AN ASSESSMENT OF THE APPLICATION OF STATISTICAL QUALITY CONTROL IN THE PROVISION OF QUALITY OF SERVICES: A CASE OF KENYA POWER LTD, NAKURU SUB-REGION

ABSTRACT 
Statistical Quality Control has been widely used in the manufacturing field for decades. It has enabled the use of one or more control charts to control production processes statistically and prevent quality problems without undue delay. However, it is until only recently that SQC has been applied in the services sector. This study applied statistical quality control (SQC) to assess the customer’s experience of quality as offered by Kenya Power Ltd. It also sought to determine whether or not the services of the company were in statistical control. The study was designed as a survey. The population consisted of 65,830 customers within Nakuru town and its environs from which four hundred customers were sampled. The sample population was stratified so that 286 were domestic consumers while the remaining 114 were non-domestic consumers. Stratified random sampling was used. The collected data was coded and summarized in the form of tables and entered into the SPSS program. Customers’ experiences were obtained and used to draw control charts, which were analyzed. It was found that the customers’ experience of service as regards the restoration of supply after settlement of unpaid dues is not in statistical control for both domestic and non-domestic consumers. As regards the disconnection of supply for closed accounts, the service was found to be in statistical control. However the process capability analysis index for the domestic category much higher (1.66) than that for non-domestic consumers (0.1346). As regards the refund of deposit for closed accounts, the service was found to be in statistical control for both categories of users. However, in both categories the process capability analysis index was found to be less than 0.2. Finally, as regards the restoration of supply after unplanned interruptions, the service was found to be out of statistical control for both domestic and non-domestic consumers. These results are a severe indictment of the qualities of service of Kenya Power. The implication for the managers of service processes at Kenya Power is that they must ensure optimal service quality in the firm. In particular, urgent steps must be taken to identify the root cause or causes of special variation that result in service invariability and instability. This study calls for the intensified use of statistical quality control tools in the utility services sector and particularly at Kenya Power, as a means of monitoring quality and production, and enabling the firm to take timely and appropriate action to correct undesirable deviation in production quality.

CHAPTER ONE 
INTRODUCTION 
Background to the Study 
The concept of quality is one that has existed for several decades now though it’s concept has metamorphosed with time. In the early twentieth century, quality management meant inspecting products to ensure that design specifications were met. In the intervening periods between the 1940s and 50s, quality became more statistical in nature. Statistical sampling techniques were used to assess quality, and quality control charts were drawn to monitor production processes (Hossain, 2008; Mukherjee, 2012). In the 1960s, the concept took on a broader meaning, thanks to the work of the famous quality gurus in the likes of Feignebaum, Crosby, Ishikawa and Taguchi. Quality began to be viewed as something that encompassed the entire organization and not only the production process. Since all functions were responsible for the quality of a product, all of them shared the costs of poor quality. In the 1970’s and 80’s, manufacturers in the auto and consumer goods industry of the US lost substantial market share due to foreign competition. These foreign competitors produced lower-priced goods with unmatched superior quality. To survive, companies made far-reaching changes to their quality programs. Consultants were hired and companies instituted intense quality training programs for their employees. Unwittingly, a new concept of quality was emerged. One result is that quality took on a strategic meaning. Successful companies operating in the contemporary world understand that quality provides a competitive advantage. They have further appreciated that by defining quality as meeting or exceeding customer expectations, they place the customer first (Mauch, 2010). 

Quality control is even more important in the utility services sector because production and consumption are inseparable, i.e. the customer and the firm interact. Utility services companies include those that provide oil, gas, water, and electricity. One of the most prominent utility service companies in Kenya is Kenya Power. Kenya Power (KP) is responsible for transmission, distribution and retail of electricity throughout Kenya. The company owns and operates the national transmission and distribution grid, and is responsible for scheduling and dispatching electricity to more than two million customers throughout Kenya. The Company's services are targeted at individual and corporate customers and operates through a network of branches in four regions. These are Nairobi, Mount Kenya, Coast and West Kenya (Africa Tech News, 2013). 

Kenya Powers’ roots can be traced to the defunct East African Power and Lighting Company (EAP&L) which existed back in 1922. EAP&L’s mandate covered the East African region since the company had obtained generating and distribution licenses for Uganda and Kenya and had a controlling interest in the Tanganyika Electricity Supply Company Limited (TANESCO). In 1948, the Ugandan Government established The Uganda Electricity Board (UEB) to take over distribution of electricity in the country. Later in 1964, EAP&L sold its majority stockholding in TANESCO to the Government of Tanzania. With its operations confined only to Kenya, EAP&L was renamed The Kenya Power and Lighting Company Limited (KPLC) in 1983. In June 2011, Kenya Power and Lighting Company Limited was rebranded to Kenya Power. 

In recent times, many companies have embraced quality management programs to ensure quality control (Njau, 2011). At Kenya Power, the company has instituted initiatives aimed at improving quality services such as business process reengineering (BPR), rebranding and obtain ISO 9000:2000 certification. In addition, it has also come up with Service Delivery Standards and Timelines (Appendix C) for its various services. Amongst many other things, the service delivery charter states that unplanned supply interruption must be restored within eight (8) hours of reporting, reconnection after disconnection to be made within twenty-four (24) hours after payment and construction of a new supply within 3 days after payment. However, despite these endeavors, many customers have consistently centreexpressed dissatisfaction with the quality of service received from Kenya Power (Moraa, Etyang, & Mwabu, 2011).

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Item Type: Kenyan Postgraduate Material  |  Attribute: 61 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: KSh900  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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