Quality at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company
Ritz-Carlton. The name alone evokes images of luxury and quality. As the first hotel company to win the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the Ritz teats quality as if it is the heartbeat of the company. This means daily commitment to meeting customer expectations and making sure that each hotel is free of any deficiency.
In the hotel industry, quality can be hard to quantify. Guests do not purchase a
product when they stay at the Ritz: ‘They buy an experience’. Thus, creating the right combination of elements to make the experience stand out is the challenge and goal of every employee, from maintenance to management.
Before applying for the Baldrige Award, company management undertook a
rigorous self-examination of its operations in an attempt to measure and quantify quality.
Nineteen processes were studied, including room service delivery, guest reservation and registration, message delivery, and breakfast service. This period of self-study included statistical measurement of the process work flows and cycle times for areas ranging from room service delivery times and reservations to valet parking and housekeeping efficiency. The results were used to develop performance benchmarks against which future activity could be measured.
With specific, quantifiable targets in place, Ritz-Carlton managers and employees now focus on continuous improvement. The goal is 100% customer satisfaction: If a guest’s experience does not meet expectations, Ritz-Carlton risks losing that guest to competition.
One way the company has put more meaning behind its quality efforts is to
organize its employees into “self-directed” work teams. Employee teams determine work scheduling, what work needs to be done, and what to do about quality problems in their own areas. In order that they can see the relationship of their specific area to the overall goals, employees are also given the opportunity to take additional training...