Preparing to overcome the barriers of implementing a quality management system : A case study of EDB Card Services AS

University essay from Umeå universitet/Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet (USBE); Umeå universitet/Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet (USBE)


The purpose of this study is to see how an organization can prepare themselves to overcome the barriers when implementing a quality management system. When introducing a new management system regardless of its intentions, there are several obstacles, or rather barriers, which an organization will face and ultimately have to deal with in order to assure a successful implementation of a QMS. Not knowing beforehand what problems may arise from adopting a new management system may halter the process of introducing the new management system and add costs, resources, and time to the introduction phase. Although there are general barriers and problems with implementing a quality management system, there are also specific barriers for each and every organization. It is of significant importance that organizations become aware of those areas of which they need to pay the most attention to when implementing a QMS. There will be forces for and against the change process of a QMS and the latter needs to be anticipated and dealt with for a successful implementation of a QMS. By using a case organization and the managers within, we were able to assess the pre-conditions at the organization and identify which barriers that were specific for them. As managers are the ones implementing the new system as well as controlling, maintaining and continuously improving it, it was necessary for us to acquire their opinions and ideas. A qualitative research approach was taken and semi-structured interviews were held at the case organization EDB Card Services AS in Mo i Rana, Norway, which included 6 managers ranging from administrative level to operations level. We found that the biggest barrier for the case organization was the fact that departments were not as inter-dependent, but rather independent from each other which is not compatible with a quality management system. It was evident that the departments could learn from each other and that spreading knowledge and proper documentation had to be improved. At the case organization one of their specific barriers were the sharing and handling of documents, this barrier could be eliminated by educating staff and managers of how to make proper documents with a clear purpose, and distribute documents to the right person at the right time. The managers were motivated and willing to spend time assuring that the quality requirements of the QMS is maintained however stressed the fact that more resources would be needed in order to achieve this. Our findings lead us to believe that general guidelines for how to implement a QMS are insufficient to successfully handle the inherent problems and barriers when changing from“what is”, to “what could be”. The specific barriers which arise when organization take a look at themselves and identify these are probably more likely to affect the implementation process more than those that are general. We came to the conclusion that EDB Card Services AS needs to deal with the barriers that we identified as forces against a QMS, namely: departmental barriers, documentation of processes and procedures, leadership, resources, and information sharing and documentation. To effectively prepare the organization for the implementation of a QMS these barriers needs to be dealt with. Furthermore, we recommend that the organization educate and train those responsible for the introduction of a QMS and that an independent steering group/committee is established.

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