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The Case of Motorola and Samsung, Research Paper Example

Pages: 5

Words: 1252

Research Paper

Introduction

Companies all over the world invest considerable time and fiscal resources in trying to provide quality products and services at competitive prices. Many of the most successful firms have adopted quality management and quality improvement as the core components of their business strategy and corporate culture. Two such companies, Motorola and Samsung, provide excellent examples of how quality management has been successfully implemented. Motorola, known primarily for its televisions, is based in the United States while Samsung is a Korean company and one of the largest global producers of electronics and telecommunications equipment.  This paper provides an analysis of how each company has successfully implemented quality management throughout their respective production processes.

Motorola

Motorola is the classic example of an American success story but this was not always the case. During the 1970s and early 1980s, the company was failing dismally. Its products in general and its televisions in particular had a reputation for poor quality compared to the products produced by its major competitors, Sony and Toshiba (Pryor et all, 2011, p. 422). Under the leadership of Bob Galvin, Motorola aggressively implemented a quality management system throughout the company. The new system was comprised of three core business strategies. First, based upon rigorous engineering analysis, the company established a statistical metric of no more than 3.4 product defects for every one million products that the company manufactured. Second, the company established a goal of drastically reducing the turn around time between the placement of the customer order and the delivery of the final product. Third, the company’s senior management and board of directors invested heavily in employee quality training and personal development and established a series of Participative Management Teams throughout all departments within the organization. These teams review departmental goals, work collaboratively on problem solving and assess the overall achievement of team metrics. A portion of the cost savings realized as a result of the quality initiatives is shared equally among team members (Zu et al, 2009, pp. 638-642).

Motorola utilizes advanced mobile technologies to ensure quality throughout the production process. The company refers to its approach as “quality management solutions.” QMS has four primary components; error proofing, inspection, quarantine and batch traceability.

Highly trained quality engineers utilize hand held technologies to collect data and to ensure that all manufacturing protocols have been completed within operational specifications. During the inspection phase, all processes and reports are completed utilizing mobile computers. The data are available in real-time to all personnel throughout the supply chain. Defective components or systems are immediately identified and quarantined. The problem is assessed and resolved thereby avoiding costly product warranty recalls. All components that are used throughout the manufacturing process can be instantaneously tracked electronically through the batch identification system. This allows for a rapid response where defective components are identified (motorola.com).

Samsung

Like Motorola, Samsung produces televisions and other household appliances and is a major player in the global market. The company’s largest source of revenue comes from its semiconductor manufacturing facilities located in twenty-six countries around the globe. The majority of the semiconductors produced by Samsung are purchased by other companies and used in the manufacture of computers and servers, imaging technologies, media technologies and security technologies (samsung.com).

Samsung launched a comprehensive quality management system in all of the company’s domestic as well as its international semiconductor manufacturing facilities in 1999.  By 2001, all facilities had achieved the ISO 9000 quality management certification (Yang et al, 2007, p.89).

In the area of quality training and education, Samsung created Quality College, an entity that develops individual and team quality training plans along with the appropriate curricula. All employees including executives are required to attend Quality College. The curriculum establishes specific learning outcomes related to quality awareness, statistical analysis and what the company refers to as the “total training solution.” TTS links the management objectives of the company to the individual employee’s career development goals. Samsung believes that goal congruence, centered around quality management, ensures that quality will be the foundation for the company’s culture (Lee & Choi, 2006, p. 896).

In order to operationalize quality throughout the semiconductor manufacturing process, Samsung has developed a system of quality audits. The quality audit specialists are trained to apply statistical analysis at all phases of the production process to ensure that the components meet design and engineering specifications within pre-assigned metrics. State-of-the-art mobile technologies are used to assess every phase of the production process. Samsung also has arrangements with its suppliers of raw materials to conduct audits at the supplier’s location prior to the transportation of the raw materials for use in the manufacture of Samsung components. The establishment of partnerships with suppliers in a critical component in maintaining quality control (Goetsch & Davis, 2009, pp. 101-104). The company maintains a sophisticated electronic interactive database called the Audit Information Control Infrastructure (samsung.com).

Analysis

Although Motorola is primarily a domestic company based in the U.S. and Samsung is a major global corporation, both have several common strategies when it comes to the quality of their respective products. First and foremost, both companies are recognized as leaders in the area of quality management. The experiences and quality systems developed at both Motorola and Samsung are used all over the world to teach business students about the importance of quality management. Second, both companies are renowned for the quality and reliability of the products that they produce in a very competitive global market. Third, employees at both companies extol the virtues of working in a positive and professional environment where corporate executives really do care.

In examining the manufacturing and production processes at Samsung and Motorola, there are a number of key quality initiatives that are common to both. Both companies develop quantifiable metrics that are used to assess performance (quality). Both utilize state-of-the-art technologies to ensure quality control during manufacturing. Both companies invest heavily in training and employee development. Both companies instill quality management as a core component of corporate culture. The leadership at both companies emphasizes a single priority—quality.

Conclusion

This analysis of two of the most successful companies in the world reveals that quality management is at the heart of all successful businesses irrespective of the industry or the products and services produced. Whether one refers to total quality management, just-in-time manufacturing, lean six sigma systems, benchmarking or some other descriptor, the evidence is clear and overwhelming. Customers expect quality products and services more so today than ever before in our history. Companies like Motorola and Samsung that continue to be on the leading edge of quality assessment and improvement will enjoy considerable success. Companies that fail to meet the quality standard demanded by consumers will no longer be competitive in today’s global, knowledge-based economy.

References

Goetsch, David L. & Davis, Stanley, B. (2009). Quality Management for Organizational Excellence: Introduction to Total Quality. (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education/Prentice-Hall.

Lee, Kun Chang & Choi, Bong. (2006). Six sigma management activities and their influence on corporate competitiveness. Total Quality Management and Business Excellence, 17(7), 893-911.

Motorola website retrieved from http://www.motorola.com

Pryor, Mildred G., Toombs, Leslie A., Cook, Jack, & Humphries, John H. (2011). Strategic quality management: The role of process ownership, management and improvement, International Journal of Business Excellence, 4(4), 420-439.

Samsung website retrieved from http://samsung.com

Yang, Hong M., Choi, Byong S., Park, Hyung J., Suh, Min S., & Chae, Bongsug. (2007). Supply chain management six sigma: A management innovation methodology at the Samsung Group. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, 12(2), 88-95.

Zu, Xingxing, Fredenall, Lawrence D., & Douglas, Thomas J. (2008). The evolving theory of quality management: The role of six sigma. Journal of Operations Management, 26(5), 630-650.

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