The Adoption of Quality Management Systems in the Fresh Produce Industry in Western Australia
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In an examination of 37 fresh fruit and vegetable processing businesses in Perth, Western Australia, comparisons are drawn between those firms which have adopted a third party certified quality assurance (QA) system and those which have chosen not to adopt. Seven firms chose not to implement a QA system, citing high cost, lack of time, company structure and lack of statutory requirement for QA. Of those companies implementing QA, the deciding factor was a desire to meet the customers’ requirements. Firms held the belief that QA would enable them to better meet customer needs, provide greater customer assurance, improve communication, gain new customers, improve supplier relationships and ultimately to increase market share. The largest obstacle for the adoption of QA initially was the reluctance of employees to engage in the process. Subsequent obstacles were increased paperwork, high cost, lack of time, lack of suitably qualified staff and the need for more knowledgeable staff. Conversely, firms choosing not to use QA perceived themselves to be too small and to be constrained by the lack of capital and lack of incentives for adoption, such as customer requirements for QA.
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