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Case Study: Quality Management System at Coca Cola Company

Coca Cola’s history can be traced back to a man called Asa Candler, who bought a specific formula from a pharmacist named Smith Pemberton. Two years later, Asa founded his business and started production of soft drinks based on the formula he had bought. From then, the company grew to become the biggest producers of soft drinks with more than five hundred brands sold and consumed in more than two hundred nations worldwide.

Although the company is said to be the biggest bottler of soft drinks, they do not bottle much. Instead, Coca Cola Company manufactures a syrup concentrate, which is bought by bottlers all over the world. This distribution system ensures the soft drink is bottled by these smaller firms according to the company’s standards and guidelines. Although this franchised method of distribution is the primary method of distribution, the mother company has a key bottler in America, Coca Cola Refreshments.

In addition to soft drinks, which are Coca Cola’s main products, the company also produces diet soft drinks. These are variations of the original soft drinks with improvements in nutritional value, and reductions in sugar content. Saccharin replaced industrial sugar in 1963 so that the drinks could appeal to health-conscious consumers. A major cause for concern was the inter product competition which saw some sales dwindle in some products in favor of others.

Coca Cola started diversifying its products during the First World War when ‘Fanta’ was introduced. During World War 1, the heads of Coca Cola in Nazi Germany decided to establish a new soft drink into the market. During the ongoing war, America’s promotion in Germany was not acceptable. Therefore, he decided to use a new name and ‘Fanta’ was born. The creation was successful and production continued even after the war. ‘Sprite’ followed soon after.

In the 1990’s, health concerns among consumers of soft drinks forced their manufactures to consider altering the energy content of these products. ‘Minute Maid’ Juices, ‘PowerAde’ sports drinks, and a few flavored teas variants were Coca Cola’s initial reactions to this new interest. Although most of these new products were well received, some did not perform as well. An example of such was Coca Cola classic, dubbed C2.

Coca Cola Company has been a successful company for more than a century. This can be attributed partly to the nature of its products since soft drinks will always appeal to people. In addition to this, Coca Cola has one of the best commercial and public relations programs in the world. The company’s products can be found on adverts in virtually every corner of the globe. This success has led to its support for a wide range of sporting activities. Soccer, baseball, ice hockey, athletics and basketball are some of these sports, where Coca Cola is involved

Quality Management System at Coca Cola Company

The Quality Management System at Coca Cola

It is very important that each product that Coca Cola produces is of a high quality standard to ensure that each product is exactly the same. This is important as the company wants to meet with customer requirements and expectations. With the brand having such a global presence, it is vital that these checks are continually consistent. The standardized bottle of Coca Cola has elements that need to be checked whilst on the production line to make sure that a high quality is being met. The most common checks include ingredients, packaging and distribution. Much of the testing being taken place is during the production process, as machines and a small team of employees monitor progress. It is the responsibility of all of Coca Colas staff to check quality from hygiene operators to product and packaging quality. This shows that these constant checks require staff to be on the lookout for problems and take responsibility for this, to ensure maintained quality.

Coca-cola uses inspection throughout its production process, especially in the testing of the Coca-Cola formula to ensure that each product meets specific requirements. Inspection is normally referred to as the sampling of a product after production in order to take corrective action to maintain the quality of products. Coca-Cola has incorporated this method into their organisational structure as it has the ability of eliminating mistakes and maintaining high quality standards, thus reducing the chance of product recall. It is also easy to implement and is cost effective.

Coca-cola uses both Quality Control (QC) and Quality Assurance (QA) throughout its production process. QC mainly focuses on the production line itself, whereas QA focuses on its entire operations process and related functions, addressing potential problems very quickly. In QC and QA, state of the art computers check all aspects of the production process, maintaining consistency and quality by checking the consistency of the formula, the creation of the bottle (blowing), fill levels of each bottle, labeling of each bottle, overall increasing the speed of production and quality checks, which ensures that product demands are met. QC and QA helps reduce the risk of defective products reaching a customer; problems are found and resolved in the production process, for example, bottles that are considered to be defective are placed in a waiting area for inspection. QA also focuses on the quality of supplied goods to Coca-cola, for example sugar, which is supplied by Tate and Lyle. Coca-cola informs that they have never had a problem with their suppliers. QA can also involve the training of staff ensuring that employees understand how to operate machinery. Coca-Cola ensures that all members of staff receive training prior to their employment, so that employees can operate machinery efficiently. Machinery is also under constant maintenance, which requires highly skilled engineers to fix problems, and help Coca-cola maintain high outputs.

Every bottle is also checked that it is at the correct fill level and has the correct label. This is done by a computer which every bottle passes through during the production process. Any faulty products are taken off the main production line. Should the quality control measures find any errors, the production line is frozen up to the last good check that was made. The Coca Cola bottling plant also checks the utilization level of each production line using a scorecard system. This shows the percentage of the line that is being utilized and allows managers to increase the production levels of a line if necessary.

Coca-Cola also uses Total Quality Management (TQM) , which involves the management of quality at every level of the organisation , including; suppliers, production, customers etc. This allows Coca-cola to retain/regain competitiveness to achieve increased customer satisfaction . Coca-cola uses this method to continuously improve the quality of their products. Teamwork is very important and Coca-cola ensures that every member of staff is involved in the production process, meaning that each employee understands their job/roles, thus improving morale and motivation , overall increasing productivity. TQM practices can also increase customer involvement as many organisations, including Coca-Cola relish the opportunity to receive feedback and information from their consumers. Overall, reducing waste and costs, provides Coca-cola with a competitive advantage .

The Production Process

Before production starts on the line cleaning quality tasks are performed to rinse internal pipelines, machines and equipment. This is often performed during a switch over of lines for example, changing Coke to Diet Coke to ensure that the taste is the same. This quality check is performed for both hygiene purposes and product quality. When these checks are performed the production process can begin.

Coca Cola uses a database system called Questar which enables them to perform checks on the line. For example, all materials are coded and each line is issued with a bill of materials before the process starts. This ensures that the correct materials are put on the line. This is a check that is designed to eliminate problems on the production line and is audited regularly. Without this system, product quality wouldn’t be assessed at this high level. Other quality checks on the line include packaging and carbonation which is monitored by an operator who notes down the values to ensure they are meeting standards.

To test product quality further lab technicians carry out over 2000 spot checks a day to ensure quality and consistency. This process can be prior to production or during production which can involve taking a sample of bottles off the production line. Quality tests include, the CO2 and sugar values, micro testing, packaging quality and cap tightness. These tests are designed so that total quality management ideas can be put forward. For example, one way in which Coca Cola has improved their production process is during the wrapping stage at the end of the line. The machine performed revolutions around the products wrapping it in plastic until the contents were secure. One initiative they adopted meant that one less revolution was needed. This idea however, did not impact on the quality of the packaging or the actual product therefore saving large amounts of money on packaging costs. This change has been beneficial to the organisation. Continuous improvement can also be used to adhere to environmental and social principles which the company has the responsibility to abide by. Continuous Improvement methods are sometimes easy to identify but could lead to a big changes within the organisation. The idea of continuous improvement is to reveal opportunities which could change the way something is performed. Any sources of waste, scrap or rework are potential projects which can be improved.

The successfulness of this system can be measured by assessing the consistency of the product quality. Coca Cola say that ‘Our Company’s Global Product Quality Index rating has consistently reached averages near 94 since 2007, with a 94.3 in 2010, while our Company Global Package Quality Index has steadily increased since 2007 to a 92.6 rating in 2010, our highest value to date’. This is an obvious indication this quality system is working well throughout the organisation. This increase of the index shows that the consistency of the products is being recognized by consumers.

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Total quality management: three case studies from around the world

With organisations to run and big orders to fill, it’s easy to see how some ceos inadvertently sacrifice quality for quantity. by integrating a system of total quality management it’s possible to have both.

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21 Jan 2014

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There are few boardrooms in the world whose inhabitants don’t salivate at the thought of engaging in a little aggressive expansion. After all, there’s little room in a contemporary, fast-paced business environment for any firm whose leaders don’t subscribe to ambitions of bigger factories, healthier accounts and stronger turnarounds. Yet too often such tales of excess go hand-in-hand with complaints of a severe drop in quality.

Food and entertainment markets are riddled with cautionary tales, but service sectors such as health and education aren’t immune to the disappointing by-products of unsustainable growth either. As always, the first steps in avoiding a catastrophic forsaking of quality begins with good management.

There are plenty of methods and models geared at managing the quality of a particular company’s goods or services. Yet very few of those models take into consideration the widely held belief that any company is only as strong as its weakest link. With that in mind, management consultant William Deming developed an entirely new set of methods with which to address quality.

Deming, whose managerial work revolutionised the titanic Japanese manufacturing industry, perceived quality management to be more of a philosophy than anything else. Top-to-bottom improvement, he reckoned, required uninterrupted participation of all key employees and stakeholders. Thus, the total quality management (TQM) approach was born.

All in Similar to the Six Sigma improvement process, TQM ensures long-term success by enforcing all-encompassing internal guidelines and process standards to reduce errors. By way of serious, in-depth auditing – as well as some well-orchestrated soul-searching – TQM ensures firms meet stakeholder needs and expectations efficiently and effectively, without forsaking ethical values.

By opting to reframe the way employees think about the company’s goals and processes, TQM allows CEOs to make sure certain things are done right from day one. According to Teresa Whitacre, of international consulting firm ASQ , proper quality management also boosts a company’s profitability.

“Total quality management allows the company to look at their management system as a whole entity — not just an output of the quality department,” she says. “Total quality means the organisation looks at all inputs, human resources, engineering, production, service, distribution, sales, finance, all functions, and their impact on the quality of all products or services of the organisation. TQM can improve a company’s processes and bottom line.”

Embracing the entire process sees companies strive to improve in several core areas, including: customer focus, total employee involvement, process-centred thinking, systematic approaches, good communication and leadership and integrated systems. Yet Whitacre is quick to point out that companies stand to gain very little from TQM unless they’re willing to go all-in.

“Companies need to consider the inputs of each department and determine which inputs relate to its governance system. Then, the company needs to look at the same inputs and determine if those inputs are yielding the desired results,” she says. “For example, ISO 9001 requires management reviews occur at least annually. Aside from minimum standard requirements, the company is free to review what they feel is best for them. While implementing TQM, they can add to their management review the most critical metrics for their business, such as customer complaints, returns, cost of products, and more.”

The customer knows best: AtlantiCare TQM isn’t an easy management strategy to introduce into a business; in fact, many attempts tend to fall flat. More often than not, it’s because firms maintain natural barriers to full involvement. Middle managers, for example, tend to complain their authority is being challenged when boots on the ground are encouraged to speak up in the early stages of TQM. Yet in a culture of constant quality enhancement, the views of any given workforce are invaluable.

AtlantiCare in numbers

5,000 Employees

$280m Profits before quality improvement strategy was implemented

$650m Profits after quality improvement strategy

One firm that’s proven the merit of TQM is New Jersey-based healthcare provider AtlantiCare . Managing 5,000 employees at 25 locations, AtlantiCare is a serious business that’s boasted a respectable turnaround for nearly two decades. Yet in order to increase that margin further still, managers wanted to implement improvements across the board. Because patient satisfaction is the single-most important aspect of the healthcare industry, engaging in a renewed campaign of TQM proved a natural fit. The firm chose to adopt a ‘plan-do-check-act’ cycle, revealing gaps in staff communication – which subsequently meant longer patient waiting times and more complaints. To tackle this, managers explored a sideways method of internal communications. Instead of information trickling down from top-to-bottom, all of the company’s employees were given freedom to provide vital feedback at each and every level.

AtlantiCare decided to ensure all new employees understood this quality culture from the onset. At orientation, staff now receive a crash course in the company’s performance excellence framework – a management system that organises the firm’s processes into five key areas: quality, customer service, people and workplace, growth and financial performance. As employees rise through the ranks, this emphasis on improvement follows, so managers can operate within the company’s tight-loose-tight process management style.

After creating benchmark goals for employees to achieve at all levels – including better engagement at the point of delivery, increasing clinical communication and identifying and prioritising service opportunities – AtlantiCare was able to thrive. The number of repeat customers at the firm tripled, and its market share hit a six-year high. Profits unsurprisingly followed. The firm’s revenues shot up from $280m to $650m after implementing the quality improvement strategies, and the number of patients being serviced dwarfed state numbers.

Hitting the right notes: Santa Cruz Guitar Co For companies further removed from the long-term satisfaction of customers, it’s easier to let quality control slide. Yet there are plenty of ways in which growing manufacturers can pursue both quality and sales volumes simultaneously. Artisan instrument makers the Santa Cruz Guitar Co (SCGC) prove a salient example. Although the California-based company is still a small-scale manufacturing operation, SCGC has grown in recent years from a basement operation to a serious business.

SCGC in numbers

14 Craftsmen employed by SCGC

800 Custom guitars produced each year

Owner Dan Roberts now employs 14 expert craftsmen, who create over 800 custom guitars each year. In order to ensure the continued quality of his instruments, Roberts has created an environment that improves with each sale. To keep things efficient (as TQM must), the shop floor is divided into six workstations in which guitars are partially assembled and then moved to the next station. Each bench is manned by a senior craftsman, and no guitar leaves that builder’s station until he is 100 percent happy with its quality. This product quality is akin to a traditional assembly line; however, unlike a traditional, top-to-bottom factory, Roberts is intimately involved in all phases of instrument construction.

Utilising this doting method of quality management, it’s difficult to see how customers wouldn’t be satisfied with the artists’ work. Yet even if there were issues, Roberts and other senior management also spend much of their days personally answering web queries about the instruments. According to the managers, customers tend to be pleasantly surprised to find the company’s senior leaders are the ones answering their technical questions and concerns. While Roberts has no intentions of taking his manufacturing company to industrial heights, the quality of his instruments and high levels of customer satisfaction speak for themselves; the company currently boasts one lengthy backlog of orders.

A quality education: Ramaiah Institute of Management Studies Although it may appear easier to find success with TQM at a boutique-sized endeavour, the philosophy’s principles hold true in virtually every sector. Educational institutions, for example, have utilised quality management in much the same way – albeit to tackle decidedly different problems.

The global financial crisis hit higher education harder than many might have expected, and nowhere have the odds stacked higher than in India. The nation plays home to one of the world’s fastest-growing markets for business education. Yet over recent years, the relevance of business education in India has come into question. A report by one recruiter recently asserted just one in four Indian MBAs were adequately prepared for the business world.

RIMS in numbers

9% Increase in test scores post total quality management strategy

22% Increase in number of recruiters hiring from the school

20,000 Increase in the salary offered to graduates

50,000 Rise in placement revenue

At the Ramaiah Institute of Management Studies (RIMS) in Bangalore, recruiters and accreditation bodies specifically called into question the quality of students’ educations. Although the relatively small school has always struggled to compete with India’s renowned Xavier Labour Research Institute, the faculty finally began to notice clear hindrances in the success of graduates. The RIMS board decided it was time for a serious reassessment of quality management.

The school nominated Chief Academic Advisor Dr Krishnamurthy to head a volunteer team that would audit, analyse and implement process changes that would improve quality throughout (all in a particularly academic fashion). The team was tasked with looking at three key dimensions: assurance of learning, research and productivity, and quality of placements. Each member underwent extensive training to learn about action plans, quality auditing skills and continuous improvement tools – such as the ‘plan-do-study-act’ cycle.

Once faculty members were trained, the team’s first task was to identify the school’s key stakeholders, processes and their importance at the institute. Unsurprisingly, the most vital processes were identified as student intake, research, knowledge dissemination, outcomes evaluation and recruiter acceptance. From there, Krishnamurthy’s team used a fishbone diagram to help identify potential root causes of the issues plaguing these vital processes. To illustrate just how bad things were at the school, the team selected control groups and administered domain-based knowledge tests.

The deficits were disappointing. A RIMS students’ knowledge base was rated at just 36 percent, while students at Harvard rated 95 percent. Likewise, students’ critical thinking abilities rated nine percent, versus 93 percent at MIT. Worse yet, the mean salaries of graduating students averaged $36,000, versus $150,000 for students from Kellogg. Krishnamurthy’s team had their work cut out.

To tackle these issues, Krishnamurthy created an employability team, developed strategic architecture and designed pilot studies to improve the school’s curriculum and make it more competitive. In order to do so, he needed absolutely every employee and student on board – and there was some resistance at the onset. Yet the educator asserted it didn’t actually take long to convince the school’s stakeholders the changes were extremely beneficial.

“Once students started seeing the results, buy-in became complete and unconditional,” he says. Acceptance was also achieved by maintaining clearer levels of communication with stakeholders. The school actually started to provide shareholders with detailed plans and projections. Then, it proceeded with a variety of new methods, such as incorporating case studies into the curriculum, which increased general test scores by almost 10 percent. Administrators also introduced a mandate saying students must be certified in English by the British Council – increasing scores from 42 percent to 51 percent.

By improving those test scores, the perceived quality of RIMS skyrocketed. The number of top 100 businesses recruiting from the school shot up by 22 percent, while the average salary offers graduates were receiving increased by $20,000. Placement revenue rose by an impressive $50,000, and RIMS has since skyrocketed up domestic and international education tables.

No matter the business, total quality management can and will work. Yet this philosophical take on quality control will only impact firms that are in it for the long haul. Every employee must be in tune with the company’s ideologies and desires to improve, and customer satisfaction must reign supreme.


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  • The Case for Quality Management

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Every regulated organization understands the need to implement a quality system. In fact, it’s a “shall” clause for all Life Science companies to ensure they are compliant with industry regulations. From there, as the organization matures, its people, processes and technology evolve from a compliance, to a correction, to a prevention mindset, eventually resulting in increased quality brand recognition and shareholder value.

Consider a scenario in which a manufacturer maximizes the capabilities of its quality system. If that company really “did it right the first time;” if every motion, thought, and investment — from the product development, through market approval, through manufacturing at all production sites, through supplier outputs, and along the value chain — was spent “right the first time” — the outcome would be “right.” Right for the consumer/patient and for the manufacturer.

In the real world, it is a struggle to realize this scenario without executive buy-in. It is incumbent on the Quality function to solicit and secure support from the boardroom. This Insight Brief examines an effective approach to building the case for a Quality Management System (QMS) by establishing enterprise-wide consensus, including executive leadership.

Executive sponsorship drives Quality Maturity

Every organization strives to become the leader in its industry. They are not born leaders but can strive to take the position by venturing out on the path to quality maturity. As organizations advance on the quality journey, they can more effectively address regulatory challenges, better manage risk, and bring quality systems into alignment. The diagram below depicts the stages of that journey.


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Hertz CEO Kathryn Marinello with CFO Jamere Jackson and other members of the executive team in 2017

Top 40 Most Popular Case Studies of 2021

Two cases about Hertz claimed top spots in 2021's Top 40 Most Popular Case Studies

Two cases on the uses of debt and equity at Hertz claimed top spots in the CRDT’s (Case Research and Development Team) 2021 top 40 review of cases.

Hertz (A) took the top spot. The case details the financial structure of the rental car company through the end of 2019. Hertz (B), which ranked third in CRDT’s list, describes the company’s struggles during the early part of the COVID pandemic and its eventual need to enter Chapter 11 bankruptcy. 

The success of the Hertz cases was unprecedented for the top 40 list. Usually, cases take a number of years to gain popularity, but the Hertz cases claimed top spots in their first year of release. Hertz (A) also became the first ‘cooked’ case to top the annual review, as all of the other winners had been web-based ‘raw’ cases.

Besides introducing students to the complicated financing required to maintain an enormous fleet of cars, the Hertz cases also expanded the diversity of case protagonists. Kathyrn Marinello was the CEO of Hertz during this period and the CFO, Jamere Jackson is black.

Sandwiched between the two Hertz cases, Coffee 2016, a perennial best seller, finished second. “Glory, Glory, Man United!” a case about an English football team’s IPO made a surprise move to number four.  Cases on search fund boards, the future of malls,  Norway’s Sovereign Wealth fund, Prodigy Finance, the Mayo Clinic, and Cadbury rounded out the top ten.

Other year-end data for 2021 showed:

  • Online “raw” case usage remained steady as compared to 2020 with over 35K users from 170 countries and all 50 U.S. states interacting with 196 cases.
  • Fifty four percent of raw case users came from outside the U.S..
  • The Yale School of Management (SOM) case study directory pages received over 160K page views from 177 countries with approximately a third originating in India followed by the U.S. and the Philippines.
  • Twenty-six of the cases in the list are raw cases.
  • A third of the cases feature a woman protagonist.
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  • The top 40 cases were supervised by 19 different Yale SOM faculty members, several supervising multiple cases.

CRDT compiled the Top 40 list by combining data from its case store, Google Analytics, and other measures of interest and adoption.

All of this year’s Top 40 cases are available for purchase from the Yale Management Media store .

And the Top 40 cases studies of 2021 are:

1.   Hertz Global Holdings (A): Uses of Debt and Equity

2.   Coffee 2016

3.   Hertz Global Holdings (B): Uses of Debt and Equity 2020

4.   Glory, Glory Man United!

5.   Search Fund Company Boards: How CEOs Can Build Boards to Help Them Thrive

6.   The Future of Malls: Was Decline Inevitable?

7.   Strategy for Norway's Pension Fund Global

8.   Prodigy Finance

9.   Design at Mayo

10. Cadbury

11. City Hospital Emergency Room

13. Volkswagen

14. Marina Bay Sands

15. Shake Shack IPO

16. Mastercard

17. Netflix

18. Ant Financial

19. AXA: Creating the New CR Metrics

20. IBM Corporate Service Corps

21. Business Leadership in South Africa's 1994 Reforms

22. Alternative Meat Industry

23. Children's Premier

24. Khalil Tawil and Umi (A)

25. Palm Oil 2016

26. Teach For All: Designing a Global Network

27. What's Next? Search Fund Entrepreneurs Reflect on Life After Exit

28. Searching for a Search Fund Structure: A Student Takes a Tour of Various Options

30. Project Sammaan

31. Commonfund ESG

32. Polaroid

33. Connecticut Green Bank 2018: After the Raid

34. FieldFresh Foods

35. The Alibaba Group

36. 360 State Street: Real Options

37. Herman Miller

38. AgBiome

39. Nathan Cummings Foundation

40. Toyota 2010

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Case Studies of Quality Improvement Initiatives

Over a five-year period the CAHPS RAND Team prepared a series of case studies of quality improvement initiatives undertaken by health plans and health care organizations. The studies provide practical examples of efforts to improve performance on various aspects of patients' experience of health care as measured by the CAHPS surveys.

Each case study presents a short overview of the steps an organization took in its quality improvement initiative, followed by a more detailed description of specific actions involved in each step. The contents cover:

  • Performance issues the organization identified from its CAHPS survey data.
  • The strategy and action plan developed to improve its performance in the relevant areas.
  • Its experiences in implementing its action plan.
  • Resulting effects on its subsequent CAHPS survey results.

Improving Customer Service and Access in a Surgical Practice

This case study (PDF, 998 KB) describes a surgical practice's successful implementation of a six-step plan to improve customer service and access for its patients. Published by RAND, August 2011.

Improving Hospital Inpatient Nursing Care

This case study (PDF, 604 KB) describes a large acute care hospital's successful implementation of a six-step plan to improve the emotional support provided to inpatients by the registered nurses and the rest of the nursing staff. Published by RAND, April 2010.

Improving Performance for Health Plan Customer Service

This case study (PDF, 1.2 MB) focuses on the successful quality improvement methods employed by a health plan to improve customer service for its members. Published by RAND, August 2007. Review a summary of this report (PDF, 1.2 MB).

Internet Citation: Case Studies of Quality Improvement Initiatives. Content last reviewed April 2020. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.

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Quality management case study

Carrier & Kendall(1995) state multi-disciplinary as a willingness to share and indeed give up exclusive claims to specialist knowledge and authority, if the deeds of clients can be met more effectively by other professional groups”. In this case, the company reconsidered and re-launched their initiative of quality management system. From the director, trained facilitator to the volunteers of employee, all of whom were made up a quality steering committee. In one word, the biggest difference between top-down approach and multi- disciplinary approach is who make the decision.

For the top-down approach none of the employees have the right to join into the decision make.

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Specifically, top-down approach Is more like a leadership style; multi-adolescently approach Is groups from averse dullness to Implement solutions. The top-down approach is able to let the company see bigger picture clearly. When top manager making decisions, the first thought is always profit. Thus, by doing top- down approach can guarantee organizations running well. Besides, the risk of copying by competitors can be reduced.

The less people know, the safer.

Moreover, senior manager who normally high level educated more likely to find out which way Is good for their development. In addition, the top managers are easier to get new information and policy. Whereas, there may have some problems, first, once the high- bevel management goals have settled, the low-level employees may not able to understand the detail objectives. Second, none of those senior managers have that plenty of time managing the program go exactly the way they want.

The gap of understanding between high and low level management will come up. Third, the senior managers usually ay not Know ten real Issues snouts De Improved, or lack AT knowledge of those aspects.

This kind of issue never exist within those employees who fully aware of the whole process. It also can be realized in early phases. Moreover, the employees know right resources they are needed better. According to Easterly (2009), wasting of resources is the greatest failure of international development, which because of the lack of comprehensive knowledge.

By doing this way, the motivation of employee has maximized driven up, together with the satisfaction of internal customer. In addition, involving the employees in decision-making can motivate organization’s continuous improvement.

However, to set up a multi-disciplinary approach takes time, which lead to higher cost. The more people involved, the hard decision to make. Truly they know the detail objectives, but it is difficult to think for the company benefits. . TTS The quality management system (SMS) is basically focus on the processes of business.

It is what the customer wants and needs from organizational structure, policy, procedure, and all the resources to implement quality management. There are numbers of standards and guidelines such as SISSIES, IS014000, IS017025, and TTS. In this case, Cooke and Lewis Laboratory adopt integrated management to improve their quality. The SISSIES and TTS are more suitable to this case. Firstly, SISSIES is a standard that remain stable. Whereas, the TTS is not limited to the standard, over, is seeking the chance for continuous improvement.

Secondly, the SISSIES value the process while TTS emphasizes continuous improvement by the organization them own. Lastly, SISSIES guarantee the customer by quality management. On the other hand, TTS motivate everyone in the organization participate the company’s quality management. The main issue in this case that is not about technical improvement or the product quality itself but to focus on employee involvement, continuous improvement and satisfying internal customer. Therefore, TTS is more suitable quality management system than SISSIES to this case.

Meanwhile, TTS is described as “focus on customers”, “everybody commitment”, “teamwork”, “focus on processes”, “continuous improvements” by (Hellene, 1997).

Nowadays, TTS has been applied as a management philosophy to provide quality focused practices and both internal and external customer (Sings, Smith, 2004). In addition, Hill (1991) also argued that TTS is about employee participation and involvement with the fundamental objectives of customers’ satisfaction. It has been recognized to act an important role for achieving competitive advantage which Cooke and Lewis trying to make effort to (Farrago, Shoal, 2004).

Furthermore, when some senior managers recognize they need to make changes to face the new realities of competitiveness, the lack of understanding of how it should be done that make it failed to implement the changes. I KM, ten top management aspect AT Tossing on Doormat systems, out to set up a quality steering committee to solve real organization problems. And the key part of TTS in terms of improving is teamwork, which is the most important part in this case.

By using cross-functional teamwork that is one of the most effective way of communication to implement organizational innovation.

Nevertheless, the most striking feature of TTS is concentrate on satisfying customer, which is totally different from other quality management systems. TTS helps the organization to be innovated through focusing on customer. Since they have to seek a way to meet customers’ requirements. Then, in terms of continuous improvement, 3. Implement the TTS In order to let the organization implement the TTS, it is not only need commitment, but also a competence in leadership to make changes.

Hung and Line (2002) found that most of the difficulties had stemmed from understanding and inadequate knowledge about TTS, resistance and disregard on the part of employees. A. Identifying and Planning The implementation steps begin with recognition of the need for the TTS and how it can be used for the organization improvement. After that, develop the understanding of TTS among senior managers and employees. In this way, objectives and goals can be established of the quality improvement process. Meanwhile, a plan of TTS implementation should be finished.

All the processes above should along with a committed management and leadership and a shared vision and clear sense of direction (Friedman, 2004). B. Execution After having a clear goal, training should be followed next. Not only for those workers who have responsibility to the product quality directly, but also upper management for the company performance. Nevertheless, a organization-specific model has to be developed.

Letting senior management deploy ownership of processes down to the line management. C. Everybody’s commitment The organization should implement a systematic procedure that for steering committee.

What is more, human resource management should be improved to meet the changes. Strategic HARM helps a effective working environment.

And, allowing employees to develop objectives in a coordinated and disciplined manner. D. Modification and continuous improvement Determining different performance in different positions somehow may lead to some disagreement or away from the right direction. The feedback and measurement systems should be in place to help internal performances that can keep advanced gallant Trot competitors to copy.

I en Key to ten ISM Is auto continuous improvement However, there may exist some issues of implementing the TTS.

To begin with, to implement the TTS cost a lot on money and time for hiring consultants, setting up specific systems, training and modifying. In the past, normally a company took six to eight years to implement the TTS. At the same time, lack of proper leadership, top management may not get explicitly and visibly to its philosophy (Brigham, 1993) or willing to provide the needed resources for some teamwork request.

Also, Wind and McMahon (1997) thought: “existing customers, however, could substantially constrain the company’s ability of innovation since the company may fear that producing innovations may ‘disturb’ the way of doing business with the current customer. ” A company-specific model, of course, is difficult to implement. Conclusion In Cooke and Lewis Laboratory, the multi-disciplinary approach should be adopted to satisfy the internal customers and get a high level of enthusiasm throughout the company.

Each organization should have it own quality management system to reach a high level of quality.

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Digitization, automation, and online testing: Embracing smart quality control

In the next five to ten years, new technologies that characterize Industry 4.0—from connectivity to advanced analytics, robotics, and automation—have the potential to revolutionize every element of pharmaceutical quality control labs. The smart quality approach allows pharma companies to deploy these technologies and to integrate their quality controls in development and manufacturing. 1 A previous version of this article was originally published on January 4, 2019 as, “ Digitization, automation, and online testing: The future of pharma quality control .” The current updated version introduces more holistically the smart quality approach and outlines key success factors for its implementation. (see sidebar, “Smart quality at a glance”). Well-performing manufacturing facilities have started to create paperless labs, optimize testing, automate processes, and shift testing to the shop floor. These moves have enabled well-performing labs to substantially improve speed. These technologies typically boost productivity by between 50 to 100 percent. 2 Estimates in this article are based on McKinsey models leveraging proprietary POBOS pharmaceutical manufacturing and quality benchmarks, industry use cases, and diagnostic observations in quality control labs. Average-performing labs could achieve an even larger productivity improvement of 150 to 200 percent of their current rates.

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Beyond these effects on efficiency, digitization and automation specifically can also ensure better quality and compliance by reducing manual errors and variability. They enable faster and more effective problem resolution and a risk-based approach to optimizing testing volume, tools, and methods. In some cases digitization and automation have resulted in a more than 65 percent reduction in overall deviations and over 90 percent faster closure times. They can also prevent major compliance issues, which can in themselves be worth millions in cost savings. Furthermore, improved agility and shorter testing time can reduce lead times for quality control labs by 60 to 70 percent and eventually lead to real-time product releases.

Smart quality at a glance

“Smart quality” is a framework that pharma and medtech companies can apply to redesign key quality control processes and create value for the organization.

Smart quality has explicit objectives:

  • to perceive and deliver on multifaceted and ever-changing customer needs
  • to deploy user-friendly processes built organically into business workflows, reimagined with leading-edge technologies
  • to leapfrog existing quality management systems with breakthrough innovation, naturally fulfilling the spirit—not just the letter—of the regulations

The new ways in which smart quality achieves its objectives can be categorized in five building blocks (exhibit).

To learn more about smart quality and how leading companies are reimagining the quality function, please see “ Smart quality: Reimagining the way quality works .”

However, few pharmaceutical companies have seen such significant benefits yet. This is usually due to the sometimes-significant upfront investments required, and the fact that some labs are simply not large enough to justify such investments. Many lack the granular performance and costing data necessary to build adequately sized digitization and automation business cases, and their efforts do not meet expectations for creating business value. Organizational silos and misaligned objectives between analytical method development and quality control labs often slow down innovation in both the mid- and long-term. In addition, since pharma product portfolios—and therefore pharma companies’ technological needs—evolve over time, it is sometimes hard to ascertain the right, clear, long-term lab-evolution strategy and blueprint needed for a clear long-term business case.

Before implementing and capturing benefits from new technologies, companies must first set clear goals, define robust business cases for any level of investment, and create rapid pilots of emerging technological solutions. Then, they must quickly scale-up the pilots that deliver promising results. To succeed, pharma companies need both the foresight to make long-term strategic investments, including those in R&D for developing and filing new test methods, and the agility to adapt those plans as technologies rapidly evolve.

Three horizons of lab evolution

Multiple digital and automation technologies have created opportunities for change in pharmaceutical laboratories, and this transformation typically evolves over three horizons (Exhibit 1). Most pharma labs have not yet achieved full technological transformation, but labs can start by aiming for one of the three future horizons of technological evolution. However, these horizons are not mutually exclusive and may not follow a linear path. In fact, pharma companies can create a compounding effect when they implement an element from another horizon at a different stage: for example, testing automation can be implemented in paper-based labs.

At the same time, some elements of one horizon may be a prerequisite for elements of another. For example, without having digitally enabled labs in place, a company would not be able to fully capture the benefits of automated labs.

Horizon 1: Digitally enabled labs

This horizon is comprised of the transition from manual data transcription and second-person verification to automatic data transcription between equipment and the laboratory information-management system (LIMS). Integrating quality control systems and sharing data with internal and external suppliers by automating data transcription creates better visibility and helps reduce risk. This integration also allow for targeted investments that improve the quality of inputs upstream, minimizing the need for often redundant raw-material testing, and accelerating the release of incoming materials.

Digitally enabled labs use advanced real-time data analytics for ongoing process verification to track trends and prevent deviations or out-of-specifications, and for optimizing scheduling and capacity management. These labs employ digital tools such as smart glasses to explain standard operating procedures with step-by-step visual guidance on how to execute a process. A digital twin can help predict impact before making physical changes to a lab. All these technologies have already been available for at least a few years, and the time to impact for each case can be as short as three months.

By becoming digitally enabled, an average chemical quality control lab could reduce costs by 25 to 45 percent, and an average microbiology quality control lab 15 to 35 percent. Productivity improvements come from two main sources:

  • the elimination of up to 80 percent of manual documentation work and the requirement that two people must review everything (the four-eye principle);
  • the automation, and especially optimization, of planning and scheduling to improve personnel, equipment, and materials utilization.

After the lighthouse plant of one large global pharma company transitioned to a digitally enabled lab, for example, their lab productivity jumped by more than 30 percent. 3 According to the World Economic Forum, lighthouses are “the world’s most advanced factories, which are leading the way in the adoption of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies.” This increase was largely due to dynamic schedule optimization achieved with a modular and scalable digital-twin platform. The site also used advanced analytics to reduce deviations by 80 percent, eliminating reoccurring deviations altogether and accelerating deviation closure by 90 percent.

Horizon 2: Automated labs

In this horizon, pharma companies use robots, such as collaborative robots or other advanced automation technologies, to perform all repeatable tasks such as sample delivery and preparation and other lab-specific automation techniques. At the automated-lab stage, some high-volume testing (for example, instantaneous microbial detection in water for injection and air) can be performed online instead of physically in labs. Automated labs can also use predictive-maintenance technologies to plan for infrequent tasks such as large-equipment maintenance, which can be performed by lab analysts with remote expert support.

Automated labs can build upon a horizon 1 level of digitization to deliver greater value and higher cost savings. Automated microbiology labs can reduce costs beyond that achieved by digital enablement—10 to 25 percent savings inside the lab, while also capturing a similar amount of savings outside the lab. Likewise, in chemical labs automation can produce 10 to 20 percent incremental savings inside the lab.

The productivity improvements come from automating up to 80 percent of sample-taking and sample-delivery tasks and up to 50 percent of sample-preparation tasks. Improvements also come from reducing equipment-maintenance costs through remote monitoring and failure prevention. Outside the lab, automation reduces the number of sampling and related logistics tasks performed by operations, which saves the equivalent of up to 25 percent of lab costs for microbiology labs and up to 8 percent for chemical labs.

There are additional benefits: remote-monitoring and predictive-maintenance capabilities built into the equipment will decrease downtime and ultimately enable companies to reduce their use of expensive devices, such as chromatographs, near-infrared spectrometers, and isolators. By shifting to instantaneous microbial detection for environmental monitoring, companies may also reduce their overall lab lead time by 40 to 75 percent.

Technologies already exist—in healthcare and research labs and in manufacturing operations—that can be adapted to pharma quality control labs in a relatively straightforward way to reach the automated-lab horizon. Vendors offer solutions such as sample-distribution systems, online and instantaneous microbial-testing systems, automated sample-preparation stations, workflow optimization with visual guidance, and remote equipment monitoring and assisted maintenance. Next-generation analytical testing technology such as Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography (UPLC) and Raman spectroscopy, often offer a more industrialized design with additional automation features or design for more and faster throughput.

Since 2018, additional technologies have emerged, such as remote equipment monitoring to reduce downtime and failures, advanced sterility testing techniques, and advanced analytics for faster and more effective lab investigations. Moreover, parallel to the evolution in the general robotics and collaborative robot space, lab-automation technology has become more cost effective.

Horizon 3: Distributed quality control

The third horizon represents a true disruption to traditional quality control, where nearly all routine product testing takes place on the production line, enabling real-time release testing (RTRT). To date, pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities have been slow to adopt process analytical technology and RTRT—both essential to Horizon 3—due to complex regulatory requirements. To be able to make a smooth shift to online testing in the future, operations need to start collaborating with R&D in earlier development stages to define an optimal quality control and filing strategy, especially for new products and manufacturing sites. At distributed quality control facilities, equipment and robots have artificial-intelligence capabilities, and labs continue to perform specialty and stability testing. This testing can take place on- or off-site, such as in a centralized and highly automated location.

Distributed quality control facilities add value by significantly reducing the physical footprint and costs of a traditional lab and accelerating product release. Because of the significant R&D-investment requirements, as well as the need for equipment and operational changes, existing sites with stable or declining volumes are unlikely to make a compelling business case for distributed quality control in the short and even medium term. However, sites that have been rapidly growing or under construction may be able to capture significant value from reducing capital-expenditure investment for building or expanding traditional quality control labs if they can move a significant share of routine testing online. Distributed quality control and real-time release, as well as supplier-produced certificates of analysis as a form of distributed quality control, would also enable true continuous-manufacturing processes.

As pharma companies start exploring ways to build distributed quality control facilities, they may be able to pull in relevant technologies from adjacent spaces. For example, platforms that can provide the advanced process control necessary to enable parametric release are now available. Meanwhile, artificial-intelligence systems could allow pharma companies to automate tasks that historically have been performed by highly trained expert employees.

The COVID-19 pandemic has levied new constraints on quality control operations—such as social-distancing requirements in often-crowded laboratories, restrictions on having analysts present on-site, and requirements to document all close, interpersonal contact for contact-tracing purposes. A “smart” approach to quality controls offers practical solutions to manage testing with fewer analysts present in the labs, as more work can be completed remotely (Exhibit 2).

Key success factors in implementing a smart quality control approach

While pharma companies continue deploying traditional operational-excellence levers, they have an opportunity to do so in tandem with their journey toward smart quality. As they progress in their digital quality control transformations, most pharma companies face five challenges: clearly articulating a vision, defining a business case, scaling up with an agile approach, formulating a technology plan, and ensuring they have the change-management capabilities they’ll need to transform.

Developing a cross-functional vision

Quality control leaders often struggle to envision a comprehensive future state, such as what we describe in our horizon model, that combines a number of technologies and use cases to create the most impact. There are a few possible explanations for this phenomenon. First, in many organizations, analytical method development and operational quality control are separated so they often have different objectives, and even report into different functions. Second, quality control innovation projects are chronically deprioritized in favor of individual innovation projects in other areas, such as in production, or in favor of lab-digitization programs triggered by regulatory requirements that usually focus on compliance and data integrity. Third, most innovation focuses on the narrow parts within quality control (such as reducing incoming inspection and automating in-line testing) and therefore misses an opportunity to create end-to-end impact by redesigning the entire quality control approach.

To break existing silos and define a shared, cross-functional vision for delivering quality controls in a new way and that span the entire value chain, quality control leaders can start by sharing perspectives on possibilities offered by new technologies with their peers outside as well as within the quality control organization. Setting aspirational business-performance targets helps send the signal to the organization that change is imminent. Visiting other lighthouse quality control labs can showcase the potential benefits of amalgamating these innovative technologies and create further excitement within the organization.

Defining a compelling business case for the transformation

To build a compelling business case, companies must define the right set of use cases for each lab—and the cases work best when they are integrated. Note that the baseline cost and the impact of improvements may differ significantly for chemical labs versus microbiology labs, and therefore different sets of levers may need to be deployed. Also, organizations often define their use-case scope too narrowly. For example, scheduling automation can deliver 2 to 3 percent of the quality control cost savings, but automation plus dynamic scheduling optimization can yield a more than 20 percent efficiency improvement.

While most labs can make a solid business case for working toward the digitally enabled horizon 1, not all labs have sufficient volumes and operational setups to justify reaching horizons 2 (automation) and 3 (distributed quality control). For example, it could be hard to justify an investment in automating a smaller lab where the potential cost savings might be less than $200,000 a year, whereas the same investment at a large sterile-manufacturing facility  with significant environmental-monitoring volumes would quickly generate positive ROI.

In our experience, a good early place to start is establishing both a clear, holistic performance baseline and a clear target state with the tailored use cases for each lab, and then launching use cases in waves. By deploying use cases in waves, companies can track how much value is captured along the way, and reinvest the savings toward the next set of use cases. This approach helps capture value faster and with lower initial investment.

Using an agile approach to design and scale up pilots

One common misstep is targeting a fully tested, potentially overly complex end-to-end future state that takes a long time to design and even longer to test and implement. An alternative approach that has been proven successful is based on the lighthouses established by the World Economic Forum to advance progress in scaling Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies: rapidly testing possible solutions, identifying high-value ones, then rapidly scaling them up to capture benefits faster. When companies take this approach, they can, for example, implement schedule automation and optimization quickly and start generating significant value even if a lab is not fully paperless nor fully digitized.

Companies who are most successful in their smart quality control journey focus on identifying the innovative tools that can have the greatest immediate impact, and then rolling them out quickly across multiple sites.

Creating well-considered plans and structures for rolling out new systems and technologies

While some use cases can be built using existing IT systems, many require additional investment into IT infrastructure. In extreme cases, it can take pharma companies several years and more than $100 million to implement a LIMS. Given this lengthy time frame and the fast pace of technological change, some of the LIMS capabilities are liable to become obsolete before they’re even rolled out across an entire network. A poor rollout can cost five to ten times more and take three to five times longer than a properly planned and executed investment. To avoid these issues, pharma companies need skilled resources, in the form of a project management office (PMO) and formal change-management programs for helping workers acquire new skills. A PMO will help accelerate technology rollout by eliminating the temptation to excessively customize technology at each site.

Investing in robust change-management capabilities

Digital transformation requires radical changes in mindset. This has major implications for the organization and for individual employees who must develop new skills and competencies. To succeed, companies must invest up-front effort in creating buy-in across the organization, defining and launching up-skilling and re-skilling programs, and forging strong links between business and IT functions.

For example, a typical pharma lab does not have the advanced analytical capabilities needed to get the maximum value from its data sources. As a result, the labs collect a lot of useful data, but fail to generate the insights that could prevent problems, improve test methods, or optimize testing volumes. It is critical to define the right operating model for impact. For example, when labs build internal skills for defining advanced analytics use cases, they can work with specialized advanced-analytics specialists, often outside of labs, who can execute the complex analyses and help gain deep insight into specific cases. Clearly understanding future capability needs, investing in training high-potential employees, and hiring employees with the new required skill sets (for instance, advanced data analytics) during early stages will enable faster scale-up. And where labs are unable to develop the right skills in house, they will need to effectively recruit talent from outside their organizations.

The latest technologies and digital solutions can make quality control faster, more agile, more reliable, more compliant, and more efficient. By setting appropriate goals, choosing the right technologies, and developing the right capabilities, pharma companies can transform the way they do quality control to deliver safer and more efficacious products in a cost-efficient way.

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Please note you do not have access to teaching notes, bergstrom hotels: a case study in quality.

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN : 0959-6119

Article publication date: 1 November 1995

Total quality management in hotels is becoming more commonplace. But the meaning of total quality management (TQM) is often misunderstood. Presents an overview of TQM and a case study of quality processes in a US hotel company. Bergstrom Hotels of Wisconsin has been practising quality principles since 1989. What started out as a “quality commitment” has evolved into “continuous improvement”. Explains a variety of the tools used by Bergstrom, including the team process, data‐based decision making, and human resource support systems.

  • Human resource management

Breiter, D. , Tyink, S.A. and Corey‐Tuckwell, S. (1995), "Bergstrom Hotels: a case study in quality", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management , Vol. 7 No. 6, pp. 14-18.

Copyright © 1995, MCB UP Limited

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What the Case Study Method Really Teaches

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case study about quality management

Seven meta-skills that stick even if the cases fade from memory.

It’s been 100 years since Harvard Business School began using the case study method. Beyond teaching specific subject matter, the case study method excels in instilling meta-skills in students. This article explains the importance of seven such skills: preparation, discernment, bias recognition, judgement, collaboration, curiosity, and self-confidence.

During my decade as dean of Harvard Business School, I spent hundreds of hours talking with our alumni. To enliven these conversations, I relied on a favorite question: “What was the most important thing you learned from your time in our MBA program?”

Alumni responses varied but tended to follow a pattern. Almost no one referred to a specific business concept they learned. Many mentioned close friendships or the classmate who became a business or life partner. Most often, though, alumni highlighted a personal quality or skill like “increased self-confidence” or “the ability to advocate for a point of view” or “knowing how to work closely with others to solve problems.” And when I asked how they developed these capabilities, they inevitably mentioned the magic of the case method.

Harvard Business School pioneered the use of case studies to teach management in 1921. As we commemorate 100 years of case teaching, much has been  written  about the effectiveness of this method. I agree with many of these observations. Cases expose students to real business dilemmas and decisions. Cases teach students to size up business problems quickly while considering the broader organizational, industry, and societal context. Students recall concepts better when they are set in a case, much as people remember words better when used in context. Cases teach students how to apply theory in practice and how to induce theory from practice. The case method cultivates the capacity for critical analysis, judgment, decision-making, and action.

There is a word that aptly captures the broader set of capabilities our alumni reported they learned from the case method. That word is meta-skills, and these meta-skills are a benefit of case study instruction that those who’ve never been exposed to the method may undervalue.

Educators define meta-skills as a group of long-lasting abilities that allow someone to learn new things more quickly. When parents encourage a child to learn to play a musical instrument, for instance, beyond the hope of instilling musical skills (which some children will master and others may not), they may also appreciate the benefit the child derives from deliberate, consistent practice. This meta-skill is valuable for learning many other things beyond music.

In the same vein, let me suggest seven vital meta-skills students gain from the case method:

1. Preparation

There is no place for students to hide in the moments before the famed “cold call”— when the teacher can ask any student at random to open the case discussion. Decades after they graduate, students will vividly remember cold calls when they, or someone else, froze with fear, or when they rose to nail the case even in the face of a fierce grilling by the professor.

The case method creates high-powered incentives for students to prepare. Students typically spend several hours reading, highlighting, and debating cases before class, sometimes alone and sometimes in groups. The number of cases to be prepared can be overwhelming by design.

Learning to be prepared — to read materials in advance, prioritize, identify the key issues, and have an initial point of view — is a meta-skill that helps people succeed in a broad range of professions and work situations. We have all seen how the prepared person, who knows what they are talking about, can gain the trust and confidence of others in a business meeting. The habits of preparing for a case discussion can transform a student into that person.

2. Discernment

Many cases are long. A typical case may include history, industry background, a cast of characters, dialogue, financial statements, source documents, or other exhibits. Some material may be digressive or inessential. Cases often have holes — critical pieces of information that are missing.

The case method forces students to identify and focus on what’s essential, ignore the noise, skim when possible, and concentrate on what matters, meta-skills required for every busy executive confronted with the paradox of simultaneous information overload and information paucity. As one alumnus pithily put it, “The case method helped me learn how to separate the wheat from the chaff.”

3. Bias Recognition

Students often have an initial reaction to a case stemming from their background or earlier work and life experiences. For instance, people who have worked in finance may be biased to view cases through a financial lens. However, effective general managers must understand and empathize with various stakeholders, and if someone has a natural tendency to favor one viewpoint over another, discussing dozens of cases will help reveal that bias. Armed with this self-understanding, students can correct that bias or learn to listen more carefully to classmates whose different viewpoints may help them see beyond their own biases.

Recognizing and correcting personal bias can be an invaluable meta-skill in business settings when leaders inevitably have to work with people from different functions, backgrounds, and perspectives.

4. Judgment

Cases put students into the role of the case protagonist and force them to make and defend a decision. The format leaves room for nuanced discussion, but not for waffling: Teachers push students to choose an option, knowing full well that there is rarely one correct answer.

Indeed, most cases are meant to stimulate a discussion rather than highlight effective or ineffective management practice. Across the cases they study, students get feedback from their classmates and their teachers about when their decisions are more or less compelling. It enables them to develop the judgment of making decisions under uncertainty, communicating that decision to others, and gaining their buy-in — all essential leadership skills. Leaders earn respect for their judgment. It is something students in the case method get lots of practice honing.

5. Collaboration

It is better to make business decisions after extended give-and-take, debate, and deliberation. As in any team sport, people get better at working collaboratively with practice. Discussing cases in small study groups, and then in the classroom, helps students practice the meta-skill of collaborating with others. Our alumni often say they came away from the case method with better skills to participate in meetings and lead them.

Orchestrating a good collaborative discussion in which everyone contributes, every viewpoint is carefully considered, yet a thoughtful decision is made in the end is the arc of any good case discussion. Although teachers play the primary role in this collaborative process during their time at the school, it is an art that students of the case method internalize and get better at when they get to lead discussions.

6. Curiosity

Cases expose students to lots of different situations and roles. Across cases, they get to assume the role of entrepreneur, investor, functional leader, or CEO, in a range of different industries and sectors. Each case offers an opportunity for students to see what resonates with them, what excites them, what bores them, which role they could imagine inhabiting in their careers.

Cases stimulate curiosity about the range of opportunities in the world and the many ways that students can make a difference as leaders. This curiosity serves them well throughout their lives. It makes them more agile, more adaptive, and more open to doing a wider range of things in their careers.

7. Self-Confidence

Students must inhabit roles during a case study that far outstrip their prior experience or capability, often as leaders of teams or entire organizations in unfamiliar settings. “What would you do if you were the case protagonist?” is the most common question in a case discussion. Even though they are imaginary and temporary, these “stretch” assignments increase students’ self-confidence that they can rise to the challenge.

In our program, students can study 500 cases over two years, and the range of roles they are asked to assume increases the range of situations they believe they can tackle. Speaking up in front of 90 classmates feels risky at first, but students become more comfortable taking that risk over time. Knowing that they can hold their own in a highly curated group of competitive peers enhances student confidence. Often, alumni describe how discussing cases made them feel prepared for much bigger roles or challenges than they’d imagined they could handle before their MBA studies. Self-confidence is difficult to teach or coach, but the case study method seems to instill it in people.

There may well be other ways of learning these meta-skills, such as the repeated experience gained through practice or guidance from a gifted coach. However, under the direction of a masterful teacher, the case method can engage students and help them develop powerful meta-skills like no other form of teaching. This quickly became apparent when case teaching was introduced in 1921 — and it’s even truer today.

For educators and students, recognizing the value of these meta-skills can offer perspective on the broader goals of their work together. Returning to the example of piano lessons, it may be natural for a music teacher or their students to judge success by a simple measure: Does the student learn to play the instrument well? But when everyone involved recognizes the broader meta-skills that instrumental instruction can instill — and that even those who bumble their way through Bach may still derive lifelong benefits from their instruction — it may lead to a deeper appreciation of this work.

For recruiters and employers, recognizing the long-lasting set of benefits that accrue from studying via the case method can be a valuable perspective in assessing candidates and plotting their potential career trajectories.

And while we must certainly use the case method’s centennial to imagine yet more powerful ways of educating students in the future, let us be sure to assess these innovations for the meta-skills they might instill, as much as the subject matter mastery they might enable.

  • Nitin Nohria is a professor and former dean at Harvard Business School and the chairman of Thrive Capital, a venture capital firm based in New York.

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Using the case study : GATI: Achieving Quality Excellence in...

Using the case study : GATI: Achieving Quality Excellence in Shipment Delivery. 

Available on Course Hero here:

Answer the following questions:

1. How can Murarka find out if the process involved in the premium express scheme is under statistical control? Explain.

2. How can Murarka identify the major causes for the delay in the delivery of the shipments booked under the premium express scheme? Explain and show related method.

Answer & Explanation

The case study "GATI: Achieving Quality Excellence in Shipment Delivery" gives the reader a simulated practical experience that teaches them about actual business-related issues.

Q1. How can Murarka find out if the process involved in the premium express scheme is under statistical control? Explain.

Murarka can utilise statistical process control charts, such as control charts for variables or characteristics, to determine whether the process involved in the premium express system is under statistical control. A graph that displays data over time is a control chart. The time and the data are represented along the x-axis and y-axis, respectively. The centre line, upper control limit, and lower control limit are the three lines that make up the control chart. The average value of the data is shown by the centre line. The maximum allowable variance is represented by the upper control limit. The lower limit of allowable variance is represented by the lower control limit.

These graphs can be used to determine whether any unusual variability in the process is within acceptable bounds or not. For instance, Murarka can track the cargo delivery time and plot the data on a chart to examine variation using a control chart for variables. The process is under control if the data points stay inside the control limits. The process is out of control and needs corrective action if the points go beyond the control limitations, though.

More information on how Murarka can determine whether the premium express scheme's underlying mechanism is statistically controlled is provided below:  

  • Assemble data: Gathering information on the delivery times of shipments scheduled under the premium express programme is the first stage. This information should be gathered over a period of time sufficient to capture any process variation.
  • Determine the control limits: After gathering the data, Murarka must determine the control limits. The top and lower limits of allowable variance are known as the control limits.
  • Data should be plotted on a control chart: Murarka can plot the data on a control chart after determining the control limits. A graph that shows the data as it changes over time is a control chart. The time and the data are represented along the x-axis and y-axis, respectively. The centre line, upper control limit, and lower control limit are the three lines that make up the control chart.
  • Analyse the outcomes: The process is said to be under statistical control if all of the data points fall within the control parameters. The procedure is hence predictable and stable. The procedure is said to be out of statistical control if any of the data points are outside the control limits. This demonstrates how fragile and unpredictable the process is.  

Murarka can spot any issues with the procedure and take action to fix them by using a control chart. This will make it more likely that the premium express programme will fulfil its guarantee of on-time delivery.  

Q2. How can Murarka identify the major causes for the delay in the delivery of the shipments booked under the premium express scheme? Explain and show related method.

Murarka can utilise the Fishbone diagram to determine the main reasons for the delays in the delivery of goods scheduled under the premium express programme. By having the team members brainstorm potential causes of an issue, this strategy aids in problem identification. The figure shows many cause categories, including people, processes, equipment, materials, and the environment. Murarka might request that the team members provide the potential reasons for delays in the appropriate areas. When every potential reason has been found, Murarka can rank them according to their significance and begin addressing them in order of importance.   

Murarka would first pinpoint the issue before drawing a fishbone diagram. In this instance, the delivery delays for the shipments ordered through the premium express programme are the issue. Murarka would then determine the primary reasons of the problem after identifying it. 

Major reasons why shipments are delivered late:

  • Between the various departments participating in the delivery process, there is a lack of communication
  • Improbable delivery dates
  • Inadequate training for the staff members engaged in delivering
  • Outmoded or broken down machinery  

Minor reasons:

  • The operations department's delivery requirements are not promptly communicated by the sales department.
  • The delivery schedule is not promptly sent to the drivers by the operations department.
  • The way to handle shipments of premium express are not covered in the drivers' training.
  • Premium express shipments are delivered using antiquated, broken equipment.
  • The premium express package delivery timetables are improbable.

After identifying the major causes of the issue, Murarka would list its smaller causes. Murarka will be able to create remedies to the issue once he has determined its underlying causes.

Further, Murarka can pinpoint the problem's underlying causes and create solutions by using a fishbone diagram.  

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