THE APPLICATION OF BENCHMARKING AND TOTAL QUALITY MANAGEMENT (TQM) AS TOOLS IN GAINING COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE: A STUDY OF MAY AND BAKER PLC AND UNILEVER NIGERIA PLC
The Application of Benchmarking and Total Quality Management (TQM) as new technology philosophy is one of the contemporary issues in the mind many management scientists and this is focus of this study. In the past, there was often this confusion in the mind of an average consumer in a developing country like Nigeria regarding the choice of the imported product he preferred, whether it is “the made-in-America” or “the made –in- Japan” especially in the area of electronics. But today, the case is different because he would readily prefer “The made –in- Japan” to “the made-in-America” product. Yet, most of the technologies applied in manufacturing the Japanese products originated in America. The secret behind the Japanese success story is anchored on a common management philosophy which the Japanese called “KAIZEN”, or the Total Quality Management (TQM) and this is the subject of this inquiry. Total Quality Management as a management philosophy is the brainchild of American scholars such as W.E. Deming, Joseph Jorum, Philip Cosby, Armgund and a host of others but it was given a practical relevance by the Japanese.
Some attempts have been made to define Total Quality Management (TQM). According to Ramsey and Roberts (1992),” TQM is seen as people focused management system that aims at continual increase in customers’ satisfaction at continually lower real cost.”
Also, Ewurum (2001) states that the goals of TQM are to integrate all parts and processes of an organization in order to achieve continuous improvements in quality of goods and services along the line dictated by the customer. TQM aims at attaining a zero-defect products and Services by “doing the right thing first time and every time”.
Another powerful tool supporting this study is the concept of Bench marking. Benchmarking, according to Mc George and Palmer (1997), is defined as “a process of continuous improvement based on the comparison of an organization’s processes or products with those identified as best practices. The best practice comparison is used as a means of establishing achievable goals aimed at obtaining organizational Superiority”. Bench marking does not end at comparing ones organization with that of the benchmark, it identifies the gap between its products and those of the benchmark and attempts to bridge this gap through a well planned strategy.
To achieve adequate courage, this project has been divided into five chapters. Chapter one examines the background of the Study, Statement of the study, significance of the study and definition of terms.
Chapter two covers general review of related literatures, theoretical frame work of the study, research questions and statement of hypothesis while chapter three discusses research design and methodology, research approach, sources of data, research instruments and method of investigation.
Chapter four continued with analysis of data and data presentation while chapter five concludes the research work with summary of major findings, conclusions and recommendations.