The report aims to provide an overview of the organizational behavior based on an apparel company mentioned in the case. The discussion of this report revolves around Casuals Togs that is a moderately priced shop for women’s apparel with headquarters in Midwestern city. Close to around 80 percent of the firm‘s production sold in the larger and midsized departmental stores in the cities whereas 20 percent gets sold in smaller shops. The products of the firms included blouses, shorts and knit dresses. Cy Geldmark, the entrepreneur, was also an innovator who introduced the concept of mix and match of the fashion ensembles targeting the customers with moderate means so that they can possess a wardrobe with a combination of casual and formal clothes. The report commences with a discussion on the major problems faced by the firm. There would also be discussion on the reasons that led to those problems. The report also would provide an insight into the ways adopted in persuading the president of the company to change. There report would also put forward suggestions for preventing occurrence of future problem in terms of management practice, structural change and response to the changes in the competitive environment. One can also find recommendations on overcoming the challenges of the fashion apparel industry.
The Major Problems Facing the Firm:
There are usually five different selling seasons for fashion industry when garments produced, ordered and delivered within a very short deadline. The pilot sales for first two weeks for each of the seasons acts as a determining factor regarding the styles and quantity that needs production during the whole season. However if the pilot sales is unable to act as an indicating factor for the rest of the season then the stock of the company gets saddled and can only be disposed off through off price outlets mostly at loss. In the context of this situation, Cy Geldmark, the entrepreneur, felt that decisions should be made based on the situation. He therefore undertook all the policy and operating decisions and permitted the departmental heads to take decisions as per the situations without the need for any consultation. In spite his exhortations, all the departmental managers and the vice president undertook daily discussions with him on the progress of current trend of season’s products. These daily sessions were a mark of the emotional outbursts of the various personnel belonging to the management. The meetings were not only non-scheduled but also informal with different groups meeting Cy Geldmark at different timings. The groups were even informal and based on the problem line of functioning. Changes thought off and implemented instantly without thinking about its influence on the particular department. If there were disagreement from the other departments then it would result in shouting and rebellious attitude. Such interchanges took place in front of Cy who remained impassive thereby giving his decisions after all the participants finished. This resulted in various problems within the system.
There most acute of all has been the problems of the returns. This is because 40 percent of all the shipments faced return. Some of the management personnel believed that the reasons for the returns were mostly late deliveries whereas some believed that the inaccuracy in the forecasting by the style line that resulted in such an erroneous scheduling of production. Others said that there existed lack of coordination between shipping along with insufficient production methods. However, the production manager mentioned that there was disparity between the dates of delivery provided by the customers and the order of the salesperson that acted as the basis for running production. The sales manager put forward that the quality issues acted as the actual reasons for the returns. He also mentioned that the customers did not want to get into arguments with the personnel about issues related to the quality and chose much simpler option by terming it as later delivery.
Reasons for Those Problems
The over leniency of Cy Geldmark and lack of capability in curbing the emotionally charged up sessions led to the emergence of the erroneous decisions. The president of Casuals Togs failed to create a mark with the suppliers. The company should have had assured some of the suppliers from the older days with some orders in spite of the fact that they had higher prices compared to the other suppliers. Another reason for the problems was th vice president of the firm,Cy Geldmark’s sister Judy, who would intrude into the daily sessions and often proposed the expensive changes. She wandered and initiated changes in all the departments. The decisions made by her affected everything from the copier paper, commissions of the salespersons and the schedules for work. She countered the instructions of the department manager along with the procedure of hiring and firing the personnel without the knowledge of the manager. She was not only abrasive but also took resort to vulgarity publicly. In addition to this, she was unnecessarily loud and she received full consent from her brother on all her decisions.
The decision of Cy Geldmark’s for appointing a new person named Bill Smith as an aid to Andy for helping him with the budgets and the forecast also resulted in disputes. Bill Smith being an MBA with sufficient training in the Statistical analysis tried to implement newer methods in analyzing and Andy saying that the president of the firm is not used to such analysis blatantly rejected collating the daily print. Instead of supporting the new aid and implementing newer and faster methods, Andy rejected them and stuck to his traditional means of analysis thereby giving rise to those problems. The hiring of an experienced market analysist name Stan Levine also added to the problems as his new methods found objections for acceptance.
Ways Adopted in Persuading Cy to Change:
Cy Gledmark must possess strong leadership qualities (Northouse 2017). He must change and portray him as a person who would know how to value goals over any sort of unpleasantness. He should prove himself in possessing effective communication skill along with the ability of building of a team towards a common goal in a manner that motivates the entire team. In the fashion industry, it is impossible to sell effectively without good communications skills. It requires selling to the potential clients and the investors (Hackman and Johnson 2013). However, success will depend much on the ability of Cy in communicating the vision and ideas to the people. He should also demonstrate confidence and positive qualities that would help him in earning trust and respect. Confidence plays a vital role in determining the success of the entrepreneur. However, Cy Gledmark should show the right amount of confidence otherwise it could be detrimental to the business. In addition to this, he must not allow ego to enter in the way of his success. Entrepreneur Cy Gledmark can be persuaded to change through the adoption of integrity and ethics (Beeri et al. 2013). Proving one’s credibility is a key factor in carrying out a business. In leading a team and in working with the clients, Cy Gledmark, should be able to visualize the problem and asset any error observed rather than dwelling on it or blaming others. Cy Gledmark is persuaded to possess a competitive spirit and at the same time understand that business represents a constant war with the competitors for getting a substantial market share (Ballaro and O’Neil 2013). Moreover, it is also a personal challenge in focusing inward and ensuring powerhouse growth of the business. Cy Gledmark should also understand the effectiveness of a having a strong peer group (Estrada and Vargas-Estrada 2013). He should not only oblige to their decision but must also be able to help them in visualizing the consequence.
Suggestions for Preventing Future Problems
Casuals Togs, the women’s apparel shop, is prevented from the future problems by implementing changes in the management practice. Firstly, it is suggested to consider how the company will ensure management for the expansion of sales during the five different selling seasons (Turker and Altuntas 2014). Although being an already established enterprise the firm already has a tested market with proper identification of the top sellers. However, it is necessary to determine whether the changes implemented because of the seasonal trends will be able to generate and inspire the same amount of demand in the mass market. It is also necessary to identify the advantages that the firm has over the other businesses selling similar products. Secondly, it is also necessary to identify the adaptability of the present supply chain system from the process of production, warehousing and shipping (Radaelli et al. 2014). The next step includes the development of the sales and the marketing strategy. To increase marketability and visibility of the product it is also necessary to participate in the trade shows and conferences. Thirdly, the management should ensure coordination between the workers and the various groups so that they can work in unison (Drury 2013). Fourthly, one should not underestimate the influence of the various social media platforms. Having a presence in the social media not only acts as a signal to the bigger retailers that the brand is at par with the other competitors but also implies that the firm cares about building a relationship with its customers(Li et al. 2014). Lastly, it is also important for the management to choose the right model for pricing along with the appropriate technology for supporting the growing business (Theng, Grant and Yap 2013).
The following steps are suggested in ensuring a structural change that will help the company in preventing future problems (Fernie and Sparks 2014):
Decision of Changing the Direction: Transformational change does not take place overnight and takes substantial time in bearing the fruit (Kim 2013). The change remains embedded even after the implementation of the technology that resonates throughout an organization thereby resulting in newer competency requirements
Decision of Changing the Ambassadors: This decision often results in benefits as the change ambassadors are considered having higher potential in the company.
Communication of the Vision: Communications results in outlining the roadmap towards change and clarifies the queries of each employees through measurable and clearly defined actions.
Significance of Listening: Implementation of newer technology mostly results in defining newer job roles and responsibilities (Kawamura 2018). Thus, careful listening to the problem area through intensive interviews defines the best possible way in handling and understanding the issues.
Creation of the Focus Group: Strategic creation of the focus groups, not only helps in understanding the change team but also helps in fostering new collaborative relationships
Checking with the Suppliers: Periodically checking with suppliers on they manage the new system after completion of implementation is important (Caniato et al. 2015). A well-managed implementation of change represents an opportunity for transforming the suppliers into the trusted partners.
Maintenance of the Momentum: Momentum is ensured by focusing on the continued success. Thus, it is important for focusing well on every little things and communicating the short-term win to teams.
Sustenance of Change: Necessary vigilance after the implementation of the newer system helps in sustaining the change and the middle managers considered the key people in overseeing such a change.
Responding to Changes in the Competitive Environment
Understanding the wants of the customers and reacting according to the needs faster than the competitors can give a firm crucial advantage for existence in a tough market. To remain competitive the primary focus of the business should be on the customers (Macchion et al. 2015). It is also necessary for an apparel firm in understanding the strength and weakness of the competitors and their reaction to the customer needs and changes taking place. The firm must also make sure that the business complies with the relevant laws of competition. The fashion industry faces various competitive challenges from the foreign and domestic apparel producers that changes on a day-to-day basis. However, a firm can respond to the challenges by adopting the following means (Blázquez 2014):
- By responding and anticipating to the changing demand of the consumers on a timely basis
- Through maintenance of the favorable recognition of the brand
- Through development of high quality, innovative products in terms of color, size and style for appealing to the customers
- Ensuring appropriate pricing of the products
- By failing to maintain and anticipate the proper levels of inventory
- Ensure effective and strong support for marketing
- Creation of suitable value proposition for the retail customers
- Ensuring the availability of the product along with optimization of the efficiencies of the supply chain with the retailers and the manufacturers along with acquiring sufficient floor space for retail for the effective presentation of the products at the retail stores
Presently, the apparel industry also faces competition from the internet-based competitors dealing with accessories, apparels and home product thereby reducing their margins, prices and sales.
To conclude it can be said that, Casuals Togs have faced substantial problems and ran into losses but the adoption of the suggested measures in terms of management practice, structural change and response to the changing competitive environment can help the company in regaining its position
It is recommended that the firm can effectively function by addressing the problems faced by the designers through the means of consultation. Thorough rounds of consultation helps in understanding weaknesses and strengths and thereby initiate a program that can accustom them with the trends of the seasonal changes in the fashion industry. It should be a communicative process managed carefully involving a more educational approach. For overcoming the challenges and in functioning effectively the firm can also implement the role of the technology. There should be awareness amongst the designers regarding the various social media platforms, their usage, and their impact on the business benefits.
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