Exploring Information Technology and Total Quality Management Implementation by Food and Drink Manufacturing Enterprises

Exploring Information Technology and Total Quality Management Implementation by Food and Drink Manufacturing Enterprises

Sofia Zioupou (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece), Basil Manos (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece), Zacharoula Andreopoulou (Department of Forestry and Natural Environment, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece) and Eirini Tzimitra-Kalogianni (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/IJAEIS.2019070101
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The purpose of this study was to examine the implementation of Total Quality Management (TQM) as a business strategy in the Greek food and drink industry, along with the examination of the Information Technology (IT) adoption in the field. A research project was carried out in the sector companies based in Greece, using the questionnaire method. Findings showed a strong relation between IT implementation and impact of IT on TQM. Company size also seemed to affect TQM implementation, and the majority of IT implementation constructs, while company performance was not significant in terms of net profit margin and value added per employee.
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1. Introduction

According to Gabriel et al. (2000), the term Information Technology (IT) is used to describe a set of instruments, other than computers, machines and systems for collecting, storing, processing and communicating information. Furthermore, IT refers to anything related to computing technology, such as networking, hardware, software, the Internet, or the people that work with these technologies (Christensson, 2006). Since the 1980s, IT has been a facilitator of change in the business world, advancing processing speeds and the capacity to store and share information through seamless integration of an organization’s processes and systems (Davenport, 1998), irrespective of time and distance (Chandiwana & Pather, 2016). As stated by Lee (2005), IT is reshaping business performance and economic growth globally, by reducing the cost of coordination, communication, and information processing.

The modernization of enterprises (both manufacturing and service providers) through the use of IT, is a critical factor for their success, competitiveness and growth. As larger businesses are exploring the benefits offered through IT, the smaller ones are called to follow their steps, risking otherwise of not being competitive (European Commission, 2017). Moreover, an improvement of the quality management is expected via the application of IT (Khanam et al., 2014).

Porter and Millar (1985), recorded three ways in which IT influence competition, offering a comparative advantage (McFarlan, 1984) to companies that use them. More specifically, have led to changes in the structure and competition of industries, used to support the creation of new businesses and create competitive advantage for the companies using IT, so to outweigh their competition.

On the other hand, the concept of quality is hard to be defined, based on the literature. It is worth noting that even the quality gurus who have dealt with the theory in depth (Crosby, 1979; Deming, 1986; Garvin, 1984; Juran, 1988; Juran & Gryna, 1993) have defined quality in their own specific way. As an example, researchers notice that the English Oxford Living Dictionary (English Oxford living Dictionaries, 2016) defines quality as “a degree or level of excellence”, while the definition given by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the American Society for Quality Control (ASQC) is “the totality of characteristics of a product or service that is capable of satisfying given needs”. Garvin (1988) in his book “Managing Quality - The Strategic and Competitive Edge” highlights the peculiarity of the definition of quality, describing the concept as “an unusually slippery concept”, which is easy to depict, but also extremely difficult to define. For Feigenbaum (1983) quality is defined as “being about value”, while Crosby (1979) defines quality as “conformance to standards, specifications or requirements”. On the other hand, Juran (1988) suggests that quality is “fitness for use”, while Peters and Waterman (1982) claim “quality as excellence” and Parasuraman et al. (1985) suggest that “quality is concerned with meeting or exceeding customer expectations”.

The available literature includes numerous studies regarding the adoption of TQM by Greek companies (Bouranta et al., 2017; Dervitsiotis, 1999; Fotopoulos & Psomas, 2009; Gotzamani et al., 2006; Kampouridis et al., 2015; Psychogios & Wilkinson, 2007; Tsiotras & Gotzamani, 1996; Vranaki et al., 2015). In the present study, an attempt is made to approach the relationship between IT and TQM, particularly in food and drink companies based in Greece.

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