Manzini Municipality Gets Top Recognition in 2021 Quality Awards
…awarded for Company of the Year, Service of the Year, Conformity Assessment Body of the Year. Also got top award at SADC level in 2020
The Municipal Council of Manzini was last Friday nationally recognized for its success, commitment and value to its Quality Management System (QMS). This happened during the 2021 Eswatini Quality Awards wherein the Municipality took centre stage by becoming overall winners in three out of six categories namely: Company of the Year Award, Service of the Year Award (large enterprise) and Conformity Assessment Body (testing) of the Year Award. Moreover, the Municipality received its SADC 2020 Service of the Year Award (large enterprise) which it could not collect in Tanzania last year due to travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The local annual awards seek to foster business excellence through sustained application of productivity and quality principles amongst organisations and business enterprises in the country. In 2015, Council took a strategic decision to adopt and implement quality management systems. As a result, the Municipality is ISO 9001:2015 certified and is at an advanced stage towards ISO/IEC 17025:2017 accreditation.
The ISO 9001:2015 standard is implemented across the organization while the ISO/IEC 17025:2017 standard is specific to quality management in the Municipality’s microbiological testing laboratory. The Municipality’s focus on quality has been team work and ensuring everyone is committed to achievement of all the set quality objectives. The Municipality understands that quality has a direct impact on customer satisfaction and, indeed, the results of a recent external customer satisfaction survey (2020/2021 financial year) have indicated significant improvement in customer satisfaction on most of the municipal service categories. The quality management system focuses on customer satisfaction; the goal being achievement and maintenance of customer confidence through identifying and responding to their requirements and expectations as well as consistently measuring customer perceptions on service delivery.
…BENEFITS OF HAVING A QUALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
The QMS is aligned to the Municipality’s strategic direction, mission and vision and is set up in a way that fully supports staff, processes and business. Studies, globally, have shown that QMS implementation yields greater return on investment and that ISO adopters have higher rates of corporate survival, employment growth and general sustainability than non-adopters. Indeed the Municipality has over the years been reaping a number of benefits from the QMS, including the following;
The Municipality has been able to instil employee inclusion and participation in the implementation of the ISO 9001:2015 Standard and has made employee interaction at all levels of the organizational structure to be a quality experience. Effective and adequate internal communication by top management has become a norm within the Municipality and appropriate communication processes have been established to enable both top-down and bottom-up communication. Senior leadership drives a positive employee experience and emphasizes the importance of two-way communication. As a Municipality we have also adopted a customer-centric approach wherein we continuously engage our customers through service delivery feedback and after-service care (including follow-ups to customer service requests). After addressing customer service requests we take customer satisfaction ratings specifically on the delivered service in order to establish how well we have serviced the customer. That helps us improve on service delivery. Moreover, the Municipality conducts periodic stakeholder engagement activities through various platforms for purposes of discussing service delivery and city development oriented initiatives.
The QMS has enabled an improvement in the Municipality’s operational efficacy and service delivery consistency. The QMS defines the best practices for all the Municipality’s business processes; from quality planning to management review. The Municipality’s procedures and monitoring and evaluation system prescribe a series of checks and balances in order to minimize risks and non-conformances; and, instead, maximize efficiencies. The focus is on achieving stability in municipal service delivery and aligning efforts towards meeting customer requirements and expectations. Operational consistency and efficiency offer other measurable benefits such as reduced process output turnaround times, fewer customer complaints and superior forecasting ability; which saves costs.
*Evidence-Based Decision Making:
The QMS has created standardized processes that add value and promote flexibility towards the achievement of quality objectives. The QMS encourages flexibility in the adoption of evidence-based decision-making; which is based on real time oversight into systems and data while removing subjectivity in providing an objective understanding of whether a process is successful or requires correction. This data is compared to the desired outcomes and organizational quality objectives. Furthermore, for purposes of reducing the amount of time and resources spent on documentation, which is key for evidence generation, the Municipality ensures that its documentation system is compliant with all laws and regulations and that it supports, and not stifle, the different QMS activities.
*Elimination of Resource Wastage:
The Municipality has over the years experienced a drastic reduction in wastage of resources. Through implementation of the QMS, the Municipality is able to prevent problems throughout the service lifecycle by providing tools to identify issues before they result in rework, waste or non-conformances. Furthermore, through bi-annual Management Review meetings, the quality management system is reviewed holistically and close-gap suggestions pronounced.
Continual improvement in service delivery is a permanent objective of the Municipality. Adopting a QMS has resulted in a shift in organizational culture and ushered in long lasting benefits such as stronger performance, strategic leadership and staff engagement. The Municipality has multiple customer feedback platforms at the disposal of customers. All customer service requests are properly recorded, processed and feedback given to the customer. Where the Municipality experiences difficulty in positively responding to a customer request, quality circles are held for purposes of diagnosing the cause of the challenge and finding solutions. A culture of constant problem solving and innovation has been created through training of employees on the plan-do-check-act cycle. Furthermore, the Municipality’s procedures support the use of regular internal and external audits and assessments against the QMS framework. All of this results in consistent service delivery improvement.
…RECENT STORM: MUNICIPALITY FIXING DAMAGED ROADS
The recent above normal rainfall had a terrible effect on the city’s roads infrastructure. A number of surfaced roads, particularly the ones that are too old and have outlived their useful life, were left with gaping holes. Gravel roads were also extensively damaged. Some residences experienced flooding as a result of blocked storm water drains. The Municipal Council of Manzini would like to assure residents and all other stakeholders that it has conducted a citywide inspection and has already started attending to the road damages, albeit in a phased approach; beginning with those that were extensively damaged. Road users are requested to exercise patients as the Municipality responds to the unforeseen disaster. Those whose property accesses were affected are encouraged to continue reporting to the Municipality through its 24/7 Call Centre (800 2004/2505 7000) and other customer feedback platforms such as Manzini News Facebook and WhatsApp (7808 2333) so that they can be prioritized. Motorists are also urged to drive with caution during this massive road maintenance period. It is anticipated that the roads will soon be back to their normal riding quality.