Total quality management can be defined as the principle which seeks to ensure that all the members of an organisation are committed towards maintaining high standards of work in each and every operation of the business. This approach focuses on long term success by ensuring customer satisfaction (Gutiérrez, Torres and Molina, 2010). The present assignment focuses on the importance of benchmarking process in Sainsbury's and the steps undertaken by the organisation for its implementation. Sainsbury's is one of the largest super markets chains in UK which was founded by John James Sainsbury in 1869. Benchmarking is the process of measuring quality of organisation's policies, programs, strategies, products etc. and comparing them with standard measurements or competitors. Benchmarking helps in determining areas of improvement, analysing methods for achieving high level performance and using this information for performance improvement. The report describes the steps that the company could undertake for implementation of benchmarking. Difficulties faced in doing so has also been discussed and recommendations are provided in the report.
Need Of Implementing Benchmarking In Sainsbury's
Benchmarking process involves making comparison of one's business performance and practices with that of industry's best practices (Hoang, Igel and Laosirihongthong, 2010). The main objective of benchmarking is to understand the current position of the business and identification of areas and ways for improvement. Sainsbury's is one of the largest supermarkets chain in UK and is facing tough competition from Asda, Tesco plc and WM Morrison supermarket in the industry. Thus, it is required to follow TQM practices which would enable it to survive in the evolving technological market place and face competition from such large business groups. In today's business scenario, customer satisfaction has become imperative to sustain and survive in the market (Hoonakker, Carayon and Loushine, 2010). The business who focuses on satisfying its customers and fulfils the needs and expectations of the customers go long way. Customers are the king of market as they have number of options and alternatives available, if they are not satisfied with the products and services of one organisation, they can easily switch over to another brand. Thus, to ensure brand loyalty and long term commitment of customers, it is must to meet their needs and demands. All these reasons have necessitated the need of implementing total quality management practices such as benchmarking in the cited organisation.
Benchmarking is the process designed to obtain a measure i.e. a benchmark (Sadikoglu and Zehir, 2010). It involves looking outwards and identifying best practices that are performed by competitors or other organisation in the industry. It helps to understand the current position of the Sainsbury's and identify areas where improvement is needed. The performance of the organisation is compared with the standard performance to ascertain the achievement of the company as against its competitors (Sharma, 2010). Benchmarking enables to understand the processes behind excellent performances. Proper and effective implementation of this process helps the business to improve performance in crucial functions of the organisation and thus, attaining success of the business.
The company would be interested benchmarking as it offers many advantages. Some of these are as follows:
Improves performance: Benchmarking sets competition among the employees as well as among oneself. This in turn results in increased performances of the workers. Best practices and potentialities of the employees are identified by this process. It helps to identify the gap between actual potential and the expected potential. This provides the understanding of scope and ways for individual improvement.
Improve product quality: This process may also help in improving the quality of the goods and services offered by the company (Alenius, Lind and Strömsten, 2015). Once the quality offered is identified then it can be compared to that offered by other companies so that they are able to give tough competition.
New paradigms: For success it is important to work out of comfort zone because great things never comes from comfort zones. Benchmarking forces the workers as well as the organisations to come out of comfort zones which opens new opportunities for them.
Change of focus: Benchmarking focuses on changes in the business strategies and environment and makes it easier to adopt changes comfortably.
Monitoring: To analyse the problems it is important to monitor the performances which could be easily done by benchmarking the performances. Setting of standards makes it easy to identify problems and their possible solutions.
Increase sales and profits: The functionalities, operations, services and goods are improved by the procedure of benchmarking. This in turn helps the company to increase its sales and profits.
Steps To Implement Benchmarking
There are different steps involved in implementation of benchmarking (Booth, 2013). These steps are as follows -
Step 1: Determination of procedures which are to be benchmarked- This step involves identifying all the procedures and purposes including short term and long term goals. This also includes identification of level of change, making a flowchart of the processes, measurement of critical performances etc.
Step 2: Determination of organisations which are to be benchmarked– This step involves determination of the firms which are to be studied for benchmarking. In this identification of which organisation would be best suited for partnership, which firms are the best to be competed with and benchmarked for, whose systems are comparable and whose are not etc. is done. Also, organisations cooperation with which would be the best beneficial is determined.
Step 3: Collection of data– In this step development of plan to collect data from the targeted sources is done. Different sites are visited and report is been prepared accordingly. The steps involve gathering of correct information which would aid the organisation to improve the performances based on the gathered data. Firstly, the simplest data sources are identified, then data with most value and benefits are figured out. It should be kept in mind that time and cost of data collection should be low.
Step 4: Analysis of the gaps– This step follows the analysis of the gathered data. This data is analysed and compared to the expected data. The actual performance and the expected performance determines the gap and the degree with which the cited firm is lacking the expected performance (Acha, Du and Shah, 2016). Comparison is done in this step to determine the gap.
Step 5: Determination of upcoming trends– The trends and technologies changes very fast with the time. The future trends are expected and analysed in this step. This will involve the analysis of past performances of the organisation and the competitors and forecast the changes in the cited firm which would be needed to improve the performance and efficiency.
Step 6: Reveal outcomes and sell the process– This step involves communication of the results of benchmarking to the audiences and motivate them to undertake and adapt changes. Correct implementation of this step is necessary as it has a great impact on the audience as well as on the staff members. Audience to be addressed is selected in this step and report is written.
Step 7: Accomplishment of consensus on reviewed goals– Revising of the company's goals takes place in this step in order to reduce the gap between expected performance and actual performance. Goals are reviewed and necessary changes are made in the operations. The impact of the revised goals is also analysed and the commitment to the specific goals by the management is determined.
Step 8: Establishment of action plan– Step by step plan to achieve goals and targets is designed in this step. Breakdown of all the steps takes place and proper action plan is created for each and every operation.
Step 9: Implementation of plans and monitoring of results– The action plan so created is implemented and the outcomes are monitored. Accordingly changes are made. Monitoring can be done on daily basis or at specific frequent time duration.
Step 10: Recalibration of benchmarks– This step involves continuous evaluation of the benchmarked practices. Reinstitution of the benchmarked procedures takes place in this step whenever needed. Correct implementation of the last step ensures correct implementation of benchmarking and its outcomes (Steps to Better Benchmarking, 2017).
Sainsburry's is an organisation that has acquired brand value in the past few years. Considered amongst the top five strongest retail sector companies, there are certain challenges or difficulties which can arise with implementation of benchmarking. This technique is a part of the total quality management which aims to improve performance of organisation by setting specific standards and policies regarding quality of products and services. In order to maintain customer share and expand the profit margins, Sainsburry has to prepare itself for the following challenges in context of benchmarking.
Resistance from employees: There can be situations in the company wherein employees won't cooperate or would show some resistance regarding the quality issues or standards professed. This can be threatening in terms of business performance and productivity (Zhu, 2014). Prolonged issues in co-operation can significantly effect productivity and as a result aims and objectives will not be met.
Resources: Sainsburry requires to maintain a smooth flow in production and distribution. This means there is continuous requirement of basic resources which are required for manufacturing of products. Benchmarking often brings in very high standards and quality parameters that require resources which are not easily available. In such situations, there is a difficulty being addressed by the company. Resource constraints can be in the form of time, finance or human skills and knowledge (Boshyk, 2016).
Analysation difficulties: Businesses require continuous analytical data which has to be interpreted for gaining conscience regarding status of competition or marketing structure. This implies that company faces difficulties in analysing the current situations which further contributes to ineffective decision making. Moreover, there are certain challenges regarding comparison of data with different subjects.
Granularity: Benchmarking often provides vague perception to business organisations especially when specific information is required. The standards either become too general or too specific with the context. Operational excellence is affected due top this fact and entire improvement process is hindered. It is important to have clarity regarding what steps need to be taken for improving the quality of products and services (McCormack and Johnson, 2016). If these facts are not communicated well, then organisation experiences definite chaos or mismanagement.
Ineffective utilisation: The strategy or path that has been used for utilising concepts of benchmarking is very significant for the company. Sainsburry's has to develop a technique which is helpful in extracting maximum benefits from benchmarking in terms of increased quality and enhanced performance. If a strategy or plan is not correctly implemented then ineffective utilisation is faced as a difficulty by the company with respect to benchmarking.
Aforementioned difficulties which can come up within the organisation during implementation of benchmarking can be handled effectively if there is proper strategic planning. The impact of these challenges can be reduced by adopting to alternative methods of continuous improvements and organisational excellence. Sainsburry can witness significant growth with benchmarking only if corporate culture and the business environment of company supports its related policies and decisions.
The report reveals that benchmarking is one of the most efficient method of total quality management for the company. The report suggests that Sainsburry which is one of the largest market chains can also practice benchmarking to improve its performances as well as increase sales and profits. The report provides steps following which the company can implement the benchmarking procedures. There are many difficulties faced by the company while implementing these steps which are also identified in the report. Few recommendations are provided applying which the company could overcome the difficulties and improve the efficiency and profitability by applying benchmarking.
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