Total quality management in the New Zealand pipfruit industry : an exploratory study : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master in Quality Systems at Massey University, Palmerston North, Manawatu, New Zealand

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Massey University
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Over the years, quality processes developed by guilds were followed by quality endinspections, quality control methods, quality assurance methods and Total Quality Management (TQM) systems. Quality Management has developed into a distinct direction in management thinking. There is substantial evidence that excellent companies use many elements of the Total Quality Management domain. This document aims to explore several concepts and developments in TQM as they may apply to- and be applied in the NZ pipfruit industry. It further aims to identify areas within the industry where identified TQM principles should be considered as valuable and consolidates these into a number of recommendations. Recommendations are general in nature due to the limitations attached to this study. The difference between quality management for manufacturing and service industries is discussed. Fundamental principles are highlighted for exploration of application in the pipfruit industry. There is practically no quality management literature about the pipfruit industry. The industry is different in that it deals with ‘live’ product and seasonal activity. The New Zealand pipfruit industry has been exposed to a number of volatile socio-economic changes in the last 15 years. The shape in which the industry emerged from these changes has not facilitated development of quality management processes. A number of stakeholders are interviewed to understand what TQM aspects they use in the running of their organisations. Some of these represent more than one activity type as they are ‘vertically integrated’. An additional survey of a wider group of stakeholders adds to understanding of TQM elements used in the pipfruit industry. Results indicate that there is some understanding of TQM principles but that organisations typically have short-term results focus rather than strategic quality positions. The seasonality of the industry hinders investment into employees, particularly seasonal employees. Cross-functional thinking, continuous improvement and participative company culture are not dominant features in the industry. The industry can find ways to improve its position by adopting a different fundamental thinking. Recommendations are made concerning strategy, people and culture. An integrated model is introduced in an attempt to present structure to the quality workings within the industry. This study shows that more work must be done to understand how TQM principles can be further developed to assist the NZ pipfruit industry and seasonal primary horticultural industries. Much benefit can be gained from advanced studies into the quality management within the pipfruit industry and horticultural seasonal industries.
Total quality management, Apple industry, Pear industry, Pipfruit industry, New Zealand