- By Dr. Jagat Mangaraj, Principal,
Institute of Hotel Management,Ahmedabad.
10th June, 2013. Hospitality Biz India.
Quite often I receive the feed back from the hotel Industry that the Institutes of hotel management do not produce quality manpower. These repeated complaints from the Industry really worries me. The complaints are many and different. Then I thought of the other professional educational Institutes like the IITs and IIMs and I tried to find out whether the relevant industry has the same view about the IITs & IIMs. I found that the 1st IIT was established in the year 1951 and the 1st IIM was established in the year 1961. The 1st IHM was established in Mumbai in 1954. Out of these mentioned educational institutes, IITs and IIMs have established themselves at the International level as the centers of excellence since then. But the IHMs are yet to achieve the same recognition & excellence that the IITs and IIMs have achieved. The IITs & the IIMs have started with the graduate programs and went on to add post graduate programs and subsequently Ph D programmes. But IHMs had started with 03yrs diploma programme and could not even upgraded in to 4 yrs degree programme, the masters programme still struggling to find its identity in the hotel industry. While analyzing the complaints of the Industry about the quality products from IHM, the concept of Six Sigma came to my mind. I thought if the concept of Six Sigma can be applied to few hotels then why it should not be applied to the IHMs so that the deficiencies if any in producing quality manpower, can be minimized or eliminated.
Six Sigma was developed in 1981, now has widespread application in many sectors of Industry. Whenever this Six Sigma concept was introduced to a new sector it attracted controversy, even when it was introduced to the hotels, it too had controversy regarding its applicability. Few hotels in India has applied the concept of Six Sigma successfully. As a member of the teaching fraternity in hospitality education I personally feel that six sigma can be applied to the IHMs in its customized format.
It should be reminded that the Six Sigma was designed to improve the manufacturing process while eliminating the defects. The hospitality educational organizations should not be understood as manufacturing units in commercial terms that produce man power for the relevant industry, but at the same time it should be understood that the products here are trained human beings who are readily available to undertake the operation in hospitality sector. The philosophy of six sigma stresses on the steps like-
- (i) Continuous efforts to achieve sustainable and predictable goals. (the goal in IHMs is mainly to impart a standard quality hospitality education consistently at any given point of time to produce quality man power for hospitality industry at all levels)
- (ii) The manufacturing process and business process should have the characteristics that can be measured, analyzed, developed and controlled. (in IHMs the selection process of students for admission is not ideal as the selected students are in a heterogeneous group in terms of potential and aptitude. The process of induction, grooming, motivating & effective training & retraining to match the international standard)
- (iii) Strong commitment from the entire Organization (especially from top level Mgt. Of IHMs) to achieve sustainable quality improvement in infrastructure and to retain qualitatively dedicated faculty to run the market driven curriculum)
Apart from the above initiatives, few other steps also could be considered.
- • Focus on achieving measurable and quantifiable returns. (set standards in potential in the students, performance and quality placements of the students)
- • Emphasis on strong and passionate leadership. (passion & authority on the subject-curriculum, dynamic, innovative in functional results)
- • Special creation of infrastructure like (champions, Master Black Belts, Black belts Greenbelts, yellow belts) to lead and implement the Six Sigma concept in IHMs. These champions may be the quality chefs, the efficient food & beverage managers, the efficient accommodation managers who would undergo the six sigma training for the IHMs.
- • These champions may act as the mentors for the coaches of the individual IHM. These coaches would be branded as the Master black belts in IHMs.
- • A strong commitment to take decision on the basis of verifiable data, rather than assumptions and guess works. (information about the potential & performance of the students and the faculty during the training and the details of the deficiencies, the appropriateness of the training methodologies in the IHMs to achieve the objectives).
The probable DMAIC methodology in IHMs.
- DMAIC is an acronym involving define, measure, analyze, improve and control.
- • Defining the problems (a) Expectation of the hospitality market from the IHMs and the ability (%) of the IHMs to deliver the same. (b) Specific goals of the IHMs (to produce the chefs/food beverage professionals in 03 yrs training duration, who could be directly absorbed as the working regular chefs/food &beverage professionals in hotels and the relevant industry.
- • Measuring the key functions of the present education/training process in IHMs and collection of its relevant data in terms of delivery to the students.
- • Analysis of the relevant data to find out the Cause & effect relationship in IHMs. (quality training and quality students) and Finding out the root causes of the defects under investigation.
- • Improve the present process (teaching and learning) based on analysis of the data using different techniques, setting up pilot run to establish process capability in IHMs.
- • Controlling future process to ensure that any deviations from targets are corrected before they result in defects. These customized control systems could be implemented in IHMs such as statistical process control, practical supervision on spot, and monitoring the process continuously by coaches/black belts.
Implementation of Six Sigma in IHMs
- The implementation of Six Sigma in IHMs is really critical. Six Sigma has the martial art terminology to define the hierarchy/career path that cut across all business functions. In IHMs even the same martial art terminologies can be introduced like Champions, Master Black belts, Black belts, Green belts & yellow belts (these terminologies are the names of the experts in the IHMs) for successful implementation.
Role of executive leadership in implementation of six sigma.
The executive leadership includes the CEO and the other members of the top Management of IHMs. They are responsible for setting up a vision for Six Sigma implementation in IHMs. The executive leadership should also empower the other role holders with freedom and resources to explore new ideas for break though improvements like right from the selection process of the students for the Course, designing of the course curriculum, process of conducting the theoretical assignments and the practical assignments, motivational training, retraining and innovation in training.
The champion, Master Black belts, Black belts, Green belts & yellow belts etc.) must take the responsibility for the implementation of the Six Sigma across all the IHMs, in an integrated manner. These champions act as the mentor to the Black Belts. Just like there should be set of champion Chef, Food and Beverage Manager, Front office manager and House keeper (best in the business) who would train the Black Belts (experts Chef, F&B service experts and the experts in the House keeping and in Front office in the IHMs). These champions and experts down the line must train the faculty members in the same direction that leads to the vision of the executive leadership.
The Master Black Belts identified by the champions would act as the in house coaches in all the Core functional departments of IHMs. These in house coaches of core department should devote 100% of their time to the development and training of the faculty members. These master Black belts should assist the champions and guide the black belts and green belt members and should ensure the full application of the Six Sigma in the all core functional department and subjects in IHMs.
Black Belts operate under master black belts for the application of Six Sigma in specific core functions and core departments. In the IHMs the core department may be Food production, F&B service, Accommodation etc. They are exclusively responsible for execution of Six Sigma in IHMs.
Quality Management Tools In Six Sigma.
Within the DMAIC, six sigma utilizes few quality management tools which are also used outside of six sigma. The notable tools which can be applied to the IHMs are – (5 whys) and variance analysis. As further studies on six sigma are undertaken on IHMs, suitable management tools for six sigma in IHMs would be identified.
The concept of six sigma when applied to the institutes of hotel managements it would be interesting to observe the responses in the IHMS, especially the HR practices, work cultures, training methods and the industry’s willingness to accept the manpower produced by IHMs after six sigma implementation. But any how these Institutes should be brought to the level of international excellence.
This method is a probable one and few other methods may be discussed, once the six sigma concept is applied in the Institutes of hotel management in India.