The purpose of this report is to critically analyse, evaluate and discuss related management issues conducive to the development of a total quality management environment within an organisation. This shall be done by critically analysing the case study of Agrotran Ltd. This report will discuss the role and application of quality management systems in organisations, debate and recommend a suitable way forward for Agrotran Ltd.

The issues concerning Agrotran Ltd

Agrotran is a small engineering company specialising in the manufacture of farming equipment. The four owners have recently sold out to the Nat-truk Group a manufacturer of specialist trucks and transport’s. The original owners set up Agrotran when they were made redundant from a large engineering company. They have a good working relationship, working well as a team and intimate knowledge of their business. They also have a laid back style of management.

There are a number of issues that have arisen since the take-over.

Nat-truk are seeking to be included on the Ministry of Defences approved supplier list. This means that they and Agrotran need to achieve ISO 9000 certification although this was argued against by one of the former owners during the take-over negotiations. This has been seen as an imposition of extra cost and bureaucracy on Agrotran by Nat-truk.

Nat-truk has also introduced its own employees to Agrotran. This has resulted in fights breaking out between Agrotran and Nat-truk workers. The bases of these arguments are over communication problems involving processes, standards and specifications. This has resulted in some of Agrotran’s best customers complaining about quality. One of the original owners Tom Smith has laid the blame on the extra procedures and paperwork choking up the system causing delays and loss of control.

The role and purpose of quality management systems

The role and purpose of quality management systems is to reduce the dependence on 3rd party audits and to provide a documented management system, which will provide clearer working procedures, improve quality control and efficiency. The Key features of a quality management system are the documented policy manuals and procedures on which the company could be audited. These policies and procedures should allow flexibility and adapt to change but always regain control. The objective of the quality management system ISO9000 “is to give purchasers an assurance that the quality of the products and/or services provided by a supplier meets their requirements” (Dale 1999). With this the company would seek to widen its customer base, as the customer is given an assurance of quality and the need for them to carry out their own audit is not required unless their own standards are higher than the requirements of ISO9000. “A number of major purchasers use this registration as the ‘first-pass’ over a supplier’s quality system” (Dale 1999). ISO9000 can also be used as the foundation for the introduction of TQM.
The application of quality management systems

The application of the ISO9000 series of standards can be used in three ways (Dale 1999).
1. To provide guidance to organisations, to assist them in developing their quality systems
2. As a purchasing standard (when specified in contracts)
3. As an assessment standard to be used by both second party and third party organisations.

The ISO9000 series consists of ISO9000, ISO9001, ISO9002, ISO9003, and ISO9004

ISO9000 – Guidelines for Selection and Use and ISO9004 Guidelines for Specific Applications are only used as guidelines and to explain the application of ISO9001, ISO9002 and ISO9003.

ISO9001 Model for Quality Assurance in Design, Development, Production, Installation and Servicing
Covers 20 principal clauses which are of a management or operational nature

Management/macro requirements Operational requirements
1. Management responsibility
2. Quality system
3. Contract review
5. Document and data control
17. Internal quality audits
18. Training
4. Design control
6. Purchasing
7. Control of customer-supplied product
8. Product identification and traceability
9. Process control
10. Inspection and testing
11. Control of inspection, measuring and test equipment
12. Inspection and test status
13. Control of non-conforming product
14. Corrective and preventive action
15. Handling, storage, packaging, preservation and delivery
16. Control of quality records
19. Servicing
20. Statistical techniques

The Institute of Management

ISO9002 includes all of ISO9001 except design control
ISO9003 includes all of ISO9001 except design control, purchasing, process control and servicing
Development of a Total Quality Management within an organisation
If an organisation is to develop Total Quality Management then it must first understand what it is and how it has been developed. Which is easier said than done, as there are many different definitions