In this section the empirical findings are presented both verbally and graphically. The information is derived from the informal meeting, semi -structured interview and questionnaire and is presented according to the themes used for them both. The interviews highlight and contribute to the understanding of the features of quality management at the local level. In order to sharpen the concepts that where derived from the inter-views,however, a questionnaire was carried out.
Empirical Findings from Interviews
Nordea and Quality
A quality mission statement in the form of a written and tangible document is not part of quality management at Nordea. Quality work however, according to Anna Hedenborn, is present in their corporate overall strategy, day to day work and their way of working with values. Thus, according to Anna Hedenborn, it permeates the whole organization. Also, their routine of work (modus operandi) is a quality statement itself.
The quality “ideas” are distributed throughout the whole organization by a so called “Cas-cade model” meaning that it is a top down flow of information. According to Anna He-denborn, the responsibility for the information being distributed from corporate to the lo-cal level, often lays on her. However, she points out that the information preferably should come from the side into the office, meaning that someone from other levels of the “cas-cade” or somebody trained for the purpose should visit the office to inform. Thus, there is a tendency that she becomes “the overall information board”, which creates inefficiency.
Additionally, the important influences for the quality work at Nordea comes from the side of their competitors. Anna Hedenborn describes the importance of understanding compet-itors and their way of acting on the market. One way to improve their own quality is to analyze the reason for losing customers to competitors.
Corporate market Manager’s view
Anna Hedenborn has during her time at Nordea, as well as at previous employments, taken leadership courses which have included quality education. Anna Hedenborn states that she aims to improve her and her employees´ quality work, meaning to measure how the em-ployees incorporate the strategies and modus operandi determined by Nordea. Anna He-denborn claims that:
“My quality work here is to ensure that the corporate advisors deliver the right quality to the customer, which is really what it is all about.”
(Anna Hedenborn, 2009-10-20)
Quality improvement strategies
Nordea has applied the concept of Lean-production since 2005. Lean-meetings are held three times a week, where two of those are pure Lean-meetings and one is a longer meeting with more in-depth discussions. Anna Hedenborn considers these meetings to fulfill their purpose although it is not an easy task. Restarts of the Lean-concept have been made in order to find the right fit for their office. Anna Hedenborn stresses that the meetings should not be “grouch meetings”, instead they should focus on continuous improvements and to give advice to each other.
Another quality tool is the coach meetings where Anna Hedenborn meets her co-workers once a month. The purpose of these meetings is for Anna Hedenborn to be able to coach her co-workers to improve their customer meetings. Today however, a lot of attention is paid on the modus operandi and the frequency of customer meetings. The customer meet-ings are registered in a data tool called “Contact policy”. Although, Anna Hedenborn has the opinion that the contact policy should be incorporated in the daily work and should therefore not be an issue. This however, might be a sensitive topic since some of the co-workers have worked with another modus operandi for many years.
Furthermore, Anna Hedenborn was asked whether the ones who do not fully implement the Contact policy provide a lower quality level in comparison with the ones that do. Her answer was that it is difficult to measure that, but it is a highly important question. When asked if the reason for some to not use the contact policy is due to the feeling of being controlled she confirms;
“It might be so, in the short run, but in the long run it is my mission to make sure that the bank works according to the corporate strategy, and I believe that in the long run you would not be able to work in your own way to be able to handle the amount of cus-tomers and the obligation put on the corporate advisors. Therefore we must use the tools provided and be structured and work in that way.”
(Anna Hedenborn, 2009-10-20)
Searching co-workers´ responsibility
Nordea‟s vision is “to have the right person at the right place”. This is something they work actively with according to Anna Hedenborn. In order to stimulate motivation, re-sponsibility and accountability they work with social activities. Among the co-workers the motivation is measured by an Employee Satisfaction Index (ESI) every year. The results are evaluated and discussed during the coach meetings. Nordea stimulates the motivation by different interventions. One intervention is the delegating of authority during the Lean-meetings. This is done in order increase the responsibility among the co -workers. The co-workers have a large impact on price setting and decision making. Thus, Anna Hedenborn believes that they are responsible. Accountability, however, differs between co-workers but is generally present in the team.
Anna Hedenborn believes that there needs to be interaction between the co-workers,
“You cannot make it on your own”.
(Anna Hedenborn, 2009-10-20)
Hence, the team as a whole must function. To encourage the team spirit different team-building activities take place such as after-work activities, Christmas dinners and other so-cial activities.
Within the group there are also smaller teams. The co-workers are divided into functional teams in order to provide the best service for the customers. These smaller work teams consist of one corporate advisor, one credit analyst and one customer support. They work as a team to provide the customer with the help needed. Therefore, Anna Hedenborn claims that it is a necessity to have every part of the team. This since, customers should have several contact possibilities at the bank. She argues;
“The customers should have multiple contact possibilities at the bank, there should not be one single person that the customer has contact with. This also functions as a security if a co-worker leaves the office the customer should still feel at home.”
(Anna Hedenborn, 2009-10-20)
One way for Anna Hedenborn to determine quality to customer is for her to participate during customer meetings held by the corporate advisors. After the meeting, Anna gives feedback to the co-worker. They also have a Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI), and Em-ployment Satisfaction Index (ESI). The data compiled are compared between years and used to develop an action plan. According to Anna Hedenborn the continuous quality management work is rather time consuming and requires approximately the equivalent of the work conducted by one and a half employment. Another part of the quality work, ac-cording to Anna Hedenborn, is that she meets her manager quarterly, where the quarterly reports are discussed to evaluate her and the corporate market department‟s performance.
Nordea works with several different parameters in order for the customers to be satisfied. The quantitative aspects come mainly from CSI which is conducted once a year through a postal survey and one part through a telephone survey. For the qualitative aspect much feedback comes to Anna Hedenborn since she accompanies her coworkers at customer meetings. In this situation, asking customers of their experience of the bank can be done in a natural way. Anna Hedenborn also points out that there is a constant focus on how to in-crease customer satisfaction. Nordea aims to become a superior financial partner to their customers and therefore works actively to improve their services provided.
Empirical Findings based on the Questionnaire
The following pages contain a summary of the empirical findings from the questionnaires that were distributed to the co-workers at Nordea, Jönköping. The questionnaire was per-formed by 12 out of 14 of co-workers. Figures are provided to a selection of questions due to the answers of those being of a larger interest. Figures for all questions are presented in appendix 8 as well as the raw data in appendix 7.
Nordea as a work place
In general the co-workers are satisfied with working at Nordea. The evidence of this is the fact that all the questions regarding Nordea as a work place scored a mean value above 4. Hence, they are satisfied with their workplace since they can identify themselves with Nor-dea‟s vision, they experience “freedom with responsibility”, as well as the ability to change and affect their work routine. They are also comfortable with changes occurring in their work description.
Regarding training, the co-workers experience that they have the ability to attend courses corresponding to their self-development. Here the mean value is 6, which is classified as high. See graph below.
Regarding motivation, training can be seen as one motivator of the co -workers. However, there exist multiple factors. The co-workers were asked to rank what factors that affects their motivation the most. Unfortunately, two respondents misinterpreted this question. Hence their answers were eliminated. The result from the ranking can be seen in figure 4-2.
From the answers it can be found that 8 out of 10 found that salary is on the top three ranking. On the top three list is also good colleagues according and increased responsibility.
Overall the co-workers are found to be generally motivated in their work, as can be seen below in figure 4-3.
Team work at Nordea, Jönköping
According to the questionnaire all co-workers are pleased to work in their team (see ap-pendix 8). The perception, whether performance is measured upon team effort or individu-al performance is however, more volatile. Although, there is a tendency for the co-workers to perceive that performance is measured more on an individual level (see figure 4-4).
In addition, a majority of the respondents seem to perform at their best when performance is measured at an individual level (see figure 4-5).
Quality measurements at Nordea
Regarding the quality measurement tools used at Nordea, emphasis is put on ESI, CSI, Contact policy , and coach meetings. It was found that the coworkers are well aware of the tools mentioned. The mean value regarding this is 6.6, which is considered to be high (see appendix 8). However, when the respondents were asked whether the results from the quality measurement tools lead to improvements or not, the question received a 4.3 in mean value. This indicates that the results of the tools are not that evident (see figure 4-6). As can be seen in the figure below, 16% answered as low as a 2 on the scale.
The respondents were also asked if continuous improvements permeate the daily work at the office. The answers were fluctuating, which further indicates that not everybody at the office understands the quality work at the office (see figure 4-7).
Most of the co-workers do however, feel that they contribute to the quality improvements at the office, the mean value here is 5.25 (see appendix 8).
The Lean-concept at Nordea
Nordea is using the concept of Lean-production, in order to enhance continuous im-provements at the office. This is done through the use of a Lean-board in their daily work. From the questionnaire it can be seen that the employees understands the concept behind Lean-production, the mean value is 5.7. However, regarding the suitability of the concept, the employees are not as positive to the fit between the Lean-concept and Nordea‟s way of working. This can be seen in figure 4-8.
The answers regarding the attitude towards the Lean-board gave a mean value of 4. The answers were rather spread, but the mean gives an indication of the respondents being in-different to the Lean-board. (see appendix 8)
Furthermore, it can be discussed whether the Lean-meetings contribute to quality im-provements or not (see figure 4-9). The mean value was 3.6.
In regards of how the Lean-concept is implemented and utilized at Nordea, half of the res-pondents think that the meetings are held at a sufficient rate per week, since 50% have answered 4 on the scale. The other respondents indicate that the meetings are held to fre-quent (see appendix 8). In regards of the participation during the Lean-meetings, the res-pondents perceive their own contribution fairly low. This is indicated by the mean value of 3.75.
Coach meetings for co-workers
The coach meetings are conducted once a month between the corporate market manager, Anna Hedenborn and the co-workers individually. The respondents, in general, perceive these meeting to contribute to their professional self-development. Here, the mean value is 5 Furthermore, the co-workers also find the content of the meetings to be of high relev-ance, which is indicated by the mean value 5.25. Also, the comfort level during the coach meetings seems to be high. The co-workers can openly discuss their issues and concerns. This is indicated by the high mean value of 6.2 and can also be seen below in figure 4-10.
The focus of what is discussed during the meetings is according to most co-workers a mix of qualitative and quantitative information. However, there is a small indication towards more quantitative focus. Furthermore, the co-workers were asked to evaluate the data tool Contact Policy. Here, the fluctuation in the answers is undeniable, although the mean value is 4.6, as can be seen in figure 4-11.
Customer satisfaction at Nordea
Customer satisfaction at Nordea is according to the co-workers perceived to be higher than their competitors. To what degree Nordea outperforms their competitors, however, varies among the co-workers. They all agree upon the fact that Nordea has an advantageous cus-tomer satisfaction. The fairly high mean value of 5, further confirms this (see appendix 8). In addition, most co-workers feel responsible for that the products they are selling are what the customer needs. This is shown by the mean value of 6.4.
In regards of how customer feedback is distributed at the office and to the co-workers it can be seen that most employees feel that it is communicated to them. The mean value is 5.2 which is fairly high (see appendix 8) In regards of feedback to the individual, most co-workers perceive the feedback being posi-tive. This is indicated by the mean value being 5.3 (see appendix 8).
Table of Contents
1.2 Nordea- an Overview
2 Frame of Reference
2.1 Choice of Theory
2.2 Literature Review of TQM
2.3 Quality According to The Quality Gurus
2.4 Quality Management
2.5 Total Quality Management (TQM)
2.6 Kaizen- Continuous Improvements
3 Research Method
3.1 A Descriptive and Inductive Research Approach
3.2 Data Collection
3.3 Data Analysis
3.4 Data Quality
4 Empirical Findings
4.1 Empirical Findings from Interviews
4.2 Empirical Findings based on the Questionnaire
6.1 Discussion and Further Research
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Managing Q uality at the Operational L evel A Case Study at Nordea