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CASE STUDY

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
1 Why are the differences between the first ‘top-down‘ attempt, and the second
attempt at establishing a quality initiative?
2 What do you think are the main advantages and problems with the more
participative approach?
Answer
Eurocamp Travel

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

There are two important points about this case. Firstly that Eurocamp recognized one
of the important aspects of a TQM approach that all parts of an organisation have a
role to play in ensuring high quality. Second, like many organisations they try
differing initiatives to improve quality, some work and some don’t. This in itself can
undermine TQM initiatives. TQM has itself to be done right first time too!

The key differences between the first attempt and second attempt are as follows:

First attempt Second attempt

Leadership Used a consultant Company-led


Overseen by Senior managers Departments
Team composition Senior managers All grades of employees
Team selection Selected Voluntary
Training Used trained teams Used trained facilitators
Understanding of processes Little Great
Focus ‘Important’ projects Internal processes
Approach ‘top-down’ ‘bottom-up’
Sustainability Momentum not sustained High level enthusiasm
Success unsuccessful successful

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

Advantages:

• involved all employees


• included the people who knew most about the processes
• it is in the interest of those employees to have the internal process problems
resolved
• non-threatening and inclusive
• sustainable and successful

Problems:

• the problems may not be solvable by ‘low level’ teams


• employees will be demoralized if changes do not take place
• spending time on the projects will reduce the time spent on actual jobs
• employees may choose to work on inappropriate or unimportant issues.