Operations management practices and perceived service quality a case study of Kenya sugar industry
Globalization and rapid technological developments have contributed to industries adopting new tools and techniques to produce goods and services through excellence in operations management practices, to compete and survive in the market. The most challenging factor is to deliver products and services at low cost, at the right time and good quality. Application of Operations management tools and techniques will influence the perceived service quality and address the issue of excellence in an organization. Sugar industry in Kenya is characterized by global competition and technological changes in business environment. This study sought to identify the operations management practices adopted in the Kenya Sugar Industry and establish their influence on perceived service quality. This study was a census survey covering five government-owned sugar companies in western Kenya and those which have been in operations for over five years. Data was collected from 45 management staff in all departments and 25 distributors/supply of cane in all five sugar companies using two structured questionnaires consisting mainly of closed-ended questions. The study identified to a large extent that Kenya Sugar companies in western Kenya have not fully adopted the operations management practices. It also indicates that organization for quality practices, people and job designs, and process and services designs practices influences the perceived service quality. The study concludes that sugar companies lack understanding that full adoption of the operations management tools influences achievement of perceived service quality. Recommendations made were that Kenya sugar industry needs to focus on operations management practices to enhance reliability, responsiveness, assurance, quality and standard to meet customers‘ expectations. The study established that people and job designs, facilities improvements, and process and service designs practices are at the centre stage of achieving perceived service quality.The paper has provided insights into the adoption of operations management practices using survey data and provide further evidence that these practices are significant in enhancing service quality in the Kenya sugar industry. The study recommends that another study should be conducted covering a different sector of the economy in Kenya to give a broader perspective and also identify operations management practices that are specific to companies in certain industries within manufacturing industries.