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A critical evaluation of the strategies chosen to address the business problem or opportunity in the 801 Applied Business Research Project is provided and the learner has defended their choice by providing justifications.

Marks are awarded for evaluation of each strategy as follows:

1 mark for a very poor attempt

2 marks for too simplistic evaluation (lacking breadth/depth) or low level

3 marks for acceptable critical evaluation with some shortfalls

4 marks for good critical evaluation (breadth/depth) and most aspects met

5 marks for excellent insightful critical evaluation & all key aspects met

Learners will be marked on presentation, suitability of language for the audience and accuracy of English language.

Marks for unsuitable writing skills for a business environment

1 mark for low level of writing skills for a business environment

2 marks for a suitable professionally written business plan for a business environment

3 marks for excellent professionally written business plan3for a business environment

Overview of Business Developers

The revenue generation and market sustenance of direct television (DRTV) companies or omnichannel companies depend to a great extent on their capability of DRTV companies to deliver products in appropriate state. The failure to deliver products in appropriate state to customers does not only result in short term revenue loss but actually sets into motion a chain of risks which have severe impact on company. As big DRTV companies in order to cater to a wide network of customers are bound to establish their distributorship by entering into contracts with smaller logistics companies and courier companies. It must be pointed out that the DRTV companies already enter into consignment contracts with companies actually marketing the goods. The, damage of the goods does not only cause loss of revenue but also create legal risks. Further, the DRTV companies have to invest capital to insure the goods and are answerable to the principle companies for the damage of products. This is because damage of products does not only create loss to the main DRTV company involved but also to the principle companies. However, it can also be pointed out that the principle companies cannot ensure total management to the products even if they are financially and competitively extremely strong owning distribution chains in several countries. This is due to the fact that these DRTV companies have no direct control over the operation standards of the smaller logistics companies which they hire as distributors. Marketing mix though considered as marketing tool can play a significant role in management or at least minimizing the risks. This first strategy of the multinational DRTV companies should essentially include social media and video chat interaction with customers. The second strategy which principle DRTV companies can consider is restructuring their distribution chains to eliminate unprofitable distributors including courier companies. The third strategy which principle DRTV companies can take is training their customer care executives so that they can serve their customers effectively by answering their queries about products. The aim of the paper is to explore the product damage issue which logistics companies have to encounter by taking BDL, Oceania’s leading omichannel company. It must also be noted that BDL does not have its logistics subsidiary. The DRTV company is dependent on Courier Post to deliver goods to customers in New Zealand, its home country (Courierpost.co.nz, 2018).  The company is dependent on Australia Post in Australia to deliver goods to Australian customers (Auspost.com.au, 2018). This would be followed by recommending the three alternative strategies already introduced. The countries chosen for study would be Australia and New Zealand. The entire research would take the form of a business plan complete with relevant figures, tables and/or financial calculations.

Organizational Goals and Mission of BDL

Business Developers (BDL) is an New Zealand direct television company with presence in Australia as well. The main products of the company are lifestyle products like workout equipment sourced from the United States and Europe. With a revenue of NZ$200 million and an employee strengths of 400, the company leads the market in New Zealand as well as Australia. The business of BDL can be overviewed in the below diagram. BDL enters into contract with European and American companies and receives goods from them to market online (blue arrows). BDL advertises the brands it markets on television, video and social media platforms (green arrows). The company simultaneously encourages the customers to place orders for the products by either dialing specific numbers or by using the given weblinks (black arrows). BDL then hands the goods to Courier Post and Australia Post in New Zealand and Australia respectively to transport the goods to the customers. The latter makes online, cheque or cash on delivery payments to the company (red arrows). BDL in turn makes payments to the supplier companies.

Figure 1. Diagram showing business overview of BDL

(Source: Author)

The organizational goal or vision of BDL as reported by the official website of the company stands on four pillars. The first aim is to expand product line and pricing variations. Aithal (2016) mentions that marketing mix can emerge as a strategic tool to achieve business objective. It can be pointed out in this respect that BDL actually implements this fact which is evident from the first vision of the DRTV company. The second goal of the company is enhance the content and creativity of the television advertisements. The third and fourth aims are expanding distribution channels and reduction of costs respectively.

The mission of BDL is to to market more high quality goods to customers and earn higher revenue. The company aims to expand its distribution channel to serve more customers in New Zealand and Australia.

BDL in order to strengthen its communication with customers and reduce dependency on the customer care employees should use social media and video chat strategy. Baldwin et al.(20165) mention that direct communication establish a more direct communication channel between the companies and consumers. This enables the customers to get a clear and real time idea about the products of the company. The companies can at the same time obtain direct and real time feedback about the consumption experiences of consumers. The company can a result can take prompt decisions in order to maximise the customer experiences. Thus, in this light it can be inferred that BDL should utilise social media to communicate with customers. Similarly, the marketing personnel can also chat with customers directly using video platforms.

Strategies for Product Damage Management in Direct Television Companies

The strategy of social media and video platforms would help BDL several benefits to certain strengths. The first strength of the strategy of using social media is that it is cost effective and enables the company to communicate with the customers directly. This means that BDL would be able to communicate with customers on real time basis which would thus lead to dependence on the customer care team.

The second strength of the social media and video streaming is that these two methods enable the companies to communicate directly with customers and encourage higher possibility of purchase. This means that BDL can use the video platforms to directly advertise and demonstrate the usages of different products to encourage the customers place prompt orders. This results in the third strength of the system, revenue generation.

The social media and video streaming leads to direct sales and higher revenue of products. This means that BDL can use this strategy to earn higher revenue and strengthen its position in the market of New Zealand and Australia.

The SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time related) analysis of the strategy of social media and video platform consumer interaction shows that it is totally in compliance with the SMART strategy. First, the aim of the strategy is to strengthen the customer relation by reducing the dependence on the customer care division. The second aim to strengthen the market position of the company in New Zealand and Australia. The steps adopted in the process are specific and are within specific time periods. This means that the strategy qualifies the parameters of specific and timeliness. Thirdly, it can be pointed out that the strategies are achievable by the collaboration of the different departments which means they are realistic and achievable. Finally, it can be pointed out that the outcome of increased revenue generation as the outcopme of the strategy can be measured financially. Moreover, it can also be pointed out that the time span for each step can be measured in terms of months. These two facts clearly shows that the strategy qualifies the parameter of measurability. Thus, it can be inferred that the strategy of social media and video streaming qualifies the SMART parameters.

The second strategy which BDL can adopt is restructuring of the distribution chain to manage the product damage due to operational slack of certain logistics companies. The company is dependent on Courier Post and Australia Post to cater to customers in New Zealand and Australia respectively. It can be pointed out that other way round, BDL has become dependent on these two companies in spite of the fact that their transportation methods are leading to product damage and business losses to it. It can also be pointed out that both the companies are stronger in position and BDL cannot take any step against them to curb this business loss. Thus, the second strategy would essentially restructuring the distribution chain of BDL by appointing alternative logistics companies. Porter and Heppelmann (2015) mention that logistics companies play significant role in ensuring product safety. Da Xu, He and Li (2014) supporting this opinion mention that logistics companies mention that the companies should maintain strict control over their logistics chains and restructure the logistics chains to replace unprofitable logistics partners with new logistics partners. These two opinions would form the base of the second strategy of BDL which is restructuring of the logistics chain.

Social Media and Video Chat Interaction

The first strength of the restructuring of logistics chain would be that it would enable the company, BDL to transport goods in appropriate condition to customers. This would enable them to reduce product damage. The second strength of the restructuring of the logistics chain is actually the outcome of the first strength-reducing losses incurred due to damage of goods.

The second strength of restructuring of the logistics chain would enable BDL to reduce the loss it suffers due to product damage and reduce the losses it suffers due to product loss. It would also be able to reduce customer turnover and boost its revenue.

The second strategy of restructuring the logistics chain quality the SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time related) parameters. This is because the steps are specific and realistic. The realistic aspect is more clearly brought out by the fact that the method would take 32 months owing to higher level compared to the first strategy. The strategy activity layout shows that each step is bound by time measured in months which means that the strategy is highly time bound. The outcome would the strategy would reduction in the damage of products on transit to customers. The reduction of loss BDL suffered due to product damage and customer loss would be measurable which means that strategy is measurable. Thus, it can be summarised that just like its previous counterpart, the second strategy qualifies the SMART analysis.

The third strategy would consist of training the customer care executives of BDL to answer questions of customers effectively. DuBrin (2016) mentions in present organisations are dependent on their customer care executives to ensure customer satisfaction by providing the customers with proper information about products over the phone and on email. It can be pointed out in this respect that BDL should adopt the strategy of training the customer care executives as the third strategy. As far as the outline is concerned, the strategy would start a month after the second strategy which means that third strategy would start on March 1, 2019.

The first strength of the strategy of providing training to the customer care executives with product knowledge and customer management knowledge about enable them to respond to customer queries appropriately. The second strength of the strategy is that it would lead to more effective answering customer queries thus, gaining and retention of customer trust. The third positive aspect of the strategy is that retention of customer confidence would enable BDL to generate more orders for products, thus generating more revenue. Kureckova et al.(2017) mentions that continuous flow of revenue is important to fuel to future business strategies of companies. Thus, ensuring customer satisfaction using the customer care services would enable BDL to expand its base of loyal customers who would order products. This would allow the business firm to generate  repeat business.

Restructuring of Distribution Chains

A SMART shows (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time related) analysis of the strategy as well as the activities are qualifying the analysis. Firstly, the steps are specific and time bound. This means that the strategy qualify the parameters measurable, tine bound and specific respectively. Secondly, the strategy is realistic and the efficiency of the customer care executives can be measured. Moreover, the generation of more orders and consequent revenue generation increase would shows that strategy is realistic, achievable and measurable.

The SMART analysis as well as the attached Gantt charts show that all the three strategies are transferable to the consumers in the form of higher quality products. It can also be pointed out that the above strategies are reliable and the apex management of BDL should allocate resources towards them.

The discussion above points out to several important findings. The first finding is that social media presence is very important for companies to communicate with customers on regular base. As per this finding, it can be inferred that BDL should strengthen its presence on social media and video streaming platforms. The rationale behind this strategy is that a strong social media strategy strengthens the market presence of companies and create customer confidence.

The second finding is that BDL should create an alternative logistics chain in New Zealand and Australia to deliver the goods to customers. The rationale behind this strategy is that the two existing courier partners namely, Courier Post and Australia Post are far more powerful. For example, contrary to the private limited status owned by BDL, Australia Post boasts ownership and support of the Government of Australia. Thus, BDL is nowhere close to the two partners to take any legal actions against them on the grounds of product damage that the company suffers due to transportation issues of the two partners. Thus, it would be rational to opt of alternative logistics partners to reduce the business loss due to product damage which the two present courier partners culminated into.

The third finding is that the third strategy would be training customer care executives. The rationale behind this strategy is that well trained customer care employees are capable of answering to queries more effectively. Thus, the outcome of the strategy would be higher level of customer satisfaction and business generation.

The business activities post adoption of the strategies should be monitored closely. Appropriate steps should be taken to ensure efficient function of the company post strategy adoptions.

References:

Aithal, P. S. (2016). The concept of Ideal Strategy and its realization using White Ocean Mixed Strategy.

Auspost.com.au. (2018). Retrieved from https://auspost.com.au/

Baldwin, C., Barnes, B., Heinmiller, W. R., Kenny, P., Khoshaba, S., Mallian, D. J., ... & Towster, M. (2016). U.S. Patent No. 9,451,434. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Porter, M. E., & Heppelmann, J. E. (2015). How smart, connected products are transforming companies. Harvard Business Review, 93(10), 96-114.

Christopher, M. (2017). New directions in logistics. In Global logistics and distribution planning (pp. 47-58). Routledge.

Courierpost.co.nz. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.courierpost.co.nz/

Da Xu, L., He, W., & Li, S. (2014). Internet of things in industries: A survey. IEEE Transactions on industrial informatics, 10(4), 2233-2243.

DuBrin, A. J. (2016). 7 Political blunders within organizations. Handbook of Organizational Politics: Looking Back and to the Future, 172.

Geng, R., Mansouri, S. A., & Aktas, E. (2017). The relationship between green supply chain management and performance: A meta-analysis of empirical evidences in Asian emerging economies. International Journal of Production Economics, 183, 245-258.

Kureckova, V., Gabrhel, V., Zamecnik, P., Rezac, P., Zaoral, A., & Hobl, J. (2017). First aid as an important traffic safety factor–evaluation of the experience–based training. European transport research review, 9(1), 5.

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