Eurocamp Travel

Eurocamp Travel

Short Case

Eurocamp Travel

Eurocamp Travel, which provides family camping holidays, has a reputation for the high-quality of its equipment and services, and has become market leader in this rapidly growing holiday sector. In recent years, sales offices have been opened in the Netherlands and Germany, and Eurocamp’s geographic coverage has been extended from its original French sites to include sites throughout Europe. As the business has become larger and more complex, the demands placed on the office systems have also become greater, reinforcing the need for functional specialization of staff, yet requiring more interdepartmental understanding and cooperation. When it became clear that Eurocamp’s service package could be copied by competitors eager to attract premium customers, the company decided to reinforce quality at every stage in their process. This was, they believed, the main criterion that already differentiated Eurocamp, and this was also potentially the most difficult for lower priced competitors to follow. A consultant was brought in to facilitate a major quality improvement programme. This was conceived as a ‘top-down’ approach, whereby important projects were identified and tackled by trained teams, But soon it became apparent that these early projects were not achieving the anticipated sustainable improvements. It also became clear that the failure was largely the result of only involving senior managers, who could not devote the time required to projects, and did not fully understand the process concerned. Those employees who did have a very detailed understanding of the process had been excluded from problem definition, evaluation and implementation of changes. So, the company launched their quality management system (QMS) initiative. Each department established a quality steering committee which comprised at least one director, a trained facilitator and volunteers from every grade of employee. The emphasis at this stage was on the identification and improvement of internal processes with further emphasis on satisfying the internal customer. Early success demonstrated the validity of this approach and generated a high level of enthusiasm throughout the company.

Questions

1Why are the differences between the first ‘top-down‘ attempt, and the second attempt at establishing a quality initiative?

2What do you think are the main advantages and problems with the more participative approach?