Overview of the report 3
Profile of the business 3
Theoretical and Practical Foundations of ISO 9001:2008 5
Organizational Approach to Quality 7
Overview of the report
This report has been designed to analyze the performance of the Emirates Insurance Company in relation to its ISO 9001:2008 Certification. In particular, its focus is made on the description of major operations areas of the analyzed enterprise, and the main approaches taken by this organization to quality management and control.
The first part of the report provides a brief description of the company, identifies its main practice areas, and concludes on its current market performance. Moreover, this part introduces the concept of ISO 9001:2008, explains its main theoretical and practical tenets and attempts to explain how this certification leads to increase in productivity and customer satisfaction of the Emirates Insurance Company.
The second part of the report analyzes current quality control procedures and operations of the Emirates Insurance Company, and evaluates their efficiency. The role of ISO 9001:2008 is specifically accentuated in the context of firm's successful operations and customer's feedback.
In the conclusions and recommendations sections, the main elements of this research are summarized, and possible suggestions on future enhancement of the system are offered. In particular, the paper articulates that the company should not strictly follow the principles outlined by ISO, but should become more focused on the use of technology, which are still out of ISO scope of consideration.
Profile of the business
The Emirates Insurance Company provides vast array of various insurance services (The Emirates Insurance Company website). For the corporate sector, the company offers property insurance, engineering insurance, employee benefit insurance, financial insurance, liability insurance and others. For the interested individuals the Emirates Insurance Company provides different options of vehicle insurance, domestic healthcare insurance, home insurance, fire and allied perils insurance and customized insurance programs (ibid.).
The company was incorporated in 1982 in the form of personal service corporation in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, although it has nationwide presence in all major cities. It received multiple performance excellence awards from the national and international business associations. The company managerial departments are experienced and professional, being staffed by the cosmopolitan team of local and overseas professionals. In contrast to its major competitors, the firm successfully weathered 2008-2010 financial storm, with no significant layoffs or other austerity measures reported to have taken place (The Emirates Insurance Company, 2010).
The firm is ISO 9001:2008 certified. As one of the most important standards within the range of ISO 9000 (it addresses different aspects of quality management), it sets out major requirements of an effective and integrated quality assurance and management system (Conti, 2010; Robbins, 2009). Today, it is the only standard in the family of ISO 9000, for which formal certification from the international organization for standardization is available (Sharma, 2005). In order to become eligible for this certification, the company should develop exemplary, upscale quality management practices in seven primary dimensions (Santos & Escanciano, 2002). This area of continual improvements includes customer focus, leadership, involvement of employees, process approach, systematic approach to all management related affairs, continual improvement, factual approach to decision-making and cooperative relationships with suppliers (Heras, Gavin & Casadesus, 2002). Naturally, ISO does not expressly set out the practices and requirements, which an organization should possess in order to become certified. In every industry, these best practices are different and continually evolving (Sharma, 2005). However, an organization seeking to become ISO recognized should effectively enhance the mentioned eight areas of its operations (Wagner & Hollenbeck, 2010). The Emirates Insurance Company is not only ISO certified, but sometimes the auditors from international organization for standardization seek expert advisory from the firm internal experts in terms of whether another applicant should be awarded with ISO certificate.
All this information together combined illustrates that the Emirates Insurance Company occupies the leading position on the insurance market in the United Arab Emirates, while also showing extremely successful quality management approach. Current performance of the Emirates Insurance Company is the best proof of the old maxim that successful marketing stems from productive quality management.
Theoretical and Practical Foundations of ISO 9001:2008
Nowadays, each organization develops its own quality policy, and the International Organization for Standardization examines whether they correspond to the main principles of total quality management 'best practices'. ISO 9001:2008 sets forth cultural, organizational and managerial principles, which streamline and articulate specific quality management principles of a given organization. The main purpose behind the creation of these standards is to ensure that company operations continue to evolve, and waste is gradually eradicated from each new cycle of the business (Sharma, 2005).
In order to implement successful total quality management practices, a typical organization should focus its operations on eight central elements.
Ethics. Versatile ethical frameworks help decision-makers to take proper course of action, when good or bad consequences are not easily discernible (Wagner & Hollenbeck, 2010). It fosters fairness, openness and responsible approach to work the community and the team members. On the organizational level, business code of ethics sets out basic guidelines, which all employees should obey.
Integrity means that the decision-makers in their pursuit of exceptional quality standards should be honest, moral, fair and unconditionally adhere to the principle of sincerity (Santos & Escanciano, 2002). The main characteristic of this tenet is that the customers should receive what they deserve to receive, but not what the company thinks they should get. The opposite extreme of integrity is duplicity. Successful quality management practices are never exercised in an atmosphere of corporate duplicity.
Trust. Many scholars think that trust is a form of a byproduct of synergetic activity of ethics and integrity. In practice, it helps to foster dedicated and complete participation of all team members, allowing empowerment and encouraging individual professional performance of the company employees. Furthermore, contemporary business thinkers highlight that trustful relationships are important for individual risk-taking and ensuring complete customer satisfaction (Sharma, 2005).
Training is an important element of highly productive and dedicated employees of a company. In order to make training effective, the coaches should have profound interpersonal skills, and ability to deliver the material in a comprehensible and easy manner (Wagner & Hollenbeck, 2010).
Teamwork is one of the most critical aspects of a successful quality management system. Productive teams offer quicker and more effective solutions to business problems and implement them promptly. Moreover, contemporary management argues that teams are more effective than individuals in terms of maintaining permanent improvements in all business operations. When working in teams, people are more open for bringing up potential business problems, and may rely on their colleagues' expertise.
Leadership is popularly recognized as the most important element in modern total quality management systems (Robbins, 2009). ISO says that effective leadership means vision inspiration, ability to make strategic this their actions and leverage them, and aptitude to instill corporate values to the subordinates (Sharma, 2005).
The main purpose of effective communication is binding everything and everyone together. Sometimes, the analysts describe it as a 'binding mortar' of any successful business (Conti, 2000). In other words, however productive and suitable a solution may be, it is useless until it is communicated to the employees in a comprehensible and clear manner. At the same time, it is essential to ensure that the team members are not overloaded with information. The most effective message is timely, concise, informative and unambiguous.
Finally, recognition is the ultimate element in this paradigm. Both the customers and the team members should receive adequate compensation for their contributions and expectations. In the long run, employees become committed to the business because they seek financial gratification, not corporate flourishing.
Overall, these elements are general principles, which may be implemented in practically any organization to deliver high-quality products. However, depending on the industry and nature of business, specific principles, based on these general tenets, are developed by the corporate units.
Organizational Approach to Quality
In order to deliver high-quality products in the extremely competitive business environment (the insurance market is oversaturated both worldwide and in the UAE), the company should always deliver upscale services to its customers (Sharma, 2005). While the firm is effective in terms of market analysis and determining the real needs of the clients, quality of the products should be always maintained on a due level. Moreover, contemporary business scholars argue the idea that effective quality management practices report that the firm should timely diagnose all newly emerged needs of the customers and react to them correspondingly (Robbins, 2009). The main elements of the Emirates Insurance Company quality management approach are the following:
Customer focus. The firm top management team argues that all key decisions regarding company services, delivery methods, communication etc. should be taken by the customers (Sharma, 2005). In practice, the managers navigate the course of company development in accordance with the customers’ needs and expectations. The research department is one of the most well-funded, since its exercises one of the most essential missions - it identifies what are the real necessities of the consumers, measures it satisfaction and provides effective solutions in terms of ensuring the balance between the interests of the customers and other stakeholders.
Leadership. Effective leaders are the foundation of any successful enterprise. They drive teams, motivate employees and boost sales. In the case with the Emirates Insurance Company, the leaders are required to evaluate, align and implement all performance related activities in a unified way. Furthermore, their important mission is to ensure that miscommunication between the different departments of the firm is minimized to the utmost.
Effective and productive quality management practices are closely connected with effective leadership. The leaders realize that customers satisfaction is a pledge of their successful careers. While regular employees may not necessarily be interested in delivering high-quality products, the leaders with strong career ambitions will always monitor and diagnose the smallest quality imperfections.
Involvement of people. Today's business practice demonstrates that authoritative approaches to corporate governance are no longer effective. The best and most innovative ideas usually come from those, who deal with the clients directly. In this context, the Emirates Insurance Company ensures that all teammates are motivated and committed enough to be always innovative and creative for furthering common objectives (Heras, Gavin & Casadesus, 2002) . The human resources department of the firm is especially successful in making people eager to participate in continual improvement. At the same time, this principle stresses that the professionals become individually accountable for their own performance (Conti, 2000).
The principle of a process approach stresses that a desired result achieved effectively and efficiently if activities and correlated resources are regarded as synergetic process. Furthermore, the managers should establish explicit responsibility and accountability criteria for all involved professionals (Sharma, 2005). The practice shows that today in many organizations, the managers fail to analyze the scope of a specific market operation appropriately. As a result, the firm allocates either too much or insufficient resources, which leads to schedule breakdowns and other negative repercussions.
In contrast, the managers of Emirates Insurance Company receive special training for calculating the amounts of necessary resources accurately. As a result, the firm manages to economize substantial funds, which, in the event of each year are distributed among the most productive managers as benefits.
System approach to management practices signifies that all possible alternatives should be analyzed and the best one should be selected for a particular task. The key ingredient of this operation is organizational ability to focus efforts on the most critical processes. In other words, customers care is a process with many integral elements. However, the practice shows that the clients find a service satisfactory when their major requirements are duly satisfied. They may condone some unessential minor imperfections, although the firm should be always oriented on 100%. When this quality rate is not possible because of natural or technological constraints, it should focus on the most significant ones first.
The principle of continual improvement means that achieving excellent standards of customers care should become a permanent objective of a firm (Robbins, 2009; Wagner & Hollenbeck, 2010). The practice shows that customers’ expectations, as well as successful service delivery practices are continually evolving. Hereby, central management practices advocated by the organization should be dynamic as well. It is also immensely effective in terms of grasping new marketing opportunities and implementing innovative technological solutions.
Finally, the principle of factual approach to decision-making means that the most effective managerial decisions are always based on the empirical findings and factual data. Not a single decision should be made on assumptions, and past experience should be viewed as supplementary criteria for decision-making. The facts should always go first.
Despite the fact that customer satisfaction of the Emirates Insurance Company is high, the company fails to integrate the most innovative technological solutions in its customers care practices. Today, many customers are simply not aware that some other forms of support do exist. For instance, the company does not provide multilingual client support, or online chat. Once the clients become informed about these options, their attitude towards the Emirates Insurance Company may change in the future. Therefore, the leading scholars highly recommend to research customers care technology on a continual basis, and implement the soundest solutions.
Conti, T. (2000). Vision 2000: positioning the new ISO 9000 with respect to total quality management models. Total Quality Management, 10 (4): 454-64.
Heras, I., Gavin P.M., Casadesús, M. (2002). ISO 9000 registration's impact on sales and profitability: A longitudinal analysis of performance before and after accreditation. International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management 19 (6): 774.
Robbins, S. (2009). Organizational behavior. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall Ptr.
Santos, L. & Escanciano, C. (2002). Benefits of the ISO 9000:1994 system: Some considerations to reinforce competitive advantage. International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management 19 (3): 321–44.
Sharma, D.S. (2005). The association between ISO 9000 certification and financial performance. The International Journal of Accounting 40 (2): 151
Wagner, J. A., & Hollenbeck, J. R. (2010). Organizational behavior: Securing competitive advantage. New York: Routledge.
The United Insurance Company. (2010). The United Insurance Company annual financial report. Retrieved from http://www.eminsco.com/pdf/2010-reports-financial-statements.pdf
Appendix. ISO Certificate of the Emirates Insurance Co.