization since the customers are the people who possess the power to give the organization a competitive edge over other players in the environment.
The need to ensure customer satisfaction is so great in modern day organization and Oakland suggests that all quality initiatives by the organization should be firmly tied to a continuous assessment of customer needs so as to generate greater customer satisfaction (343). This is because research shows a positive relationship between heightened customer satisfaction to brand loyalty and increased sales for the organization.
As such, ensuring customer satisfaction has become a key goal for most organizations as they aim to gain a competitive edge in a market that is increasingly becoming aggressive. Ameinfo reveals that both organizations have strived to address the needs and demands of their clients by use of a quality management system that is of superior technology.
Ameinfo reveals that the ISO 9001:2000 certification received by the UNB was across the entire operation of the Bank. As such, the organization did not exhibit disproportionate quality by laying emphasis on some of its sectors at the expense of others.
To receive the DQA, a company must show commitment to quality in all its operations since the award takes a holistic approach when awarding points to the participants. The UNB therefore received the award as a result of its commitment to ensure uniform quality improvement efforts in all its branches as well as the in the individual departments in the organization.
The Union National Bank and the UAE Exchange Center both have a very well structured system to monitor consumer behaviors as well as ensure that consumer complaints can be handled. This is another area that was looked at in the awarding of the DQA. The UAE Exchange Center has a callback facility through which a customer can request to be called back so as to make his/her inquiries or complaints.
This service reveals the commitment of the organization to ensure that the consumer does not suffer from any extra costs even as he/she tries to resolve any issues he might have with the company. The UNB is also quick to respond to any complains that might be made by its customers and the bank tries to ensure that the matters are resolved to the satisfaction of the customer. These services to the customers are not only of a quality nature but they are continually being improved so as to best serve the clients.
Use of technology is another aspect that is taken into consideration when looking for the winners in the DQA. The UAE Exchange Center is renowned for its utilization of the latest technology for its Xpress Money product. Such innovations demonstrate the company’s commitment to maintaining market leadership by utilizing technology.
Such a move by the UAE Exchange Center not only benefits the organization by making it more efficient but it also increases the level of confidence that the customers have in the company since they are assured that their transactions are secure. The UNB on the other had has made positive moves towards becoming a top quality bank by performing upgrades on all its branches so as to enable the bank to offer its clients advanced facilities (Gulfnews).
The managers in the two institutes awarded the DQA see quality as being key to increasing the productivity of their organization. This is a thought that is shared by Griffin who reveals that there is a relationship between quality and productivity (597). An organization must also have superior products in order to achieve TQM.
This is because the consumer’s perception of the organization will mostly be based on the kind of products it offers to them. The UNB prides itself in offering quality services to its customers through the various products it has available. The UAE Exchange Center as well ensures that its services are of a high quality as can be demonstrated from the company’s motivation to work towards continually improving its efficiency in the services offered.
One of the key ingredients in total quality management is the involvement of employees in the affairs of the organization (Griffin 598). The reason for this is that it is the employees who will be charged with performing the job to the high standards that the company desires. The Customer Service Week shortlisted the UAE Exchange Center for its 2010 STAR awards for its service leadership initiative.
The institute was also shortlisted for the best implemented customer service initiative for the year 2009 (CSW). These recognitions of good service by the UAE Exchange could not have been possible without the involvement of the employees. The UNB also lays strong emphasis on the contribution of its work force. This can be demonstrated by the praise that the CEO offered to the employees on receipt of the DQA on behalf of the company.
One of the effects of improved quality is that it results in the lowering of costs and hence the increase in the profitability of a business. Poor quality invariably results in higher returns of products from customers or in the service industry, the customers will opt for the services of different organizations (Griffin 597). Sharif documents that the Union National Bank’s profits rose by an impressive 25% in the 3months from July 2010.
This impressive performance was attributed to the company’s ability to capitalize on the opportunities available as well as its quality products which resulted in customer loyalty. The UAE Exchange Center has also exhibited an impressive recovery even following the financial meltdown which resulted in significant reduction in the volume of business.
Both winners of the DQA in 2009 are renowned for their impressive performances in the financial industry. Vokurka, Stading and Brazeal declare that results are important when implementing any quality endeavor (46). If there are no visible results to show for TQM, then the process cannot be termed as successful.
Results therefore act as the true indicator of the success of the process. The DQA takes this into consideration as it gives weight to the business results in the giving of the award. The UAE Exchange and the UNB are leaders in the financial market in Dubai and achieve impressive profits therefore demonstrating the positive results for their TQM efforts.
The European Quality Award after which the DQA is modeled aims to support European managers in their efforts to achieve global competitive advantages. In the same manner, the DQA also recognizes efforts by organizations to achieve global competitive advantage and penetrate the international market therefore achieving global market leadership. The UAE Exchange Center has demonstrated such abilities through its international endeavors.
The company applied for a banking license in India so as to enable it to fully exploit the opportunities presented by the huge Indian market. This diversification is of great significance if the company is to achieve market leadership in the money exchange and remittance services industry. The UAE Exchange Center has also established business relationships in Kuwait therefore spreading its reach even further. As a result of such efforts, this company is rated as one of the world’s leading money exchange and remittance services providers.
The impact that an organization has on the society is one of the criterion that are used in selecting the winner for the DQA. The UNB is indeed a responsible corporate citizen as can be seen from its active involvement in supporting various development projects both at a local and an international scale.
In an interview of the CEO of the UNB Mohammad Nasr reveals that the Bank has sponsored many campaigns most notably of which is the Red Crescent’s “At Home” campaign which was aimed at creating shelters for the homeless community in the UAE (Gvpedia). The UAE Exchange on the other hand engages in a number of charitable causes in line with its strongly grounded believe in corporate social responsibility. The company sponsors cultural events such as theatre and drama which are all beneficial to the community.
This paper set out to give a detailed report on the winners of the Dubai Quality Award so as to reveal the reasons why they were given this award. To this end, this paper began by naming the two winners of the award who were; Union National Bank and the UAE Exchange Center. The paper presented a brief overview of the two companies and proceeded to highlight and discuss the various reasons why the two companies were honored.
From this paper, it is clear that the two winners were awarded for their total quality management efforts. The two exhibited impressive customer care therefore bringing about customer satisfaction and also utilized technology so as to gain a competitive edge in the market.
The two companies also emphasized on employee involvement and diversified their business efforts. It is for this reason that these two companies which are continually improving their services and therefore demonstrating an understanding and improvement of quality management were given the Dubai Quality Award.
CSW. Customer Service Week STAR Awards finalists announced. 2010. Web.
Department of Economic Development (DED). Dubai Quality Award. 2010. Web.
Gulf News. Dubai Quality Awards for top achievers in public and private sectors. 2010. Web.
Griffin, R. Management. Cengage Learning, 2006.
Gvpedia. Union National Bank Top Company- Best of Abu Dhabi. 2008. Web.
IBF Management. Mastering the Customer Experience: The Key Drivers for Success. IBF Management, LLC, 2004.
ISO. ISO- International Organization for Standardization. 2010. Web.
Oakland, J. Total quality management: text with cases. Butterworth-Heinemann, 2003.
Sharif, A. “Union National Profit Increases 25%, Below Estimates.” Bloomberg Business Week, 2010.
Vokurka, R., Stading, G. and Brazeal, J. “A Comparative Analysis of National and Regional Quality Awards.” Quality Progress, 2000.