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Employee Retention of Frasca International

Employee Retention of Frasca International

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Employee Retention of Frasca International
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Pratik Kukreja
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pratikkk
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Employee Retention of Frasca International - April 9th, 2011

Frasca International, Inc., is a United States manufacturer of flight simulation training devices, with over 2200 training devices delivered in approximately 80 countries throughout the world[2]. Now based in Urbana, Illinois, Frasca International was founded in Champaign, IL in 1958 by current president Rudy Frasca. Frasca manufactured training devices are used in all segments of the aviation industry, but are perhaps best known for their extensive use in many prominent college aviation programs, including Purdue University, Indiana State University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, University of North Dakota, Louisiana Tech University, University of Illinois, and Western Michigan University.

The market-oriented philosophy in marketing and management literature has emphasized
customer satisfaction and loyalty as sources of performance and profitability (e.g. Deshpandé, Farley
and Webster, 1993; Foster, Gupta and Sjoblom, 1996; Jaworski and Kohli, 1993; Knox, 1998; Oakland
and Oakland, 1998; Slater and Narver, 1996). However, the customer orientation seldom reaches the
operational level of business processes in theory or practice. Process-oriented management teachings
such as activity based management (Turney, 1992), total quality management (Creech, 1994; Mizuno,
1992), business process re-engineering (Earl and Khan, 1994), continuous improvement (Davenport,
1993), lean management (Taylor, 1999; Vollmann, Berry and Whybark, 1997) and supply chain
management (Shapiro and Heskett, 1985) have traditionally focused on enhancing the efficiency of
processes within organizations. While a number of scholars have raised the role of the customer in the
improvement of business processes (Jones and Sasser, 1995, Kohli and Jaworski, 1990, Slater and
Narver, 1994, 1996), these teachings have also been criticized for being rhetoric and not paying enough
genuine attention to the customer (e.g. Wood, 1997). In short, despite their development towards
increased customer focus, these ‘engineering’ approaches essentially concentrate on processes as such
and do not appear to provide sufficient support to focus on the issues that are important to the
customer.
This paper argues for a customer-focused approach to the improvement of business processes by
developing a construction which systematically utilizes customer feedback in form of complaints to
achieve process improvements both at strategic and operational levels. The basic idea is that it is not
enough to make the complaining customer satisfied, but that the complaint information should feed
back to the actual processes where the fault causing the complaint arose and where it can be removed,
thus avoiding further similar errors. This thinking is essentially utilizing the ideas of a learning system
(Checkland, 2000) and feedback loops that balance the variety between the environment and the
operations (Beer, 1985). While complaint management has been addressed in the previous literature
(e.g. Boshoff, 1997, 1998; Brown, Cowles and Tuten, 1996; Feinberg, Widdows, Hirsch-Wyncott and
Trappey, 1990; Hart, Heskett and Sasser, 1990; Johnston, 1995), Johnston and Mehra (2002)
emphasize that further research is required especially with respect to the ‘how’, that is, how the
complaint information could be utilized operationally. Moreover, little research has been devoted so far
to investigating how companies can better utilize qualitative customer complaint information. The
present paper addresses both of these knowledge gaps.
Empirically, the paper adopts an applied approach based on the constructive case study method.
The constructive method concentrates on developing and implementing a new, innovative and
theoretically anchored construction (e.g. a model, plan, organization, technology, software or a
combination of these) to solve a real-world problem situation (Kasanen, Lukka and Siitonen, 1993;
Lukka, 2000, 2003, 2005). The implementation phase is an integral part of this method, as the ideal
construction not only makes a theoretical contribution but also solves the practical problem (Lukka,
2000). Thus, in business studies the construction is subjected to the practical test of whether it works in
the company or not. The construction developed in the present study includes a database solution for
collecting and analysing qualitative customer complaint data in a large Finnish company operating in
the wholesale logistics environment. The aim of the construction was to provide a tool for customerfocused
process improvement.
The contribution of this paper is two-fold. Firstly, it introduces a novel construction which links
customer complaints to the company’s processes arguing that complaint information can be effectively
used to improve customer focus and operational quality. Secondly, from a managerial point of view,
the paper describes a construction that effectively utilizes customer complaint information in support of
managerial decision making both at operational and strategic levels aiming towards improved
operational quality.
The paper is arranged following the logic of the constructive method. The first section reviews
literature relevant to analysing the role of customer complaints as a source of information for the
purpose of process improvement. This review summarizes the main literature used in developing the
construction. Next, the constructive case study methodology is described and the case company and
the developed construction are introduced. Finally, the results of the study are presented and discussed,
followed by the conclusions and implications for management and further research.

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