Business Excellence: Fly Emirates
Table of Contents
Business excellence remains elusive in the aviation industry. The industry is deemed to be the most competitive and volatile in the world. The competition comes from rival airlines battling for customers. Alternatively, the volatility of the industry arises from external shocks that affect business performance. These shocks originate from insecurity, bad weather, disease outbreaks and economic fluctuations. For example, the recent Ebola outbreak leads to cancelation of flights and closure of airports to Africa. As a result, most aviation companies have reported losses in the recent future. Nevertheless, companies often deploy effective and efficient strategies to stay afloat (Roy 2012, p.2). Fly Emirates is an example of a company that has withstood competition and global shocks to stand as a leading global airline. To this effect, the company was awarded the Best First Class, the Best Business Class and the Best Cabin Crew Airline in 2014. The current paper evaluates one of the corporate models that guarantee Fly Emirates business excellence. The model chosen and evaluated is the International Standard Organization (ISO) 9001 under 9000 ISO family. The quality management in the organizations is guided by ISO 9000.
Fly Emirates Company is a subsidiary of the Emirates Group of Companies found in United Arab Emirates. The firm was established in 1984 as a sister company to Dnata. Dnata was specialized in ground management of Dubai International Airport. Currently, Fly Emirates has transformed into a multinational company flying to 144 cities in 81 countries in six continents. This includes direct flights from Dubai to 21 cities in Europe. In the United States, Fly Emirates offers direct flights to more than 50 destinations that are not served by local airlines. The company operates the largest fleet of Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 in the world. In 2015, the flight company carried 49.3 million passengers and 2.4 million tons of cargo. Under the leadership of Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the company has created about 60,000 jobs. The firm realized AED 4.6 billion in profits within the same period. Fly Emirates continuously invests in innovation to remain relevant in the competitive aviation industry. As a result, the company maintains various executive lounges around the world, provides chauffeur services, and avails onboard communication mechanisms and entertainment (Emirates 2016, p.14).
The Business Model
Fly Emirates was ISO Quality Management (9001:2000) certified in 2000. The certification focuses on the business operating procedures. These procedures include service design, delivery and maintenance. The ISO 9001 is one of the three business models under the quality management certifications of ISO 9000. The other two include ISO 9002 and 9003. ISO 9002 is focused on quality assurance while ISO 9003 tests and inspects the systems. Generally, ISO certification evaluates documentation of an individual system and not service. In other words, the company has documented quality assessment procedures and adheres to them. The ISO 9001 has various benefits and challenges. According to Zaramdini (2006, p.473), ISO 9000 has been adopted in more than 154 countries. As of 2004, the United Arab Emirates has the highest number of ISO certified companies in the Arab world.
Advantages of ISO Quality Management (9001:2000)
ISO certification provides various benefits to employees, customers and the firm itself. According to Hassan, Ali and Lam (2007, p.2), the advantages of ISO 9001 can be divided into two namely internal and external benefits. The internal benefits aim at improving the internal procedures of a firm while the external benefits focus on market reasons. ISO 9001 reduces the cost of production. The certification process evaluates and reveals sources of waste in a company. When the waste is eliminated, firms enhance their efficiency in the marketplace. Equally, the certification improves management control procedures. Before initiating the process, a sound understanding is required for the managers of the company. The internal assessment lays the basic ground for external assessors to evaluate the company. Further, the business internally develops strong information sharing habits. The sub-systems within the system are outlined and information shared for the success of the organization. According to Zaramdini (2006, p.475), UAE firms purse ISO 9001 certification to improve the internal business processes. As a result, the companies have improved their business performance. According to Seebaluck et al. (2012, p.3), employees benefit from improved training, increased sensitization of roles in the company and exposure to occupation health and safety procedures.
Externally, ISO 9001 is used as a marketing tool. The certification enhances the credibility of the firm improving its standing in the market. Simultaneously, it attracts serious customers looking for quality service. The perceived image is a firm out to deliver quality service to its customers. On the other side, certification is also used to attract customers. The basis of service delivery depicts to investors a type of company they are dealing with as result oriented. Similarly, ISO 9001 certification is a result of external pressure from stakeholders. Accordingly, for partners it is a necessity to do business with a firm. Speculatively, certifications would be a necessity for Fly Emirates to operate in external airspaces and fields. Thus, ISO certification expands the business scope for a firm (Seebaluck et al. 2012, p.2).
Disadvantages of ISO Quality Management (9001:2000)
According to Durai and Kumar (2011, p.43), ISO 9001 faces various challenges. The certification has high cost implications. As a result, companies must prioritize their capital requirements towards this venture. The certification of small firms is an expensive affair. Further there are cases where registration for ISO certification has led to reduction in production. Apart from being linked to losses, ISO certification does not directly lead to profits or product superiority. Equally, in a market where consumers are an uncertainty the process might fail to influence sales. This is because, within an industry a product from a certified firm might bear low quality than that of an uncertified company.
Moreover, various scholars argue that ISO 9001 certification makes little to no sense to entrepreneurs and customers. It is because the parties do not understand the components of the ISO certification. As a result, the facets of the certification are misconstrued. Durai and Kumar (2011, p.43), note that ISO 9001 results in leadership failure manifested through the lack of committment, motivation, planning and long term application. Subsequently, the standard in some cases fails to incorporate an organization’s mission and vision misplacing the operation priorities. On the same note, the model has the shortcoming of overlooking social and environmental issues around the organization. The increased emphasis on the economic priorities of a firm makes businesses vulnerable to social shocks such as consumer boycotts.
ISO 9001 results in the fallacy of quality. The certification assumes quality that is not transferred to the product. As noted, the certification documents quality procedure followed in a firm with an assumption that the company adheres to them. Thus, the model offers no requirements to quality improvements in products and services. Therefore, firms only comply with minimum compliance measures than development of quality procedures. Companies view the certificate as a quality product instead of constantly improving their services. On the contrary, certification is the initial step to quality development. A firm must deploy continuous quality improvement practices to achieve quality (Malaval, Bénaroya and Aflalo 2014, p.240).
According to Hassan, Ali and Lam (2007, p.2), ISO certification particularly ISO 9001 on quality operation limits innovation in firms. It is because employees must follow written procedures for service delivery. Therefore, there is a limited chance to try new ways of doing things in an organization. Finally, ISO certification is a lengthy process. The process requires adequate manpower and time to complete. The process needs rigorous paper work. The documentation procedures are unattainable for small firms. Time spent in the audit for certification makes a business lose out on its original business goals.
The shortcomings of ISO 9001 as discussed by various scholars provide an angle for effectively evaluating the success of the standard. Fly Emirates has the resource capacity in terms of capital and manpower for the process. However, unlike challenges to innovation as presented, Fly Emirates continuously leads innovation in the aviation sector. Apart from the awards, Fly Emirates has introduced WI-FI and other communication tools to their planes. As a global brand, the international standard gives the company a reliable face in the market. For quick validation, foreign travellers would use the standard to certify flight services to regions not served by local aircrafts. Moreover, strong service design links with market and internal advantages. Internally, the firm cohesively promotes delivery of quality services. It reflects in the awards associated with the services and personnel. The standard motivates both the employees and positive consumer feedback (Emirates 2016, p.14).
In conclusion, evaluation of ISO 9001 Quality Management certification provides insightful business excellence experiences. The system anchors on operation strategies for a firm. Whereas, the standard only requires documentation of quality procedures, it initiates a strong drive for implementation of quality procedures within a business. Similarly, the standard is compatible with other quality implementation procedures such as Total Quality Management. At the same time, innovation can be implemented along the quality plans. Thus, the standard can be incorporated in larger quality improvement models. All in all, the implementation of the business model should align to the primary business objective of making profits.