During eight years ABC Construction Company has normally focused in construction of buildings within the commercial, industrial and multifamily markets in the Southeast of the United States. Normally, the company was used to deal with small and medium companies requiring short-term work, taking from one day to a month to complete. In the last year customer composition has changed; ABC Construction has now large architectural, commercial and public utilities as customers, and some of them are requiring all contractors and subcontractors to set up a quality management initiative that meets their own quality management systems. Their contracts are medium to long-term work, extending over a year or longer.
ABC Construction employs around sixty people, including temporary workers who work on a one-time project basis. With over $6 million revenues, ABC Construction is classified as a small business per the U.S. Small Business Administration (Table of Small Business Size Standards Matched to North American Industry Classification System Codes, Sector 23-Construction, Subsector 236-Construction Buildings, http://www.sba.gov/content/table-small-business-size-standards).
After all these years without a formal quality management system, ABC Construction has started making plans to implement a quality management system that meets customer needs and expectations, as well as requirements of customer’s quality systems. In today’s global economy, competition is becoming ever more intense. Many service companies are trying very hard not only to satisfy their customer’s needs but where possible to exceed them. This can only be achieved through cost reduction, improvement in service performance, increased customer satisfaction and a constant effort towards world-class service organizations. In order for ABC Construction to survive and grow in the future, it is essential that the company delivers high quality services at reasonable costs.
The main challenge facing ABC Construction is finding the best approach to start the quality process in response to the growing pressure from their customers and the need to grow in the future. They fear a conventional approach of a quality management system would not suit best their small company, as most of the quality manuals and documents are focused for large companies. From experience learned from other construction companies about their size, implementation of a quality initiative was very encouraging at the beginning but over a time period became burdensome, and many of these companies desisted from implementing a quality system mainly because the right approach was not adopted (Kerzner, 2009).
Company’s upper management understands that they need to implement a quality management system to remain competitive, retaining their market share, and also being able to respond to the ever changing competitive demand; however, there are several factors which may cause some resistance in the implementation of a quality management initiative within ABC Construction, such as misconception of the cost of implementation, organization stability required to obtain long-term results, and project diversity.
Implementing a quality management system alone cannot ensure long term business success. It has to count on full leadership commitment and total employee involvement in accordance to the quality management philosophy and principles (Evans &Lindsay, 2011). Being a small company with all of its resource limitations, the implementation and sustenance of a quality management system can be seen as an extra cost and not an investment at ABC Construction. In a construction company the building site of a project is transitory as compared to the main office, which means that the organization needs to form quality team(s) and provide regular training to all employees,...