1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The dynamic changes in the environment particularly as they affect the tastes and aspirations of consumers, underscore the need to respond effectively to challenges posed by the changes. On account of deregulation of our economy, competition has become a major challenge which chief executives must meet effectively to remain in business. Most managers agree that if an organisation is to be successful, it must change continually in response to significant development, such as customer needs, technological breakthroughs and government regulations (Eke, 2001). Globalization of market and operations forces organisations to rethink their quality problems and in turn their overall organisational competitiveness. In order to be successful in this global market, organisations should dedicate themselves to improving productivity and quality in a timely and collaborative manner (Dobyns and Crawford, 1994).
In recent times, the concept of customer services has risen to the centre stage of modern business. As a result of this development, the management vocabulary is now replete with all kinds of technologies which are used to describe one and the same thing, customer service. Among these terminologies are customer satisfaction, customer care, customer relations, etc (Nwosu, 1996). To achieve world class customer service, Total Quality Management (TQM) techniques, supported by management commitment and good organisation will provide objective means of improving quality and hence the overall organisational competitiveness (Christopher, 1994).
Total quality management is among the new techniques which modern organisations now employ with very good effect to secure and keep their customers permanently satisfied. To this end, the Power Holding Company of Nigeria is not expected to be left out of this struggle by organisations, to remain relevant, gain a deeper insight into customers’ expectations of services and the strategies that could be implemented to achieve a closer fit with wants and needs as well as excel in the face of the present competitive environment. Total quality management is therefore a way of managing to improve the effectiveness, efficiency, flexibility and competitiveness of a business as a whole (Christopher, 1994).
1.2 PROBLEM OF THE STUDY
The role played by the small business has a vital input in the socio-economic and welfare development of any nation cannot be overestimated. There is no doubt that poor quality culture has been the bane of management in Nigeria. Problems of meeting products specification, often times, product fail to meet the specification required by customers because of assignable causes like; defective materials used, improper setting of equipment, operational errors, manpower etc. it is not worthy of mention that it cost the same amount to produce products units problems of variation in quality of product. It is against this background that the writer intends to write on the quality control as a competitive tool for small scale enterprises in Nigeria.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE ESSAY
The objective of the essay is to examine quality control as a competitive tool for small scale enterprises. The specific objectives are:
a. To examine the prospects of TQM in small scale enterprises.
b. To identify if the culture of small scale enterprises will favour the application of TQM in the organisation.
c. To assess the effect of environmental factors on the application of TQM in small scale enterprises and organization at large.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. Is quality control a competitive tool for small scale enterprises?
2. What are the prospects of TQM in small scale enterprises?
3. Does the culture of small scale enterprises favour the application of TQM in the organisation?
4. What is the effect of environmental factors on the application of TQM in small scale enterprises and organization at large?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
Ho: Quality control is not a competitive tool for small scale enterprises.
H1: Quality control is a competitive tool for small scale enterprises.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The essay is important because it will make tremendous contribution towards improving the small scale enterprises. In Nigeria generally, some organisations have adopted the concept of TQM with little or no literature and academic research undertaken to stress the importance of quality in an organization. The essay will help in determining the prospects of TQM in small scale enterprises. This will in no small measure increase performance in terms of profitability and customer satisfaction and thus contribute to knowledge in the field of quality management. It is hope that this essay will serves as an avenue for managers to adopt the recommendations in handling the TQM for better economic development which will invariably lead to customers’ satisfaction. The essay will also be of immense significance to managers and future researchers who wish to probe further study on the topic.
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE ESSAY
This essay work will be confined to the quality control as a competitive tool for small scale enterprises in Nigeria. As a management paradigm based on the principles of total customer satisfaction, employee involvement, and continuous improvement. Emphasis in a nutshell, shall focus on TQM, as a concept that holds that no matter how well you are already doing you can always do better. In the course of this essay, the writer encountered some natural limitations which made it difficult but never the less did not affect the result of the essay. In every writes-up finance is supreme the insufficiency of fund hampered the speed and thoroughness of conducting of this essay work. The time limit given for this study deprived the researcher the opportunity of covering all the expected areas of the essay. All these were constraints encountered in the course of the essay.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Quality Control: A system of maintaining standards in manufactured products by testing a sample of the output against the specification.
Small Scale Enterprise: Is a business that employs a small number of workers and does not have a high volume of sales.