Quality of service is very critical in modern society, and thus, most organizations always strive to produce the best services possible to their clients. However, how well an organization fulfils this always varies, and that is why there is an award on international standard in order to motivate companies to accommodate more quality. ISO9001:2015 is the latest international standard award that is presented to those organizations that have the best standard and quality today (ISO, 2015). As an independent auditor tasked with renewing ISO certification, it is my work to evaluate whether the company has maintained the required standards and what else needs to be done. This report will thus undertake an assessment of the current situation in the Etihad Airways Departure section and propose recommendations for improvements leading to the renewal of the ISO certificate.
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Summary of the Etihad Airways
Etihad Airways is an international airline based in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates. The organization was inaugurated in the year 2003 and has been rapidly growing to become one of the best airlines in the Middle East region. As per 2015, the airline had 125 fleet, both cargo and passage transportation. It serves six continents and has 120 destinations, all of which are linked to its base of operation in Abu Dhabi (Etihad Airways, n.d.). Each week, the company serves 1,000 flights, which have over 120 passages, and by 2015, it managed to serve 14.8 million passages. The company also has a considerable number of employees, who were estimated to amount to 20,000 by the year 2015.
Summary of How the Organization Departure Process Operates
One major operation that the company incorporates in its operations is the departure services. These services include all the groundwork that the Etihad staff provides and the company’s facilities available to their clients before they board their flights. The departure process in this company is very clear, as it involves few steps. The first step is the arrival, where customers are required to visit the check-in desk immediately. Here, they are also issued baggage tags and pushchairs or strollers for their items (Etihad Airways, n.d.). The second step after checking in is passing through the required stages in the airport for security and logistics. Here, the company has staff that guide its customer throughout the process. The third and final step of departure occurs at the boarding gates where passengers wait for boarding. Staff help customer at this stage as well, and also their baggage is put onboard. The departure also incorporates a family lounge, which is provided to customers before their official boarding.
Other Relevant and Important Information about Departure
The departure process of the company also varies depending on the nature of the customers. Solo passengers are the most common customers of the company, and most of them are on business trips (Etihad Airways, n.d.). However, when it comes to family services, the company must put some adjustment in the departure process. For example, the families are allowed to board the flight first in order to avoid last-minute confusion.
Areas Where the Quality Manual Does Not Follow the Requirements of ISO9001
There are few areas in the described process where the quality manual fails to follow the requirements of ISO9001. First is the leadership in the airport departure process. Under clause five of the ISO9001:2015, the organization is required to have effective leadership that satisfies the needs of all processes involved (Sundaram & Abdulrahman, 2011). However, the Etihad departure manual has no clear leadership outline. Another gap is the planning process. The manual clearly outlines the entire quality process of departure but fails to address how planning can be changed if unexpected changes take place. Lastly, the plan also fails in clause eight of the ISO. Under this clause, support for the organization is critical, but the departure manual does not put more emphasis on the need for human, infrastructural, and communication support.
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Evaluating the Quality Policy by Comparing It with the ISO9001:2015 Requirements
The Selected Quality Policy of Etihad Departure Section
The Etihad airways departure department’s quality policy is crafted to ensure proper customer satisfaction. The quality policy states that the departure section will offer the best leadership, which will demonstrate accountability and concern to all clients, and that this leadership will also ensure that there is enough support given to all the customers in the departure section as well as that the operation runs effectively and efficiently. Also, the leadership will ensure that customer satisfaction remains high through assurance, service reliability, and tangible assistance (Etihad Airways, n.d.).
Meeting the Requirements of the ISO9001
The above quality policy of the departure section in Etihad Airways has several requirement met as per ISO9001. First, it has addressed the purpose and the context of the organization by outlining the interested party, who is the customer, and their requirement for satisfaction, as required by the ISO (ISO, 2015). The policy has also provided the framework in which quality objectives can be set; for example, it has outlined leadership, support, customer satisfaction, assurance, and service reliability, as some of the measures determine quality in this section. The policy has also showed some commitment in satisfying customer service by explicitly stating that the major management role will be this one.
However, the policy still has some defeats in comparison to the ISO9001 requirement. First, despite that the company says that it will ensure customer satisfaction, it has a narrow definition of that. It does not have quick responsiveness that is required by the ISO9001 (ISO, 2015). The policy also leaves a huge gap, as it does not address anything that concerns continual improvement in the existing quality standards. These two defeats thus make the departure department quality policy slightly shaky.
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New Quality Policy That Best Follows the ISO9001:2015 Requirements
The new quality policy for the department will include the responsiveness and future improvement. The policy reads, the departure section will have a competitive leadership that will provide the necessary strategic planning to meet the current and future needs of all the users. This strategic planning will ensure that the department has tangible support needed by the customers, operations have great reliability and assurance, and services will show quality of empathy and responsiveness (Skytrax, n.d.). The organization will additionally conduct the performance evaluation, which will be used in quality improvement, all channeled toward customer satisfaction.
Evaluating Etihad Airways Departure Department Quality Objectives
TWO Etihad Airways Departure Department Quality Objectives
The current departure departmental objectives at Etihad airways are created in line with the quality policy of the company. The first objective states that the department will ensure that it maintains qualified and effective staff that will deliver service, which will not receive a rating of less than 85% on the global scale of departure ratings annually (Etihad Airways, n.d.). The second objective of the department addresses the issue of time taken; it reads that the department will conduct its affairs in such an on-time manner that the off-time departure will be less than 2% of all the flights that the companies handle annually.
SMART Analysis on the Objectives and Comparison with the ISO9001:2015
The ISO standards call for objectives that are specific to the main applicable requirement, measurable in qualitative terms, attainable and realistic based on resource and capability, and finally, time-bound (Jung, 2007). The above qualities thus are SMART, as they meet this standard. First, both of them are specific, as they focus on staff efficiency and departure time respectively. They are also measurable. The company resources and capability also prove that they are attainable and realistic, and lastly, they have a time frame of operation (annually).
Concerning the ISO requirements, the objectives have met most of them. First, both of them are consistent with the department quality objective, as required in ISO9001. They are also measurable and take into consideration the applicable requirements (ISO, 2015). The objectives are also relevant to the departure service offered by the organization, and they can be closely monitored. They are also up-to-date, and thus appropriate for the department.
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TWO New SMART Quality Objectives for the Departure Department
The following new objectives addressed the new policy that was created above, which includes the responsiveness of the organization and improvement in quality. The first objective states that the department will establish a strong responsive unit to any uncertainty experiences in the departure section, and that it will ensure that the responsiveness remains at above 99% all year round. Secondly, the departure section will ensure that the required quality policy performance success is evaluated on a monthly basis and that such performance will be maintained above 85% on a monthly basis.
Redesigning Quality-Related Process
The current process that does not properly suit customers’ needs is handling passengers with children. Sometimes, a single adult may be travelling with one or two children, at the same time having much baggage (Ahmed & Kothari, 2008). However, upon arrival till boarding the plane, they receive minimal or no help with the items or the children. This departure problem is frustrating and quite dissatisfactory to the client.
New Process Policy Statement
One troubled process in the departure section is the responsiveness of passengers traveling as a family (Skytrax, n.d.). The policy guiding passengers with children should read that the departure section management deploy a specialized unit of staff, who will help the passengers with children to pass through the check-in desk and the airport security within the shortest time possible by assisting them with baggage and children where a need arises.
Why the New Proposed Process Will Better Serve Their Customers
Time is quite important at the airport; most people arrive for their flight just around the time for the takeoff. They have just enough time for checking in and undergoing the security check (Skytrax, n.d.). In that situation, those passengers that have children will find it hard to undergo this process smoothly, as the children are always inhibitors in quick security checking. The process thus can be changed where the children and passengers’ baggage become less significant factors in delaying the customer.
The decision point in the diagram above is in the middle where the management comes in to support the customer. With a steady responsive team, passengers with children can have their process at the airport made faster (Balakrishnan, 2011). This team can help them determine the exact task to do, such as taking food from their children, removing any metal from the children’s clothes and from bags, and guiding the children through the security process without confusion. The above process will thus ensure that it will take the passengers with children equal or even less time compared to passengers without children to pass through the airport for the flight take-off.
Guidelines for the Organizations in Preparation For and Implementing Audits
The auditing schedule is the first step that the departure department of Etihad Airways should focus on. This means that the scheduling should be done to determine the operations within the department. In most cases, these time frames take a few months for most companies. After the scheduling process, it comes to the determination of auditors. The ISO9001 requires that the company should have two types of auditors (ISO, 2015). The first is the internal auditor from the company departure department, and the second auditor comes from an external source outside the Etihad Airways.
For the departure section of that airline, the auditee will include the check-in process and its efficacy, movement within the airport and tangible support given, boarding the plane, time taken for the entire process, lounge services that may be offered, and response to changes and miscommunication among others (David, 2016). The type of audit conducted will include the quality in the process itself, the selectivity to time management, the capability of the staff, and the leadership of the department.
Finally, the auditing methodology will take three primary dimensions. The first step will be to inquire what the business, in this case, the departure department, does in order to receive the passengers at the airport and ensure that they take off happily. The second methodology will be the application of a procedure manual that outlines how the department does what it has claimed above (David, 2016). Under this section, the stage-by-stage quality procedure is given with reference to the stated manual. The last methodology process addresses the evidence that shows the department receives the passengers and that they undergo certain steps named in the manual. The department thus must have documentation that proves how it undertakes its activities.
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Guidelines for the Re-Apply of the ISO9001 Certification
Steps for Etihad Departure Section Certification Process
Internal audit is the first step, which the department takes to receive certification. The process should be done by a company employee, but the one who is not involved in the affairs of the departures. The second process is the extremal audit, which is fulfilled by a certified body. This is the most important process, as the certified audit is mandated to issue the certificate. If this audit finds more unconformity in the departure section, then they give further recommendations (Calder, 2016). The third step thus is adopting the recommendation where staff receive more training and more quality measures are employed. Finally, if the external audit becomes satisfied with the quality of the department’s departure system, then they issue the certification.
Advice to the Organization for Their Certification Body
When choosing which organization will operate as the certification body, it is advisable that the department considers that it certifies the quality management system (Calder, 2016). TÜV SÜD is one of the organizations that have a great experience in the field; it has its offices in Abu Dhabi and other major cities, thus will be adequate in determining several departures that Etihad Airlines make.
For the ISO9001 certification to be issued, the department needs to improve a few areas of quality that it has not satisfied yet. First, the staffs have to be trained on how to be more responsive to changes in schedules (Calder, 2016). One aspect that is likely to frustrate people in the Etihad departure section is unnecessary delays without any communication to the clients. The department thus needs to realize this and educate its staff on how to be responsive. The department also needs to educate its employees on how to handle different type of passengers and especially those with children.
In conclusion, the above report has presented an assessment of the current situation in Etihad Airways departure section and proposed recommendations for improvements leading to renewal of the ISO certificate. It has been determined that the departure section of the airways has several weakness in the quality policy and quality objective. It has also been determined that the departure section needs to change its family process to help make the process more efficient.