Major Actions to Address Challenges
Jiku completed her education at a business college in June 2021, majoring in Sales & Marketing, and on August 2021, was appointed Sales Manager at Toronto by a Chinese company, Garments International (GI). This company intends to sell textile garments to Canada. The GM Sales of the company based in its headquarters at Beijing, Chin Lu (CL), has asked Jiku, in pursuance of the company’s long-term objective of becoming a global company, to achieve the following goals in 2022:
a.assess the needs of Canadian customers
b.meet Canadian garment importers
c.set up a small office
d.make a project plan for sales in Canada.
Jiku grew up in Chengdu, a city in southern China, and came to Canada in 2016 with her parents. Her father, a mathematics professor in Hong Kong, got a teaching job at a college in Winnipeg, while she stayed with her mother in Toronto pursuing her education. Initially, Jiku had a difficult time learning and speaking English. However, a very intelligent, hardworking, energetic, and focused student, Jiku obtained an A grade at the business college, majoring in Marketing, and was ranked in the top 10th percentile of her class. Jiku also has a very soft, agreeable, caring, conscientious, patient, introvert, and kind personality.
Since joining the company, Jiku is facing the following problems:
1)Jiku is not fully aware of the needs and specifications of garments being imported into Canada. She does not understand the garment industry here, their procurement and management methods, the technical details of garments, the import procedures and how to price the products. During her stay in Canada, she herself has been wearing the simple old fashioned clothes she got from China.
2)She spent a whole month trying to understand the requirements of the large chain stores in Canada and has so far only met 5 out of the 30 major importers.
3)As this is the first time for GI to look at the Canadian market, the company is also unaware of the lifestyles, culture, the exact garment needs of different age groups, fashions, designs, sizes of clothes, warehousing, distribution, pricing and sales methods.
4)GI’s previous garment sales have been to the Middle East and some African countries. CL visited Canada for three days for the first time in January 2021 when he interviewed Jiku.
5)Jiku is facing communication problems in her meetings with Canadian buyers who think that she is young, inexperienced, somewhat naïve, and simple, unfamiliar with Canadian ways and its open, multinational, diverse work environment, the procurement procedures in the garment industry, the buying habits of consumers, etc.
6)On the advice of CL, Jiku has appointed two Canadian professionals to assist her in the new office that she rented in September 2021. One is a Textile Technologist who has 5 years’ experience with a textile buying firm in Toronto. The other is an Accountant who has previously worked in a large clothing retail chain, also in Toronto. As Jiku has not had many Canadian friends since she came to Canada, and has not travelled and met many people here, only focusing single mindedly on her studies, she is facing some difficulty in managing these two professionals who do not follow her decisions fully. It seems they do not respect her as their team leader. They think that her ‘soft’ personality is not fit for the role. They are also unclear of their duties, responsibilities, and targets. No job descriptions and specific performance targets have been given to them; neither have their annual rewards been explained; and they are feeling stressed and demotivated. Interaction between the three people in the office is also poor. Besides, Jiku’s own personality is also not helping in making a cohesive team.
Despite the above issues, CL is patient and is not expecting immediate sales. He just wants Jiku to achieve the company’s 2022 goals mentioned above, and most importantly, make a project plan. He knows that sales will take time. Selling garments to Canada is not like selling garments to African countries where the social, political, cultural, commercial and technological environments are very different. Both Jiku and CL must first understand and learn about Canadian people, their personal and professional attitudes, behaviors, habits, culture. They also have to understand the garment industry in Canada, the business environment, purchase and import procedures, negotiating styles, etc. GI would probably have to upgrade its manufacturing technology also in China to meet the higher specification garments demanded in Canada.
1.What are the 6 major actions that Jiku should take? Describe them in detail and explain why they are necessary? How, and in what sequence should these actions be taken?
2.Make a Project Gantt Chart showing these 6 actions as well as the sub steps for each action.
3.Describe the role and responsibilities of Jiku as a team leader and manager of the Canadian Office. What traits and skills should Jiku have as a team leader. What leadership model or style should she adopt?