QUALITY MANAGEMENT by [Author’s name] 30 June 2011 Quality Management Introduction Quality management is an indispensable component of railway operations. Quality control is of paramount importance for passengers and their safety. Complex quality management, quality assurance, and quality control systems enhance the organization and efficiency of network rail operations and functions…
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The four absolutes of Crosby’s quality management system enhance operability and functioning of complex rail networks. Professionals in railway operations must remember that quality always comes at a cost; and it is always cheaper and better to promote superior quality from the very beginning. Quality is always about conforming to requirements Conformance to requirements is the first absolute of Crosby quality management philosophy. As a result, it is imperative that such requirements are clearly defined (Evans & Lindsay 2007). That Crosby defines quality in customer terms makes quality management an extremely challenging task, since every customer has his(her) own vision of quality. A business executive traveling from Leeds to London for a full day’s work is looking for superior quality of network rail operations, which should manifest through the no-delay-approaches. Simply stated, a business executive whose schedule is overfilled with meetings and tasks will hardly wish his train to be late. Business executives traveling for workplace and business purposes usually have their days planned minute by minute. A train is just an instrument of meeting their business objectives. Any delay may become a serious impediment to the development of effective relations between business executives, their suppliers and customers. Therefore, quality is judged by whether or not network rails operate in accordance with their schedules and deadlines. By contrast, grandparents traveling from Sheffield to spend the weekend with their grandchildren in Brighton will always search for the best cost. Affordability will become the main criterion of quality judgments. Older people experience budget constraints and are extremely economical in their financial decisions. However, they do not want the cost of traveling to be low by all possible means; rather, they will look for an option that is equally cheap and safe. A company that manages to offer a safe and affordable traveling alternative will become the object of grandparents’ choice. Eventually, four friends from Sunderland wanting to take a 4 day break in Paris want to have a nice and pleasant journey. Most probably, they will look for an affordable network rail option that offers smooth travel, includes a good restaurant to spend time in, and makes possible to observe wonderful landscapes and sights on their way to Paris. Such people want everything to be perfect. They do not want their holidays to be spoiled by minor disturbances. However, again, safety will become the main quality requirement for them. Whatever the purpose of traveling, all passengers will expect railway professionals to secure them from the risks of accidents and delays. Quality management: Prevention rather than detection Superior quality management systems rely on the premise that prevention is always better than detection. This is particularly the case of railway networks, which are characterized by relatively high risks of accidents and technical failures. Like any other complex technical mechanism, railways operate in the atmosphere of uncertainty, and prevention is the best way to protect passengers and technical assets from unnecessary failures and risks. Three possible ways to prevent undesirable occurrences from happening in Network Rail may include (1) road safety audit; (2) the use of GIS and GPS systems; and (3) regular training and checks
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