Ocean Park Hong Kong
Ocean Park comprises two sections, the Headland and Lowland, connected by a 1.5km long cable car system which offers spectacular, panoramic views of the southern side of Hong Kong and the South China Sea. At Headland, the Park boasts of its many thrill rides including the Dragon, Eagle, Crazy Galleon, Ferris Wheel, Ocean Park Tower, Flying Swing, Raging River, Space Wheel, Mine Train, and Abyss Turbo Drop, a heart throbbing thrill ride that delivers a free fall experience from a height of 62 meters (source: www.oceanpark.com.hk). Ocean park, situated on the southern side of Hong Kong island is one of the world’s acclaimed educational theme parks covering more than 870, 000 square meters of land. Operated by the Ocean Park Corporation, a statutory board, it is a not-for-profit organization providing elements of entertainment, education and conversation at an affordable price (source: www.oceanpark.com.hk).
Over four million people visit the Ocean Park each year. Residents of Hong Kong as well as tourists from all over the world enjoy the facilities and services provided at the Ocean Park. With 29 years history, Ocean Park has established itself as one of the major tourist attractions in Hong Kong and Asia. Aside from entertainment through thrill rides and a wide variety of shows, the Park prides itself on its education and conservation programmes. About 40,000 school children in Hong Kong visit the Park each year and learn about animals. In 2000, the Park’s research activities on marine mammals and artificial insemination (AI) produced the world first successful pregnancy of bottlenose dolphins through this process (AI). In May 2001, two healthy dolphin calves were born at Ocean Park as a result of these earlier successful AI conceptions (source: www.oceanpark.com.hk).
Complementing the rides is the Ocean Theatre where dolphins and sea lions entertain visitors and educate on the habitat of these marine mammals each day through their lively performances. Providing more enjoyment and education are the world-class Atoll Reef Aquarium, Shark Aquarium, Pacific Pier and the newly opened Sea Jelly Spectacular. At the Park’s Tai Shue Wan site, there is the entrance to a bird aviary and a 2258 meters outdoor escalator leading to the Headland (source: www.oceanpark.com.hk).
At the low land, visitors can meet with the delightful “An An” and “Jia Jia”, a pair of giant pandas bestowed on Hong Kong by the Central Government of China at the Hong Kong Jockey Club Giant Panda Habitat. Adjacent to the Faint Panda Habitat is the Goldfish Pagoda featuring more than 100 goldfish of 42 species. Other attractions include Amazing Amazon, Butterfly House, Dinosaur Now & Then, Whiskers’ Wild Ride and Kit’s World. Besides Kid’s World is Dolphin University where visitors are able to have a closer encounter with dolphins and learn more about these fabulous marine mammals (source: www.oceanpark.com.hk).
Enjoy 2 newly-opened delights at Ocean Park The Bayview Restaurant and The Terrace Café, both offering an international menu as well as an unbeatable view of the South China Sea. Visitors can indulge in the oceanic ambience at The Bayview Restaurant featuring an aquatic backdrop with sea jellies; or enjoy alfresco dining at the relaxing Terrance Café with its breathtaking sea view (source: www.oceanpark.com.hk).
Quality management is a method for ensuring that all the activities necessary to design, develop and implement a product or service are effective and efficient with respect to the system and its performance (source: www.wikipedia.org). Quality is gaining in importance in all areas of modern life. In tourism too, guests require ‘products’ where they are sure of getting top quality, value-for-money services.
Importance of Quality Management
Quality management can help Ocean Park to plan its efforts. Quality management will help Ocean park achieve superior performance through continuous quality improvement. Quality management will help the organization to achieve improvements in areas such as employee relations, quality, costs, market share, profitability, and customer satisfaction. Quality management can help Ocean park to create and sustain a competitive advantage and satisfy the requirements and expectations of the external environment. Prioritized and focused quality initiatives that are focused on areas or processes that add value to the customer, who sees and appreciates this value and is willing to pay for it will help Ocean park to gain an edge over its competitors’ products and services. Quality management will give Ocean Park ability to change continually and learn to innovate in relation to the changing marketplace. Quality management will give the organization the ability to drive, respond and anticipate the continually changing forces, requirements and expectations of both the external and internal environment (Antony & Preece, 2002).
Quality Systems Appropriate to Ocean Park Hong Kong
Customer Satisfaction and Impact on Society
Customer satisfaction considers the response of customers to the goods and services provided. The impact on society examines many of the issues such as environmental impact, impact on quality of life, preservation of resources, and internal measures of resource utilization efficiency. How well the organization represents itself to its community is considered. Quality is about how well goods and services meet customer expectations. Quality is defined by customers. A high quality product or service is one that satisfies customer needs. A poor quality product or service is one that does not meet customer’s needs and expectations. As the customer’s needs and expectations can only be defined by the customer, then quality is also defined by the customer. A high quality product need not be a high priced one, but it will give better value for money than competing products(Wenmouth, 1994).
Role of Quality Management: Normative Decisions
The changing nature of the world of organizations and the increasing concern with ethical issues such as morality, environmentalism, and so on demand a new approach to quality management. Normative management decisions are concerned with these aspects, helping to define the nature of the organization itself, that is, the values, expectations and beliefs espoused by its members. The norms so derived should ensure that the organization makes a good ethical fit with all its stakeholders and with society in general. When the characteristics of the products or services do not meet the expectations of consumers, or the behaviour of the organization is considered unacceptable, the customers will seek products or services elsewhere. Normative decisions determine what questions and decisions are acceptable to the organization at the strategic level. They therefore pre-control strategic decision-making. Strategic decisions create potential new value for the organization – how profits will be made tomorrow. This in turn pre-controls the potential decisions at the administrative and operational levels – today’s profits. At this point, and notwithstanding the potential for marketing activity to influence consumer behaviour, the organization largely loses control to the market. If the normative decisions are incorrect, the consumers will not buy. In many organizations, the normative decisions are expressed through devices such as mission statements or publicized ‘visions’ which attempt to express the values for which the organization stands (Beckford, 2002).
Ocean Park as one of the world’s largest educational theme parks, aims to provide guests with excellent experiences in a theme park environment that connects people with nature. Normative decisions will help Ocean Park to maintain a good ethical fit with all its stakeholders and with society in general, by providing its visitors with entertainment and education while inspiring long learning and conservation involvement. Ocean Park’s mission to its guests, society, and environment is to deliver the highest standards of safety, animal care, products and guest service. What differentiate Ocean Park within the market is the organization’s mission to connect people with nature, through conservation, entertainment and education. The organization firmly believes that ‘edutainment’ experience enables the visitors to get close to and understand how animals behave in the wild, is what makes Ocean Park so special. As a bridge to the natural world, the Park awakens a respect for the beauty of animal and marine life and in so doing develops an awareness of the importance of conservation.
Quality Management Objectives
Strengthening the Products and Services
Strengthening the products and services to bring life to the organization’s mission of ‘edutainment’ will be one of the quality management objectives of Ocean Park. New capital investments and attractions will be introduced to attract the customers and promote learning and conservation. Using new interactive technologies, the attractions will offer different theme park experience. As Ocean park brings the marine-world to life for its guests, new signature outlets will also be unveiled to cater to the guests’ needs and encourage growth in per capita spending within the Park. Substantial resources will also be allocated to strengthen retail within the Park. Different in-park displays and merchandise as well as photo opportunities will also support the organization’s missions and goals.
Conservation through Education
The organization will continue to promote The Ocean Park Conservation Foundation Hong Kong, a non-profit organization that advocates and facilitates the conservation of Asian wildlife and habitats through research and education. The organization also plans to continue supporting important scientific research projects to conserve marine mammal and animal life. The organization is planning to form partnerships with different foundations and organizations in order to increase the people’s awareness about the environment and animal life. Collective local loyalty translates into a unique Park experience for everyone who visits, and this is what separates Ocean Park from its competitors. Building critical mass entertainment opportunities is essential to enhance the appeal to the community, as a premium tourism destination. Differentiation in market product and presentation will provide the appropriate environment for coexistence and success of the varied destination options, with Ocean park standing out as a premier marine-based theme park experience.
Juran Trilogy – Quality Management Processes
One of the most imminent of quality ‘gurus’, Dr. Joseph Juran has proposed an overview of quality management that identifies the three basic elements required for a balanced quality program. The overview has become as the Juran Trilogy. Juran asserts that quality planning, quality improvement, and quality control must all be addressed otherwise the quality program will lack balance (Wenmouth, 1994). The Juran Trilogy can be thought of as strategic framework for the implementation of quality management. While a great deal of Juran’s writing discusses the details of specific tools and steps to improve quality in the firm, the Juran Trilogy is the strategic reasoning that explains why all these tools and steps are necessary. The three stages of quality management, taken as a whole, form the basis for the entire quality management effort.
Quality planning is the first stage of the Juran trilogy and is essentially concerned with designing products and processes that align with customer needs. Quality planning is comprised of the following steps:
- Determine who the customers are
Where the customers are numerous, customers should be segmented using the Pareto principle. This allows the organization to place more of the planning emphasis on the most important customers.
- Discover the customers’ needs
The organization must always bear in mind that customers may have needs that they do not voice explicitly.
- Develop products whose features align with the customers’ needs
The organization must use different tools in order to translate customers’ needs into product specifications.
- Develop processes that are capable of producing these products along with their accompanying features.
- Hand these pans off to operations
Often this entails an abrupt transition of responsibilities as the quality planning team moves on to the next planning project.
After the planning team hands its plans off to operations and production begins, the firm should simultaneously take steps to ensure that its operations maintains the level of quality that was planned. This is the purpose of quality control, According to Juran, quality control is comprised of three steps:
- Evaluate actual operating performance
It is important that the organization know what to measure. Statistical tools are very useful for evaluating operating performance.
- Compare actual performance to operating goals
In addition to merely comparing, the organization should also use statistical tools to interpret the meaning of any differences between performance and goals.
- Take action in response to differences
Because the organization’s operating goals should be based on its processes’ capabilities, the organization should find that any differences between performance and goals are merely sporadic and attributable to unique, identifiable process breakdowns.
Quality improvement is the third and final stage in the Juran Trilogy. Improving goes beyond control in that it allows the firm’s operations to reach levels of quality heretofore unattainable. The quality improvement process does this by removing the chronic quality problems that were built into the products and processes in the planning process. Additionally, the organizational learning that occurs during quality improvement efforts should be taken into account and utilized, where applicable, in future quality planning. According to Juran, quality improvement includes the following steps:
- Establish the infrastructure needed to facilitate continuous quality improvement
This step should include the formation of a standing Quality Council whose responsibility is to ensure that quality improvement efforts receive sufficient attention, effort, and resources.
- Identify specific improvement projects
The Quality Council should consult employees, customers, and cost-of-poor-quality data in identifying potential projects. Subsequent projects should be selected on the basis of expected financial return on investment, the urgency of the problem, the amount of the potential improvement and so forth.
- For each project, establish a team that is clearly charged with the responsibility of bringing a successful resolution to the project.
Quantitative Techniques and Tools for Continuous Quality Improvement
- Statistical Methods
Statistical methods can be used by Ocean Park for measuring and evaluating performance and performance improvement on a sampling basis. Statistics can be used by Ocean Park to support decision-making. Accurate, well-founded and reliable statistics can tell the Ocean Park management much about what is happening within the processes of the organization.
Benchmarking is a process of comparison between the performance characteristics of separate, often competing, organizations intended to enable each participant to improve its own performance in the marketplace. Benchmarking will help Ocean Park in obtaining a clearer understanding, particularly of customers, will lead to reduced complaints, a sharper focus on customer needs and higher levels of customer satisfaction.
- Process Chart
A process chart will be valuable in providing an overall picture of a connected set of actions by recording, in sequence, each of the operations and activities within Ocean Park. The process charts are developed by identifying particular operations and linking them together along with inspections, audits and delays.
Factors to Consider
In introducing quality management, Ocean Park must establish the proposed market and identify target customers. The design and development process, be it product or services, should be driven by the needs of the customer (Antony & Preece, 2002).
- The customer view of Quality
Customers’ perceptions of quality are more complex than is often supposed.
Basic Quality relates to items where customers will assume that appropriate performance levels will be met as a matter of course. If the product meets all of these requirements, no significant positive satisfaction will be generated. However, of it fails fully to satisfy one of these criteria high levels of dissatisfaction may result. Example of basic quality is staff politeness.
Spoken Performance issues will take the form ‘I would like the product/service to achieve this level of performance’. If the performance meets or exceeds this level, the customer will be satisfied on that issue. If it does not then the customer will be dissatisfied. Spoken performance would include things like waiting time at a bank.
Excitement Quality refers to given customers something they did not know they wanted. Clearly, customers cannot be dissatisfied because the organization did not give them something they did not know they wanted, but providing such features may generate extraordinary customer satisfaction.
Barriers to the introduction of Quality Management
Management perspectives refer not simply to the attitude to quality, but to the whole management ethos of the organization as it impacts on quality. In order for an appropriate attitude to be developed to quality, it must be recognized as an issue – that is, the lack of quality in a product or service must be acknowledged. Frequently, companies adopt an ostrich-like attitude to quality, finding it easier to blame poor performance on a host of other reasons. For example, when a previously successful sales performance declines, a common reaction is to focus on market changes, the sales team or activity by competitors rather than on the product or service itself. Issues such as pricing and margins are often raised, perhaps leading to a focus on manufacturing performance in terms of productivity. Rarely is quality of product or service considered as a potentially primary issue at the outset. It is essential that quality be treated as a potential part of the problem and be considered as a possible cause of decline. Even where a company is performing well, a positive attitude to quality needs to be developed and maintained. A product which is considered ‘good enough’ probably isn’t so in today’s competitive markets. There is no room for such complacency (Beckford, 2002).