FINAL PROJECT By Aleksey Narko Index: 18782 Subject: Quality Management
Company profile "Have you ever made lasagne? Well, it’s the same for skis… it’s no more complicated than that!” Julien Vigouroux, Sales Manager in Dynastar.Skis Rossignol like when things go downhill at least when their skis and snowboards do so.Being one of the biggest producers of Nordic, alpine equipment, snowboards as well asaccessories and outdoors the company unites the brands such as Rossignol, Dynastar, Lange, andLook. Moreover it has the longest company history in the industry which started in 1907. The products ofthe company have been worn by many Olympians and world champions since 1936 Winter Olympicgames. In 1972, Rossignol became the world’s leading ski manufacturer. Headquartered in Voiron, asmall town in southeastern France, the company was among the first to make skis in France and was anearly leader in ski technology and design. Rossignol has 2 factories in Europe (France and Spain) andDynastar factory in the US producing in total 850000 pairs of skis per year. By 2000, almost 40 percentof all downhill skis sold throughout the world were manufactured by Rossignol. The company is asubsidiary of Chartreuse & Mont Blanc, itself owned by Australias Macquarie Group. The key to thecompany’s success is continuous development process and investing money in new technologies in anunstable market with lots of competitors.Quality issues"A layer of paste, a layer of meat, a layer of béchamel sauce and cheese. That makes really good skis, we just have to heat it up and it all slides down all on its own!" Julien Vigouroux, Sales Manager in Dynastar.First skis were created by human beings around 4000-5000 years ago. These first skis wereprobably used for hunting, travelling, military maneuvers and practical means of transportation.First skis created for recreation were built in 1850s. At this time there were just few enthusiastswho were experimenting on constructing a new way to have fun. The skis got more popularity inthe early 1900s when its quick development process started to take place.First materials used to build skis were different kinds of wood such as ash, pine and larch chosenfor their flexibility and resilience. Than in order to protect wood it started to be laminated. Butthe progress didn’t stop at this point. Soon enough the ski manufacturers started to experimentwith different kinds of metal such as aluminum and even titanium, fiberglass, plastic, Kevlar,carbon, etc. Nowadays we can see a mixture of all these materials used in ski production. Thefacilities for ski production also changed a lot: from small sheds full of saws and hammers to themultimillion factories full of employees and clever machines. The main issue of Rossignolcompany is how to produce high-quality skis according to all the standards, tastes of thecustomers, change in fashion and design, “quickly-running” technologies, lots of competitors,etc.
The main quality issue for the ski-producing company like Rossignol is how to make good-quality skis and control all the processes of multimillion factories. They need to take care aboutthe design trends, have a look on their competitors to compare the products. Moreover they needto invest millions in research and development, improving the quality and usage of materials andusing new technologies. In the 21 century Rossignol factory mainly consists of high-technologymachines and people who operate them. How to control their performance? How to build durableskis that won’t break a month after buying? How to make the skis that would fit different peoplethat will be using them in a great variety of conditions? These are the important questions thatthe quality managers of Rossignol answer every day.Producing skis is quite similar to cooking lasagna. You never get a perfect dish from the firsttime. The same is happening with skis. The combination of the materials, form, size and otheraspects of production are checked all the time. This highly-technological process is verycomplicated. The first pairs of skis go through different tests to check their week and strongpoints and find the mistakes before actually being put on the production line in huge quantities.This is how the piece of wood becomes the piece of technological art.Quality Management problems and techniques."One thing is sure. We have to do something. We have to do the best we know how at the moment . . . ; If it doesnt turn out right, we can modify it as we go along." Franklin D.RooseveltHouse of qualityHouse of quality is a good technique to find the companies weak and strong points as well as tocompare it with the competitor’s effectiveness and find out what can and should be improved. Itshows the relationships between the customers desires and engineers (companies) capabilities.This technique can help Rossignol see their strengths and weaknesses and change in a better wayin order to get a bigger market share. First of all is to find the main competitors of the company.It has many of them, big almost fully-automized firms like Atomic, Fischer and Salomon to thesmall companies producing hand-made skis like Aluflex.According the World Cup brand Ranking 2006-2010, which shows the Ski Champions and theequipment they are using Rossignol takes the second place in the combined table of skimanufacturers. It shows that there are more men and women wearing Atomic skis and lesswearing Salomon ones compared to Rossignol.
This is why I have chosen these companies to be the main competitors for my company X(Rossignol) in the house of quality.When we take the part including customer requirements I have chosen the price, comfort,reliability, look and durability to be the most important. From the engineers’ perspective unitcost, quality, performance, design and durability are the most significant factors.Two circles represent strong correlation, one represents small correlation and line means nocorrelation at all.
A letter represents Atomic companyB is for SalomonX stands for RossignolThe price affects the performance of the skis a lot. The cheaper the skis the worse will be theirperformance in different conditions, because the quality of the materials would be not so goodand skis won’t go downhill as good as their more expensive competitors. The design is alsoinfluenced by the price. The less you pay for your skis the less attractive and fashionable theylook. Durability of the skis also depends on the quality of the materials and the price as welltherefore cheap skis usually live less than their expensive opponents.The comfort of the skis depends a lot on their quality. The better the materials used in theproduction process are the better you feel when you use your skis. The performance also affectscomfort a lot. The more problems you have when you go downhill the less comfortable you feel.Reliability depends a bit on the quality of the materials as well as the performance factor. Thebetter the quality of the ski materials and the more confident you feel when you use them themore you rely on them when having fun going on mountains and cliffs.The look of the skis depends a lot on the design and modern trends. Ski industry is like clothingone, both have designers that get their inspiration from daily life. It is also affected by the price.The more you pay-the more beautiful they are!Durability is dependent on the cost. But it is weak dependence because modern technologiesdon’t give almost any chance for even the cheapest skis to break unexpectedly. The moreimportant fact is the quality of the materials: either it is fiberglass with wood and carbon ortitanium with Kevlar and wooden base. Durability also depends a lot on the performance. It isquite natural: the better they perform- the longer they live. When we take into account competitive evaluation of the brands Rossignol has no competitionat all in their look and comfort they bring to their owners. They are modern, colorful, well-projected and designed. Moreover those skis appeal to different age groups from the very youngchildren to the older professionals. When it comes to comfort Rossignol is also the absolutewinner. They spend 13 million dollars on modernization of their factories for the period of 2012-2013. What for? To buy new machines and train their employees in order to bring theircustomers better, more comfortable skis.Rossignol got three when it comes to the price factor. Maybe because they value their brandname and don’t make any effort to change the formula: “quality not quantity”. Moreover most oftheir factories are situated in Europe where they are getting access to more qualified labor andquicker availability of new technologies which brings extra costs.Rossignol is on the 4th position when it comes to reliability and durability. It comes from the factthat not all 100% of customers are satisfied how the firm performs in those aspects. But thesefactors will never satisfy the customers- there is always a way to improve.
How can Rossignol improve their situation? From my point of view they can change the placesof Manufacture to the places with cheaper labor and better price and availability of naturalresources. These places can be found in Asia, such as China or India, but unfortunately they havetheir own drawbacks which are making the process more complicated. More important fact is toimprove the quality control in order to get better feedback from the customers and get newclients. The third feature is improving the experimental base while testing the skis. This meansimproving the relationship between the number of tests and the number of broken or bad-qualityskis. Another factor is employing more creative designers. In today’s world everything is basedon creativity, people want to be different from the others and look fashionable. That is why thenecessity for more creative stuff appears. Another factor that Rossignol can improve is to usenew, more durable and quality materials to make their skis “immortal” after long usage indifficult situations. According to the engineering perspective the most important factors in producing Rossignol skisare design and quality. The brand is extremely successful because it is working all the timeimproving the mixture of those elements, by using brand-new techniques, technologically-developed machines and professional workers in their production process. The other componentsthat got 4 points each are durability and performance. According to the customer’s feedback theyare very happy when it comes to Rossignol ski performance in different nature and weathersituations. Furthermore modern materials used in ski production nowadays almost never breakand fail to perform according to the expectations. Unit cost doesn’t care Rossignol manufacturersa lot. They are on a good price way offering the great variety of their customers goods of highprice and good prices compared to the competitors.
When it comes to the dependence between the factors, unit cost of the skis depends a lot on thequality of the materials used. This tendency is the same in all the products, not only skis.Performance of the skis depends on the quality and price which are strongly connected with eachother. The better, more expensive, quality skis you have-the better you feel when you use them.That is why the pair of skis used by the Olympic champions can easily cost more than a thousanddollars. Durability has also strong correlation with the quality, which is also natural. When thecompany uses the most advanced technologies and materials it can easily create strong and at thesame time flexible skis, which can be used even in the most difficult situations.Wheel of DemingIn the Rossi production of the skis employees implement also the quality technique known as thewheel of Deming which consists of four parts such as plan, do, check and act.Plan: First of all engineers, using computer programs, plan the skis should look like. It comes toeverything from the types of materials used, color and design of the skis to the time necessary tobake the skis in a special machine so that they perform well and be durable enough.Do: After planning a small sample of skis is produced for testing.Check: Than different types of tests take place. Engineers painstakingly check the finalproduct’s shape and flexibility, using special tests that measure the precise shape of the ski underdifferent loads, as well as measuring the strength of the ski every 5 cm along its length. If theskis are not within the special limits, the adjustments are made to the production line, rerun thetests until everything is ready for the main production process.Act: Once all the kinks in the production has been worked out, the factory goes into fullproduction, which is limited when it comes to the skis for the Olympiads and professionalsportsmen and consists of about 10 pairs coming out of each mold per day.Business process reengineeringRossignol Company is a very big organization with more than 1100 employees who work in 20sites worldwide. Company has 15 offices in Europe, North America and Asia. Rossignol’sannual turnover is 270m. In order to manage such a big organization the company needs good ITbase. But the problem with it was to combine all the decentralized IT services to a centrallocation in order to reduce the money spent on it without affecting the employee productivity andapplication performance. Each regional office of the company had its own IT resources. Therewas a lot of mess with this because of the great number of servers, enterprise planning systemsand domain controllers which were extremely difficult to control one by one. The idea was tocentralize in order to increase the ease of operating and reduce the exploding costs. The decision was made to use Riverbed technologies to centralize the Enterprise PlanningSystems to a central location and optimization of WAN performance. Wan in this case is thegeographically dispersed telecommunications network which is used by the Rossignol companyto store, transfer and exchange information.Riverbed Steelhead appliances helped the company optimize the WAN network and decrease thelatency associated with many file formats. After this improvement employees could get thenecessary document from the network in 4 seconds instead of 50 like it was before.Moreover the change in the IT eliminated the necessity to back up data by the local stuff; it isdone automatically at the end of the day by the new appliances. It means that the informationbecame more secure. Furthermore it also improved the application performance which nowenables the company employees do their job quicker and more effectively.
In addition the company implemented an e-commerce program 4 years ago with the help of theShopatron Company. E-commerce represents buying and selling products on-line. The companydecided to use this technique because it represents the fastest growing consumer sales channel inthe world. It is not surprising taking into consideration the growing number of computers andinternet being used nowadays. The program was mainly oriented for the retailers which werevery excited by the implementation of the new technique in the sales between them andRossignol. Moreover the program helped to improve partnership relations between both sides.Nevertheless the biggest result was seen from the sales side. They increased by 40%. Moreoverthe company got the ability to sell their products to the most important skiers and improve thetransparency of the whole selling process. The other important issue was that the retailersbecame more confident in a brand as their quality parts and products supplier.Both of these reengineering techniques were used mainly in order to reduce costs and increaseefficiency. If the company like Rossignol wants to be competitive at the market it needs to usemodern methods such as IT transformation and going online as business is never standing at oneplace, but continuously moving forward, especially in such an unstable field as sportgoodsproduction.Personal suggestions to the company:If I was the director in Rossignol Company I will put more emphasis in the quality control of mycompany. Of course it is extremely hard to exist in such an unstable industry were trends arechanging so rapidly, where you depend on the modern trends, research and development,designers and many other forces in order to create a product which is not perfect, but at leastvery close to being it.It was quite hard to find enough information about Rossignol quality management, maybebecause this is like the industry producing goods for the army, where there are lots ofcompetitors and everything is kept in secret. From my point of view the company should bemore open to the changes and their customers. They should listen to their feedback and improvetheir products according to it. They should try to implement more quality managementtechniques to become more competitive.For example Rossignol can use Six Sigma in the production process and set their goal to 3,4pairs of defective skis per million. Of course will be more difficult than with Motorola (thecompany that first implemented this technique) mobile phones as skis are bigger and moredifficult to transport and store. Moreover ski production is mostly mass-production businesswhere it is quite hard to implement such changes and get such perfect results.Moreover the company can easily use Kaizen technique to improve their quality and focus on theissues which are very important in delivering high-quality products to the customer such aspurchasing and logistics, as the mistakes are not only made in the production line, but alsooutside of the factory.All this techniques are very valuable in improving the quality of Rossignol products. Moreoverthe company should remember that the best way for the company is not to focus on onetechnique, but to combine and mix the usage of a number of different quality managementinstruments.