Author: Chung, Kin-yuk Terence
Title: An analysis of the barriers to the application of TQM in Hong Kong's hotel industry
Degree: M.Sc.
Year: 1995
Subject: Hospitality industry -- China -- Hong Kong
Total quality management -- China -- Hong Kong
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Multi-disciplinary Studies
Pages: xiv, 198 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm
Language: English
Abstract: The mission of most hotels is to meet guests expectations and thus gain total customer satisfaction. Achieving excellent "quality" is a moving target for all hoteliers. As we approach the 21st century, Total Quality Management (TQM) has evolved as one of the most advanced approaches to ensure customer satisfaction and organizational excellence. However, among over 70 hotels in Hong Kong, there are only five hotels adopting TQM now. The present study intends to review the present state of applying TQM in Hong Kong's hotel industry, and identify the driving factors and barriers to its implementation, so as to benchmark and suggest ways to resolve the reluctance. Its purpose to serve as a reference to hoteliers to facilitate the implementation of TQM in Hong Kong's hotels. To investigate this, three hypotheses are proposed : Hypothesis 1 - The success of the hotel business is determined by customer satisfaction, and TQM can help to achieve customer satisfaction. Hypothesis 2 - The phenomenon of few hotels applying TQM is related to the characteristics of Hong Kong 's hotel industry and reluctant attitudes of Hong Kong's hoteliers towards adopting TQM in their operations. Hypothesis 3 - Managers can overcome the barriers to the application and implementation of TQM in hotels by developing and introducing suitable guidelines and strategy. Methodology In addition to an intensive literature review to understand TQM and hotel service, a questionnaires survey of 73 hotels of Hong Kong Hotels Association was conducted in July and August of 1994. It aims to solicit ideas on the attitudes of top management towards TQM application in hotels. The findings help to validate the hypotheses 1 and 2. The response rate was 42.5% (31 out of 73 hotels responded). The data collected are considered quite satisfactory in that they afforded the researcher a meaningful analysis. The respondents are classified into 3 categories for purposes of analysis : 1) Hotels which are currently implementing TQM (Users); 2) Hotels which are planning to implement TQM (Contemplators); 3) Hotels which are not currently implementing or planning to implement TQM (Non-users). In order to understand how to implement TQM in hotels, three personal interviews with senior heads from Ritz-Carlton Hotel, JW Marriott Hotel, and Hotel Furama were conducted. The study's major conclusions follow: a) A definition of "quality" in relation to hotels in Hong Kong is summarised : " Quality is the satisfaction perceived by the guests in terms of excellent hotel service and value for money consistently, which meets or even exceeds customers' expectations, through clearly defined standards." b) There are 5 hotels that claim to have adopted TQM: Furama, JW Marriott, New World Harbour View, Regal Hong Kong and Ritz-Carlton HK. The length of period of TQM adoption ranges from five years to less than one year. c) There are 5 hotels which plan to implement TQM in 1995 or 1996: Peninsula Hotel, Hotel Victoria, New World Hotel, Omni Hongkong Hotel and Omni Marco Polo Hotel. d) TQM can be implemented in all hotels. The age of hotel is not a barrier or facilitator to the management's decision whether to adopt TQM. e) Hotel size is not a critical factor in deciding whether to implement TQM. For example, hotels ranging from 216 rooms to 864 rooms are in the process of adopting TQM. f) In terms of hotel service, hotels with a higher staff-to-room ratio appear more likely and proactive to adopt TQM. g) 64.5% of total respondents had a positive viewpoint towards TQM application in their hotels. h) Most hotels will consider TQM as a way towards success, if it can achieve company-wide quality, improved human resources management, improved customer service, and achieve competitive pricing and a desired reputation. i) All 3 categories of respondents claimed that TQM could be most helpful in achieving the goal of "improving customer satisfaction". j) Barriers to adopt TQM were identified in descending order of significance : - High cost to implement the program - High labour turnover - Lack of top management commitment - Difficult to measure the service quality k) An analysis of staff turnover rate report (1991 - 1993) indidates that the TQM implementation contributes to reducing staff turnover rates. But, there is a lack of evidence to conclude that TQM can lead to a lower staff turnover. Further research on this issue is needed. l) Factors leading to the successful implementation of TQM in a hotel were identified in descending order of significance : - Top management commitment - Senior management provides leadership - Specific quality objectives m) The interviews the researcher conducted, identified some points to facilitate the process of implementation of TQM in Hong Kong hotels : - The TQM program is supported by hotel chain - The TQM program is initiated by the General Manager - A norm is established to adopt TQM throughout the hotel. - Ongoing training for TQM is offered to all staff - If it is affordable, to initiate TQM by a large scale of training. - Communicate to all staff that top management is committed to implement TQM and that it is an integral part of the hotel's operations. - Employee empowerment and a TQM Coordinator are prerequisites. - Service can be broken down into processes and service quality standards can be documented and measured. Suggested Guidelines Finally, based on the research and literature review, some guidelines are suggested to overcome barriers to implementing TQM in Hong Kong's hotel industry. Barrier 1 : High cost to implement Suggested ways to overcome barriers : - It is not necessary to use consultants to conduct all the TQM training. Use consultants to introduce TQM training in the organization and managers as appropriate coaches and trainers to cascade TQM training to all staff. - Avoid the allocation of too many resources at the beginning stage such as many quality circles or meetings. Too aggressive in approach will result in frustration and jeopardize the implementation of TQM. Barrier 2 : High employee turnover rate Suggested ways to overcome barriers : - Demonstrate the positive impact TQM has on employee satisfaction through empowerment, more chances of achievement and development, increasing responsibility, better communication, better ergonomics and quality of work life. - Flattening of the organizational structure can help to enhance employee empowerment and career development. The creation of a multi-skilled core workforce brings flexible human resource and higher productivity to cope with the labour shortage and high staff turnover. Barrier 3 : Lack of top management commitment Suggested ways to overcome barriers : - Present TQM benefits to hotel management in terms of profitability. - The person in charge of TQM should represent top management. -Link the TQM plan with the business plan. - Form a quality steering council of department heads. Every manager will in turn be the chairman, so as to transform resistance into support by participation. - Prepare managers to develop a plan for total quality in their departments. Give them ownership of the implementation. Barrier 4 : Difficult to measure service quality Suggested ways to overcome barriers : - Apply the continuous Process Improvement Approach and view work as a process with specific inputs and outputs. - Analyze service process through blueprint and service map, so as to identify the relationships of supplier-producer-customer in the process and find out gaps and pursue breakthroughs in process performance. - Identify the critical process as a benchmark to focus the measurement. - Establish customer-based performance indicators which should be specific and measurable. - Apply quality measurement tools to analyze defects. Additional general guidelines are suggested : - Operationalize TQM concepts in language which staff understand as opposed to introducing TQM as a new approach which involve many changes in the operation. - Watch the timing and organizational readiness. - Foster a learning organization culture : innovation, participation and competition. - Deliver a clear mission of quality to every staff. Make it OUR vision, which should be forward-looking to achieve excellence in the future. - Demonstrate top down management commitment and participation. - Establish a reward structure to reinforce quality improvement. - Benchmark "the best in-class". - Focus TQM training on staff needs and corporate strategy. - Review and reinforce TQM efforts constantly, such as organizing quality forum, quality focus day, open house inviting hotel guests and employees to gather feedback, TQM newsletter, one-day front-line experience for managers, suggestions directed to steering council, slogans, posters, certifying for ISO9002, competing for HKMA Quality Award, joining outside TQM social groups, considering a 360-degree performance evaluation system. TQM means significant cultural change and involves the whole organization. TQM demands time and determination, thus it is common to take several years to get favourable results from its implementation. TQM is not easy to achieve, it has to be earned through perseverance.
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