UK: IM SOUNDING BOARD - QUALITY IS THE ROUTE TO SUCCESS.

UK: IM SOUNDING BOARD - QUALITY IS THE ROUTE TO SUCCESS. - Alan Jones Managing Director of TNT Express UK Ltd, and companion of the IM 'We believe in quality. Our customers demand continuous improvement from us and we know that quality is a winning formu

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Alan Jones Managing Director of TNT Express UK Ltd, and companion of the IM 'We believe in quality. Our customers demand continuous improvement from us and we know that quality is a winning formula for success. The real quality managers in our business are our people. Each and every one of our employees is totally responsible for quality. And that approach has made us the market leader in our specialist field of time-sensitive delivery'.

Let us begin with the challenge of innovation which has been defined as "the successful exploitation of new ideas". Innovation is a key role in all businesses and none more so than in the transport industry. Innovation is central to the creation of wealth and to maintaining competitive advantage.

Creativity is the business of generating ideas. Innovation is the business of making them happen. I am a very lucky person because our people are thoroughly involved in creating and innovating for the benefit of all the stakeholders in our business.

We have always worked within the limits of our core business, which is to provide time-sensitive supply chain solutions. The innovation has come from creating new ideas in transport and then harnessing the dynamism and enthusiasm of our people to turn the imagination into reality.

Success has been achieved in our company by exploiting niche opportunities.

Our innovations have been mainly based on the development of unique business propositions to provide our customers with sensible solutions to logistics problems.

We believe in quality. Our customers demand continuous improvement from us and we know that quality is a winning formula for success. The real quality managers in our business are our people. Each and every one of our employees is totally responsible for quality. And that approach has made us the market leader in our specialist field of time-sensitive delivery.

Quality cannot be divorced from the day-to-day running of the business.

Quality must be part and parcel of the millions of transactions which we perform each week. A focus on customer satisfaction, continuous improvement and a visible recognition of individual and team performances is a winning formula.

Under competitive pressure, many companies are tempted to backpedal in the drive for quality. And some people believe that quality actually adds to cost. We do not agree. Our experience in the recession reinforced our view that quality reduces costs. A get-it-right-first-time approach is reducing the often significant cost of correcting mistakes in our business.

What we are describing here is not the slavish following of a set of rules or quality manuals. Our results have been achieved by imagination, commitment and sheer enthusiasm to secure the end goal of delighting our customers.

We consider training to be a vital element in achieving quality. Some firms cut back on training budgets during the recession. Against the trend we increased our training costs and it has paid off in greater productivity, improved customer service and a better motivated workforce.

People in our organisation know that if they work hard and produce good results they will be promoted. We passionately believe in the principle of promoting from within and have 10,000 excellent people to choose from, which is an enormous pool of talent.

Overall, our policies have been outstandingly successful in terms of generating high rates of growth. However, we have so many people in the company who deserve advancement that one of our most difficult jobs is to create sufficient opportunities for promotion. We cannot afford to lose good people through lack of personal development.

Our company is made up of ordinary people achieving exceptional results.

We call it the 'must get through' attitude which is a major force behind our rapid expansion. The enthusiasm at our depots has to be seen to be believed. Above all teamwork and a 'make it happen' mentality are the vital ingredients of our success.

Each member of staff is as important as the next person. Everyone is on Christian-name terms and we are all prepared to roll up our sleeves and get on with the job. Our employees enjoy the job and deliver the goods.

Marketing is one of the hardest challenges for us. But it's also the tool which makes it all happen. A strong emphasis on marketing certainly helped us come through the recession with flying colours.

Information management is a vital part of any successful marketing campaign.

And our information management systems have made a massive contribution to our success. Notice we use the term information management and not information technology. We are not interested in technology for its own sake. We have tried to make it easy for customers and staff to gain maximum benefit from our information management systems by simplifying the technology element.

Knowledge is quite worthless unless it can be shared. To make it possible for our staff to share information, every single one of our sales administration and operations office staff now has access to a computer screen - which in itself is not a remarkable event. What is remarkable is the extent to which our information management systems have helped us to achieve sensational growth.

Finally, a good example of rising to the three challenges of innovation, quality and marketing is our successful TNT Newsfast operation.

Ten years ago we were not even in the publishing industry. Today, in an average week, we carry about 20,000 tonnes of printed matter. We are handling 65% of all national newspapers and more than 50% of all the consumer magazines published in Britain.

Our success came from eliminating unnecessary handling and by providing a door-to-door service by road that is faster than the previous rail distribution system. Quality has been maintained by scrupulous attention to detail - these products are among the most time-sensitive goods carried by our company. The marketing was executed by caring for our customers and from building upon a fabulous reputation for consistent and reliable performance.

Total quality has improved our results right across the business and all key performance indicators are showing continuous improvement. In particular, profit is up by a further 40% in the last 12 months. We are firm believers in total quality management and will continue to strive for further improvement.

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