Management by Objectives refers to a management approach where managers set objectives to improve performance in the future (Thomson, 1998). As an approach, it encourages managers and employees to continuously ask what needs to be done to improve the current situation and thus supporting innovation and continuous improvement.
The supply chain and service delivery systems include the following:
Radio Frequency Identification: This is an emerging technology where one can track all the materials throughout the supply chain. The advantage of this system is that organisations can easily track materials movement and hence minimise the possibility of losing items
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP): This is a system that integrates the business information and allows easy access to information across different functional groups. Its advantage is that a company can effectively manage its inventory and distribution of materials.
The P-Card System: This system allows companies to procure goods and services without using the traditional means. The advantage is that it is more efficient than the traditional ways since it is faster and it is suitable for low-value transactions.
Inventory Turnover Ratio is a measure of how fast a company sells its inventory in a given period. The rate at which a company sells its inventory is a vital business performance measure. A high inventory turnover ratio is desirable as it shows that the company is efficient at selling or reselling its products. This ratio informs managers whether they are performing or not as a way of ensuring there is continuous improvement.
A Gantt chart is a graphical representation of a project schedule where activities or tasks are shown against time. It is critical for project managers to understand the interlinkage between tasks or activities to ensure a project is completed within the set period. The Gantt chart helps project managers to monitor the progress of the project, and the information is used to establish the best approaches for improving the entire project and hence, supporting innovation and continuous improvement.
Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) is a project planning approach mostly used for large projects. The primary feature of this approach is the network diagram which depicts the activities and sequence in which they should be accomplished (Kerzner & Kerzner, 2017). The network diagram comprises arrows which represent activities, and nodes which represent the start and end of the activity. Each activity has an estimated time, and the sequence of activities from the start to end point of the diagram is referred to as a path (Kerzner & Kerzner, 2017). The time required to complete the work in any given path is given by the sum of time for all the activities along the path. The path with the longest time is called a critical path.
Businesses should review programs, systems and processes because it enables one to understand the weaknesses and provide an opportunity for continuous improvement. Dynamics keep on changing and so should businesses as well. Review of systems helps businesses to remain relevant to the market. The results of such reviews can either be positive or negative. Negative results should be considered as opportunities for improvement while positive ones should encourage business owners to improve their systems even further.
The various ways to identify and analyse changing trends and opportunities relevant to the organisation include the following:
The information gathering methods include:
As an employee in the retail sector, one of the ideas that can help the organisation is to come up with an online store. This will help the company to reach a broader market. Another idea is to diversify products and services. Other than providing just one product, including other products will increase the consumer base. The third innovative idea is to create a mobile app which will reduce queues and improve convenience.
Cost-benefit-analysis refers to a project appraisal technique where the costs are compared with the benefits. The project will be considered viable if the benefits are more than the costs. A practical example is when a company want to make a choice between outsourcing service or doing a project in-house. The costs and benefits associated with both approaches will be analysed, and the best alternative will be the one with higher benefits.
Risk management refers to the practice of identifying. Evaluating and prioritising risks and develop approaches on how to monitor them in order to minimise their occurrences. The steps for evaluating risk management plan include the following:
A forum group is a good way of promoting a quality initiative if the initiative affects all the customers within the industry. This is because, if the quality initiative is not universal, it may be judged by other customers or players in the industry.
Other ways to publicise and promote quality initiatives within an organisation include circulating memos within the organisation and also by setting up a reward system for achieving the required quality standards.
Brainstorming is a decision-making technique where an individual or a group of people gather a list of ideas that would help to solve a problem. This technique is useful in innovation practices because it enables one to identify and evaluate ideas in order to come up with the most appropriate solution to the prevailing issue.
Strategies to encourage and promote continuous improvement include:
One of the common impacts of change in the workplace is resistance. Some employees tend to resist change and may even threaten to quit their jobs. The results of this resistance are low performance and reduced productivity. To overcome these difficulties, organizations should communicate to the employees about the change and the need for the change. This will, at least, prepare the employees and prevent possible resistance.
The key steps for implementing a change are as follows:
The critical information to be included in a project transition plan includes the following:
The process of evaluating the success of change is the evaluation and review process. This process provides information on the effectiveness and suitability of the introduced change. This information enables the organisation to plan ahead.
An organisation can implement a contingency plan by identifying the potential risks, prioritise the tasks, and develop a plan. In developing the plan, the important information to be considered include timelines, the staff needs, communication strategy, and risk mitigation strategies.
The first step that a company should take to manage emerging issues and opportunities effectively is risk identification. The next step is to create a team that will evaluate the company exposures to the risks identified and advise on the way forward. The company should then take action based on the advice.
Steps for evaluating continuous improvement systems and processes
The first step is to create an evaluation team who will carry out the exercise. After identifying the team, it is essential to formulate the goals of the evaluation. The expected outcomes of the system should be identified. The team should then collect data about the system and review the recommended solution based on the intended outcome (Evelina, Pia, David, von Würtemberg Liv & Waldo, 2010)
Communication strategies refer to the approaches through an individual plan to convey information to others. One of the methods of communicating innovative ideas to stakeholders is meetings. These formal meetings can be convened and deliver important information to stakeholders. Emails are another method can be used. Conference calls are also important for communicating innovative ideas to stakeholders.
Assessment Task 2
Part A: Ideas/Concepts to improve the Call Centre
In the current system, call centre quality assurance experts have been hired to monitor and improve quality. While this is a good strategy, manual monitoring of quality is not efficient. Artificial intelligence can be used instead which has a guaranteed improvement in efficiency. This technology can be used to collect, store and enhance deep customer intelligence which will help the quality assurance personnel to increase their efficiency in their service delivery. AI can use speech analytics which will eliminate the need for manual listening of calls. The AI has the capability to detect whether a client is aggravated after which a live agent can be notified to handle the client.
Technology is the ultimate solution to many business issues. Smart technology can enhance customer satisfaction while minimising the burden on the call agents. Using smart technology, calls can directly be routed from particular areas, or the IVR System can be developed to enable customers to provide quick solutions to the needy customer.
Steps to ensure the Idea exhibits Creative Thinking and benefits the Organisation
The first step is to identify the problem that needs to be solved. This can be a challenge with a certain process within the company. In order to understand what the challenge is, it is essential to analyse the existing systems and generate ideas on what needs to be done. The second step is to blend the gathered information and bring together all the facts and assess whether they fit. The next step is to use idea generation techniques to come up with the most appropriate idea that will be beneficial to the organisation. From the various ideas that have been generated, the next step is to evaluate them. The focus at this point is the quality of ideas and not quantity. The idea of the highest quality will be considered and implemented. The last step is the implementation phase. When the ideas have been evaluated, and the best one picked, the next step is to move on and implement it. The Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) approach can be applied to put the idea to practice.
There are a lot of inefficiencies in the call centre due to manual handling of calls and queries. Manual monitoring of calls is tedious and slow; hence, there is a lot of time wastage. The application of artificial intelligence and smart technology will solve this problem. In order to implement the change, it will first be communicated to all the employees and other stakeholders. Emails will be sent to all stakeholders, and a meeting will also be convened to discuss the planned changed. The actual plan is to introduce an artificial intelligence system that will be monitoring the calls and evaluate quality. This will increase efficiency since manual work will be eliminated. It will also result in improved customer satisfaction. The key performance indicators include minimised call handling time, improved quality of services, improved customer satisfaction and loyalty and improved overall performance of all employees. In the implementation phase, stakeholders will be informed after which the management will be requested to purchase the required gadgets once the change is approved. A transition committee will be established to foresee the entire process. The success of the change depends on the skills of the staff. As such, a training needs analysis will be conducted in order to identify the staff requirements. The change will be promoted through emails and memos. The timeline of the change is estimated to be two months. A regular review of the system will be done every two weeks so that improvement can be done in case there are some areas that need to be improved.
Assessment Task 3
Woolworths Group Limited is an Australian retail store company that operates mainly in Australia and New Zealand. It is considered the second largest in Australia regarding revenues as well as the second largest in New Zealand (Bloomberg, 2018). The Food segment in Australia mainly deals with the procurement and reselling of foodstuff to Australian consumers (Bloomberg, 2018). As of 2018, the company has about one thousand and eight supermarkets and metro stores (Bloomberg, 2018). On the other hand, the Food Segment in New Zealand deals with the procurement and reselling of food and drinks to New Zealand consumers (Bloomberg, 2018). As of 2018, the New Zealand branch had a hundred and eight one supermarkets and is also involved in wholesale operations (Bloomberg, 2018).
Being one of the largest retail stores in Australia and New Zealand, Woolworths Group Limited had been involved in expanding its business to reach other nations. Considering the nature of the business and the competition from other giant retail stores across the world such as Wal-Mart, it is crucial for the company to apply some innovation in order to maintain a competitive edge. With the dynamic nature of technology, Woolworths can leverage this opportunity to come up with a better way of improving customer shopping experience. One of the innovative ideas that Woolworths Group Limited can apply is to develop an app that would enable customers to easily shop when they are in the stores. The other idea is to have an online store where customers can purchase their items at the comfort of their homes and have them delivered wherever they are.
The current trends in technology show that many customers especially the millennial mostly use their phones to access services. Developing an app that will guide shopping will not only improve shopping experience but will attract customers in the millennial generation. The app should be developed in such a way that it can suggest other items that go hand in hand with others and also show the location of such items so that customers cannot be confused. This will save a lot of time and hence improve efficiency. It will minimise the long queues that are experienced in major retail stores because of short waiting times. The second idea of online stores will improve convenience because many people are currently busy and getting time for shopping may be difficult. The online stores will help those people with busy schedules to also have a test of Woolworths Group Limited stores.
Risk Management and Cost-Benefit Analysis
When considering the first idea, that is, creating an app, it can be seen that the initial cost could be high. It is also important to understand that the app will favour only those with smartphones. Those without smartphones will not benefit from the app. However, many Australians have access to smartphones, and the good thing is that the app will be free of charge. The second idea is to have an online store. While the idea improves conveniences, it will increase some costs because the clients will be charged some delivery charges; hence, some customers who don’t need extra charges will not prefer this method. In case both ideas do not perform, more research will be done to identify the loopholes and come up with solutions.
The ideas will be communicated to the staff members through emails, memos and meetings. These meetings will be meant to solicit for their responses after which their ideas will be assessed and incorporated into the change.
Testing and Evaluation
Before launching the project, the app will be installed to about fifty customers to test their experience after which they will give their feedback in one week. The success of the ideas will be measured based on improved customer experience and satisfaction, reduced queues in the supermarkets, an increase in sales and revenues and an increase in customer base.
Bloomberg. (2018). Food and Staples Retailing: Company Overview of Woolworths Group Limited. Retrieved from https://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=874687
Evelina, E., Pia, G., David, H., von Würtemberg Liv, M., & Waldo, R. F. (2010, November). Process improvement framework evaluation. In Management Science and Engineering (ICMSE), 2010 International Conference on (pp. 319-326). IEEE.
Kerzner, H., & Kerzner, H. R. (2017). Project management: a systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling. John Wiley & Sons.
Thomson, T. M. (1998). Management by objectives. The Pfeiffer Library, 20(2), 317.
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