1.1   Background to the study

        Business holds significant importance in society because it is essential for the society's survival. Businesses provide the society with the essential goods and services needed for daily life, all while aiming to make a profit. Consequently, business becomes a vital driver of growth and development for any society (Bhat, 2009). One of the primary objectives of every business is to ensure customer satisfaction by producing high-quality goods and services. In today's highly competitive economy, businesses must strategize to survive in the market. Various strategies are adopted to gain a competitive advantage over rivals, and Total Quality Management (TQM) is one such approach.

The concept of quality has been a subject of debate, with differing opinions on its definition and execution. Some scholars view quality as a way of conducting activities to meet required standards and eliminate waste, while others consider it as a product or service characteristic that guarantees its superiority over competitors (Porter, 1985). In this context, quality is defined as the positive value of a product or service in terms of its adherence to requirements, suitability for use, and potential to ensure satisfaction (Peter, 1987). Quality is assessed based on a product's ability to meet standards and requirements. Manufacturing companies often set minimum production standards, but consumer demands often influence these requirements.

Product quality can be influenced by factors such as product design, manufacturing quality, and product reliability. Additionally, the quality of goods can be assessed in terms of durability, efficiency, price, and after-sales support. For instance, the Sale of Goods Ordinance "SGO" states that goods must be of satisfactory quality, fit for the seller's stated purpose, as described on the package or display sign, and correspond with the sample. Consequently, companies often adopt the Total Quality Management (TQM) strategy to meet these requirements. Quality management encompasses all activities that ensure conformity to these requirements.

TQM is not limited to just operations management; it is a universal concept applicable in various management aspects. TQM is a management philosophy that aims to integrate all organizational functions (marketing, finance, design, engineering, production, customer service, etc.) to focus on meeting customer needs and organizational objectives. It is a comprehensive management approach that extends across an organization horizontally, involving all departments and employees, and extends both backward and forward to include suppliers and clients or customers. TQM is just one of many acronyms used to describe management systems with a focus on quality. It emphasizes that organizations must continuously strive to improve their processes by incorporating the knowledge and experiences of their workers.

The study seeks to investigate how Total Quality Management (TQM) impacts the performance of Champion Breweries Plc in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

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1.2   Statement of the Problem                 

        In today's competitive business environment, quality is of paramount importance. Quality and productivity have both emerged as critical factors that can determine the success or failure of a business. However, the primary focus often centers on achieving the desired level of quality, which can be a challenging endeavor for many organizations.

Existing research has identified ineffective quality measurements and poor product or service quality as factors that can lead to customer dissatisfaction, ultimately affecting an organization's performance. Every customer is typically concerned about the quality of the products they consume. Quality is a key factor influencing customer patronage and repeat consumption of a product. It is widely believed that a consumer who experiences poor product quality is unlikely to make repeat purchases of the same product. Organizations that rely on consumers for increased profitability may face issues such as low sales turnover and overall poor performance if they fail to effectively manage the quality of their products.

Total Quality Management (TQM) has been recognized as one of the most effective approaches to ensuring the best quality of products and services. It is on this basis that this study has been conducted to investigate the impact of TQM on the performance of Champion Breweries in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

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1.3   Objectives of the study

        The main objective of the study is to discover the relationship between TQM and the performance of Champion Breweries Plc, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. The specific objectives are to:

(i)     Examine the relationship between efficient product quality management and the profitability of Champion Breweries Plc, Uyo.

(ii)    Examine the relationship between product taste and customers’ patronage in Champion Breweries Plc, Uyo.

(iii)   Examine the relationship between effective product design and the sales turnover of Champion Breweries Plc, Uyo.

1.4   Research Questions

        The following research questions have been formulated in line with the above objectives of the study.

(i)     Is there any significant relationship between efficient product quality management and the profitability of Champion Breweries Plc?

(ii)    Is there any significant relationship between product taste and customers’ patronage in Champion Breweries Plc?                           

(iii)   Is there any significant relationship between effective product design and the sales turnover of Champion Breweries Plc?

1.5   Research Hypotheses

H1:   There is no significant relationship between efficient product quality management and the profitability of Champion Breweries Plc, Uyo.

H2:   There is no significant relationship between product taste and customers’ patronage in Champion Breweries Plc., Uyo.

H3:   There is no significant relationship between product design and performance of Champion Breweries Plc., Uyo.

1.6   Significance of the study

        This study will be beneficial to both customers, leaders of business organizations and potential business managers as the issue of quality is increasingly becoming a thing of concern among business stakeholders. Organizations who are interested in improving the quality of their products will find this research useful. Also, this research will serve as a source of information or reference material to both students of Business Management and others who might want to carry out a research in related area of study.

1.7   Scope and Limitation of the study

        This study focuses of Total Quality Management and the Performance of Champion Breweries Plc., Uyo. An in-depth examination of the methods employed by the organization in its operations, its quality management techniques and other relevant issues is carried out.

        Hindrances to the successful completion of this study were; insufficient funds for carrying out the research and hike in the cost of transportation due to the economic situation of the nation.

Time was also a limiting factor as the research was carried on along with tests, class assignments, and even semester examinations simultaneously. Even with all these limitations, the researcher was able to make the best use of data collected in producing a good study that contributed to knowledge.

1.8   Historical Background of Champion Breweries Plc, Uyo

        Champion Breweries Plc. was incorporated in Nigeria as a Private Limited Liability Company on the 31st July 1974 and converted to a Public Limited Company in 1983. The company is engaged in the brewing, bottling and selling of the beer and non-alcoholic drinks, and they are the makers of Champion Lager Beer and Champ Malta.            

The company is located at Industrial Layout, Aka Offot, Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. Being a brewery company, Champion Breweries Plc, Uyo has been engaged in one form of quality management practice and the other. This is the most reason why the organization was selected as a case study for this work.    

As at recent, the company just concluded, plans to increase its capital base in order to enhance competitiveness and ensure growth and profitability.

1.9 Definition of Terms

        The following terms have been defined as used in the work.

Total Quality Management (TQM): It refers to management methods used to enhance quality and productivity in business organizations.

Strategy: A strategy is an integrated plan through which an organization accomplishes its objectives.

Quality: It refers to production of goods/services that has attended a level of excellence, well made for the satisfaction of customers. 

Manager: A manager is someone saddled with the full responsibility of steering the affairs of an organization towards the achievement of the organization’s goals.

Customer/Consumer: A person who purchases goods from a businessman or a company for his/her private use.

Product/Goods: Consumers buy goods not only for their use value but also to satisfy a variety of emotional need.

Product Design: This refers to the features of a product.

Product Durability: In the manufacturing industry, demands on functionality, user reliability, and technical durability of materials and products are steadily increasing. Importantly, such demands need to be combined with cost-effectiveness, minimized environmental impact, and shorter lead times.

Customers’ Patronage: This is a term used in marketing and retailing. It is the share of an individual consumer’s expenditures in an industry or retail sector that is spent at one company. It is the amount that a person spends at one company divided by the amount that person spends at all companies in the industry.

Quality Control: The inspection analysis and other relevant acts taken to provide control over what is being done, manufactured, or fabricated, so that a desirable level of quality is achieved and maintained.

Quality Certification: The formal assertion in writing that a commodity, service or other products has attained a recognized and relatively high grade or level of excellence.

Product Taste: This refers to the sensory impression of a given product that is determined mainly by the chemical senses of taste and smell.