Case Study: Ulster Carpet Mills Limited

Question

Case Study: Ulster Carpet Mills Limited

Ulster Carpet Mills Limited, finalist for the European Quality Award (EQA), has doubled its share of the quality carpet sector in recent years and now holds over 10 per cent of the world market for its products. By encouraging continuous improvement through self-assessment against the EFQM Excellence Model, EQA has created the necessary drive for customer focus. The company’s total quality process has graduated from ‘total customer satisfaction’ to ‘total customer delight’, to its present form – ‘bridging the gap’, which is effectively a ‘where we are’ and ‘where we should be’ yardstick for the company.

Developments in the warehouse are typical. The role of the manager/supervisor has been replaced by the nomination of a group leader who acts in a ‘leading role’, working within the team. According to one Director, ‘it was time to move away from a command-and-control situation and evolve towards a more team-oriented organization’. The group leader with her team, each of whom is trained to carry out his/her main job plus five others work on a rotating work rota. Fixed hours are a thing of the past, as is overtime. At peak times, such as the run-up to Christmas, the team works the required hours (be it until 10 pm at night) to dispatch orders, and at off-peak times, when work is completed to the satisfaction of the group leader, the team can leave. New technology now means that dispatch labels and address labels are computer generated and the carpets are bar-coded which reduces the possibility of human error. Each process within the warehouse has been analysed and re-engineered to answer the question, ‘Do the processes meet the customer needs?’

Although it is believed by Ulster Carpet Mills Limited that the customer needs are met, a number of customers complain about late delivery and about the scratches on the plastic that protects carpets from damage during handling and transportation. The drivers insist that the handling of goods has been done in accordance with the transportation procedures. The dispatch Department assures that the packages left the factory in a good condition and must have been damaged on the customer’s site. In few occasions carpets were slightly damaged and had to be replaced. The company sees the use of the EFQM Excellence Model as a means of evaluation, as well as raising internal awareness of the measures necessary to meet external needs. In addition, the company considers adopting Deming’s 14 points for quality improvement.

Ulster Carpet Mills limited decides to adopt another quality methodology in a foreign branch (like the United States) for one of its company.
1. Suggest other quality measures Ulster Carpet Mills could adopt
2. Identify and evaluate how these measures could be used to diagnose contemporary problems
3. Develop a quality management plan (from any of the suggestions above) for Ulster Carpet Mills

Summary

This case study belongs to Operations Management and it is about Ulster Carpet Mills Limited. The company has 10% world market share for its carpets and it has been one of the highly recognized companies in the carpet industry. The company wants to improve its product quality and it is looking for new quality measures. These quality measures must be able to solve the present issues and a quality management plan must also be made.

Total Word Count 799


 

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