Most companies in the world of capitalism always want more. They want more profit, more shareholder value, and more market share, among others. The realizations of these objectives have been attained through the successful initiation, development and management of Consumer Protection and Product Safety in most instances. Indeed, the effective development and management of the customer and Products has become a major priority for all organizations of all sizes in the different industries and markets. The reasons for this are certainly clear; customer satisfaction is positively correlated with customer loyalty and profits.
However, the efficient management of Consumer Protection and Product Safety can present challenges especially in the case where consumer protection managers are unable to accurately evaluate and assess their product particular strengths and weaknesses objectively. One major limitation that has been presented in both academic and empirical literature is on how to deal with the multifaceted issue of products safety and customer protection, especially where there is the need for reliance on total quality management for the achievement of organizational goals and objectives.
Operational changes alone do not yield expected benefits without a “bundle” which includes structural, managerial and cultural changes. Organizational culture remains one of the main sources of difficulty in conversion to total quality management and customer protection. Product culture is also considered a major obstacle in sustaining the potential benefits of Consumer Protection. The discussion suggests that the adoption of the standardized frameworks can help firms align their practices better towards effective and lean practices. There is need for close integration of strategy formulation with operational improvements and keen focus on a range of contingent processes away from traditional focus to enable for the fulfillment of activities through consumer protection.
This will help yield a seamless transition from the corporate strategy and activities undertaken in order that the strategic intents are attained. It has however been determined that whereas the correlation between consumer protection and product safety abundantly exist in literature, the combination of consumer protection/ product safety and total quality management has not been studied or investigated in detail by the scientific community. There is no detailed analysis or empirical data about the potential benefits or disadvantages of the two core management practices. This was the motivation for a study in this area.
Consumer protection has been pointed out as one of the key ingredients to competitive advantage. Several definitions of competitive advantage have been advanced in literature, but the most appropriate one in the context of this paper is the one presented by Grant who asserts that when two or more firms compete within the same market, one firm possess a competitive advantage over the rivals when it earns (or has the potential to earn) a persistently higher rate of profit. In essence, this means that a firm that outperforms the others in the primary goal of performance-profitability-has competitive advantage. According to Fukuda (2003), firms succeed because they are positioned to capitalize on their unique characteristics which, in one or more aspects, their rivals find hard to emulate and hence their competitive advantages. This competitive advantage gives it a basis for outperforming competitors because of the value that firms are able to present to the customers.
The question as to why consumers would not only prefer to buy goods or services from a particular business organization and ignore the others has formed the main reason behind concerted marketing efforts. It forms the thin line between business success and failure. A congregation of literature abide in the fact that consumer protection is the answer to this fundamental question. The motivation behind this study is to explore the fundamental reason behind the reason as to why consumers would prefer to shop at a particular shop and thus expound on the importance of customer relations. This paper will therefore seek to answer the following questions;
Towards this, the following core areas will be analyzed and their impacts on customer satisfaction and decisions expounded. Customer Satisfaction and Total Quality Management, Customer Relations: Caring for the Customer as a Unique Individual, Marketing Programs, Sales Automation, Support/Services Automations Software, Employee Satisfaction/training, Working Environment and the Happy Employee, Good Customer Service and Treating Employees Fairly, Human Resources Management, Business Intelligence, Advantage over competition, Superior Customer Service, Patronage effect and reference.
Quality management that encompasses Total quality management (TQM) has been considered an important theme in business and management studies over the years due to its capability of influencing the desired outcomes of individuals and organizations alike. Various definitions of TQM have been used in numerous studies and no general definition of TQM is existent in today’s literature. So far, the concept of TQM has different meanings to different individuals. Out of the discussion, TQM refers to the overall participation of organizational members to effectively make use of their business processes and generate the products and/or services necessary for accommodating the needs and desires of customers.
It is a continual process that aims for excellence by developing and maintaining the proper skills and characteristics among organizational members so they can generate satisfaction among their customers. It offers a number of advantages to the operations management in that it contains practices that promotes improvement, encourages frequent evaluation of results, as well as long-term planning. In addition to that, its philosophy of management is centered on customers that encourage members of a TQM organization to efficiently facilitate the improvement of their company through the active involvement of employees. The individual concepts of process control, product quality, and quality improvement are all integrated into the TQM approach.
The success factors of quality management are based on improved quality on products from the first to last stages in the chain of production. In the discussion, I found out that 91% of 70 companies who have been utilizing TQM, improvements were evident with regards to their quality and customer relations compared to their competitors. This is due to the fact that a TQM strategic plan should incorporate the vision and values found in a company’s principles and transform these into long-term goals. Successfully implemented TQM strategies determine specific outcomes which an organization wants to obtain.
One pivotal advantage of quality management is that its overall processes allow every member to participate, empowering everyone to work towards continuous quality improvement. Moreover, employees are given the authority in creating solutions to problems and contributing ideas for new methods of working. Effective quality improvement strategies therefore support individuals in acting according to their own free will to improve their performance as well as their departments. Thus, each member has the responsibility to look after his/her role in producing favorable outcomes. Additionally, a company involves the ideas of consumers in regards to the provision of better products. These are key ingredients to Consumer Protection and Product Safety.
Human resource management
Human resource management that encompasses Working Environment and the Happy Employee, Good Customer Service and Treating Employees Fairly, Human Resources Management has also been singled out as an important driver to consumer protection and product safety. People management that defines their retention forms a very critical part that defines whether an organization will achieve its aims and objectives or not. Human resource management has the capacity to influence the strategy of an organization in a number of ways. This is because of its role in ensuring that the processes of employee attraction, recruitment and retention are done in line with the culture of an organization. Organizations are better placed to enhance their customer relations strategies through the development of a number of strategies that aims at achieving high levels of employee satisfaction and eventual retention.
Human resource management has the capacity to influence the strategy of an organization towards consumer protection and product safety in a number of ways. This is because of its role in ensuring that the processes of employee attraction, recruitment and retention are done in line with the culture of an organization. The strategic evaluation of the role of HR must take into the keen cognizance the strategic objectives of the business, translation of these objectives into departmental outcomes, factors taken into consideration as performance drivers and the extent to which the skills, structure and motivation of the firm works to influence performance drivers. It is paramount the HR strategy be guided by the above consideration to translate to the positive good of the firm.
In the realization that the overall objective of a firm is to increase the bottom-line and improve levels of profitability and productivity – core determining factors of success in business. The strategic evaluation of HR strategies that involves best management of people into the above objectives of the business must be accorded enough consideration.
Human resource strategy
In the analysis of the extent of the extent to which Human Resource Strategy is integrated into the strategy of business through the consideration of the best employee retention strategies would include the provision of family friendly services, brand creation and leverage and establish formal recognition programs. In addition to the above, partnering with training or teaching organizations, establishing formal employee recognition programs and conducting exit interviews would provide measure to the extent of aligning HR strategies into the broad business strategy. This is because employees consider their families as their greatest asset and family friendly benefits directly translate to a better committed and more loyal work force.
I found that “the degree to which organizational policies and practices support employee’ family can greatly influence their decisions to join a company or stay on board after they have been hired.” Furthermore, the support in the management of logistics services such as worksite wellness programs and child care support have the ability to reduce the levels of employee stress. These are core determinants to the mission, vision and goals that encompass vertical integration of HR strategy.
Secondly, the establishment of formal recognition and reward programs translate to employee satisfaction and have the capacity to enable an organization retain and attract the best in regards to consumer protection and product safety. Employee reward and recognition policies within organizations aim at achieving higher employee motivation, commitment and the eventual retention. Rewards and recognitions in most organizations come in the form of cash incentives and promotions.
Third, as human resource management practice and values training through partnerships with training or teaching organizations translate to a bundle of benefits for consumers. I found that, ‘Intellectual capital’ is the principal asset of knowledge-based organizations and their performance management systems seek to maintain consumers and enhance the value products. This is because, in the realization that people form the most prized asset of any organizations, there is need to attach the greatest value to their well-being in relation to their skills and knowledge and the continuous improvement of safety of the products.
The findings of this discussion provide useful information to the business organizations struggling with the adoption of consumer protection and product safety. This may form the basis of developing insightful management practices that have the capacity to translate to improved profitability and business success through consumer protection.