TQM and operations management tools as agility strategies used by firms in Kenyan dairy industry
Globalization and rapid technological developments have contributed to uncertainty and unpredictability in all sectors which have emphasized the importance of the ability of an organization to adapt to unexpected changes, this has lead to organizations adapting to the concept of agility. There is increasing recognition that agility is an imperative for success of contemporary firms as they face intense rivalry, globalization, and time-to-market pressures. Organizations are promoting information systems (IS), creativity and innovation and TQM as platforms that foster agility. Dairy industry in Kenya is characterized by severe competition and changes in business environment. This study sought to establish how dairy companies in Kenya utilize TQM and other operations management tools as strategies used to achieve agility. The study was conducted using a cross sectional research design; and entailed the use of quantitative techniques of data collection, data being obtained from the management staff of the selected dairy companies both in the processing, field and distribution departments. The study identified that to a large extent agile firms are resilient to shocks and upheavals in their business environments. It also found out that adoption of IT to a great extent enhances achievement of agility and helps firms in sharing knowledge and development skills in addressing their problems. It also indicates that creativity and innovation influences achievement of agility to a great extent. Dairy companies in Kenya were shown by the study to conduct rejuvenation of dormant brand and developed new business models to enhance their agility. The study concludes that Total Quality Management influences achievement of agility in dairy companies in Kenya to a great extent. Dairy companies employ TQM to enhance quality of their products, enhance employee participation in their companies and hence employee satisfaction and also to achieve enhanced performance effectiveness and efficiency. It also can be deduced that creativity and innovation contributes most to the agility followed by TQM and then IT adoption. The study established that IT is at the center stage of achieving agility. The study recommends that another study should be conducted covering manufacturing firms in Kenya to give a broader perspective and also identify aspects of agility that are specific to firms in certain industries within manufacturing industries.