Gap Analysis: Case Study

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Gap analyses refer to the processes that organizations undertake in an effort to move from their current status to their desired status. This study focuses on the unsuccessful adoption of ISO 9001: 2008 by the Nissan Company for its cars production process, including that of the Renault-Nissan. ISO 9001: 2008 requires an organization to establish, as well as maintain, a quality manual that includes the scope of its quality management system, including the justifications of any exceptions. The standard requires the organization to document the procedures established for the purposes of QMS. They are equally required to set up a description of the interaction between its processes and that of the QMS. Quality management systems that simply repeat the ISO clauses are not accepted as an effective quality management system. Such quality management, which only indicates the process maps that show the sequence, is not deemed active (ISO, 2008).

In the application of the standard to the Nissan Company, it indicates that one of the purposes of the quality manuals is to enhance the management of the business. Quality manual also plays an important role for the identification of the training materials that will be employed for the purposes of employee orientation. Additionally, it is considered a communication tool for the third parties.

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ISO 9001: 2008 has been employed for the purpose of influencing strategic quality management. It includes the management of quality philosophies, which views quality as the overall determinant of the performance of the firm. Quality is driven by the needs of the customers and environment. It identifies various factors, which will determine the competitiveness and future survival of the firm.

Adoption of the International Organization for Standardization’s policies comes with a number of merits to the business. It provided a basis for quality assessment in the organization. Such approach significantly enhances the ability of the organization to measure the efficacy of its quality control system. At the same time, it increases the training framework for employees in the quality control department. Moreover, it improves documentation of the quality control system. Nevertheless, there are still many challenges that the organizations have encountered while implementing this standard (ISO, 2008).

Quality systems already exist at Nissan, but the main focus is on such technical issues as equipment reliability, inspection of property and control of the processes. The firm should make a transition in order to become more customer-driven. There is a need for fundamental changes in production practices particularly in the areas of product design, management of human resources and relations with suppliers. The activities included in product design should integrate engineering, marketing and operations building (production). Human resources, on the other hand, should ensure empowerment of workers so as to enable data collection as well as analysis in order to make informed decisions. Such approach will enable responsible continuous improvements and will empower the workforce to be responsible for the quality. The collected data will enable the Nissan Company to determine the changing needs and preferences of buyers. As a result, the production of cars will meet demands of people all over the world. Sometimes management of services proves to be difficult, because customers’ needs and standards of performance are difficult to measure and identify. The reason is the fact that customers are different, and the production of services requires a high degree of customization and output of intangible products. Therefore, in order for Nissan to ensure quality services, the company should ensure that the customers’ perceptions are critically examined. For this reason, more customer research and marketing are needed (Douglas & Judge, 2001).

The strategic plan should give Nissan a good description of the environment and dynamics of the system rather than focusing on particular components. Quality planning environment reflects the dimensions of the quality that is offered at the moment. A decent plan should identify the needs of both current and future clients of the company. If the organization intends to target another group of customers, a thorough research needs to be done. It is important to determine what those consumers prefer and what services they will want the company to supply in the course of business. The organization also needs to plan and determine the way to meet or even exceed the expectations of various customers. The company should design its means of reaching the target market in order to retain, expand, or reduce their customer base. Products and services, which are of poor quality, will reduce the performance of the organization. Therefore, it is important for the team to concentrate on the areas they want to excel at (Scholtes, 1992).

There is an unavoidable demand for resources associated with the changes in processes. Their management requires leadership in order to ensure there are adequate resources. Much capital is needed for the training of the workforce, the purchase and testing of innovative technologies and equipment. The Nissan Company is responsible for planning the expansion of its workforce for the manufacturing or assembling of parts and for the maintenance and quality assurance of the production. The automobile industry is increasing the amount of its units produced in order to meet the growing demand of the customers. The corresponding plans are needed to increase the volumes of production in this sphere. The number of hours needed to manufacture one car should be reduced to ensure that less time is spent for the production of a model. As a result, the speed of production will increase. Time is a valuable resource that enables the key players to get actively involved in changing the processes. Administrative support should put emphasis on safety among all organizational priorities and reinforce expectations in case the processes are delayed and the expected results are not realized. Technologies should be used to ensure high quality of production. Business software applications should be integrated and configured according to the specifications of the customers, including ERP, SCM, and PLM.

Nissan’s leadership should ensure that there is a real experience offered to their clients together with the products and services. Such approach ensures customer satisfaction and retention. Corporate culture of the organization should ensure long-term relationships with the customers by constantly reinforcing and nourishing them.

ISO 9001:2008 implementation process, as laid by the Nissan Company, will require commitment to the continuous improvement in all departments of the car manufacturing industry. In order to increase effectiveness of the automobile industry, communication and improvement should be continuous processes.

In order to improve the quality of cars produced by Nissan, it is necessary to measure the success of the previous plans and systems. The results of these measures should be assessed in order to identify the degree of success of each separate plan. Constant monitoring should also measure the effectiveness of continuous improvement (Goodstein, Nolan & Pfeiffer, 1993).

After the implementation, the organization should evaluate the success of their plans and identify weakness with the help of the SWOT, PEST analysis, and others. The leadership of the company should provide recommendations concerning the areas of weaknesses. SWOT analysis is used to assess the internal weakness as well as strengths of the workforce along woth the external factors that affect the Nissan Company. This analysis also identifies external threats and opportunities that may enable Nissan to expand. Another method is value chain analysis, which allows to prioritize strategies and create value for all the stakeholders, including the government. One more possible tool is cost-effectiveness analysis, which assesses the costs incurred in the process of production. It shows the workability of the plans and the ways to alter them for the future production.

The changes in design and quality of services and cars offered by the Nissan Company is not just a one-time project. It should be a constant process essential for improving the whole industry. Nissan should be able to maintain the continuous culture of improvements. Changes should be continuous and dynamic. They will adequate attention at all stages of the manufacturing process. When the car industry develops more efficient processes, they will enable Nissan to cut costs, be sustainable, normalize, measure, motivate and communicate effectively. These are the key issues of maintaining the culture of the Nissan Company. Sustainability of this success requires continuous monitoring, improvement and measurement of effectiveness and efficiency of all changes.

The implementation of plans for the improvement of the quality faces various challenges. They include high costs of capital required for the production of cars. Customer-tailored manufacturing sometimes proves to be become difficult due to the costs involved. However, Nissan wants to provide products at lower costs and still meet the customers’ requirements. Assembling of different parts can become hectic.

In conclusion, an organization, which is not willing to respect quality as its strategic principle, is bound to fail. Many organizations are striving to introduce quality as a revolution in their organization. A thorough analysis has made it clear Nissan has faced many challenges in an effort to adopt ISO 9001: 2008. There are still many issues to be solved. Nevertheless, the organizations is trying to integrate the quality into the main processes of planning. The firm is aiming to operate at entirely new level. As a result, the organization needs to improve its quality management processes.

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