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Quality Assurance and Statistical Process Control: McDonalds Essay

Introduction

 Quality management is critical to all organizational success. It determines whether a process is stable and could be repeatable and it also assess if it can be improved. But Quality control can be quite a challenge if the focus of operations has been shifted to one area or another, this often happens to those companies that are dramatically increasing in size. But not all companies are victim of ‘neglect’ for this metric, take example of one of the biggest companies globally McDonalds. In this study, we will discuss how does McDonald’s uses the quality tools such as a control chart to measure their inventory. This study will also look on possibilities on how to further enhance quality on McDonald’s operations, and finally discuss specific quality measures that McDonald’s has over its competitors.

1) How control charts might be used to monitor a process.

Control charts are one of the tools being used in Operational excellence. They are basically applied for the purpose of providing valuable data to create a “baseline process performance, monitor and control process performance” (Stagliano, 2004 p. 90). They can also be used in measurement systems to be evaluated and multiple processes can also be compared. Practically, control charts can be utilized in any aspect of operations that can be attributed to “process characterization and analysis” (Stagliano, 2004 p. 90).

Control charts not simply provide routine data, but its main use is for stakeholders or managers analyse if there are certain variations that may be interpreted as “in-control” if the process data points shows “random causes” or “out-of-control” if the specific process has a combination of variations that was caused by both “random and special causes” (SQCOnline, 2010).

2) How to possibly improve quality at specific levels from doing research on McDonalds.

Overall, McDonald’s already is doing a good job in ensuring quality not only from an operational standpoint, but to food safety as well. They have ensured high standards of safety in all of the goods they provide to the market, thus meeting customer expectations. The focus for improvement for McDonalds would be its consistency, not to their status quo but consistency on continuous improvement in all areas of their operations. Like for example, given that they have achieved customer retention and satisfaction, they can now focus more time on the quality of their workforce, even though as per their business model, which is not really that dependant on staff due to the minimal training and skills required, having an uninspired staff may affect the quality of their work, in effect could possibly translate to customer dissatisfaction.

There are evidences pointing to some of McDonalds’ staff having trouble coping with the corporate standards. Such as the action of cutting labour costs when sales are lower than expected (mcspotlight.org 2010 p.7), which has an effect to the staff especially the lower levels. However, McDonalds has been working out a decent incentive programs (Citana, 2001) already, but the focus was not on the regular crew but on Unit Managers of a certain franchise.

Hence, it is about time that McDonalds can focus on the regular staff to achieve consistencies of synchronized quality in all facets of operations. On this perspective costs could be a big factor and could possibly ruin the business model of cost efficiency for short-term, but the point of improving standards for the regular worker, would not only pay dividends on long term but dramatically improve McDonald’s corporate image as also a “high quality” employer, working with the best and engaged people.

A suggestion on this part could be as simple as providing the same type of incentive packages ( but with reasonable bonus amounts according to level) when a particular stores sales exceed expectations. All employees can be measured by the quality of work that can also be categorized through a control chart measuring their average handling time in serving a customer as just an example metric.

3) Any specific quality measures that McDonalds uses to compare itself against its competitors. What do these measures mean?

McDonald’s pride itself on its food safety and quality of their products. They ensure that the customers would receive a safe and satisfying meal each and every time they ordered. McDonalds is considered on having the highest standards with regard for safety and food quality for all and every “food it procures, cooks and serves at its restaurants, the company considers animal welfare as an integral part of their commitment to quality” (The W.Howard Chase Award, 2001 p.1). Thus, having the image of a company producing a high quality and safe product and delivering it on an above industry average handling time, shows that McDonalds has somehow the edge over its competitors. All their raw materials are being audited unannounced from the suppliers, they also have a comprehensive and tough objective audit system based on good animal handling practices applied on animal behaviour science” (The W.Howard Chase Award, 2001 p.1).

Another measure of quality in which McDonald’s is really spot-on, is they know what the consumers want and they adapt custom operations by “re-engineering the menu” based on their target market’s taste, lifestyle, discernment and values.

And lastly, McDonald’s has an efficient “just in time” inventory system, they apply a “stock control chart” in which any restaurant manager can identify the number of stock remaining, whether it needs to be replenished, they can also double check on sales receipts and see what was the most sellable product on any given time and they can also analyse a particular trend on product movement and study what could be the causes of the variations.

Conclusion

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In this study, we what is a control chart, as discussed as one of the tools for quality measures. Its main function is to provide variations of data to be interpreted by the quality person-in-charge. The data in the control charts can be used to create a baseline for performance on the process or compare results based on trends. This study also discussed the possibility of improving McDonald’s more, in terms of enhancing their corporate image by providing a decent incentive rewards system not only to their unit managers but to their regular staff as well, as to improve more on customer satisfaction and employee retention. And finally, we have discussed on what could be the most viable quality measure McDonald’s has over its competitors, and it is on their focus to consistently maintain food safety and quality of their foods and improving their inventory using stock control charts.

References

Citana, A. (2001). McDonald’s: Economics of Organizations.[PDF] Retrieved from             http://www.zeugner.eu/arbeiten/McDonalfinal.pdf

mcspotlight.org (2010). McSTART: Working for Big Mac. [Online] Retrieved from             http://www.mcspotlight.org/media/reports/trans.html

Stagliano, A (2004). Rath & Strong’s Six Sigma Advanced Tools Pocket Guide. McGraw-Hill     Professional

SQCOnline (2010).What are Control Charts?[Online]. Retrieved from     http://www.sqconline.com/six-sigma-control-charts.html

The W.Howard Chase Award (2001).McDonald’s Animal Welfare Program (MAWP). [PDF]    Retrieved from    http://www.issuemanagement.org/documents/McDonalds%20Wins%20Chase%20Aw   ard.pdf

 

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