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
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.