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Unit 16 Managing Communications Assignment
In Unit 16 Managing Communications Assignment as an appointed Consultant in Star Printers London, have found that the business is going through a rough phase of reduced sales and profit margin. For overcoming this crisis situation SPL is in immediate need of strategizing effective communication.
London based, SPL is into printing industry that prints local magazines, business stationery like memos, letter heads and business cards. SPL has a wide range of diverse commercial interests and ensuring that the organization is well connected with local community is one of its priorities. Through this report SPL’s understanding of information and the knowledge needs will be evaluated. Benefits and impact of adopting strategies like personal networking on the process of decision making will be discussed. SPL needs to consider certain aspects for evolving its communication process and maintain the structures within the process for improving business efficiencies.
Discuss the range of decisions to be taken and examine the information and knowledge needed to ensure effective decision taking (1.1)(1.2)
Decisions made within SPL are based on certain influencing factor hence, it needs to carefully plan it. The range of decisions taken within SPL is:
- Strategic Decision: These decisions taken by the top level management are made by taking into consideration the long-term affect involving the abiding business objectives, target and the risks involved. In case of SPL, the decisions will be like adopting advanced technologies like investing into e-magazines, CRM, CSR activities, entering into franchisees business etc. for maximizing its reach and availability. If SPL engages with franchisees, it needs to predict the ROI by calculating sales turnover and financial figures. (Chand, 2016)
- Tactical Decision: middle level management is involved into this kind of decision-making for gaining temporary advantage in short-term duration. For SPL, tactical decisions would be promotional offers to the customers/readers. Offering discount to the bulk purchasers can be adopted.
- Operational Decision: is usually taken during everyday activities and also comprises the assessment of human resources. For SPL, the operational decision would be like purchasing more delivery vehicles or adding more digitalized machines for faster printing with minimum manual involvement. Here, employee wages, recruitment need, performance management, workforce planning is also considered. (Chand, 2016)
- Financial Decision: SPL’s financial value determines its worth in the market. Hence, seeing the importance of these decisions, they are usually made by the top level management for enhancing the business. For SPL, the financial decision would be like taking business loans and reducing its employee costs. The funds resources are also evaluated in this decision. (Chand, 2016)
Information and knowledge are considered as the core element of decision making process and any effective decision should incorporate the relevant knowledge and information gathered during market research. For making an effective decision proper reviewing information and knowledge is immensely recommended. SPL can do this by studying. (Emeritus, 2012)
- Reliability: SPL can examine the information and knowledge by scanning its reliability because it is a proven fact that the more is the reliability level of an information and knowledge, more right decisions are made.
- Quality: a proper benchmark should be set for checking the quality of information and knowledge that eventually will reflect SPL’s standards. MIS can help SPL in taking analytical decisions. (Emeritus, 2012)
- Goal Oriented: the information and knowledge’s nature should be leaning towards SPL’s business objectives. Since, SPL is facing decline in sales and turnover, its prime objective would be enhancing the sales and financial figures by raising the turnover. (Emeritus, 2012)
- Time factor: information and knowledge gathered for decision-makings within SPL must be collected by investing time. Managers need to determine the timeline of essential for collecting information and knowledge because time and situation go hand in hand.
- Availability: information and the knowledge should be available while decision-makings within SPL. For example, management must have proper facts or figures for identifying the factors affecting the sales.
- Clarity: it is essential that information gathered is clear meets the purposes for which it were collected. Maintaining transparency in the information will help SPL in taking good decision
- Assessing knowledge type: knowledge is mainly of two types namely explicit and tactic where explicit knowledge is easy to express and share and tactic knowledge, on the other hand is difficult to express and share with anyone. Hence, proper assessing of the knowledge is required. (Emeritus, 2012)
Assess the current operations - internal and external sources of information and understanding (1.3)
One can gather information through two types of resources i.e. internal and external sources which in this section will be identified and justified in SPL’s context.
The external sources of information consist of both primary and secondary sources of data that includes customer feedbacks, internet surfing for gaining ideas of advanced printing technologies and information about office design for reducing redundancy, scanning the market for observing competitors activities and their price strategies. SPL can introduce loyalty cards for understanding the customers buying behaviours. Data gathered while the distribution of loyalty cards can further help SPL in getting detailed information about the customers and their demands and taking adequate decisions more meeting them in order to deliver maximum satisfaction. Taking into consideration customer feedbacks, loyalty cards etc. emerge as SPL’s primary sources for gaining information. (Gsenviro, 2015)
External sources of information and understandings available outside SPL are:
- Market Analysis: gathering as much as possible information about the market help SPL in evolving its acumen about the market and customers in the kind of industry SPL operates in. In SPL’s context, the market information gathered suggests that the profit margins of top 100 organizations has shown an increase of approximately 3% from the 2013, prices of fuel have also been steady since last financial year. The rate of inflation has dropped to 2.7% from that of 3.1% in 2015. (Gsenviro, 2015)
- Secondary Sources: these are the data which is derived from third person and not the original user. The biggest advantage of using secondary sources of data and information is saving of time. SPL can create databases with quality information for its customers which can turn out to be costly activity by a customer in case he/she personally conducts a research. However, SPL should keep in mind that such data might not be very productive in conducting a market research because there is no proof of the information’s authenticity. Secondary sources such as journals and industry publications can help SPL in knowing the existing market trends and workplace practices followed by the industry. (Gsenviro, 2015)
- Market Information: SPL can evaluate customer preferences, demographic variables and economic factors by conducting extensive market research because it will allow the management in developing an insight to the market situation and trend that can be helpful in designing adequate business strategy. (Gsenviro, 2015)
Internal sources of information and understandings for SPL are:
- Employees: SPL’s employees are the prime source of various information as they are ones who are in the practical field, dealing with the customers. Since they mingle with different people outside the workplace, they have various inputs which SPL should identify for meeting the business objectives. (Penn, 2016)
- Company Database: SPL’s database can also serve as a source of providing significant information in front of the management for developing their understanding about particular issues affecting the sales. Management can make sound decisions by further evaluating this resource and cross-checking the information with the help of internet.
- Documents: vouchers, statement, accounting papers like ledger etc. are helpful in forming opinions and a key source for analyzing the situation. (Penn, 2016)
Explain and justify recommendations for improvement (1.4)
The recommendations needed for improvement are:
- Determining customers need and the industry: it is essential that SPL carries an aggressive market research for understanding the factors that are leaving an impact on customers’ preferences. For example, SPL currently prints local magazines, business stationery like memos, letter heads and business cards. But the printing industry is growing tremendously with economic contributions of 5% in UK’s GDP. With the increase in customers demand, it is equally necessary that SPL too expands its services in accordance to the market demand. Conducting a market research will help SPL in identifying the factors.
- DICAR model: the key components of DICAR model are Data, Information, Knowledge, Action and Results. It is important that the data available are consistent and are not incomplete. Information is always available and is reliable, relevant, transparent and useful. Knowledge is the expertise that SPL needs for evaluating the priority of a situation that comes from experiences. Action is the eventual utilization of the data, information and knowledge inputs. Once the inputs are utilized, SPL must measure and monitor the results for accomplishing the desired target.
- CRM: use of modern business tools like data warehousing and data mining will help SPL in taking and managing the customer feedbacks. It eventually will help the management in taking right decisions in the long-term view of the business.
- Employees’ performance management: SPL needs to understand that its productivity is dependent on employees’ performances. Hence, for ensuring high business productivity SPL should adopt various performance measurement tools like Key Performance Indicators (KPI). Target achieved by the employees can act as employees ‘performance measurement tool. It is important that SPL identifies the shortfalls and take adequate measure for resolving the same. Annual appraisals should be done for keeping the employees morale high. By implementing this approach SPL can regain its market share and revenue generation.
Speaker notes: SPL takes various business decisions through directors, managers, and employees. The types of decisions usually based on its predictability. One can observe that computed decisions are forthright, monotonous and conventional and hence can be handled by establishing system and methods for example, stock ordering systems.
Other decisions are more diverse and unregulated hence, any definite system to take such decisions has not been evolved. SPL can contrast decision making by considering the availability of time. Stakeholders’ importance can be anticipated through their role within SPL.
For longstanding sustainability SPL seeks investment from shareholders and creditors, adheres to the governmental regulations, produces products preferred by customers, maintains healthy relations with suppliers and fulfill its CSR activities. Every stakeholder has a significant part in SPL’s growth hence, their needs must be fulfilled.
Speaker notes: The internal and external stakeholders identified have a significant role in SPL’s business. Hence, evolving healthy business and emotional relations with them is utmost important. It is essential of establishing communication with the stakeholders through methods like conference, meetings, mails, exhibitions and seminars for enhancing their involvement and engagement in attaining SPL’s business goals. Through communication, SPL can further involve stakeholders in the organisational objectives, decision making etc. simultaneously gaining their support and commitment.
Speaker notes: For bringing improvements into the process of decision-making, SPL can opt for routine based market evaluation strategy. This will equip the managers in gaining latest information of market trends, customer preferences, competitor strategies etc. needed for formulating effective business decisions. SPL can install ERP system further making it easier to collect, format, store and distribute information for future purposes. This will allow SPL in analyzing the new trends and maintaining stakeholders’ details. Although, installation of ERP system is costly but will give unlimited benefits to SPL in improving its decision makings and maintaining and monitoring its effectiveness.
Speaker notes: SPL can pursue these steps for all its identified stakeholders and this will further empower the management in maintaining and developing healthy and longstanding relations with them that is required for business growth.
- Sender: is the person intending of conveying the message and aims to pass certain idea or information to others.
- Ideas:is the subject of communication and can be in the form of opinion, attitude, feelings, views, orders, or suggestions.
- Encoding: because the subject of communication is analytical and ethereal, for passing the same it uses symbols like words, actions or pictures etc. The process of converting the subject into these symbols is called encoding.
- Communication Channel:the person involved in communication selects the mode for passing the information or idea which is further translated to the receiver with the help of either formal or informal channels.
- Receiver:is the person receiving the message and tries to understand the message to achieve the desirable objectives.
- Decoding:person receiving the message converts it in way for extracting the meaning for establishing complete understanding.
- Feedback: it ensures that the message has been received by the receiver and is further understood in the sense meant by the sender.
Speaker Notes: Take for example, the HOD selects a brief message and informs or educates the line manager regarding the message. The line manager will further meet the employees by dividing them into smaller groups for conveying the message. Further, he/she will measure the retention of employees which if is above 40%, the cycle is repeated.
In the second method, SPL should repeat the important messages by implementing various modes of communication and encourage the employees in giving feedbacks. Once the line manager is done with the delivery of messages, the receiver should be asked to briefly explain what he/she understood. Use of different modes to communicate the information will improve the significance of the communication system
In the third method, SPL can teach the employees the art of listening. The receiver of information should give feedback. In case, the message is conveyed in a group meeting then meeting minutes should be provided.
In the final method, use of modern technologies will empower SPL to eliminate the system noise and reduce repetitions thereby, establishing faster communication that can be recorded for future reference.
A report on existing approaches to the collection, formatting, storage and dissemination of information and knowledge (4.1)
The existing approaches for collecting, formatting, storing and dissemination of information and knowledge by SPL are done by:
Data Collection: for attaining any business objectives SPL is always is in need of data which further should be evaluated for achieving the desirable outcomes. At SPL, approaches like face to face interaction are used which is the best method of collecting customers feedback and responses. In addition, questionnaires are posted to customers either through post office or publish it in the local magazine. The Sales Executives make cold calls to potential customers or drop a newsletter into their mailing boxes. Understanding of customers’ preferences are analysed by SPL through effective online tools. (Expert Market, 2016)
The data collected is measured on the parameters of its usefulness and relevance. The measurement is done for finding how much data SPL will need to store, access and distribute.
SPL’s capacity of storing data is not so high hence, the storage space is limited
Recurrence of information is assessed according to its accessibility and applicability which also encompasses the availability of space
SPL has designed websites for collecting maximum data and tailoring them in accordance to the existing requirement.
SPL collects data by getting indulge into promotional techniques which allow them in gathering customer contacts information and other details which further can be monitored and tested for deriving desirable results. SPL mostly makes use of both traditional and modern ways for collecting, formatting, storing and disseminated the data for fulfilling the purpose of its objectives. (Expert Market, 2016)
Explain how you will carry out appropriate changes to improve the collection, formatting, storage and dissemination of information and knowledge (4.2)
Changes required for improving collection, formatting, storage and disseminated the information and knowledge within SPL can be done by:
Data Collection:in order to collect applicable data and information, SPL can gain methodical direction through market research for collecting and analyzing the data gathered for a certain purpose. Considering the existing situation of sales decline at SPL which means that customers are switching to its competitors. (Wang and Noe, 2010)
Market Research can help SPL in the following ways:
- Surveys: with the help of survey SPL can ask customers questions that are related to the current problem it is dealing with i.e. sales decline. It can further evaluate the responses gathered through surveys. Example: questionnaires.
- Focused Groups: they can help SPL in gathering various kind of information from the participants that will help the management in making right decisions.
- Observation: with the help of this technique SPL can gain idea from whatever is happening around it thereby, bringing the required information or data for designing business strategies
- Online Mode: being active in social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. and through its official website, SPL can easily encourage customers in giving their feedbacks thereby, allowing them in gaining an intuition of the current situation. (Wang and Noe, 2010)
Storing: once the data is collected, it is stored for further evaluation. SPL can adopt modern tools and digital platforms like designing a database for storing the data in bulk amount for years that eventually can be used for future references. With the help of portable devices like pen drives, external hard disk drives, flash drives, DVD ROM, SPL can easily resolve its problem of storing data. In addition, advanced mobile applications like cloud storage, android application will also help SPL in storing chunks of data. With the use of data warehouse software, SPL can store unlimited data in its key database. (Wang and Noe, 2010)
Once the data is stored, SPL often needs to share the information with its stakeholders adequately. For presenting the data in meetings, SPL can make use of either written documents or digital presentations. In case of both documentation and presentations, SPL must ensure to maintain its visualisation for giving the information a professional look thereby, enhancing stakeholders’ interests. For making the presentation more captivating, tables, graphs, bar and pie charts should be used.
Explain how you will implement a strategy to improve access to systems of information and knowledge (4.3)
To improve the access to systems of information and knowledge, SPL can adopt strategies for integrating all the functions in a way that is depicted through the diagram below
By observing the diagram, one can understand that SPL needs to design the ways with the help of which it can effectively assimilate all the functions for delivering proper results. SPL needs to collect data by pursuing both quantitative and qualitative approach. For qualitative mode, SPL can involve focus groups to allow the experts to share their opinions and indulge into social media activities to assess the customer reviews. SPL can use surveys in the form of questionnaire, for gathering direct customer responses. Furthermore, evaluation of the data through software will not only save time but can also be quickly conveyed to the employees by arranging meetings or training events.
In this assignment, discussions have been made on the numerous areas of communication,knowledgeand information. Level of decisions within SPL has been highlighted apart from internal and external sources of the information. Recommendations have been made on how to improve assessment of information and knowledge. SPL’s stakeholders have been identified and ways have been suggested in how they can be involved in the organizational activities. A brief discussion has been made of improving stakeholder relationships. Existing communication process of SPL is highlighted and ways are suggested in improving its effectiveness. Finally, a personal plan has been developed for improving the communication skills and collection, formatting, storage and dissemination of information and knowledge within SPL have been highlighted.
Balasubramanian, V. (2016). Organizational Learning and Information Systems. (Online) Available at: http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~bjones/infosoc/orglrn.html (Accessed on 5/11/2016)
Chand, S. (2016). Decision Types: 6 Types of Decisions Every Organization Need to Take. (Online) Available at: http://www.yourarticlelibrary.com/decision-making/decision-types-6-types-of-decisions-every-organization-need-to-take/25660/ (Accessed on 5/11/2016)
Emeritus, E. (2012). Review information and knowledge needed to ensure effective decision making in an organization. (Online) Available at: http://www.enotes.com/homework-help/review-information-knowledge-needed-ensure-316254 (Accessed on 5/11/2016)
Expert Market. (2016). Tesco CRM Case Study. (Online) Available at: http://crmsystems.expertmarket.co.uk/tesco-crm-case-study, (Accessed on 5/11/2016)
Gsenviro. (2015). Assess internal and external sources of information and understanding. (Online) Available at: http://www.enotes.com/homework-help/assess-internal-external-sources-information-477428 (Accessed on 5/11/2016)
Penn, J. (2016). Explain the Internal and External Sources of Information. (Online) Available at: http://business-finance.blurtit.com/296080/explain-the-internal-and-external-sources-of-information-can-you-help (Accessed on 5/11/2016)
Wang, S. and Noe, R.A., (2010). Knowledge sharing: A review and directions for future research. Human Resource ManagementReview, 20(2), pp.115-131.