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Title: Introducing statistical process control in foodservice chains to achieve continuous improvement
Author: Mohamed, Mohamed Fawzi Afifi
ISNI:       0000 0004 2684 6629
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2010
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This action research study is concerned with examining and improving a foodservice chain's approach to service quality. To evaluate current quality management systems, semi structured interviews were conducted with managers in a large UK-based foodservice chain. Findings showed that managers recognised some shortcomings of current systems, sometimes adopting individual approaches to overcome these. Alternative approaches to quality management used in other industry sectors were reviewed. The concept of Continuous Improvement (Cl) was identified, along with the techniques and tools used to achieve this, specifically, Statistical Process Control (SPC). To investigate the applicability of SPC, a pilot study was undertaken in a university coffee shop. The pilot study proved the possibility of implementing SPC in food service operations. Certain critical success factors have been acknowledged, e.g. management commitment, having a working role, maintaining close relationship with participants. SPC was then implemented into the chain involved in the exploratory study. Espousing action research approach, the researcher was trained as a team member. Data collection was carried out by the researcher and SPC control charts were created. However, when staff took responsibility they failed. Qualitative data (interviews, research diary, and documentary evidence) yielded three key themes: statistical process control, human resources, and service operations. SPC is a demanding technique that needs time and effort in data collection: observation and sampling, to which current human resources practices were not conducive. Finally, the service context added to the challenge of implementation, where customers' demands lowered the priority given to data collection by the staff. SPC may offer potential to overcome disadvantages associated with existing quality measurement tools in the chain. For example, being of higher frequency and stressing staff accountability and involvement. However, an operation wishing to implement SPC will need to ensure conducive human resources practices.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available